The Kingpin can hem and haw all day long about great party tents to buy online but how about all you canopy lovers out there with better things to spend your hard-earned moolah on? Maybe you just don't have the space to store your own party tent or don't want to deal with tent maintenance. Perhaps you'll only celebrate junior's birthday ONCE. Literally, one single time and you'll never do it again. Who needs to buy one, right?
Whatever the case may be, tents for rent (sounds like a name of a revival group doesn’t it?) are available for those of you that may not exactly be planning on purchasing your very own wedding tent for events.
NOTE FROM THE KINGPIN: It must be said though that some cheap outdoor tents for rent will cost just as much as buying one for yourself... but that's neither here nor there for this post!
The commitment of owning your own tent maybe a bit too much for some of you out there. If this is the case, renting a tent can make things work for that single event you're planning and unless you have several events lined up, it may actually be more practical to consider renting or leasing a tent instead of buying one outright.
So, yes... the Kingpin never thought he'd say so, but for some situations... SOME situations... it may be better to rent a tent instead of buying one. And if any of this is resonating with your inner party tent host, then look no further because that's what this ultimate post is all about:
Ultimate Guide to Party Tent Rentals: Everything You Need To Know About Renting Event Tents
Think of it as your definitive canopy tent for rent guide! So, sit back and put your best canopy reading glasses on and get ready to learn about the art of renting a party tent for your next event!
Party Tent Rentals Are Actually Pretty Awesome
A tent for rent really ain't so bad if you think about it. The entire rental situation eliminates many of the usual problems associated with setting up an outdoor event. Event tent rental companies will deliver, set up your tent (or tents) and take it down for you as well (usually for a separate fee or incorporated into the rental fee).
You can also choose exactly what you want from a wide selection of event tents for rent. An outdoor tent rental company will have all sizes, types, designs, and shapes,so you can rent canopy tent models appropriate for your party and venue.
But that's not all:
Tents for rental make your tent parties... dynamic!
It won't matter what kind of event your hosting or how many guests you're having; a professional tent supplier will have plenty of options available for any situation and you won't even have to break a sweat setting them up!
Well, you may have to break the bank a bit, but HATAZ GONNA HATE! As long as you're willing to pay for it, your canopy tent rental party has no limits.
Another plus is that a tent rental company will typically have everything that you need for your event. This includes tables, chairs, and linens, so you can get everything from one place and maybe even haggle a good deal out of them.
15 Things to Consider Before Renting a Tent For Your Event
OK renting a tent may seem like a great idea by now but before you plunge headfirst into renting your tent and sundries, listen up:
Tent rental companies deal with regular party hosts all the time. The Kingpin may have been burnt bad before by a few exploitative party rental pros (none of which will be mentioned here due to the Kingpin's classiness, mind you) but you won't have to fall prey to the same fate.
In most cases, if you can confidently explain exactly what you need and seem knowledgeable enough about the topic, you are likely to get a better deal. Here are 15 ducks you need in a row before contacting party rental providers:
CHECK OUT THE LOCATION
The type of tent you get will depend on where you are planning to set it up. If it is a completely flat, wide non-concrete area with no obstacles and sheltered from strong winds, you can get a pole tent. This is usually cheaper than but not as stable as the stand-along frame tent. You also have to have at least a 5-foot clearance all around for the lanyards and stakes required for pole tents. If the ground is rocky, steep, or undulating, you will probably need a platform or flooring, which can be expensive. On the other hand, if your location is in concrete, you can still opt for a pole-tent but you will need concrete blocks or sandbags to tether the tent.
CHECK THE WEATHER
If you anticipate rain, you will need a steep-roofed tent that won’t allow water to pool, and side walls. You should also arrange for the rental company to set it up at least two days before the event to keep the event floor as dry as possible. Find out how strong the winds are apt to be and make sure you get a tent guaranteed by the company to withstand it.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
If you are worried about the weather, it would be advisable to have a contingency plan. If your budget allows it, arrange for a stand-by location (preferably indoors) in another area. Ask your supplier about their cancellation policies. Most will allow you to change locations or cancel altogether a couple of days before the event, although you won’t usually get back a portion of your payment if you cancel.
