Trending Content

The name game pays off for T3 Event Rentals

By Brock Huffstutler

September 5, 2023

William and Valerie Flynn, T3 Event Rentals

William and Valerie Flynn, T3 Event Rentals

In the summer of 2023, T3 Event Rentals, Alpharetta, Ga., made Rental Management’s list of event rental Market Movers — a listing of the industry’s fastest-growing independent businesses measured by revenue growth.

In the 2023 listing, T3 Event Rentals reported an eye-popping 225 percent jump in rental revenue between 2020 and 2022. Two factors make this success even more impressive: No. 1, this was the second year in a row the company made the Market Movers list (in the 2022 grouping, T3 Event Rentals was listed with 86 percent revenue growth from 2019 to 2021), and No. 2, much of this growth occurred during the turbulent pandemic scene.

William Flynn and Valerie Flynn, T3 Event Rentals’ owner and office manager, respectively, attribute much of the Atlanta-area company’s success over the past few years to its rebranding in 2021 to a new name that is more reflective of its comprehensive menu of event services.

“The name change from Tents Tents Tents to T3 Event Rentals really affected us positively,” William says. “We kept the same three Ts in the name and from there we just kind of blew up. It has allowed for a new market of clients. And for those who didn’t use us before, it gave them the ability to find us more easily with Google searches.”

Valerie adds that in the wake of COVID, they felt it was important to educate people that the company was about more than just tents. “We can provide the tables, the chairs and everything for an event from the floor to the ceiling,” she says. “It was hard to make the decision to change the name because it had been the same for about 20 years. It was a big step for us, but it has definitely paid off.”

T3 Event Rentals was established — as Tents Tents Tents — in 1994 by Gene Hansard with inventory left over from his daughter’s wedding. Then came major expansion following the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. “Gene really expanded his inventory quantities for the Olympics and then he just grew it,” William says.

William and Valerie came into the picture in early 2010 when William, healing from a back injury and looking for a less physically demanding line of work, was approached by Hansard with an opportunity to purchase Tents Tents Tents.

“It was kind of the right place at the right time,” William says. “We had started looking into potentially buying a venue/bed and breakfast since I had a culinary background, but that fell through. So, I helped my mother with a hot air balloon festival that she had put on for a few years and Gene, who always did our tents, said he was selling his company. We said we might be interested. That was in October 2009, and three months later, in January 2010, we purchased it.”

As implied by the reimagined name, T3 Event Rentals steps far outside the boundaries of merely offering tents.

“When we got started in the business, it was primarily tents, tables and chairs, but over the years we’ve been trying to do more custom items for the people who want something that only they have and nobody else has done before,” Valerie says. “We’ve started offering custom things like a bar that people can change out the panels on to do custom lettering and custom designs. It’s definitely something unique. We just try to give customers different options to not duplicate something that someone has done before.”

In addition to the name change and offering custom design work, the Flynns list a few other factors that have landed them on the Market Movers list twice:

T3 Event Rentals on location for film production

T3 Event Rentals on location for film production

Film production clientele. “Our primary target for customers would be the movie production industry — that’s really big in the Atlanta market,” William says, citing the “True Lies” and “Stranger Things” television series and some of the Marvel films as just a few examples of productions T3 Event Rentals has catered to.

“We have started offering a product that a lot of [film] locations people need to use in their setups. It’s kind of hard to find in the Atlanta area so we built our own. That has gotten our name out there more, and they are trusting us more that we will get the job done for them,” Valerie says.

Click here to watch William and Valerie discuss some additional film production clients and how the current Hollywood strikes have impacted their business.

Investment in a brand-new location. In early 2022, T3 Event Rentals moved into a new facility that took the company from 16,000 sq. ft. of working space to 37,000 sq. ft. with a host of new efficiencies.

“We didn’t have space before to properly dedicate to linen processing or dish cleaning, so with this new space we have added a huge section dedicated just to the tent cleaning, the linens and the dishes,” Valerie says.

T3 Event Rentals' tent cleaning area

T3 Event Rentals’ tent cleaning area

William relishes the advantages offered by the new location’s higher ceiling clearance, explaining how a little means a lot. “The building has 24-ft.-to-26-ft. ceiling clearance that has allowed us to add a tent drying conveyor, which really speeds up the drying process,” he says. “It also allowed for taller storage. We’re getting much more cubic feet for the same square foot price that people are paying for.”

The Flynns also say the new building has enabled them to better manage their in-house equipment repairs with the addition of a dedicated shop area and has provided for a larger returned equipment storage space that prevents a congested and potentially unsafe warehouse environment.

Filling a large power and heating/cooling void. “This year we teamed up with a company so that we can now provide the heating, the cooling and the power for our events,” Valerie says. “And Atlanta lost a big mom-and-pop name when it comes to power and AC, so we are able to fill that need.”

William adds that taking on these services gives T3 Event Rentals a leg up over some of the larger competition. “It helps with the price points. If an event is only a one-day event but you have to get the power and AC in, you may have to go in three or four days prior to the event. Some of the big companies may charge you rent for all of those days. With [heating, cooling and AC] being in-house, we can fluctuate some of that to be able to load in that equipment earlier and not necessarily have to bill the client at the end of the day for it,” he says.

T3 Event RentalsAside from tangible, measurable business strategies, the Flynns reckon that little things — like how they treat and interact with their staff of approximately 30 employees — also factor into their success.

“I think the biggest part is that we treat everyone like family as opposed to seeing them as just another number who works for you,” William says. “It goes a long way to have so much involvement from the owners. Valerie and I are willing to go set up tents or deliver tables and chairs if needed. When our employees see that we are willing to get in the truck and do these tasks that they are doing, they don’t feel like you are better than them. It’s more like everyone is here doing their own job or task to get the big job done.”