The party and event rental industry has come a long way from years past and is growing and changing in leaps and bounds. The rental business started way back in the early 1900's when funeral parlors used chairs for their funeral services but then when not in use they started renting these same chairs for weddings and other events for as much as 5 cents a chair. As time went on, stores opened up renting items such as tools, machinery, and yes, wedding items, as well, and so the rental industry was born.
Funeral chairs from the 1900's.
Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Ray_Butterworth
In 1955 over 20 rental stores banded together to start the American Rental Association (ARA) to advocate for the rental industry by offering education and training to rental store owners and employees, exclusive insurance coverage, and by showing a voice in federal and state levels. This has brought the event rental industry to new heights! The American Rental Association now has over 9,000 members in 32 different countries. Linens were introduced into the rental industry in the 1980's. According ot the ARA, the approach was very flashy with hosts of high-end parties using the new "fancy" linens for their tabletops. Linens became a rental standard item in the 1990's for all kinds of events, including birthdays and weddings.
CERP - certification training started several years back by the ARA to enhance one's career in the rental industry by becoming a "certified event rental professional" or CERP. By added studies and testing in the various fields of the rental industry, employees can become versed and certified in all aspects of the industry and become aware of issues and items that may not have crossed their paths in day to day business. There are training studies on tabletop design, warehouse management, tent installation, rental sales, linens and fabrics and many more. Once training and testing is completed a certificate and diploma is awarded to each rental person for the additional training that was done and a ceremony is held at the Rental Show each year for all of the graduates.
The Rental Show! Don't get me started on this, but the rental show is a week long conference and trade show which is held each year in various parts of the country, usually ones that have a warmer climate or legal gambling so you don't want to miss this! The rental show is a gigantic trade show on a convention floor with thousands of items and products that are related to the party and equipment rental industry. Anything from the latest and greatest forklifts to clear acrylic chairs to the most stylish linen fabrics in the industry, it can be found at the annual rental show. Not only does the ARA promote new rental products at the show each year but they offer seminars and training classes during the week for rental business owners and employees to attend and learn how other rental companies are dealing with certain issues throughout the country and all over the world.
At US Tent Rental we are expecting our 10th CERP graduate this year and looking forward to having many more to follow in years to come. We have found that CERP trained employees offer more to our customers with educated ideas and knowledge of the industry. By offering additional training to employees and being a member of the American Rental Association, rental businesses have a step up on the competition. Along with joining networking groups within the industry and being a part of the ARA, your company has a better chance of referrals from these groups for increased growth while other companies are waiting for the phone to ring.
According to Steve Bruenner - US Tent Rental Inc:
"In the late 1980's I had heard a story of a guy who started a business right out of college renting out knives and forks, tables and chairs, plates, glasses, etc. getting paid good money for this and then getting all these items back to do over again! How could this be? Here I was selling widgets in the New York area trying hard to make a sale but I never got the stuff back after the sale! That's when I was first introduced to the rental industry, I had to investigate, so I took on part time job with this firm to see how this works. I went from a suit and tie and business meetings in the Big Apple to khaki shorts and a Polo shirt setting up wedding tents in backyards at people's homes for their daughter's wedding, hey not a bad trade. When we showed up at a house we were treated like royalty, and they would come outside and shout to each other “Hey, the party guys are here" so on weekends when I was not selling widgets, I was the "party guy". As the rental industry grew over the years and the need for certifiable experienced rental companies expanded I chose this path as a career, got married, bought a house, and put 2 kids through college, and 24 years later I'm proof that there's a career in the party rental industry. I hope to see more talented people get involved and choose a career in the party rental industry. I look forward to seeing this industry grow and do nothing but improve in years to come."
Justin Souza, one of US Tent's CERP professionals, and a client during a recent tent set-up:
A recent event designed by a US Tent and Linens by the Sea CERP professioal:
What does this mean for brides and party goers? Make sure you use a reputable company that has knowledgeable and certified professionals that will ensure your event is memorable for years to come!!