SET UP THE TENT BY YOURSELF
You can save a bundle if you set up the tent yourself. However, you need to have someone (ideally a few someones) to help you for anything larger than a 10’ by 10’ tent. If you want the rental company to do it for you, specify that you want the staff to stick around until after you have inspected the tent. That way, you can have any changes or adjustments done on the spot.
DECIDE ON A THEME
There are basic things you can set up even without a theme, but a theme does affect the overall look of your set up. A formal wedding, for example, would require crisp linens while a barn dance would require homier accouterments.
MAKE A CHECKLIST
You need to finalize the list of things you need to rent and include when requesting a quote. This will be the basis of your budget. Before finalizing your arrangements, check the quote against your checklist to make sure you did not forget anything. If there is something you don’t understand, ask!
If you know someone who has already held a tented event, give them the third degree and find out everything you can about the problems and pitfalls you are likely to encounter. You can also ask them for recommendations on suppliers not only for catering and tent rental but also invitations, giveaways, photo-video coverage, etc.
CHECK OUT REVIEWS
Check out what people are saying about the suppliers you are considering. There are sure to be conflicting testimonies, but stick to the overall rating. If you have a company that gets a generally favorable review, put it on your list as a possible. In general, large companies that have been in the business for several years are good candidates, although smaller and newer ones may offer better deals and customer service.
CANVASS RENTAL OPTIONS IN YOUR AREA
You want to get a feel of the type of service they will give you, and the initial contact is usually enough to make a decision about what companies you can work with. Narrow your choices between two or three suppliers before asking for quotes. If they are slow to respond, don’t waste your time in following up. Stick to the companies that respond promptly and provide the information you need.
CHECK OUT CATERERS
Unless you plan to do all the cooking yourself, you will need a caterer. Many tent rental companies have their pet caterers, but you should not be obliged to get them. If your caterer will only work with a specific tent rental company or vice versa, look for other suppliers. The Kingpin points out that you are the client; you should have absolute freedom about choosing your suppliers! That being said, the caterer has to coordinate closely with the tent rental company, so it is easier to work with suppliers that already have a working relationship with each other. The point is, don’t be pressured into anything.
ARRANGE FOR OTHER SUPPLIERS
Once you have decided on your major suppliers (tent and food), start lining up suppliers for your other needs. This includes decorations, flowers, lighting, and music.
GIVE YOUR EVENT COORDINATOR THE CENTRAL ROLE
If you are doing your own event planning, then you will serve as the point person. However, if you have an event coordinator, make sure that he or she is doing just that: coordinating! Ask for daily status reports from your coordinator so you know where you are at, and make sure your suppliers know who your point person is and how to get in touch.
FINALIZE YOUR CONTRACTS
The day isn’t over until you have signed the service contract and made a down payment. And until you do that, you have no assurance that what you have agreed upon will go into effect.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR CONTRACTS
OK this one is just to be sure you get the idea... the Kingpin wants to hammer it into your skull! Make sure that you know everything that is included in your paperwork, including the fine print. You will avoid paying for additional and penalty charges if you know the terms of your agreement.
DO NOT PAY FOR EVERYTHING IN FULL
If your supplier fails to fulfill their contract in anyway, you have the advantage. If they cancel, you may wait for months before you get a refund. In the meantime, you will have to pay someone else to do the deed.
Getting Down to Business
Having said all that, the Kingpin would like to walk you through what you will need to do to hold an actual tented event. Are you ready? Read on!
Choosing the Tent
There is actually an easy way to find out how big a tent you need for yea many guests. If you want round tables, you need 100 square feet per 8 guests; rectangular tables need 80 square feet for 8 guests. If you have 150 guests with round tables, it is 150 divided by 8 x 100 sq feet. That’s 1,900 square feet.
