If working with gorgeous organza fabrics and table runners is your dream job, a linen rental business may be perfect. This business enables you to work with designers to ensure an event is visually stunning. The ability to work with a variety of clients is imperative, as each may desire a different look and feel for a big event. In addition to a keen eye for fabric and a willingness to work with others, a few other considerations are necessary.
Assess startup costs. Will you have a warehouse of fabrics, or will you purchase and dye the fabric on a case-by-case basis? Perhaps you will sew your own chair covers. Each route requires different financing and equipment.
Entrepeneur.com estimates the startup costs of a linen rental business are $2,000 to $10,000, with the possibility to work from home. The cost will vary depending on the type of fabric purchased.
Make a strong website using images of your linens. Potential clients often wish to see how your linens can transform an event. The images on your site should be with beautiful centerpieces and backgrounds that display your linens as both high end and versatile. Wildflowerlinens.com, for example, has a chic website displaying their linens in a variety of settings complemented by ornate flower arrangements and centerpieces.
Be transparent about the cost of renting your linens. Clients appreciate this knowledge when creating a budget for an event.
Contact all wedding planners in your area. Weddings will likely be the bread and butter of your service. Try to get on their preferred vendor list by sending brochures of your products and services, as well as offering them discounts. Make the wedding planner’s job easier by outlining which colors and flowers work with your linens, especially if you are pushing your more expensive items like patterned table runners and table cloths.
Contact corporate event planners. Like weddings, corporate event planners can make or break your business. Identify the large companies in your area, and ask to speak with the event planners. Arrange a luncheon, and pitch your services to them.
Many corporate event planners generally stick with basic, less-expensive colors, but given the number of events and meetings held throughout the year, their service requests can add up.
Be very mindful of your reputation. Competition is likely between your company and one or two others. Therefore, your business will be magnified given the small industry. With the proliferation of review websites like yelp.com, if you are late or deliver stained linens, you will likely hear from a disgruntled customer in the form of an angry post. Be friendly, cooperative, and as amenable as possible to a customer’s request. Respond to any online criticism in an honest, polite manner.
Since 2008 Catherine Capozzi has been writing business, finance and economics-related articles from her home in the sunny state of Arizona. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in economics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which has given her a love of spreadsheets and corporate life.