How To Start A Wedding Rental Business.

So you want to start a wedding equipment rental business.  Great!  As more couples choose to get married outside of traditional venues (outside of the church, synagogue, etc) the need for wedding rentals has increased steadily over the past decade.  The team at Recipi wants to share our advice on how to start and grow a wedding rental business.  We have helped entrepreneurs across the U.S. start their own rental businesses and we wanted to give a quick overview of what it takes to get started based on our experience.

This article will cover:

  • Intro
  • Market Research
  • New Business Formation
  • Website / Marketing
  • Training
  • Partner with Recipi

Let’s start by thinking about the different segments within the wedding rental industry. Oftentimes segments for wedding rental businesses are based on the number of guests attending a wedding.  For reference, the average wedding in the U.S. hosts 120 guests. There is however, an enormous range of wedding sizes, from intimate weddings of 30-40 guests, to the large, 250 guests celebrations. 

Typical wedding rental items include:

  • wedding arches / decor
  • chairs for outdoor ceremonies
  • professional lighting
  • audio/visual equipment
  • photo booths / wedding entertainment items
  • dance floors
  • linens, tables, and tableware.

These items are great for a small businesses as they can be transported in one vehicle and setup by a small team or a single person. 

Next step in due diligence is market research.  What is the competition is your area?  What items are lacking from the wedding venues in your area?  Are there parks, hotels, beaches or other outdoor spaces that are popular for ceremonies and require renting equipment?  What are customers looking to rent? What is the typical segment of wedding in your area?  What are your competitors particular strengths?  Do they have great marketing? Do they have low prices or rapid delivery and pickup? Be curious and ask questions. Knowing as much about your market as possible will allow you to identify and fill needs not being met.  Listen to this research and don’t make assumptions about the market. Reach out to competitive rental businesses to find out about their services and competitive advantages. 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.

New Business Formation.  Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of wedding rentals, let’s fast forward to starting the business. Here are a few key steps in new rental business formation.   Having all of the following items are key in establishing the roots of a wedding rental business.

  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 for wedding rental businesses. 
  2. Create an LLC or a business entity.
  3. Obtain business license, permits, and coordinate tax forms.
  4. Consider insurance (general liability insurance)
  5. Set up your business infrastructure. How will you communicate efficiently with staff? How will you track your trucks? What will you do to ensure quality control? Start to think about  phone, email, payments, scheduling, rental agreements, accounting, storage, transportation, etc.
  6. Get your storage and transportation needs figured out.  Where will you store your equipment?  How will you transport? 
  7. Buy equipment.  We recommend trying to stay lean and mean.  Only buy equipment that you will absolutely need. Align your purchases to your highest demanded services.  In the wedding industry there are highly seasonal fads which will tempt you to impulse buy equipment. Don’t overbuy or assume the usefulness of an item. Storage costs money, equipment costs money, maintenance costs money, and loans cost money. So stick with proven winners.  Recipi can help you with equipment purchasing.

Once you’ve formed your new business, the focus should be squarely on developing a strategy, creating a website and starting your marketing efforts. 

How to differentiate / compete. Doing your research on established competitors will help you identify what qualities can set you apart. Oftentimes entrepreneurs believe they can be better in all aspects of operations, but when growing your business it is essential to focus on meeting a need with your distinct competitive advantages. 

Marketing.  As the average age of marriage in the US is 28, this age indicates smartphone ownership,  technology literacy and online connectivity. You can bet these tech literate couples are doign the majority of their research online, so digital marketing is vital.  Those ages 18-34 frequently use social media, online shop, review potential vendors, and schedule services online. Therefore, we suggest these options to attract these target customers and grow your business.

  1. First impressions are everything and your website is your likely first point of contact. A beautiful, mobile friendly website can be built on your own, or Recipi can create a rental business website for you that looks beautiful, includes analytics, and drives business.  Your website is your best business asset, and should be viewed as an investment, not simply a cost. 
  2. Social Media is a powerhouse in promoting your growing brand. Half of millennials use Pinterest every month and 60 million 18-34 year olds use Instagram monthly.  Social media offers a distinct benefit over tradition media in the ability to target your ideal customers. Here are a few social media resources for your consideration:

Find out how social media has impacted other growing businesses.

7 Free (Or Cheap) Digital Marketing Tools for Event Rental Businesses

       3) Connecting these reviews to wedding planning sites such as The Knot and Wire will directly connect you with your target audience, those planning a wedding. Make sure to highlight reviews which promote the unique value your ideal customers are searching for.  More on Utilizing Online Reviews.

Website / Marketing.   It’s 2019, you need a wedding rental business website.  You can try to create a website on your own, or you can work with us to create a website that not only looks good, but will help attract new prospects, drive leads and ultimately land more customers.  It’s not enough to just have a website.  Here are a few ways to get visitors, leads and ultimately customers online:

  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.

Naturally, it will take some time for your website to gain traffic. One way that you can help boost traffic to your site (asides from SEO) is to create a social media presence.  Wedding businesses rely heavily on photos, so Instagram and Pinterest are perfect platforms to build a following on.  You can try to grow a following organically, or you can create a social media ad campaign to jump start your growth

Training / industry expertise.   Out of the gate, you may not know how to setup wedding event lighting or table decor. The internet is your friend and social university. There are plenty of resources produced by professionals in the field to educate entrepreneurs like yourself. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Youtube is a great resource to find relevant and detailed tutorials and suggestions. As well, the information you learn is often up to date and delivered by industry pros. Look for suggestions on designing your business logistics and event decorating.
  2. Do it yourself and understand the process thoroughly. Practice with your team and make sure they are efficient and careful. Repetition is key to successes and will ensure excellent performance when it’s go time. Remember, a wedding is only supposed to happen once.   
  3. Make friends with fellow event service owners and learn from them. Businesses can succeed or fail on the entrepreneurs ability to network the people around them. Learn from those who have been in the industry and ask questions about the business flow. Friends help businesses succeed and grow.

Partner with Recipi.  Recipi helps entrepreneurs start their own wedding rental businesses.  We can help you break into the wedding 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 rental businesses like MyWeddingArch.com.  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

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 Recipi.com to get your rental business recipi today.