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Facing the challenges of the up-sell

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One of the many challenges of a depressed economy for tent rental professionals is the belief that extravagance has become inappropriate.

“People don’t want to flaunt what they have because there are too many others in need. Plus if you have it this month, you may not next month,” says Ria Bruns of Classic Tents & Events.

When upgrades are too costly or are deemed “politically incorrect” for your customers, consider riding out the recession by reducing the company’s short- and long-term operating costs. Shari Graye, owner of Great American Tent, Gardendale, Ala., shares her ideas on how to stay afloat when it feels like the helium has been let out of your business bubble.

1. Discourage credit payments. Credit card companies collect a fee on each transaction. Avoid costly credit fees by requesting or requiring cash or check payments.

2. Buy the best. Rental equipment takes a beating. Lower your replacement costs by purchasing quality products.

3. Know the discount threshold. When purchasing items in bulk, such as balloons or tablecloths, ask what the cost-per-piece is based on various amounts, such as 100, 250 or 500 pieces.

4. Treat your competitors as customers. Subcontracting can lead to more business, but not if you trash-talk the competition.

5. Develop an incentive program to curb workers’ comp claims. Workplace accidents and injuries can be costly for employers.

Susan Hegarty is a freelance writer and editor based in Apple Valley, Minn., and owner of Pencil Thin Communications Inc.

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