1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

An Introduction to Event Rental Agreements


Important things to look for in your event rental contract.

Image © flickr.com/37814712@N06

Unless you have a gigantic warehouse full of event gear then you will eventually need to rent items from an event rental agency. The best ones can supply you with every imaginable need, from silverware to inflatable bounce houses. And for the most part you’ll find the prices are fair when compared to the cost of owning an item you may only use once or twice a year. The concept is truly a win-win for both businesses. With that in mind though, you still need to review the terms of your rental agreement to avoid costly penalties. This article provides an overview on what to look for.

Setup and Teardown Times
Timing is everything when it comes to calculating costs for your rental equipment. Most items are charged a per day rate that begins the moment the truck lands on your property. So while it would be nice to receive your order of 700 wine glasses a few days in advance, keep in mind that you will pay for this luxury. You also need to outline your event teardown strategy. Pickups may not be available after a certain time, so you may have to pay for an additional day if getting the items packed up before the deadline seems like an issue. This is where you will want to work closely with your event coordinator as they might be able to accommodate a later pickup that works better for them as well.

Cleaning and Condition Clauses
Most planners understand that they can’t just stuff all of your rental items in a bog box and leave it on the loading dock for pickup. Your rental agreement will outline your responsibilities as to what condition items need to be returned in. Plates for example might need to be washed and stacked in their carts to avoid a per-plate cleaning fee. The same goes for banquet tables and chairs. Typically the terms for delivery and pickup are fairly straightforward in that all items should be assembled in the same place and manner they were dropped off in. In other words, the delivery driver is not responsible for collecting and organizing your order.

Cancellation and Drop Fees
This is a particularly important topic for outdoor events that can be affected by the weather. Read through your rental contract to find the policies on cancelling an order. In most cases you will have until one week out to cancel without any fees. Inside that date you’ll pay a percentage cost of the original order – even if the items were never delivered. Drop fees are associated with large changes in the quantity of items rented. Say you originally ordered 1,500 chairs, but due to low RSVP’s you changed the number to 750 a few days before the event. Depending on your contract, you could be charged a percentage of the lost revenue.

Access to Support
What happens if your tent begins to blow in the wind? Who can you call if you need more table skirts? It is essential to ask questions like these before you sign an event rental contract. Prevention is always the best plan of action, which is why you’ll want to count and inspect your order while the delivery driver is still present. However, you also need to have an emergency plan in place. The good news is that most large rental companies have drivers and service personnel working throughout the evening to deliver and pickup orders. Of course you still need the ability to contact them, so make sure you get a mobile number to call for help.

Keep in mind that event rental companies want to do repeat business with you in the future, so it is not in their best interest to scam you for a couple hundred dollars. The most common issues arise when customers don’t understand the terms of the rental agreement. As with anything, don’t just sign on the dotted line and walk away. Read through the contract and ask questions if you have any concerns.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.