However, you may still have to factor other things like buffet tables, a dance floor (if you have dancing), a stage, and the bridal party table (if it is a wedding). An easy way to figure it out is to add 100 square feet for each buffet table, 400 square feet each for a small dance floor and a stage, and 100 square feet for every 4 people in a bridal party. Don’t be lazy. Do the math.
Say you come up with a final square footage of 3,200. You may want to get a 60’ x 60’ tent, which is perfect because in most cases you want to go as square as possible. The Kingpin is sure you can think of something to do with the extra 400 square feet of space. A square tent has a more cohesive feel than a long tent and it is usually easier to keep cool. However, if your space is narrow, a 40’ x 80’ tent might be a better fit.
You can check out this article the Kingpin put together some time ago if you want more info on how to know what size tent you should choose for your party.
Setting it Up
Typically, your tent company will set up your tent and your catering company will set up the table and chairs. However, if you choose to DIY it, then you need to plot how you are going to place the tables, chairs, and what not. Here is a sample:
It would be easier to do this by using graph paper because it is easier to scale it. Each square in the graph paper represents one square foot, and you can even get one of those neat rulers with the different shapes to draws your tables, chairs, etc. Note that a pole tent has center poles, so that should also go in there. A frame tent has no center poles so you have the whole space inside free.
Generally, you can easily DIY the tables and chairs with a little help from your friends, but for large tents you should shell out the money for installation because it is not easy to do it if you have never done it before. It typically takes an experienced crew four hours to set up a 40’ x 80’ tent; imagine how long it will take you and your posse! You really don’t need the stress, and you will not want to worry about the tent collapsing on your guests.
Just a heads-up from the Kingpin: if you want colored tents, you should be prepared to pay a premium. In most cases, tents are white. If you want a bit of drama, you can check out clear-top tents, which are pretty popular now so you should not have to pay more. A clear-top would look great for a night party; not so much when it is high noon in summer.
Party Rental Add-ons
If you have been checking out the party ideas in this blog, then you have probably oohed and aahed over them. They don’t happen by accident, though. Many of these tents include add-ons that are not included in the basic tent package.
Yep, the tent quotes you will get will probably not include walls, which is fine if you want to take advantage of a beautiful spring day or balmy night. However, if it looks like rain, or it is so hot you want to air condition the place, then you should ask for side walls (Note: air conditioning will cost you thousands, so think carefully if you really need it). Expect to pay between $1 and $3 per linear foot for side walls. A 40’ x 80’ has 240 linear feet, so expect to add between $240 and 720 for sidewalls. You can choose from clear, solid, or cathedral walls.
Frame tent ceilings look very industrial, which is why many people choose pole tents. However, if you don’t have the necessary clearance for a pole tent, or you don’t like to deal with center poles, you may want to rent tent liners to mask the crisscrossing tent poles of a frame tent. They will make your tent look really pretty, but they are also pretty expensive. Even a basic liner can cost as much as the tent itself.
If your venue is on grass, you could put down flooring to save your guests’ shoes and hems from stains. It is not always necessary, especially if the ground is hard packed and it has been mostly dry weather. Flooring can cost you about $2 per square foot, you see, so if your grassy knoll will sink high-heel shoes, it may be cheaper to find an asphalted venue than to pay thousands of dollars on something your guest will probably not even notice or appreciate. It would be nice to set up a snazzy dance floor, however, and since this is typically only about 256 square feet, it will probably not break your budget.
You can really go crazy with lighting when you have an outdoor tent party. You can buy them cheaply enough, but if you don’t want to have to deal with rolls upon rolls of fairy lights or LED ropes after the event, it would be better to rent. Most tent companies have a wide variety of styles and colors, and they can lay it on as thick as you want. Renting the lights from them means they will put them up and more importantly, take them down. Sweet!
There you have it, a nicely laid out action plan for you and your tented party. Party tent rentals make it easy and mostly affordable to hold your event outdoors. If you know what you are doing, or are at least willing to learn, then you should have little to no problems. Mind the Kingpin and you will get along swimmingly.
