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U.S. Southwest tent rental companies meet terrain and weather challenges

Project Briefs | October 1, 2009 | By:

Tent rental companies in the southwestern United States install tents in a diverse range of environments, including sandy soil, rocky terrain, high winds and snow.

But Bob Binns of A Rental Connection of Canoga Park, Calif., says one of the biggest installation challenges his company faces is entirely man-made.

“I think the largest factor affecting business in Los Angeles is traffic,” he says. “The time it takes to get from A to B can vary as much as one hour for local deliveries. This can be the difference between make money and losing money on a small order.”

And as for those more natural installation challenges, rental companies have strategies to combat everything from high elevation snow to monsoon summers, according to Molly Miller, southwest sales manager for Torrance, Calif.-based tent manufacturer Aztec Tents.

“Some different ways companies overcome [the natural installation challenges] are with extra reinforcement from auger anchors, snow loaded structures, additional tie downs and engineered tents that can withstand these weather elements and difficult soil conditions,” she says.

Given the current economic conditions, finding labor in southern California isn’t a problem, Binns says.

“With the unemployment rate close to 10 percent it is not hard to find people available to work,” he says. “I have even had a large number of experienced installers also asking for work. A Rental Connection has always had a very low turnover rate. We offer competitive wages, medical insurance, paid vacation time, paid holidays, 401K and bonuses.”

Miller says that sales are definitely down in the corporate events sector, but companies with a diversified approach are saying positive, not changing their business plan and providing strong customer service.

“They are reminding customers they are there and will work with them to make their events happen,” she says. “While these companies are working twice as hard to keep their customers, they are also forced to reduce labor, cut spending on new inventory and adjust their rental rates to remain competitive.”

As companies look to return stability to their business, they are planning for the future and buying products that will separate them from their competition, Miller says.

“Frames are still king in the southwest, split between clearspans and various other styles of traditional frames and hybrid frame systems,” she says. “Southwestern rental operators seldom use pole supported tents in sizes under 60-feet wide. I’m seeing more of a push for clearspan structures and other engineered tent systems as city building departments become more strict with issuance of permits. Several cities in the southwest make it nearly impossible to install traditional ‘un-engineered’ systems.”

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