What Would You Do? Creating A Plan B For Your Rental Business

Have you ever had a nightmare where you have no voice? Something scary is about to happen but you can’t scream. You open your mouth but nothing comes out. I. Hate. That. Dream.

In the event rental world, a lot can go wrong. Clients can miss payments. Crew members can show up late and throw off your whole schedule. A broken truck can be a disaster. As your rental business grows, problems and issues increase in frequency.

Plan B

As an event rental business owner, I never want you to be left in one of those scenarios with no voice. I don’t want that nightmare to become reality with you standing powerless without words. We’ll talk soon about setting client expectations and loss prevention but today I want to address having a “Plan B.”

Every business (and every order for that matter) has the potential for things to go wrong. Sometimes we can catch these issues before they happen. Other times, they are just unavoidable. When the wheels fall off the truck, your most demanding client is calling because the napkins aren’t the “right” color, and your delivery crew calls in sick, it can be difficult to make wise decisions. Unless you’re super human or extremely cucumber-cool under pressure, chances are you’ll be reacting out of panic. Those do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-out-of-the-jam instincts can definitely benefit you and your business but they can also sink you in the long run.

As you begin 2014 with a fresh slate, I’d like to encourage you to come up with some Plan Bs for your event rental business. While just thinking about these nightmare scenarios may make you want to crawl under a rock and hide, I think that’s precisely why you should take a look now.

If you can think through some of these issues before you’re in the thick of them, you’ll be able to come up with solutions that align with your company values, are realistic and achievable, and won’t cause you to go bankrupt. And hopefully, by looking these issues square in the face before they occur will make them seem a little less scary.

What would you do if this happened at your rental business?

  • Your delivery driver breaks his leg and can’t show up for his shift.
  • Thirty minutes before the event start time, your client calls to say they are 11 tablecloths short.
  • While your crew is on a lunch break, your delivery truck gets stolen. With 3 deliveries inside.
  • Your account manager goes to an event site to oversee the set-up, falls off a ladder, and hits her head.
  • A week after an event occurs, you receive notice from your credit card processor that your client has disputed the charge.
  • Your rentals damage the floor at a venue. The manager says it will cost $1500 to repair.
  • One of your rental chairs collapses as a party guest sits down. They go straight to the hospital.
  • You get a negative Yelp review.
  • An upholstered couch comes back from a Friday night event soaking wet from rain. It is supposed to go to another event the very next day.
  • Your nightmare scenario.

I’m not suggesting that you think through every single step for every eventuality — that would drive you crazy! Rather, take some time to think through what you want to do, be like, and achieve in these kinds of situations. Think about what you want your employees to say. Consider how you can communicate this to them and train them to react the way you want them to in crisis.

I don’t bring this up to start your year off on a negative note. Instead, I hope this exercise will empower you to act with confidence when you and your business encounter the unexpected. You won’t be able to avoid or plan for every possibility but you set yourself up for success beforehand.

Having a Plan B gives you power.

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