Prom 101 – Understanding Rental Contracts

Posted on Posted in Prom

There is a lot to learn when you first start to plan a prom, and it’s not the kind of stuff you want to learn by trial and error. While a typical student might get to attend two proms, or maybe three, for many it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whether you’re a teen on a prom committee or a faculty advisor, parent volunteer or administrator, the responsibility for planning the perfect prom goes way beyond finding a great prom dress!

One important aspect of planning big events is contracting for rentals you might need. While many schools own basic audio equipment, foldable chairs and tables, portable dais or platforms to use as a stage, fewer stock linen tablecloths, real plates and silverware that might be needed for a catered-style meal, or a tent that might house special festivities.

When your needs go beyond your in-house equipment, or you’re just looking for something a little different to upgrade the evening, an event rental or party rental company can be a great resource.

Compare Quotes

Non-profit agencies, like most schools, usually require that you obtain and compare quotes if you’re going to spend a lot of the organization’s money, so hop online and find out which rental companies are available in your area (unless your district provides you a list of “approved” vendors, which can be helpful).

Be Prepared

When you approach the rental companies for a quotes, have all of your basic info ready – the date and time of the event, the address where it will happen, a billing contact including his or her address, phone number, fax, name and title, and the exact description as well as anticipated quantity of the items you want quoted.

Be sure you are comparing apples to apples. One quote might include delivery fees within the cost of each item, while another might itemize their invoice differently. Read the contracts carefully looking for any hidden fees.

Confirm Setup and Strike Arrangements

Do you have the crew to set up and strike all of your tables, linens and chairs before and after the event? Do you need the rental company to assist with any of it? Setup and strike usually requires a separate user fee, so be absolutely certain that it is or is not included in your contract as you prefer.

Additionally, most companies plan to deliver equipment 2-3 days before an event, and can’t or won’t pick up their equipment until the Monday following a weekend celebration. Saturday p.m. or Sunday pick up tends to be extra. Make sure you are able to store rented equipment safely until they can return.

Read the Contract

Read the contract carefully or ask for guidance about the condition of rentals upon return, too. Glasses may need to be rinsed out, chairs folded and stacked in specific numbers on wheeled carts. Sometimes not following these directions can mean accruing additional fees, so pay attention and make sure your closing crew understands expectations.

Working with a rental company can be a little bit confusing, but rental pros are some of the most knowledgeable event planners around. Find a good match, pay attention to your contract and keep everyone on the same page and your prom should be a great event!

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