I feel compelled to tell you about a dirty dark secret. It’s pretty bad. In the event industry it’s taboo and no one really speaks of it. Are you ready? Stop reading now, if you can’t handle it.
It’s called “Cross-rentals”. It’s one of those horrible things in our industry that can frustrate people, make people mad and sometimes is absolutely necessary.
Basically, a cross rental is where you rent the same type of item from more than one rental company. For example, a caterer orders 500 glasses from one company and 500 glasses from another company. The time the horrible habit creeps up with most is with tablecloths.
Years ago, I worked for another company and I innocently took an order for 300 matching tablecloths. I didn’t know that meant I would have to order them from five companies to get the quantity that I needed. When the management of this beast came to light, I developed a strategy that involved my team putting the tablecloths on and taking them off. We knew which zone which companies were in and planned accordingly. I’ve been known to pin notes to the bottoms to distinguish companies.
This week, the dreaded thing happened. We added guests and were forced to rent linens from multiple companies. We made our plans. We were organized. We had it managed well. And we added more tables. We’re good – got it figured out. And get a few more…. And somehow we got confused. Which linens go to which company?
The sad or is it amazing part is that rental companies know what is there’s. It smells different to them or something. To the untrained naked eye – a linen is a linen. To rental professionals every other linen from every other company is inferior to their product.
Our team was cleaning up and had the table cloths sorted. All is well. The linens are returned. We are in good shape.
Then it came: the dreaded phone call. The panic sound in my friend’s voice as he begins to explain that somehow they have some of their competitor’s linens. He tells me like it is stolen merchandise that needs to be returned to them in a dark alley and no one will get hurt. OH NO! What will we do.
Of course, my biggest fear is coming true that my two friends from competing companies will figure out that I am cheating on them and that I have cross-rented.
Within 8 hours, the other company calls. They are missing linens. OH NO – this is going nowhere fast. I carefully listen for the quantity. FOUR. They are missing four.
I text the other guy. How many linens do they have that belong to the other company? The text finally comes: 4~ seriously? Our mystery is solved that easily.
We won! Our team really is the best at managing the details. No one has to know. Please don’t tell them. It’ll be our secret!
If you need someone to manage the details of your event, give us a call. We know how to get it done.