How To Start A Tent Rental Business.

You’re here because you want to start a tent rental business.  That’s excellent!  Recipi is ready to help guide you through the process of starting a tent rental business..  We have helped entrepreneurs across the U.S. and we wanted to give a quick overview of what it takes to get started in tent rentals.  The rental industry is growing steadily.  Additionally, it is an extremely difficult service to automate or get “Amazoned,” making tent rentals a safe bet for decades to come.  Lastly, the sharing economy is exploding in the US.  Consumers understand that some things are just better to rent than buy.  The tent rental business is positioned for steady growth over the next 5 years.  

This article will cover:

  • Intro
  • Choosing a Market Segment
  • Market Research
  • Differentiation
  • New Business Formation
  • Training
  • Partner with Recipi

So, where to begin?  Let’s start with the different segments of the tent rental market so you can decide what type of business you want to start.

Small, “backyard” tent rentals.  Most tent rental companies start small and try to grow into larger tents, larger events, and of course, larger checks! You will most likely want to start small, servicing backyard parties like graduations, baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, etc.  A typical small event will be between 40-100 guests. Most of these events can be services with a small tent (20×20, 20×30, 20×40) and can even be setup with one person!  Small tents like these can be transported in a standard size pickup truck and they can be stored in a small garage.  A 20×30 tent rolls up to the size of a hockey bag, as a reference point. Here are a few example sites from our clients. Party On Delmarva and Backyard Tent Rental

Weddings / corporate / larger events. Larger events command a higher premium.  If you want to service weddings and large corporate events you will need larger tents (40×60, 40×80, etc).  These large tents require a strong crew, a focus on logistics and transportation, and some serious storage space.

Next step is to do your market research.  What is the competition like in your area?  Are there many tent rental companies? Which segment of the market do they service?  What are the core competencies of your competitors?  Do they have great marketing? Do they win on customer service? Doing simple market research should help you understand if you can compete in your local area. You may want to even call around to learn about customer service, pricing, how busy the other businesses are, etc.  

How to differentiate / compete.

There are many ways to compete in a service business like tent rentals.  Typically young entrepreneurs or new business owners immediately look at price and think that being the lowest price is the most practical way to compete.  While price is certainly one factor, there are other ways to differentiate yourself in the tent rental market. Want to learn more on differentiation? Here are a few other ways to differentiate your business and compete in the rental industry:

Marketing.  Consumers typically start their search for a tent rental vendor online using Google.  One way to win business is to ensure your brand shows up in a Google search to capture already existing demand for tent rental services. There are three different options.

  1. SEO (search engine optimization) or organic search.  If you can get your business to show up “organically” or naturally in a search result page, that will provide free visits, leads and customers.  SEO is the art / science of creating a website that will appear prominently in a search result. There are way too many factors to get into with SEO, so here are a few helpful blog posts on the topic:

SEO basics   and 5 Steps for Improving Your SEO. 

      2) A “Google My Business” Listing.  You have seen this in action. A Google My Business Listing literally puts your business on the map. This is a free service from Google and is incredibly important for local businesses.

       3) Pay your way to the top with Google Ads.  Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is a pay-per-click advertising option.  Pay-per-click is exactly how it sounds – you pay only when a prospect clicks on your ad and lands on your website.  This is an extremely effective form of marketing when done properly. Google Ads is such a powerful tool that it’s usually too complex for a novice advertiser.  We strongly suggest that you do not try Google Ads on your own (and no, not because we offer that service). Google has so many different features and functionalities that its very easy to set up an advertising campaign that wastes money and does attract customers at a tolerable cost of acquisition.  For more on cost of acquisition (COA), check out this post. 

Customer service. Not all consumers want the lowest price vendor.  If you can answer phone calls or email inquiries in a quick and friendly fashion you can win business solely based on customer service.  Additionally, larger tent companies may not want to service certain events for a number of reasons (requirements, demanding customer, last minute event, etc).

Convenience. People rarely rent the tent alone.  If you can also provide (or sub-contract) tables, chairs, linens and other items, you can win based solely on convenience for your customers. 


New Business Formation.  Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of choosing a strategy, doing some market research and how to differentiate your business, let’s fast forward to starting the business. Here are a few key steps in new rental business formation.

  1. Launch a website as soon as you can.  Let me say that again. LAUNCH A WEBSITE AS SOON AS YOU CAN.  You need a website and the sooner you can get your site live, the sooner you can start getting leads and customers. It takes time to for Google to find your new site and begin to serve it to users. Recipi offers website creation services for rental businesses.
  2. Create an LLC or a business entity.  
  3. Obtain business license or any other required credentials from your state.
  4. Consider insurance (general liability insurance)
  5. Set up your business infrastructure.  Start to think about email, phone, scheduling, payments, rental agreements, accounting, storage, transportation, etc. 
  6. Buy equipment.  We recommend trying to stay lean and mean.  Only buy equipment that you will absolutely need.  One of the cardinal sins of the rental business is buying equipment that doesn’t get rented frequently.  The more “stuff” you buy, the more storage and maintenance you will require. So try to buy proven winners.  Recipi can help you with equipment purchasing.


Training / industry expertise.

Before you show up to set up your first tent, you will need to get some experience and training.  This seems obvious, but you should think about how you are going to learn and get comfortable setting up tents.  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. YouTube is your friend!  Consume as much YouTube content as you can.  There are countless videos on erecting tents, tent safety, etc.
  2. Practice, practice, practice.  Once your tent(s) has arrived, you should go over the process enough times so that there are no surprises once you get to your first real event.
  3. For work or watch a local tent crew.  If you can take a temporary job at a local tent business we strongly recommend learning by doing.  If you can’t get first-hand experience, you should try to watch a few tent installations.


Partner with Recipi.

Recipi helps entrepreneurs start their own rental businesses.  We can help you break into the tent rental industry with a beautiful, professional web presence, marketing advice, equipment purchasing, and choosing the right business tools to get you started quickly and profitably.  

You can try to tackle this challenge alone, or you can partner with a company who has over a decade of experience launching tent rental businesses.  We can help you avoid all the common mistakes made by those who have come before you. We will be your trusted partner and guide you along the process.


Recipi Helps Rental Businesses Grow  Our team has a unique mix of rental experience and digital marketing expertise.  We offer a free "rental business recipi," which is a report with recommendations, insights, and resources to help rental businesses improve their web marketing and grow.   Go to to get your rental business recipi today.