Decide whether to buy or rent your event decor for your event planning business

Business, Free Resources, Your Event Career

Guide to Event Décor: To Rent or To Own

You’ve probably built your business off the back of your event planning certification. After a few years in business, you may start looking for ways to boost your salary. Some planners look into adding on specific planning specializations. Others turn to event decorating to become a double threat in their local industry. From there, experienced decorators toy around with the idea of building their own décor inventory. The idea is that planners can earn some extra cash by renting out their supplies.

Purchasing your own décor invites a host of new responsibilities. A decision like this impacts your finances, client satisfaction and your reputation as an event planner! Not sure what to do? Read on to find out the pros and cons of renting or owning your décor.

Renting your décor

Most planners start out by renting décor from other companies. The more you work with your vendors, the better your working relationships will be. Over time, you may be able to score discounts for your clients. Bonus points! You’ll also have more flexibility when you rent décor. You’ll be able to find more creative pieces that owning your own décor may bar you from. You can incorporate your client’s DIY projects, rented décor, and thrifted pieces. Accessing a wide variety of items allows you to be creative during the design process. Every wedding you plan can look completely different from one another. Your portfolio will showcase a variety of unique decor items that truly suit your client’s vision.

While renting provides many benefits, there are some cons. The first would be losing out on a revenue stream. You won’t be making money off an event’s décor.. You need to incorporate rental costs into what you’re charging your client. If you’re doing the actual design and planning, ensure you add a service fee!

Buying your décor

Buying your own décor means you’ll have an extra revenue stream. This is the primary advantage of holding your own inventory. But buying your décor comes with more responsibilities than you may expect. Here are the pros and cons of buying décor for your company!

Pros of Buying

  • Some items are universally found: table runners, cloth napkins, sign holder, etc. You’ll use them again and again, why not just purchase them?
  • You won’t lose revenue to another decorating company—you’ll supply it all!
  • Buying your own décor doesn’t mean you can’t rent anymore! You can always buy what you need and rent “trendy” pieces to complete an event’s look.
  • You could rent out stock to planners, other companies, and couples who plan their own wedding. They may not need your services, but you can still stand to make money off your stock.
  • If something happens to décor you’ve hired, you can supplement the missing items with your own to rescue an event.
  • Knowing what you have in your inventory makes designing the look and feel of the event a breeze.
  • You’ll conduct heaps of research before making your bulk décor purchases, thus ensuring quality materials for your clients.

Cons of Buying

  • You’ll incur high initial costs when you buy everything for the first time.
  • As you gain experience, you’ll learn what patterns and colors are typically requested in décor. If you’re just starting out, you may invest in pieces that won’t be used often.
  • You might be tempted to guide a client’s vision towards a theme your rentals can accommodate, rather than what suits their goals best.
  • You’ll have other indirect costs: washing linens, renting storage units, hiring extra hands to transport the items from storage to the event.
  • You’ll need insurance for your inventory.
  • You’ll have to track, clean, repair, and replace items as necessary.

Insurance options:

If you’ve decided to buy your own stock, your next step is to think about insurance. Insurance talk is never fun. Find out if your existing business insurance will cover this addition. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to look into other options to find the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to talk to your insurance agent. In general, you should consider three types of insurance:

  1. Storage content insurance: To protect your goods from theft or damage when they’re in storage.
  2. Vehicular / transportation insurance: Whether it’s renting a moving vehicle or investing in your own moving van, insurance is a must! If you hire movers, make sure they have liability insurance coverage.
  3. Professional liability insurance: To cover any damage to your items while you’re on the job.

Storing your items:

There’s no denying that your storage options depend on the size of your stock. But don’t forget there are other criteria to consider. You should factor in the security of the property, the climate of the space (cool and dry are best), and the ease of access.

Store your inventory carefully. Pack fragile items in bubble wrap, place linens and fabrics into waterproof bins, and cover your items to avoid dust. If humidity is a problem, it may be worthwhile to purchase vapor barrier plastic. The last thing you want is moisture wreaking havoc on your inventory!

When you’re starting out, you’ll probably store your stock in your basement or garage. As your collection grows, you’ll find you need more space. At this point, decorators usually turn to third-party storage facilities. Renting a storage locker will have additional security, climate regulation, and (likely) content insurance. If you’re buying enough furniture and décor items for more than one event at a time, upgrading to a warehouse is your best bet.

Do you own or rent your décor? Let us know what’s working for you!

With spring coming up, you need to be on your toes when it comes to decorating trends. Check out our post on décor essentials for this upcoming season!

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