By the way, if you want more great ideas for lighting up your next outdoor tent party, check out this post right here.
Party Tent Rental Big Dogs: Market Leaders
When you search for the best place to rent a tent for party guests, you'll most likely end up with these well-known big wigs right off the bat. The top companies for party tents for rent are some of the larger ones with multiple locations under their belt. These party rental giants have developed their businesses across several cities and states and will have pretty much anything you're looking for.
When you rent a party tent, you want it to be as convenient as possible, so you choose a nearby supplier. Having all that coverage from city to city really helps in this department and most of these rental party tents companies will have what it takes to deliver the goods!
The Kingpin came across a few bad reviews while researching for this article but generally people are pleased with the service these party rental conglomerates provide. It would appear though that even these humongous party enclaves sometimes suffer from unnecessary red tape and effective customer service (typical big business problems).
To be honest though, these big dogs will be able to take on pretty much anything you throw at them so check them out. They aren't the top companies that rent tents for parties for nothing!
Classic Party Rentals
Take Classic Party Rentals, for example. It rent tents for parties and has 35 locations that took in $250 million in 2013. It has 2,500 employees. It is an extremely popular choice for many party planners across the US because they are accessible and have a wide inventory of party tents as well as other party needs. The company also has certain items that only they carry, so if you want a particular style of linen or chandelier, they probably have them, although they are a little more expensive than the others are.
The company has been accused of poor customer service at times but it's pretty unfortunate because the employees who may need an attitude check are most probably only one in every one hundred representatives or so. They also happen to be the 25 people who have first contact with customers renting a tent for a party, according to reviews.
Party Rental Ltd.
Party Rental Ltd., on the other hand, has only 12 locations with 300 employees, but they raked in an impressive $100 million in tent and party rentals for 2013. That ain't bad for a pink hippo!
They also offer a large selection of tents and sundries to clients, and they deliver on time. Customer service is not an issue as far as the Kingpin can tell .
Arena Americas has 350 employees in 5 locations ($40 million in revenue) has an accommodating staff and a good selection of rental tents for parties at reasonable prices.
Town and Country Event Rentals
Not too far behind is Town and Country Event Rentals with 250 employees in 3 locations ($28.5 million). They seem are affordable with a robust selection available, but probably not as all-encompassing and flexible as the other big dogs.
Backyard Tent Providers
(More Affordable Options)
For some of you fellow canopy lovers out there, the big dog companies may be out of reach. They provide a great deal but it all comes at a cost, and if you're already footin' the bill for junior's little bundle of joy, you may not want to have to throw down too much for that wedding either!
There's no need to fret though, because the Kingpin has kept his inner-cheapskate in mind for this ultimate party rental guide and has gone ahead and evaluated some cheaper options for all of you out there in party tent rental land.
You may be surprised at how cheap tent rentals can be if you are willing to work with lesser known outfits. Cheap party tents for rent can go for as low as $150 for a 20’ x 20’ tend if you are willing to pick it up and set it up yourself. However, you may not want to go through all that hassle, especially if you are looking for cheap wedding tent rentals for your own wedding!
It can be argued though that as long as you're not expecting too many people you can just grab one for yourself to own at the same price, but then there's upkeep, storage, and repairs to consider as well. If that doesn't bother you too much, check out this EPIC list of party tents for sale. But for some of you, maybe a super affordable rental is more up your alley.
Here are some companies offering cheap tents for tent:
Backyard Tent Rentals
Backyard Tent Rentals, as you can probably imagine, specializes in cheap party tent rentals for small events. They offer a package for a 20’ x 20’ tent with tables (including tables for buffet set up) and chairs good for 40 people for $509, or a 20’ x 40’ tent with tables and chairs good for 80 people at $799. Table linen is not included.
If you want to include lights and linen, the cost is $569 and $899, respectively. That is not bad at all. With the complete package including linens and lights, it is coming out to $14,25 and $11.25 per guest respectively.
