Many event rental pros I work with start their rental businesses on a whim. They like to collect things or have a penchant for decorating and people ask them to style their weddings. They get into this business as a side gig, hobby, or even an experiment. And then something happens.
They start to grow.
Clients call, email, and flock to their collection. They’re getting featured right, left, and center. They buy more. They rent more. They work their fingers to the bone. This rental thing is taking off and they sort of feel like they are along for the ride. The rapid growth is validating and exciting. They are creatively energized and can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.
And then they start to get tired. Late night pick ups, meeting brides at 8 pm on Friday nights, doing the bookkeeping until all hours of the night… it starts to add up.
Does this sound familiar?
Whether you’re headed for burn out or are just recognizing you could use a few more hands on deck, the next step in your rental business may be to hire an employee (or more than one). You may actually have a few people working for you already but you’re still wearing most of the hats. It is time to spread some of that responsibility around and get some of your own life back.
But where do you start? Whether you already have some employees or you’re still a one-woman-show, hiring (especially to take some tasks off your own plate) can sometimes be tricky for event rental business owners. You’re used to doing it all yourself. It can be scary to hand over the reins to someone else— even if you’re only handing over a small part.
The first place to start is to write down all of the tasks you’re currently doing. Make a list. Include everything from answering inquiry emails to sweeping the warehouse floor. Put it all down on paper so you’ve got a comprehensive list of what needs to get done in your business.
This list will be long. Really long. The longer the better actually. When you look at that list, doesn’t it make you feel good? Aren’t you proud of all that you do in your business? Well done on creating something from nothing!
Now, it is time to start dividing up that list. Start grouping those tasks by things that relate to one another.
Before you freak out and jump ahead, let me just say that grouping the tasks doesn’t automatically mean you have to hire someone tomorrow. Right now, we’re just grouping the tasks that seem to fit together— you do them in a particular chunk of time or you’re using a particular skill set when you tackle them.
Once you have some groups start to form, you may notice patterns. One group is mostly about relating to customers. One group is about managing the warehouse, trucks, and deliveries. One group contains mostly office/admin work. One group is full of creative tasks like buying, staging, styling, marketing, etc.
When you’ve got a few groups going on, I want you to sit with them for a day or two. Don’t do anything about them. Just let them be.
Then come back and see if you agree with yourself. Rearrange the tasks if you need to. Take one from one group and add it to another. When you feel like you’ve got one group that fits well, you can start thinking about hiring someone to do all or part of that group.
I won’t tell you all the ins and outs of hiring, training, and managing that person today. I just wanted to give you a starting place.
Consider checking out The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and The People Plan from Sage Wedding Pros. Each is a great resource for taking these groups of tasks, turning them into job descriptions, training manuals, and world domination.