How To Choose A Tent Vendor


When looking for a tent rental vendor here are some things you should consider:

Clean and Well-Maintained Tents – What is the one thing that ALL customers want from their tent vendor? A CLEAN tent and CLEAN equipment. In Michigan rental companies are in a constant battle with Mother Nature. From wind to rain, tents and party rental equipment have a multitude of ways to get dirty. Wet or damp tents can mildew and start to smell. Wet ground can cause grass and dirt to “stick” to the underside of tents. A good party rental company has a dedicated space inside their warehouse to take care of whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Space and staff to open, clean, dry tents, and clean other equipment is a must. This space allows them to do any necessary work/maintenance on their equipment to prepare it for the next event.

Pricing – Pricing is the easiest way to compare one rental company with another, but there are many problems with using this as your sole basis for choosing one company over another. Are you comparing the same items or are you comparing apples to oranges? When getting pricing ask what other charges they have; such as a damage waiver, delivery fee, or sales tax. You can’t just look at pricing you need to look at how knowledgeable they are, how they return phone calls, emails, do they deliver on time, are the tents properly installed.

Damage Waiver – A damage waiver is a non-refundable charge that is supposed to cover the cost of equipment that may or may not be damaged or missing. The fee for the damage waiver is usually 5 to 10 percent of your order. Many companies still charge you if you break or do not return an item. You need to ask up front if they have a damage waiver; some companies do not mention the damage waiver and you won’t find out until it is too late. Always ask for a clarification of what the damage waiver covers and what it does not cover.

Customer Service – You want a company that provides a high level of customer service which is critical to ensuring your event is a success. Good customer service includes a company being helpful, being patient, attentive, having knowledge of the products you want, and thanking you. Communication is also important when you have a question about your event or delivery; phone calls and emails should be returned quickly (if placed during normal business hours). A rental companies ability to stay flexible when solving a customer’s problem (truly an advantage for a larger rental company) means they have utilized their many years of experience to help the customer get the desired outcome they want. The rental company should tell you when your delivery will be and show up when they are supposed to. They are upfront about all charges.

Miss Dig – Did you know, if you break ground you are required by law to contact Miss Dig?
Miss Dig is an organization made up of the local utilities (gas, water, electricity, cable, phone, etc.). When the utility companies are contacted about future digging the utility companies will send out a representative of their locating company to mark your underground utilities. They require a 72 hour working day notice any time an entity breaks the surface of the ground. They will mark the utilities with flags or paint. This is important to tent vendors because most tents are installed with stakes. Stakes that could go as deep as 42 inches and can come into contact with underground utilities. If we were to hit an underground utility a couple of things could happen, you could lose service of a particular utility or the installer may get hurt. It is the contractors job to contact Miss Dig. The locating companies do not mark underground sprinkler systems or any lines that a homeowner may have put in. A good tent vendor takes on the responsibility of contacting Miss Dig and insures that the site has been marked if needed and does not pass this responsibility on to the customer.

Insurance – Why do you want to do business with an insured company?  A tent rental company should have at least 3 different types of insurance.

1. General Liability Insurance
2. Workers Compensation Insurance
3. Commercial Vehicle Insurance
General Liability Insurance covers the rental company in case something goes wrong. General liability insurance means that if you have to go back to the company because they did something wrong (tent fell down, failed to make deliver) you have someone to get compensated from.
Workers Compensation Insurance is MANDATORY in the state of Michigan. If someone is
putting up your tent and if they are not covered by Workers Compensation insurance then YOU may be responsible for them if they get hurt on the job.
If you equipment is being delivered then that vehicle MUST be covered by Commercial Vehicle Insurance. If that driver hits your fence or anything else and all they have is residential vehicle insurance then their insurance policy will probably not cover their accident and you probably will not be compensated for the damage they did to your property with their vehicle.

Free Standing Tents – There is no such thing as a free standing tent. When companies refer to a free standing they are usually referring to frame tents. There are two types of frame tents the high peaked cross cabled frame tents (the newer style of the 2) and the 2 inch western style frame tents. The 2 inch western style frame tent is made a number of poles that connect to the crown in the center of the tent (which you can see). High peaked frame tents are becoming more popular because of their look. ALL tents need to be properly anchored whether it is with staking in the ground or with concrete ballasts. Manufacturers do not recommend anchoring a tent with water barrels. One of the best ways to determine whether you are working with an experienced tent vendor is how they anchor their frame tents.

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