There are dozens of different styles and types of rental tents and thousands of tent rental companies.  You may need a rental tent for a party, a corporate event or a sporting event but there are some questions that you must ask before you sign a contract to ensure that you receive the best experience possible.  The following are just a few of the questions that need to be asked before your next rental:

  1. How long have you been in business? You are looking for a company that has been in business for a long period of time. Companies that survive for twenty or more years must be doing something right and since events are growing increasingly complicated you want a company with a great deal of experience. American Pavilion has been in business for 107 years, making it one of the oldest and most experienced tent rental companies in the U.S.
  2. How long has the salesperson that you are dealing with been in the business? You might have chosen a company with many years of experience but if you get a new salesperson that lacks event management experience then you could be putting your event in jeopardy. It is best when you can deal with the owner or a member of the management team since they have a vested interest in keeping you happy.
  3. How old is the tent that I am renting? Tents don’t last forever and whether it is a party tent, clear span tent, commercial tent, large tent or any other type, the fabrics can become dull and damaged over time. Some companies turn over their inventory every couple of years while others stretch out their replacement cycle over many years. Newer is better.
  4. Will my tent be clean? Sounds pretty basic but you would be surprised at the number of tents that have mold, mildew or dirt on them because of time or money pressures on the rental company. You have a right to a clean tent so ask about its condition (and get it in writing)
  5. Is my tent engineered? Smaller tents are not yet a major concern, but in many jurisdictions all tents, especially larger ones, are coming under increasing scrutiny from building and fire inspectors. The IBC codes are the most recognized for tents but depending on your location, other applicable codes might govern your rental tent. The last thing you want is an event that is not permitted because of a lack of engineering for your tent. Good companies that inventory quality tents will have this engineering on hand so ask to see it.


As a fourth generation owner of a family business, I am often asked how my company has survived for over 100 years. Only 12% of family businesses make it to the third generation and fewer still to the fourth generation.  A constant ingredient for success over generations is the ability to embrace change in the marketplace. American Pavilion got its start making Conestoga wagon covers, but had my great-grandfather stuck to that business model I would not be here today blogging about the tent rental industry.  American Pavilion adapted to a changing marketplace that evolved from a local custom canvas manufacturer to a nationwide leader in the special event rental industry.  American Pavilion rents clear span tents, portable flooring, carpeting, lighting, HVAC, generators and provides event management across the country.  None of these products and services existed in 1902 but over the years previous generations adapted to changing customer tastes and requirements and today we boast a rental inventory that is second to none.

While strong leadership is an obvious requirement for long term success, more than anything, it is the business itself that provides the opportunities for transformation of family as well as the operating business model.  It was Seneca that said that luck is when “preparation meets opportunity” so I must give luck its due as another ingredient of our long term success.


Have you ever made a single phone call that saved you or your business over $100,000?  American Pavilion was recently able to save a new client over $100,000 just on portable rental flooring and tent rental alone.  A Hospital in Minnesota holds an annual fundraiser and in the past another rental company had advised the hospital that the only way to floor the 164′ x 214′ clearspan tent structure was to install a raised floor that would cover the large decorative planters on the front lawn where the clear span tent structure was to be installed.  After a site visit prior to the installation, American Pavilion was able to suggest a “lay down” plywood floor that was slightly elevated but would incorporate the planters inside of the clearspan tent instead of covering them with flooring.  The client loved the idea and was ecstatic that this option would save over $100,000 compared to the floor they used last year.

American Pavilion provided the clearspan tent, flooring, carpet, lighting and entry glass doors which required seven semi-truck loads.  The site was a challenge since American Pavilion’s crews had to work their heavy equipment around sidewalks, soft grass and a sprinkler system.  After an eight day installation the work was completed and the hospital held the most successful fundraiser in its history.  Plans are already in the works for 2010 and American Pavilion is happy to have helped in their success.