InTents April/May 2021 - 17

SOLUTIONS
AS CHOICES GROW AND FEATURES MULTIPLY,
TENT COMPANIES HAVE MORE SOFTWARE
OPTIONS THAN EVER.
by Jeff Moravec

Radio frequency ID systems, like this one from
Easy RFID Pro, Poughquag,
N.Y., use scanners to keep
track of inventory. Photo
courtesy of Easy RFID Pro.

nformation is power " when it
comes to running the daily
operations of an event rentals
business, says Jennifer Rodriguez,
general manager of Marianne's
Rentals in Oklahoma City, Okla.
However, as Rodriguez clariϐies, that's
only true if a company can effectively
organize that information.
Some companies are still comfortable
handling tasks like tracking inventory
and recording invoices the old-fashioned
way, with paper ledgers or with computer
applications not necessarily meant for
those speciϐic tasks. But more and more
these days, even small companies are
relying on software systems-both cloudand computer-based-that handle jobs
from inventory management to billing and
everything in between.
Why now? Efϐiciency increases
competitiveness, and cost of entry
into software systems has become
more affordable.
Price is still highly variable. Different
rental companies use rental software
for different reasons, so it can cost
from a few dollars a month for a
subscription model to well into six
ϐigures for the most sophisticated
systems available for purchase.

Rodriguez is no stranger to rental
software. She says Marianne's has used
software for about 30 years from Alert
Rental, founded in 1976 in Colorado
Springs, Colo. " It has changed a little bit
since then, " she laughs. " At that time it was
DOS-based and we used carbon paper. "

BASIC NEEDS
What Rodriguez values about a software
system is basic. " It's very important I
keep all my customer data in one place, "
she says. " A few years ago we bought
a company that had scanned copies of
their contracts and saved them in an
online ϐile system. I could never ϐind a
contract. It was a needle in a haystack. "
" With our system, if I know the name
on the account, I can see their history,
see what they rented-all the CRM
[customer relationship management]
stuff you would want to know, " she says.
" One of the ϐirst things we hear from
most prospective customers is 'I've
had it,' " explains Kara Longmire, Alert
Rental's co-president and CEO. " 'I don't
know where any of my stuff is, please
help me.' We're able to show them, and it
makes a lot of heart rates go down. "
It all comes at a cost, of course. Kim
Rixon, owner of Muskoka Party Rentals in

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InTents April/May 2021

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InTents April/May 2021 - 1
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