“Linen-berg” – an often missed perspective on the buy vs. rent linen debate.

So there you are…reviewing your rental proposal for your upcoming event.  Like most, you are on a tight budget and want to try and trim costs wherever you can.  One of your family/friends have mentioned that you can buy the linens you need for less than what you can rent them for and you are considering making such a choice with your rental.  But is that statement true?

Like with most rental items, one must look a little deeper than what appears on the surface.  With the Internet today, it would only take seconds to pull up 1/2 a dozen online sources for linens.  Many of these sites might even have linen prices that appear to be less than what your rental proposal is calling for…however, this doesn’t mean that your true cost will be less than that of your rental proposal.

Here are the things you should consider regarding the factors and additional costs lying under the surface.

1.  Shipping and Handling – Linens, especially quality ones, are heavy.  This usually means a considerable shipping costs that will quickly raise the overall price of each linen.

2.  Quality of Linens - If shopping by price…you will get what you pay for.  Your linen rental store usually carry higher quality linens than what your bargain basement web store will offer.  If appearance is important to you, this could be a gamble.

3.  Cleaning & Pressing – New linens do not come cleaned, pressed and ready to use.  You will have to wash and iron each of your linens for your event.  If you have never ironed a 120″ round, or 90×156 linen before, you are in for a wake up call.  With a single cloth having close to 100 sq-ft of surface to iron (as well as special care required), you could be in over your head getting them prepared.  Your rental store will have cleaned and pressed your linens so that you merely need to put them in place.  Your rental store most likely has linen setup options as well for a very small charge.

4.  Event is over…now what? – If you purchase linens for your event, what are you going to do with them afterwards?  They will, again, need to be cleaned and pressed before they can be used again.  Moreover, you most likely won’t have another event that will need those same linens in the near future.  Even if you did, the risk then is that it won’t have the same color requirements, table setup, etc.  You could end up buying something just to throw it away.

5.  Loss of discount – As mentioned in a previous post titled “Bundle, Bundle, Bundle“, we explained that you can save big by renting bundled items.  Tables, chairs and linens are the foundation to any formal event…you could be losing some serious discounts by electing to go your own on linens.

Much like an iceberg, where the overall size is under the water and not above…the overall costs of linens in time and money is far greater than just the price tag you see on a website.  The reality is that you will have a linen cost if you are doing a formal event.  If you have found a place that you believe you could buy for less than you could rent…what is that difference and is it worth taking on the costs/burdens above for that minor difference?

I am sure that you may have several people offering their time to help in any way they can…however, when it comes to linen duty, I am willing to bet that most would prefer not to be tasked with the responsibility.  I would even go a step further to say that most would probably pitch in a few bucks to offset whatever that difference in cost is vs. dealing with it themselves.

Most formal events are “special” events and stressful enough already.  Renting linens is one area that you can considerably make your life easy, or incredibly burdened by buying, shipping, washing and ironing them yourself.  :-)


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Not Just Rentals…IDEAS!

You’ve been there before.  You have a special event coming up and you want to do something special, but just aren’t sure what to do.  It is similar to the established/married couple on date night:

“What would you like to do tonight?”

“I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

“Doesn’t matter to me, whatever you want to do….”,  so on, and so on.

Ultimately you end up doing the same thing you are most comfortable with and most knowledgeable of.

Planning an event doesn’t have to be such a chore.  Your local party/event rental store plans and provides for all types throughout the year.  Many are similar, some even the same…but few will have the exposure to event creativity and uniqueness than your local party/event rental store.  Most likely, they already have numerous ideas from other events that they have done that are unique, cool and affordable.  Even if they don’t have a specific idea that comes to mind, or is perfect for your needs, they are an enormous resource (usually for FREE) for creating and generating ideas.

Here are a few ways an event specialist from your local party/event rental store could assist you with your next event.

  1. Review ideas from similar events to yours they have done.
  2. Browse their inventory and brainstorm together about what could be done for your particular event.
  3. Event specialists can network and brainstorm with partner stores and other resources to offer ideas.

Regardless of how they might get there, understand that their goal is to find you the perfect idea so that they can hopefully earn your business for the event.  Most will consult and present ideas for FREE.  Other’s may charge for their time, but put a majority (if not all) towards the rental costs associated with the event.

Being creative on your own can be tough, and many times people are trying to plan in private for a surprise event of some kind.  So whether it be for a special romantic dinner, birthday, anniversary or back yard party…ping your local party/event rental store and see if they can’t help you in your endeavors.  I am willing to bet they will!  :-)


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Bundle, Bundle, Bundle!

