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What to ask before purchasing new equipment

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What should a tent rental company owner or manager ask before purchasing new equipment?

“Do you really need it? Do you have a multiple-year contract? We try to stick to a three-rental rule,” says Kurt Goeman of JK Rentals Inc. “If we have a rental for a piece of equipment three times through our season, then we need to purchase it. There’s definitely a difference between your wish list and your need list.”

“Are you going to use this a lot or are you just trying to fill a temporary need? Because the mechanical rental business is really up to date. There’s not much you can’t rent,” says Kathy Schaefer of Glawe Awnings and Tents.

Mike Holland of Chattanooga Tent Co. suggests giving the “shiny factor” a hard assessment: “Do I really need this and is it going to pay off? I can see buying a piece of equipment because it sounds good, it’s shiny, it looks good and everybody has one. But do I really need it? In the end, is it going to save me money?”

“What are you benefiting or accomplishing by getting that piece of equipment?” asks Scott Woodruff of Event Central Rental & Sales. Additionally, he notes that you not only need to look at your overall budget and ensure you have the cash flow to make a purchase, but also need to look for equipment that is safe to operate. “You have to buy something that’s within the skills of the type of people we hire in our industry.” And with equipment such as loaders, steer skids and forklifts, there’s the transportation element that you have to add into the cost.

“The biggest question is, ‘How does this allow me to do my job better and how will it allow me to meet my customers’ needs?’” says Sam Wodetzki of Tents Unlimited.

Sergio Guevara, warehouse operation manager for Made in the Shade, suggests companies ask themselves these key questions: “How often will you be using it? Is it going to save you money in the long run or will it sit in the warehouse?”

Janice Kleinschmidt is a freelance writer based in Palm Springs, Calif.

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