InTents December 2021/January 2022 - 29

WITH LABOR IN SHORT SUPPLY, TENT AND EVENT
RENTAL COMPANIES ARE EXPLORING NEW STRATEGIES
TO FIND AND RETAIN WORKERS.
by Pamela Mills-Senn
I
n 2020, the challenge was fi guring out how to keep business doors
open when the pandemic was forcing global-wide shutdowns.
But now that life-and the tent and event rental industry-is
approaching a semblance of normalcy, there's a somewhat
unanticipated problem fl ummoxing businesses: the workforce.
" Finding new, capable employees is like
inding a unicorn in today's job market, "
says Tim Boyle, executive vice president
of U.S. Tent Rental Inc. " We've found it
extremely dificult to ind and hire new
employees. The day Biden announced
the ive years to $15 an hour, every single
employee making less only heard $15 an
hour is now the new minimum wage. "
Boyle says his company tried
implementing the new wage law as it was
written without success. In order to attract
new hires, U.S. Tent Rental had to go all the
way to $15 per hour, which meant giving
signiicant raises to the existing employees
to keep them on the job.
Headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., U.S.
Tent Rental provides event and party
rental equipment throughout Florida,
although the company does travel all over
the Southeast for larger-scale projects
and disaster work. Before the pandemic,
the company had between 85 and 110
employees, including seasonal workers.
Currently it's down to 50.
Historically, inding new hires for
the peak-demand months was a bit of a
struggle, but manageable. And thanks
to full beneits for full-time workers,
a 401(k) plan, HSA accounts (the
company pays $1,000 annually into the
accounts), quarterly bonuses for many
lead positions, overtime hours for those
wanting them and other opportunities,
retention was never a problem,
says Boyle. Even during the slower
summer months, the company would
try to retain around 80 percent of the
workforce, sometimes by limiting hours
to 30 a week if possible. Employee loans
were also available if needed.
But now retention has become a
" major issue, " says Boyle. Existing
employees are being poached by other
tent and event rental companies across
the country. Even businesses in different
industries are going after his staff,
offering them " ridiculous " amounts of
money, sometimes at rates 50 percent
higher. Although the work is often
project-based and of limited duration,
employees are biting.
" The employees only hear the money
per hour and now all of a sudden they
won't work anywhere for less, " he says.
" It's the craziest, most dificult hiring
market most of us entrepreneurs have
ever experienced. "
L & A Tent & Event Rentals
relies on equipment, such as
this Tent OX™, to help avoid
worker fatigue and burnout.
Photographer: Envious Media
Group; photo courtesy of L &
A Tent & Event Rentals.
www.InTentsMag.com 29
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InTents December 2021/January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents December 2021/January 2022

InTents December 2021/January 2022 - Cover1
InTents December 2021/January 2022 - Cover2
InTents December 2021/January 2022 - 1
InTents December 2021/January 2022 - 2
InTents December 2021/January 2022 - 3
InTents December 2021/January 2022 - 4
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