You can get just the tent at $399 (20’ x 20’) and $579 (20’ x 40’), presumably including delivery, set up, and take down, but it would be best to ask.
Cheap Tent Rentals
If you really want to go cheap in Florida, you can check out Cheap Tent Rentals for their daily rates. Their 20’ X 20’ pole tents are 150.00, while the 20’ x 20’ frame tents are $200. A 20’ X 40’ pole tent is $240.00.
If you want to go big, their 40’ X 80’ frame tent goes for $1,250.00, the same as their bigger but not necessarily better 40’ X 100’ pole tent. SETUP is NOT included. You need to call them for a total quote if you do not want to do it yourself.
Take note that these prices are just for the tent rental. Tables and chairs carry an extra cost. Remember that if you want to keep the tent for more than one day, you will have to pay extra.
Party Palace Rental
If you are not in Maryland and looking for a discount, you can try Party Palace Rental. Their frame tents (set up included) are $280.00 (20'x20') and $550.00 (20'x40').
Feeling like a handyman? You can pick up and install pole tents for a major discount: $150 for a 20’ x 20’ and $195 for a 20’ x 30’ tent. Don't forget to stake and tie those pole tents down!
Wedding Tent Rentals
One of the most popular outdoor tent events is weddings, which is why there are companies that specialize in wedding tents for rent.
The biggest advantage of going to specialist tent rentals for weddings is the same as going to a specialist in any trade: experience. A company that caters mostly to weddings has probably seen and done it all before... as far as weddings are concerned, of course.
Both of these companies have had plenty of experience and they can take care of everything involving tents for rent for weddings and you won't need to worry one bit.
Compare that to a typical party tent supplier that will rent a wedding tent to you and list everything they have to offer on their website, but expect you to tell them what to do. They may have suggestions, but since they are not specialists, they will simply heap on as many services as your budget can take. For example, Morris Tent Rentals, which now offers a wedding planning service for a fee. They have the vehicle, but you have to drive it unless you hire a driver.
Colorado Party Rentals offer a similar service through their Wedding Specialists, but again this is an added expense. If you are an event organizer that rent tents for wedding events, then you don’t want to tack that on to your invoice!
Renting tents for wedding events can be simplified if you avail of the experience and knowledge of a company that specializes in weddings. They may even have great suggestions for other suppliers you may need.
PROTIP FROM THE KINGPIN
This can be invaluable to the novice wedding planner who may be just starting out and wants to rent a tent for a wedding and does not have a clue. The supplier can walk you through it as painlessly as possible and you end up looking like a pro to your clients! The Kingpin actually did something similar to this once upon a long time ago and it worked better than he could have ever imagined! Fake it 'til you make it...
Going the Whole Hog
(is the Circus in town??)
It can be tempting to cut costs and get the smallest size tent you can get away with for an event. In some instances, this is the practical move. These include family gatherings, weddings, and regular backyard parties. Sometimes though, bigger is WAY better and the Kingpin mad sure to find some options for all you big top tent fanatics!
Large tents for rent could be a great idea if you are organizing a corporate event or a trade show because you will have many opportunities to make use of the extra space. You could offer concessions to bring in revenue, or arrange for additional activities to elevate the event to the next level. Big tents for rent will definitely cost you more, but it could pay for itself in the end.
A circus tent rental is also much more noticeable than your run-of-the-mill regular tent. It’s more attractive and festive, which can entice people to come in. If you need to make a big splash somewhere, this is just the thing.
Are you moving your company into a new city? Maybe you need to win over the new employees or make a statement to your colleagues. Or maybe you're one of those super rich dotting fathers, ready to throw you're little princess a sweet sixteen bash that her friends won't ever forget! Nothing declares a father's love like an elephant-sized disco ball and Ferrari.
Whatever the case may be, a circus-sized tent will bring anyone back to a place of wonder and excitement that you can only truly find... at the circus! (It's a stretch but only by a bit). Circus tents for rent are also particularly recommended for church and fund raising events. Bingo, anyone?