“We all bundle…”

So we all have seen the Vonage commercial knocking the bundling of services as the premier way of saving money.  While this may or may not be true in the communications world…I can tell you that bundling as many items as you can from a rental company is absolutely an incredible way to ensure you get the best price, with least amount of effort.

We all are “bargain shoppers” inherently.  We want to ensure the best price on everything, all the time.  Especially in the economic climate we are in now, every dollar saved/maximized truly counts!  However, most will spend an enormous amount of time trying to shop different rental companies to save that $.05 per fork or $.50 per table by line item shopping and beating up every vendor over their individual pricing. The largest problem with this type of approach is you lose the pleasure of actually planning the event to be all that you want it to be, in an effort to save a dollar…and yes, planning a major event can be enjoyable and stress free.  I will discuss the keys to a enjoying the planning of a large event in a future post.  Here are the other problems with “LISS” (Line Item Shopping Syndrome).

  1. You spend enormous amount of time shopping around trying to find out everyone’s “best price” for each item.  The largest stress creator in organizing an event is the time that most people spend on doing so.  Spend less time planning and spend more time enjoying.  :-)
  2. You will often find the price difference negligible on most things and considerable on others when based on individual items.  This tends to give the incorrect perception that one company’s pricing is out of whack with the others.   Truth is that depending on a number of factors, not every rental company can offer every item at the same price.  It isn’t a matter of intent, so much as it is capability.  Overall this can lead to misguided perceptions of different companies and their overall way of doing business.
  3. You find that companies that gave super strong pricing on certain items are not local and any savings will be lost in travel or delivery of getting the items in your possession.  Delivery charges are a hard cost companies incur and often can’t be discounted  (p.s. I highly encourage paying for delivery for the sake of simplifying the delivery, setup and pickup process).
  4. Overall, if you truly assess your time, effort and the actual cost of all rentals…the savings (if any) won’t be worth the investment you made personally.

While you can save money in some cases by shopping this way, I encourage you to research a few companies and sit down with one that has impressed you and plan your event end to end.  Let them then give you a “package” or “bundled’ price.  Then shop that complete package with another company.  The more you bring to the table, the greater the ability of any company to see the overall value of your deal and work harder for it.  Think about it…would you fight hard for a customer that only wants to rent your forks because they are $.o5 less than the other guy…or would you rather get super aggressive to win the entire wedding package?  Exactly!

Lastly, since rental companies have tremendous experience in planning events, some will have pre-configured packages that make your planning super easy by giving you a list of most of what you will need and you merely polish and tweak from there.  PLUS, you never know what additional stuff they may throw in for FREE!

“Puppy…”  :-)


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Should I rent a tent at my next outdoor event?

Commercial Tents

Wet get calls all the time for people looking to host an outdoor event of some kind.  From birthday’s to weddings, barbeques to anniversaries…the reasons to host an outdoor event are endless.  Most people immediately consider the accommodations of seating, tables and food…but less than you would think consider shelter and protection.  Here in Texas it gets really hot and rain can come with little notice.  This is a huge consideration people should think about when planning their next event…not just for their guests, but also for the protection of the equipment they have rented.Did you know that YOU are responsible for the equipment that you rent once it is in your posession?  Yes, you may have opted for the damage protection waver, but that only protects you from regular wear and tear on the equipment and any accidental damage that might occur…key word being accidental.  However, what is clearly excluded from your damage waiver is rainy weather and failure to secure the equipment items you rent.

Renting a tent along with tables and chairs and other items offers several advantages to you in addition to having the tent delivered, setup and taken down on a timeframe that compliments your schedule:

1.  Delivery of all your other items – most people may elect to pickup tables and chairs for smaller events…however by adding a tent you usually can also have your other equipment delivered and picked up at no additional charge.  This enables you to not have to coordinate your schedule to ensure you have equipment back on time and incur additional rental fees.

2.  Ensure the success of your event by eliminating the concern of potential rain.  While rain still may damper the overall vision you may have had for your event, having a tent ensures that people have a place to seek dry shelter and gives peace of mind that you won’t have to be running around trying to figure out how to get all your equipment covered from the elements.

3.  Compounding on the previous point…shelter from the sun is a huge plus for your guests.  Whether it be for the kids as they need to take a break from play, to giving a nice shady spot to play a game of cards or enjoy a meal outside…a tent can truly enhance the overall success of your event.

4.  Tents don’t cost as much as you think they do when combined with rental of other items.  Stick with the same company for your entire event and you will enjoy the benefits of bundled discounts.  While it may seem economical to shop each item individually, ultimately trying to get different things from different places at the “best price”…the truth is that by sticking with one company for all your rental needs, you can save money on the rental, delivery and most all…YOUR TIME!

So next time you go to plan your next event, try to add a tent to the mix and see if it doesn’t change the overall success and cost effectiveness!


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