9. July 2010 19:59
With unemployment running at just under 10% one would think that finding quality labor in the tent rental industry would be an easy task. People are looking for work, but most jobs are a whole lot easier than hoisting a tent in a blazing-hot asphalt parking lot.
What’s more, we all know that margins in the tent rental industry are tight, which puts an upper limit on the wages and benefits that renters can afford to provide. In some areas, fast-food franchises routinely start employees at $12 to $15 per hour.
These issues make it all the more crucial to hang onto good people during the peak summer season as well as through the slow winter months. That said there’s only so much inventory maintenance and tent cleaning to keep your workers busy. Some companies take on side jobs in commodity fabrication. Other companies that own a Teeco Solutions tent washer find opportunity in providing outsourced solutions for the washing of tents of smaller tent rental operators.
It is worth noting that some worker populations-such as artists, athletes and musicians may well appreciate the opportunity to work at a seasonal job, especially if they know they can return to it year after year. It gives these groups time to pursue their real passion while at the same time earn an income to sustain a particular lifestyle. But finding those individuals who can handle the physical demands of tent installation are rare and it takes some recruiting effort to find such a unique labor pool. So frequently, the search for temporary workers begins all over again the following spring.
Just a phone call away
The strenuous nature of tent installation, coupled with the seasonal nature of the work, has led many tent rental operators to look into hiring contract workers. Some operators find it helpful to call in temps for the heavy lifting in order to reduce the strain on their regular employees.
Unfortunately, the temporary labor market varies hugely from region to region, depending on the local economy and demographics. Running ads in the local papers where the work is to be performed ahead of a scheduled event is one way to recruit temporary workers. That’s the general labor pool. On the other hand, it is also possible to hire trained, reliable, industry-specific workers on a temporary basis in a number of major cities across the country. This form of temporary labor is great on large scale projects, but be prepared as it will cost significantly more that if you were to hire temporary workers for a specific event. Outsourcing the labor requirements for setting-up or striking an event may make economic sense especially if you start to throw in the cost of travel, lodging and meals. A staffing service just may be a partial solution for a large tent-rental firm. But most companies don’t work on a grand enough scale to make it economically practical. They’re forced to look for other solutions for the summer rush.
High School and College Help Wanted
Senior high and college students would seem to be the perfect population to look for seasonal help. They tend to be smart-maybe even potential management material. They’re free in the summer, yet don’t want or expect work during the idle winter months. In many ways, students can make a lot of sense in addressing the temporary peak labor requirements for a tent rental operator. Taking the time to properly screen student labor can pay big dividends. A good student can be with a rental operator for 2, 3, or more years depending on whether or not they come to work in their junior or senior year of high school and come back to work during their college years. Some may even become full-time employees following college.
Unfortunately, the academic calendar doesn’t line up perfectly with the special event season. In May, when many warm-climate tent companies are in full swing, students are not available yet. Then, in late August, they evaporate despite the fact that you’ve got a full slate of September and October events. For companies whose busy season falls over the winter, students may not be an option at all. Despite the built-in scheduling drawbacks, many operators give students high marks for temporary workers.
In the end, there is no simple solution to addressing the labor requirements for tent rental operators. It will take a combination of strategies to find and keep staff during peak times and retain the good employees during the seasonal lulls. At the end of the day, it is critically important to find ways to ease the stress on laborers and mechanize the manual. At Teeco Solutions our mission is to help tent rental operators find ways to organize, simplify, and mechanize work processes to improve the quality of the work being performed and make the work being performed just that much more manageable.
Call us at 877-712-9172 or visit our website to learn more about how we help you and your tent rental business.