If you are looking for a large or circus tent for your event, you could try checking out Big Top Tent Rentals, Indestructo Party Rental, and U.S. Tent Rental, Inc. Note, though, that these are not tents you can simply pick up with a regular car and set up by amateurs. It requires large trucks to transport, and a crew of installers.
Camping Tent Rentals
Yep, you can also rent camping tents, and this makes just as much sense as renting event tents does: you probably won't need one all the time. So, rather than keep one tucked away in the garage all year round, rent a camping tent instead.
Some camping tent rental companies offer a camping tent kit for your convenience, ranging in price from $85 for two people for up to 3 days to $179 for four people for up to 3 days. This includes tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads. This particular provider's prices do not include shipping costs, but the tents are also available for pickup so it works out.
A more affordable alternative is just getting the camping tent. Lower Gear rents out two-person tents at $25 for three days and four-person tents at $35. You need to have your own sleeping bags and pads.
Looking at the Big Picture
Tent rental prices will of course depend on the size and type you need, so it is not so much a question of how much does it cost to rent a tent but how much is the tent rental cost for your particular need. You can go low with the smallest tent you can get away with and the most basic setup, or you can go big and get all the amenities for a kick-ass event.
How Much to Rent a Tent?
So, you may be asking yourself, "How much to rent a tent?"
Well, it can be as low as $150 for 40 guests if you set it up yourself and build your own table and chairs, or it could be over $500 for the same tent but with tables and chairs. You have to admit there is a considerable difference. However, if you just need shade to shelter your guests as you distribute plates of barbecue and coleslaw, than a cheap option is perfect.
A wedding is a whole different animal altogether. For that, your wedding tent rental cost will be the least of your expenses. Your biggest costs will be in the decorations and extras, so your wedding tent rental prices can still be less than a $1,000 if you have about 200 guests. However, this is where all the extras should be bundled so you can minimize stress of engaging different suppliers and transportation costs. This will significantly affect how much to rent a tent for a wedding in your budget.
As a rule of thumb, you can get the best deals when you go for local tent rentals because they are convenient, and you can easily go back and beat up on the guy who booked you if they don’t show up. On the other hand, if you want to go all fancy and elegant, you may do better with one of the larger tent rental companies with color palettes and swatches to choose from. Just make sure that you book it ahead of time, and always have a Plan B.
And don't forget that YOU'RE THE BOSS when it comes to renting a tent or party service. Do not get snookered into getting a caterer that your tent rental company forces on you, unless it's a great deal. In the end, you are the one footing the bill so it should be all about what YOU want.
ANOTHER PROTIP FROM THE KINGPIN
In some cases, FRIENDLIER providers can possibly offer considerable discounts and even freebies, if you also get their catering and event planning services as well. Be careful though when asking for this, as you may be setting yourself up for some "gullible canopy enthusiast exploitation"!
As long as you're talking about party tent rentals prices will vary according to their products and the total contract with your supplier. Click through and check out some of the options the Kingpin has provided above and take your pick. Do you need something big? Small? Cheap? Make a decision and choose a provider and ask for a quotation. It's really THAT simple.
Best of all, everything is now at your fingertips courtesy of the Canopy Kingpin!
At the end of the day though, It would be shortsighted to just focus on event tent rental prices when that is only one part of the equation. You have to look at the big picture and decide how you can keep costs to a minimum.
Whether you are planning for a wedding, in which case you will probably need white tent rentals, or a summer beer BBQ for the boys, in which case you will want to go for backyard tent rentals, the most important thing you have to consider is the whys and wherefores.
Tents are a great way to elevate your event to the next level (notwithstanding the beer kegs and mud-filled wading pools, of course). The Kingpin knows this for a fact, and the Kingpin is never wrong. Well, he's RARELY wrong... but at least you know so much more about renting a party tent now that you've read his ultimate guide!
The Kingpin hope you've enjoyed this article! Stay out of the sun and keep cool this summer with the Canopy Kingpin!