It has been a few years since I wrote about how businesses are faring in the tent rental and special event rental industry as the economy climbs out of the Great Recession. I have a number of close relationships with company owners across the country that I work with throughout the year. These relationships give me insight into how businesses are faring across the country and within the many niches of the tent rental industry.
Tents are rented for a variety of reasons; for special events, corporate meetings, product introductions, construction projects, weddings, environmental remediation, site preparation, sporting events, military training, disaster relief, etc.
At American Pavilion we focus on a wide variety of tents, with a concentration on clear span tents. These clear spans may be used any time a portable fabric structure is needed for a few days or up to years at a time. A majority of our work is commercial with dozens of Fortune 500 corporations asking us to crisscross the country for various events.
American Pavilion also specializes in long term rentals for construction projects and long-term warehouse storage fabric structures (clear span tents). We also provide equipment for almost every type of special event nationwide, which gives us a unique insight to the economy at the macro level.
What I have seen, anecdotally, is a definite increase in a variety of rentals, from construction to corporate meetings as well as special events like social and sporting events. Not only have the number of clients increased this year but their orders have been increasing in size since the dearth of the Great Recession beginning in 2008. This view regards both my company as well as many of my friends and competitors across the country.
I believe that the U.S. economy is in a slow growth period as it works through the excesses of the early Aughts as well as attempts to deal with unprecedented monetary policy from the federal government.
2015 will be the busiest year for American Pavilion since 2009. Each year since 2009 has seen small increases in sales for my company. American Pavilion had to increase its sales and marketing budget to compensate for less overall business. I have seen a number of friends and competitors close shop over the past six years due to an inability to adapt as well as a lack of available capital.
While that may sound callous, that is the nature of a capitalist financial system. Companies must adapt and overcome, or they will be replaced with newer and wiser competitors. A bit harsh, yes, but it is what makes our financial system stronger, and why the United States has the strongest post war economy in the world.
I doubt that we are out of the economic woods, and we are currently living on borrowed time. The average economic expansion, post war, is 58 months, and we are currently in the 70th month of expansion. Good economic times come and go, but sound business practices never change. Knowing one’s customers’ needs, one’s job costs on every job and the proper allocation of capital, is especially important in a muted economic cycle.
Most American tent rental and special event companies will continue to grow, and a few will thrive as we all battle this “New Normal”. As I plan for the future outcome of my business I am reminded of George Santayana’s quote, that “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. As a caveat, I will add that most over-leveraged companies will not get a second chance when the next recession occurs.
American Pavilion has survived two World Wars, many military battles, the Great Depression, bank runs and much more. We are still here, going strong, after 113 years. Our history has not been written yet, that will be for future generations. American Pavilion will continue to “fight the good fight”, and we “will finish the race”. Excellence since 1902.