Have you ever wondered if you’re charging what you need to be charging in your rental business?
Today’s show is all about rental fees you should be charging right now! Each of these fees can be value-added experiences for your client and can help you stand out against your competitors.
Let us preface this episode with saying that this is purely a place to inform you and give you knowledge of what fees are out there, but ultimately you get to decide if you want to charge these! You can certainly stick to the fees that you’re already charging. Let’s get into it!
This can be named exactly that, Non-Business Hours fee! Or it could be named the “Pre-Event” or “Post-Event” fee. So many options here! This fee is pretty self explanatory, it just means you charge more for delivering outside of your normal hours. This fee specifically deals with the days prior or after the event.
Set some hour boundaries to this fee. For example, we charge this fee before 8AM and after 10PM. The crew that works that specific shift gets to take that fee home as a bonus to working. Why? Well, a few years we were having a heck of a time getting people to commit to an 11PM – 2AM shift or a 5AM – 9AM shift, so we asked them what they were motivated by and they said… “Money!” We charge $50-$100 per person for the entire shift for both the early morning and the late night. It varies between $50-$100 due to the size of the order. If it’s a massive order and will take a much longer time, then we up it to $100 per person. I’ve seen some do an additional $10-20 per hour in addition or you could charge a percentage in addition. I’ve also seen companies not give that to the employee and hold on to it as an incidental as most accidents or breakage happens in the nighttime.
This is called a lot of different things in the industry. Another common name is a “Picture Perfect” fee. Essentially, it’s a small fee that’s charged for any nicks or dings. This fee is pretty standard in the rental world and I HIGHLY recommend adding it to your orders if you don’t already. Standard pricing on this comes in at about 10% of the order. Some charge it before any delivery fees or tax is accounted for and some do it inclusive of delivery fees and tax.
This fee I don’t see as common, however, it has a ton of validity to it! This is the labor associated with pulling the order, packing it up, loading into the clients car, unloading the order when they return, cleaning it, and putting it back on the shelf. There’s a whole bunch of time associated with it so charging a fee (hourly or percentage-based) is something that I wish I saw more often in the event rental industry!
This can also be named the “Site Visit” or “Venue Visit” fee. The gist of this is to give your professional guidance and advice on-site to the client. You’re also in turn gaining information about the order and the space you’ll be in. In order to charge for this, you likely want to add value by bringing a tape measure to measure where things will go, a layout customized for them, and an edited layout after the visit. The pricing ranges on this from a flat fee to hourly based, depending on the scope of the project. You might also charge mileage or drive time!
It’s exactly what it sounds like! The amount of time you spend with your clients in-person (or over Zoom). This is taking precious time out of your day, so you should be charging for it! If you’re going to charge this, though, make sure it’s valuable for both you and your client to ensure they are choosing the right path with you. Give them a tour of your warehouse and show specific pieces to them in-person so they can touch and feel your items. Put together renderings or design boards with the inventory so they know what to expect. I see a ton of companies giving this meeting as a complimentary value of time, however, I would recommend charging for it. If you still want to keep it complementary, create a process of scheduling and have them visit a checkout page with a coupon code so they see that your time is valuable. We do this through Acuity scheduling!
This is one of the most common questions I get as a boutique rental company owner! The on-site styling fee consists of all the pretty things we bring to events that pull the whole look together. Think: books, candles, pillows, blankets and so much more! This is showing you as the expert and showing your client the best possible solution for their event to look the best it possibly can! There’s lots of ways to charge for this service such as flat fees, itemized invoices based on what you bring, and percentage based. There’s really no right or wrong way to charge for this, but it is something that you should consider adding to your business if you have the capacity to do so.
Do you ever go out of town for deliveries? Well, if your answer was yes, then you want to be sure you’re charging for TRAVEL FEES. This is covering your cost for hotel, food, extra gas, and anything else your crew may do while they’re away from home. I usually pad my costs here because 99% of the time, you’ll spend more than you think you will when you travel with your company out of town. Try your best to estimate these and make sure it’s noted as an estimate with a timeframe that you’ll have that final number nailed down. Do not skimp in this area!
How long are you charging for your rentals? Daily prices or just however long the event spans for? I see too many rental pros not charging for each day the piece is out of their warehouse. This would be called a Multi-Day Fee and is SO important!! Anytime your inventory is not on your shelf, it should be making you money. This fee can be charged as a daily rate or a stair-stepping rate depending on if the piece is actually being used for the event or just being transported.
Events are bound to have some changes! We learned that enough in 2020 and I hope we don’t ever have to go through that again! Event cancellations, increasing or decreasing numbers, changing locations, and so many other things can change on late notice which makes for miscommunications and stress added to the order. Some companies charge for any changes made within a certain amount of time. If you choose to charge for this, then determine how much time before the event day you need to confirm any changes without stressing or miscommunicating information. This can be a flat fee or a percentage charge.
An install or retrieval that is more challenging than others. This can consist of stairs, uphill, fields, small elevators, or tight timing. Really, anything that makes delivery harder on your crew and might take your crew longer to do the job. This will really take some memorization of venues and the challenges that might come with them, but can also be something you charge for after the event as long as you communicate that before the contract is actually signed.
And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Stacking or unstacking chairs that you bring! I can tell you from experience that I’ve been asked by a wedding planner or DMC if our company will be unstacking the chairs when we get to the venue. The fact that they are asking this means they likely have seen that fee before, so don’t be afraid to charge for it!
Last but certainly not least, weather covers! This is essential if you live in a part of town that gets rain often. The last thing you want is your furniture sitting out in the rain getting ruined, so instead of leaving your clients in a lurch hoping it doesn’t get damaged, send some covers with the client. This is something you can certainly charge for! It’s almost like an insurance policy for your pieces and protects your client from having to pay hefty damage fees, too!
That wraps up all of the rental fees you should be charging in your rental company!
Brooke Hicks | Render Co.
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