Give me six hours

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Preparation is the key for any event, from a backyard BBQ to massive fundraising event. Ideas need to be transformed in to reality. It can be as simple as picking a theme and sending out an Evite. With our business we can be involved at different stages of the planning process. Depending on the client they may come to us with an idea and ask for help making it happen from start to finish. Often we are a piece of the puzzle and people come to us to rent things they need for the event and then execute it on their own.

I have spoken to a bunch of my friends in the industry and it seems that there is a new trend in town. With the amount of choices available people are waiting until the last minute to make their final decision. I don’t want to be harsh but there has to be a measure of understanding that if you are waiting until the very last second you might not get what you want.

The past couple of weeks have been challenging trying to make these last minute things happen. We don’t like to let our clients down and try to do it all.

The thing with rentals is that there is a finite amount of product and depending on what is popular things may go out week after week. Normally we can turn it around quickly which is why we do our own cleaning so we don’t have to wait on anyone. Where the headaches come from is when things don’t get returned on time or not at all. It’s hard to explain to a bride why we are now short 3 napkins because someone from the weekend before lost over a dozen of them. Often we don’t know until we are packing that we are short and that doesn’t leave us with time to order in replacements (we need 48 hours to get something unless we overnight it).

I offered the client some potential solutions as we were short. It’s not something we like to do but these things happen and are beyond our control. Since none of my suggestions were going to work I had to look at what I had in house. It got to the point that I was pulling apart linens and physically sewing 3 napkins to match the set we were sending out. There is nothing like sitting at a sewing machine while the delivery driver stands behind you waiting on 3 napkins so he can get on his way and get the product to the client.

Maybe it is that people aren’t aware of how many events happen on a weekend. In the Ottawa area there are over 4000 weddings a year, the bulk of those are in the summer season. That number doesn’t include any other type of event such as festivals, showers, birthdays, and on and on.

We get calls all the time about products inquiries. A call to our office on a Wednesday morning around 10:30am asking if we rent table cloths is not out of the ordinary. When the conversation evolves and they ask what else we rent that isn’t that strange either. By the end of the conversation we find out that they are helping out a friend who hasn’t done too much planning for their upcoming wedding so they now need linens, tables, and place settings (all dishware, flatware and glassware) for 70 guests. All of these things are possible, and then they throw in the kicker. They want to pick up on Friday since the wedding is Saturday. YES – this coming Saturday, with a pickup less than 48 hours away. Did you just hear my head thump my desk??

They were trying to help out their overtaxed friend (the bride). So what option do you have but to make it happen? So I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, exhaled and kept moving forward. That nauseous feeling in my stomach will eventually go away right?

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