After taking a dip during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, entertainment rentals surged back up in 2021, with expected revenue exceeding $47 billion. And one of the fastest-growing rental markets is entertainment rentals, used for parties, weddings, or other special events. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about getting into the rental game.
Determine What Equipment You’ll Need
Entertainment rentals cover a wide range of equipment. Some of the most popular types include:
Each type of equipment will require different supervision, support equipment, and (for food service) permits. For instance, photo booths and food carts require an attendant to manage guests as they use them. You need extension cords and fans for bounce houses or inflatables. And don’t forget transportation—you’ll have to deliver and retrieve your equipment, so you might need a trailer or a truck.
Determine Costs and Revenue
Once you’ve determined what you’d like to rent out, sit down and decide whether it’s feasible. Write a business plan before you spend any money to save money and hassle down the line. A business plan also provides a starting roadmap for future decisions. Here’s what it should cover:
Startup expenses (including equipment, cleaning supplies, transportation, legal fees, insurance, and a cushion for paying bills during your first few months in business)
Equipment maintenance fees
Supplies (including gas, paper, and ink for a photo booth or food inventory for a cart)
Payroll (if you plan to hire employees)
Market analysis (that is, how much competition will you have?)
Investigate Financing Options
For most entrepreneurs, startup costs are the most daunting part of a business plan. People go into business to make money, and they might not have a lot of it lying around in the beginning. Fortunately, you can take advantage of small business loans, lines of credit, and equipment financing to get your enterprise off the ground.
Which option is right for you? It depends on what you’re selling, but consider point-of-sale financing if your business is centered around renting out equipment. With Clicklease, you can apply from your phone within minutes, there’s no hard credit pull, and you can pick your payment. You also won’t need collateral because the equipment itself secures the loan. You’ll have the equipment you need and keep cash on hand for other startup expenses.
Make It Legal
A lawyer can help you navigate the fundamentals of starting a small business and ensure that you’re protected from liability if something goes wrong. You can set up a business as one of four types: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability company (LLC). The last two options protect your personal assets from professional liability, so it’s helpful to discuss the best choice for you with a professional.
You’ll also need to look into your business’s local, state, and federal licensing requirements, which could differ depending on where you live and what you offer. And finally, you’ll need to draw up a rental agreement, which is the contract you’ll have each customer sign prior to renting. It’s a lot of paperwork, but it’s worth having everything legal and clear.
Put Your Business Online
Once your equipment and your paperwork are squared away, it’s time to book parties! The easiest way to get your business out there is online, and you can set up social media accounts for free. Or, if you’d like your own website, you can pay to build one with a developer like Wix or Squarespace. You’ll also want to set up a business email account that’s separate from your personal email.
After you’ve established an online presence, start thinking about how you’d like to manage bookings. Some social media platforms support this feature for an additional fee, or you can use third-party widgets to set up an appointment system on your website. Whatever you choose, be aware that almost 70% of customers prefer to book online if they can—you might miss out on customers if you don’t offer it.
Ready to get started with entertainment rentals? Clicklease can make it fast and easy. Let’s talk today.