A Tale of Three Tent Companies

How each has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic with Tent OX

Though we have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also all been impacted uniquely. The same is true of tent businesses. As events were wiped off calendars overnight, we all had to find our footing while making some tough decisions. Now with nearly half a year of this reality under our belts, we wanted to check in to hear from several tent businesses as to how they’re faring, and how their Tent OX tent installation system has played into their pandemic response. Take a look as we talk with three tent companies, all with very different experiences and perspectives.

Atent for Rent establishes their new normal.

For Steve Capone, owner of Atent for Rent out of Dedham, MA, “Business is doing a lot better. Overall, we have a lot of jobs, but the parties and weddings are small. A wedding that was typically 150 people is now only 15. That means a lot more paperwork, and smaller jobs that are generally less profitable. But we have also taken jobs like 100 x 180 commencement-size tents for several town meetings for 300 people so they can socially distance Interestingly, web inquiries from clients are higher than they have ever been, often 20 a day. We can’t keep up with it!”

As far as the pandemic’s impact on operations, Atent for Rent is fortunate to have a warehouse that is big enough to handle 35 people and still social distance nicely. And they are taking precautions to put no more than two people in a vehicle for a job.

“Revenue will be a lot less this year, but my costs are down and I’m spending less on gas and diesel fuel, like many of the event rental companies I talk to. In addition, workers comp will be lower, along with ARA insurance costs. There is not as much overtime and the guys are hurting from that, and we’re not hiring temps right now,” Steve explains.

Steve believes it that it will be a while until things are back to normal – possibly not until 2022. Particularly universities will be hurting for a while and not likely able to do the big celebrations and convocations, or spend money like they used to.

Lakes Region Tent & Event takes a fresh look at their processes.

Eric Foster, President of Lakes Region Tent & Event which serves New Hampshire’s lake region, explains how having a Tent OX has made a difference in helping to keep costs down during this time of uncertainty. 

“When the pandemic essentially shut us down in the spring, we really took a fresh look at how we had been using Tent OX in the past. It had been used to do only the biggest jobs and the tasks that would be overwhelming no matter how many people you had around. When we started to see small bits of business come back, we couldn’t bring back staff in large numbers because we didn’t have much visibility at the time and there wasn’t much continuity week to week in the flow of work. This left us needing to do more with less, which is exactly what Tent OX is there for.”

Lakes Region Tent & Events then began using Tent OX with a two man crew to get more done, even on small jobs where they wouldn’t have reached for it before. And now that business has picked up a bit, the company is sending the machine out with larger crews to reduce the burden and make those jobs go smoother and faster. Best of all, Eric feels as though they are still just scratching the surface of its potential but the pandemic forced a change in our thinking that will help us cope with labor shortage going forward as well as help our best guys continue to contribute as they would normally age out of this kind of work.

When it comes to labor, Eric shares, “We do not have the usual 50-75% returning seasonal crew given the way our season started. We couldn’t afford to bring those guys back in April like usual, so we’re going through training new seasonal guys much later in the season than normal. The federal unemployment “bonus” has skewed wages in our area, so we’re adjusting to that.”

Big AZ Tents & Events experiences a boon of new business.

For Jim Barton, owner of Big AZ Tents & Events headquarter in Phoenix, AZ, his business has been fortunate to not have had to lay off a single employee during the pandemic. They were able to connect with some major valley hospitals and be their exclusive tent supplier for drive thru testing tents as well as several fast food chains for their drive thru canopy needs. So for the past three to four months we have been “steady” where in past years we would have been in our slow season.

Jim explains how they have been using their Tent Ox as of late. “Our Tent Ox made its debut during the recent 4th of July fireworks season. In Phoenix, where temperatures can easily reach 115° our crew was able to get more tents installed, then dismantled, in a shorter time frame with less effort. This saved their bodies a ton of back breaking work and the company a great deal of money in labor costs.”

When asked what advice you would give someone struggling with labor right now, Jim responded that tent companies shouldsit down and look at how much time and energy you and your crew are spending, manually unloading equipment and materials, driving tent stakes, pulling tent stakes and performing all of the other jobsite tasks the Tent OX could possibly be doing FOR you. Some quick mental math will probably tell you that you are throwing away money every day you don’t have a Tent OX as a member of your crew.

Jim was also quick to share “Within 5 minutes of driving it off the transport, we were all saying to each other, “Why didn’t we get a Tent OX YEARS ago?!”

Maybe you can relate to one of these business’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Or maybe yours is unique. Even in the three different circumstances described above, every business was able to not only find an immediate use for Tent OX, but also a newfound appreciation for having made the investment in the tent installation system. Is it time you considered how Tent OX could help improve your business’s processes and profitability? We are always ready to have a conversation about the problems you’re trying to solve and how Tent OX could be the answer!