We looked at data from all of our clients to see what trends there were among top performing pieces for boutique event rental businesses. When we analyzed items that generated at least $8,000 in profit, we found some trends you’ll want to know.
This data was from August 2021 through July 2022 and is based on self-reported acquisition cost and order records for clients of RW Elephant. Most of these clients run boutique event rental businesses so their product mix includes upholstered lounge furniture, architectural pieces and focal points, high-end dining tables and chairs (i.e. not plastic folding tables and chairs), bars, decor, curated tabletop pieces, and the like.
We grouped items in several broad categories including Architectural (backdrops, walls, hedges, columns, arches, arbors, mandaps, chuppahs, stage surrounds), Bar (bars, bar backs, shelving), Cocktail Table, Dance Floor, Decor (lanterns, vases, mirrors, signs, baskets), Dining Chair, Dining Table, Draping, Furniture (buffets, side tables, coffee tables), Heater, Lighting (pendants, chandeliers), Linen (napkins, tablecloths), Lounge (sofas, settees, chairs (not dining), banquettes, etc.), Rug, Tabletop (plates, chargers, flatware, glassware), and Tent.
Of the items that generated at least $8,000 in profit (some generated more than $50,000), the vast majority (almost 75%) fell in four categories: Lounge Furniture, Dining Chairs, Bars, and Dining Tables. If you take away nothing else from this post, please consider whether or not adding some of these items to your product mix could increase your overall revenue.
Obviously not all Items in these categories will be that lucrative and even the clients who had profitable pieces in these categories had some duds in those categories as well. However, if you don’t know what to add to your collection, these four categories would be a great place to start.
In addition to looking at straight profit, you’ll also want to consider the Dollar Utilization (aka return on investment) for any new pieces you’ll be adding to your collection.
While the highest performers in our list above were Dining Chairs and Lounge furniture, they can actually be a bit of a riskier purchase than some other categories. Because you’ll likely buy more volume and variety in lounge furniture and dining chairs, you won’t be as likely to rent it all out at the same time. Chairs also require a large amount of space for storage and transport.
Bars and Dining Tables are also top performers with lower risk. They both have fairly high Dollar Utilization in general and in our example above. Additionally, they can often be built to collapse which minimizes the footprint they require for storage and transport.
If you already have Lounge Furniture, Dining Chairs, Dining Tables, and Bars in your collection, consider how you can increase the profitability of these categories. Liquidate pieces that aren’t renting. Offer complimentary items to boost rentals of your existing collection.
While we certainly aren’t saying that you can’t have a successful business without these pieces, consider how to make your money work hardest for you. When we look at the data, Bars and Dining Tables win out in the balance of risk and reward.