InTents August/September 2019 - 43

Sean McCarthy, owner
McCarthy Tents & Events
Rochester and Buffalo, N.Y.
www.mccarthyevents.com
Employs: 25 full-time and
25 to 40 seasonally

S

ean McCarthy, owner of McCarthy
Tents & Events, Rochester, N.Y.,
entered the tent and event rental
industry as many people do-by working
on an installation crew as a summer job.
"I didn't think much about it at the time,
but I fell in love with it," he says. "One
summer became another and another
during college. Post-college I worked for
other tent companies before deciding
that I could own my own company,
make more money and run it better."
In 2008 McCarthy Tents & Events was up
and running. "My irst delivery was 25 black
folding chairs to a Chinese restaurant on
New Year's Eve," McCarthy says. "I delivered
them to the kitchen and vowed that I
would never eat at that restaurant again."
McCarthy Tents & Events now has
two locations and provides tents for
small backyard parties, large structures
for corporate events and festivals, and
pretty much everything in between. In its
irst years, McCarthy grew the company
exponentially. "Our irst goal was to get to
a million dollars, which we did," he says.
"Then we grew to a much higher revenue."
For anyone still in a rapid growth
mode, McCarthy cautions "not to overfocus on growing the revenue number
unless it means something," he says. "You
can go from three million to four million
but at the end of the day, if it doesn't
make the company more money, it's just

feeding the machine-and you have to
ask yourself if that's really worth it."
Now, after about a decade of rapid
growth, McCarthy's goal is more
incremental-he wants to keep the
growth between 5 and 10 percent a
year. "We're happy with where we
are and now are more focused on ine
tuning the way we operate-safety,
ef iciency and keeping the customers
we have are our priorities," he says.
"My big thing is-and I point this out
to my sales staff-now that we're
on top, it's the ight to stay on top."
For McCarthy, part of staying on
top is keeping clients' trust and not
giving them a reason to go elsewhere.
"Customers are inicky-and as a
customer, I'm inicky too," he says.
"If people start to feel like you're
complacent after a while, they'll want to
shop around. You've got to continue to
be as awesome as you were when you
were only doing half a million a year."
Connections with clients are a top
priority for McCarthy, no matter how
busy he is. "I get out on the road, so I
get to know our customers," he says.
"People think I'm crazy, but I'm pretty
much on the road from early May to
October every year. It's a way for me
to stay connected with the regular
customers and get to know new
customers we're trying to impress."

[Q&A]
(Q) What advice would you give
someone new to running a tent
and event rental company?
(A) Don't go the cheap route just
because you don't have much
revenue. You'll end up regretting
it-and those items will end up
being the black sheep of your
inventory. If there's a higher-end
product you want, ind a way to
make it work. You can't be afraid
of risk or debt. If you're going to
be a relevant force, you're going
to have to spend some money.

www.InTentsMag.com

43


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InTents August/September 2019

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