Ed Knight works his way through the industry and finds tents are his favorite rental.
Over 25 years ago, Ed Knight got his start in the rental business by working his way through college in a tool rental store. “My college assignments, term papers, etc. centered on the rental industry,” Knight says. “Just as I was about to finish college, [the tool rental store] began renting tables and small tents. I really had no interest whatsoever in that side of the business.”
Knight left college and got a job outside of rental, but came back and spent 10 years in video rental. (“Renting video cassettes is still rental, right?” he says.) Before getting back into general rental, Knight attended an industry trade show. It was then that Knight changed his mind about tents and party rental. “I saw the greatest growth potential in the party side of the business, and started testing the waters.”
Knight has stuck with some core employees over the years while managing both tent rental and party rental. “As time went on, we discovered our passion for the tenting aspect of the event industry,” he says. In 2007, Knight and his team sold off the table, chair and china side of the business to concentrate on tents.
There are some frustrations with the industry, Knight says, including how different companies approach the market’s potential. “Some use a lower price strategy and cut corners to generate business—sometimes at the expense of maintaining industry standards and safety,” he says. “If they want to put up a tent that leaks, doesn’t have gutters, is dirty or just looks bad, their clients might get wet or be otherwise upset with them. But if their tent blows down and hurts someone, we all suffer.”
Knight says EventQuip has built a reputation on doing the job right—a gratifying approach. “I get a huge amount of personal satisfaction from this business,” he says. “Many projects we work on draw from a variety of skills: salesmanship, surveying, logistics, diplomacy, product knowledge. Tenting for events is challenging on all these levels, and each event is a genuine source of pride.”