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Making a fast recovery: Rental Management recognizes event rental industry's Market Movers

By Wayne Walley

August 1, 2022

As the calendar moved into 2020, many event rental operators were extremely confident after a very positive 2019. No one expected that practically overnight in March, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic would result in lockdowns and mass event cancelations.

Losing 90 percent of an event rental company’s annual revenue was not that unusual in 2020. Some found business providing tents for restaurants and hospitals. Others discovered different ways to survive leading into 2021, which proved to be a year of recovery for the event segment as weddings and traditional and corporate events came back.

After a horrible 2020, achieving exponential growth in 2021 was commonplace for event rental companies. Many were able to come close to meeting their 2019 numbers. Then there are those who in 2021 exceeded their 2019 numbers by quite a bit.

It is those fastest-growing companies of all sizes who submitted their information that we recognize in this issue as the event rental Rental Management Market Movers. Between 2019 and 2021, a handful of smaller event rental companies with annual revenue of less than $1 million reported rental revenue growth of more than 100 percent. A group of other event rental companies with more
than $1 million in annual rental revenue also reported an increase of more than 80 percent when comparing 2019 performances with 2021.

How did they do it?

Market Movers with more than $1 million in annual revenue. Houston Tents & Events, Houston, is one of those companies that went from hardly any revenue in 2019 — $16,000 as the company was just starting up and didn’t really start doing business until Jan. 1, 2020 — to finishing 2021 with $3.4 million in rental revenue, a 21,150 percent increase.

“The rental industry on the events side was stagnant and I wasn’t seeing much evolution in Houston,” says Darren Randle, CERP, owner.

“I feel the reason for our rapid growth is due to being innovative in the way we operate and exploring new concepts to expand the customer experience. The pandemic made everyone reevaluate how we operate and what’s important — time, volume and quality — and we still are continuing to understand the new event landscape for our industry as people begin to get back to normal in rapid fashion,” Randle says.

“Based on my experience and connections around the country, I think our industry is in the transitional phase of generations and with that, I feel there are going to be a ton of opportunities for growth for all event rental businesses. It’s not going to be the same industry it was the last few decades,” he says.

In Clermont, Fla., near Orlando, iRent Everything grew its business from $1.6 million in 2019 to $9.3 million in 2021, a 481 percent increase. “We have overcome every obstacle and we are continuing to do so on a daily basis,” says Jonathan Proto, sales and marketing manager. “We are not only at $9.3 million for 2021, but from the current bookings we have, we will be over $12 million in 2022. We are going to the moon.”

FTS Group d/b/a Funtime Services, Naperville, Ill., started relatively small in 2019 with $338,669 in revenue, but posted $1.3 million in 2021, a 295 percent increase. “Somehow, in the midst of the pandemic, we managed to grow, pivot and evolve,” says Stacie Chase, corporate officer.

“We started slow and then managed to have a contract with the state of Illinois to provide the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) with COVID tents. From there, we were able to grow our equipment and client base. We have now positioned ourselves with a new showroom — 7,500 sq. ft. — next to David’s Bridal and a coming soon Party City. Do good and be kind has taken us pretty far in the last couple of years,” Chase says.

Classic Tents & Events, Norcross, Ga., has had steady growth over the last decade, and increased its revenue from $8.6 million in 2019 to $21 million in 2021, a 143 percent increase.

“Top-notch customer service helps our business to continue to add great talent, along with a thriving culture,” says Steven Eisenstein, CERP, president, adding that the growth in movie production in his area as well as large events getting even larger has helped increase his company’s rental revenue.

Big AZ Tents & Events, Peoria, Ariz., went from $1.5 million in revenue in 2019 to $3.2 million in 2021, up 122 percent.

“We are a small (Gold Star) family business that has grown from one owner and one employee renting a storage unit to 18 full-time employees and an overflowing 10,000-sq.-ft. office/warehouse,” says Jim Barton, owner.

“Through the recent pandemic we became the exclusive partner of several major Arizona corporations to provide tents and rental goods to keep their businesses running and/or help the greater public stay safe. Despite the growth, we have remained true to our original practices of answering our phones and not letting it go to voicemail, spending time on the phone with our prospective clients to answer their questions and educate them about tents and event equipment they may have not rented before. We respond to our clients, new or existing, as soon as we can,” Barton says.

Eastern Shore Tents & Events, Chestertown, Md., came close to doubling its 2019 revenue of $2.3 million, finishing 2021 with $4.4 million in rental revenue, a 93 percent increase, under the leadership of new owners Adam and Michele Beaudry, who decided to buy the company in January 2020. Adam had been with the company for 8.5 years and his wife was a salesperson for about seven years and convinced the owner to sell the business to them instead of a private equity group.

“We bought the company just before COVID took over. We pushed and received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. The company had been around for 15 years. We kept our people and acquired another smaller tent rental company. We sought out and actively pursued quality employees and we raised our wages significantly. When we got rolling again, we never looked back,” Beaudry says.

Tents for Rent, Lititz, Pa., also nearly doubled its 2019 revenue of $2.9 million, reaching $5.5 million in 2021, up 92 percent. Marlin Sensenig, an owner, says the company owes its success to bringing “dreams to life in the outdoors.”

Ian Goff, CERP, general manager, Goff Tents & Events, Nicholasville, Ky., says his company was able to “pivot and maintain revenue” during the pandemic in 2020 and had revenue grow by 92 percent to $3.2 million in 2021 compared to $1.7 million in 2019, despite severe staffing issues.

T3 Event Rentals, Alpharetta, Ga., also managed to nearly double revenue from $1 million in 2019 to $1.9 million in 2021, an 86 percent increase, without doubling staff.

“We were able to purchase many new items from companies that were going out of business after 2020 as well as acquire an entire company. We also doubled our warehouse space to better accommodate cleaning and production of our products,” says William Flynn, owner.

Ramsey Duqum, CEO, AAble Rents, Cleveland, says his company has been focused on “breaking rental” through efficiency implementation throughout each facet of the business, growing revenue from $3.8 million in 2019 to $5.7 million in 2021, a 49 percent increase.

“We are constantly reimagining not only what can be done, but how it’s done,” Duqum says. “We are making the difficult easier throughout the rental cycle.”