Every tent rental and installation company has faced installation jobs that are teeming with obstructions. From vegetation and trees to permanent fencing and asphalt, obstructions can cause problems with not only the installation process, but also the costs involved in completing the project.
When Matt Mutton and his team at Bob Mutton Party & Tent Rentals in Fort Wayne, Ind. recently installed a 25-by-45-meter tent on a large construction site during the middle of winter, they faced a myriad of obstruction challenges that caused delays and added costs to the end project.
“What we anticipated was a two- to three-day install took a solid five days, which added up quickly in terms of costs,” Mutton says. “We also spent three days following the tear down cleaning all of the aluminum, ladders and tools—and just above everything else that was covered with mud. Fortunately we had bid the job with a bit of a cushion, knowing it wasn’t going to be easy.”
While the completed project was still over the company’s projected cost because it had never done this type of install, the Mutton team was comfortable with absorbing a few additional costs for the learning experience it provided the team.
“Bid appropriately,” Mutton says. “If you say you can do it to the client, make sure you are prepared to do anything that needs to be done to make it happen.”
Liz Davis, director of operations at Bethpage, N.Y.-based ptg event services, agrees. When her company prepares for project, the team evaluates the proposed costs and feels that it is advantageous to use products that are “on the shelf.”
“Unexpected expenses in materials and labor are inevitable, and planning [finances accordingly] is necessary when the installation is not standard. In addition to labor implications of dealing with obstructions, customization of rental inventory and use of custom fabricated parts increases material costs,” Davis says. “Overall, we forecast costs during the planning phase and prepare these for the client.”
To help project the increased costs associated with installing tenting around obstructions, Davis recommends that tent companies hire a professional surveyor, if the budget permits, who can obtain very accurate measurements and elevation detail.
To further offset unexpected costs that may arise due to obstructions, Angela Mahaffey Watson, director of event experiences and outside sales manager at Gulf Coast Tent Rentals in New Orleans, says “it’s important to keep the lines of communication open via email and phone with your client, as well as your team, to ensure everyone has clear and measurable expectations of the scope of the job. Know your stuff with regard to size, surfaces, weather patterns per season, and any challenges that may arise.”