Understanding Party Equipment Rentals

Planning a big party or event often means party rental equipment, but how do you know what to rent, who to rent from and when it is cheaper to buy?

What You Can Rent
Party rental companies can provide just about anything that you could need to make your party a success. This includes, but is not limited to

  • Party tents
  • Tables and chairs
  • China, glassware and flatware
  • Linens

You can also get more heavy-duty event equipment rentals, such as

  • A dance floor or stage
  • Audio/visual equipment
  • Concession equipment
  • Cookware
  • Games or inflatables

How to Choose a Party Rental Company
When choosing a party rental company, it's important to make sure you're dealing with a reputable company. Here are three things to look for:

  • They are a member of the American Rental Association
  • They indicate that they have liability insurance, and it can be verified
  • They're willing to provide references

How to Make the Party Rental Process a Success
As soon as you have the party date, have a list of the following information ready before you even contact the rental company:

  • When your event will be
  • Where your event will be
  • What you anticipate needing
  • How much space you have to work with
  • How many people will be attending your event
  • What you want your event to be (Will it be a casual backyard barbeque? A formal sit down affair?)
  • What kind of budget you are working with

Knowing this information will help the company to make recommendations that meet your specific party needs and save you a lot of time.

Making Your Selections
A good company won't just agree to deliver tableware and chairs on the appointed day, they'll actually let you pick out the party rentals that will be delivered. Expect to be given a catalog featuring the company's inventory or to visit a showroom that's set up with all of the options. If you make your selections out of a catalog (or off a Web site), request to see a sample to ensure that you're really getting what you want. Spend some time considering each option before making your final decision. Some rental companies have a relationship with local party planners, florists and caterers. This can make coordinating all aspects of your event easier.

Questions to Ask Before Signing a Rental Agreement

  • When will the rental equipment be dropped off and picked up?
  • Who will set up the equipment-you or the rental company?
  • What will happen if equipment is damaged or returned dirty?
  • If a deposit is involved, when will it be returned?
  • If your event is on the weekend, will there be someone available to handle any problems that arise?

When It Makes Sense to Buy
Renting can be an affordable (and convenient) way to secure the equipment that you need for your event, but sometimes it's cheaper to buy. Instances where this might apply:

  • When you host the same event every year
  • When you have a need for the item several times a year
  • When the one-time rental cost is comparable to the retail price of the item
  • When the item is something that you would like to own

If you're thinking about purchasing equipment, be sure to consider:

  • The cost of maintaining the item
  • The work involved in setting up and taking down the item
  • The room required to store the item

On the Day of the Party
Expect to pay in full prior to delivery, and make sure you're available to inspect equipment when it's delivered. To avoid disputes, request written documentation of any damage before accepting delivery.

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