You like the idea of putting your own spin on a rental hall business and have the cash to pursue your vision, so only the logistics separate you and your ambition. Take care of essentials first: write a business plan and choose between buying and refurbishing a hall or building a facility from scratch. Whichever route you choose, draw up ironclad contracts with contractors you use to get the party started.
Obtain the requisite building permits and licenses required to refurbish an older building or build a new one. File a petition with your zoning board for property variances if the land isn’t zoned for commercial use. Apportion a segment of the rental hall property for parking. Hire a landscape architect to design the hall’s exterior environment. Affiliate with more than one rental company specializing in large quantities of linens, chairs, tables and other event essentials.
Explore the theme you’ve chosen for your rental hall by collaborating with a decorator or undertaking the interior design yourself. Choose contemporary, coordinating paint colors, wallpaper and carpets. Add to existing kitchen equipment or install new stoves, refrigerators, counters and cabinets. Install dramatic lighting fixtures in public areas. Upgrade, revamp or completely furnish bathrooms. Purchase multi-line insurance to protect your rental hall from losses should a natural disaster or liability issues arise.
Survey your competitors to make certain your fees are competitive. Develop a rental contract for use by consumers and corporations (with the help of an attorney) so nothing falls through the cracks when future reservations are made to rent your hall. Build in a non-refundable deposit as a business practice. Install a security system commensurate with the neighborhood’s crime rate.
Conceive aggressive marketing strategies for attracting party, wedding, dance, banquet and other event bookings. Implement a public relations campaign so your community becomes acquainted with your rental hall’s features, benefits and services. Launch a website that showcases your facility and encourages online bookings. Donate the use of your hall to a worthy cause to reap the publicity.
Write and design a signature selection of promotional material that repeats the theme of your rental hall and extols the virtues of booking events with you. Include a brochure, promotional flier, menu selection sheet, business cards, wedding booking kit and press releases in the mix. Produce a seasonal cable TV spot to attract bookings. Exhibit at bridal shows.
Establish community ties with formal-wear shops, caterers, florists, jewelers, party stores, wedding planners, churches, bakeries and other businesses in a position to exchange business referrals. Get into co-op advertising deals so you can advertise with fellow merchants and save money. Join the Chamber of Commerce. Maintain a high profile within your community so folks think of you first when they need a large place to hold their special events.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.