A market close to my heart, because I have built a business and watched it thrive there, is picnic table rental.
This is an idea that may sound strange to you at first. Picnic tables?
These are not your local park’s heavy wooden tables. These are tough, lightweight plastic tables with a metal frame to attach the benches and provide support. They fold up into a thin rectangle just a few inches thick, allowing you to transport dozens of them at a time in a standard auto trailer.
The anchor for business in this market is graduation parties, which keep the business hopping from May into July.
Other events that provide business for picnic table rental companies include corporate events, county fairs, family reunions, and outdoor wedding receptions.
The Costs and Prices
A standard six foot picnic table (which seats six adults) retails for about $270. Most parties will rent no more than three or four tables, so it is quite possible to start out with a small inventory and save up to grow over time. This is what we did, and within a couple of years we were managing an inventory of a couple hundred picnic tables in addition to other products.
Luckily, you can find these tables at big box store like Sams Club. Since it is a seasonal product it usually goes on sale at some point during the year. This is a great time to add tables to your inventory.
The other major necessity is a trailer (and a vehicle that can pull a heavy trailer). If you are starting out with a small number of tables (less than ten) you can actually fit them into the back of most pickup trucks. This requires some form of sidewall, which we built ourselves out of metal pipes and wood boards. For larger quantities of tables it will be difficult to do business without a trailer.
It is completely reasonable to expect somewhere in the $20-$30 range per day per picnic table rental. Even if you only work weekends you can recoup the cost of a table pretty quickly if you get it rented out for both Saturdays and Sundays. It should not be a problem to get at least two or three years of use out of a table if it is treated well.
Accessories and Add-Ons
Picnic table rental can stand on its own as a business, which is a beautiful thing. As the business grows it makes sense to add other products though.
The most natural product line to add to this business is stand-alone tables. Usually six-foot or eight-foot rectangular tables are useful as buffet tables at parties.
Stand-alone chairs are also important. Customers hosting indoor parties will find it preferable to use tables and chairs rather than picnic tables due to the size of the picnic tables.
Tent rental is also a logical complementary business to picnic table rental, since the parties using picnic tables are often outdoors.
Any type of entertainment or dinner rental company will benefit from working together with a picnic table rental company. The parties serviced by picnic table rental businesses may require sound equipment, dance floors, linens, place settings, or any number of related items.
Considerations for Picnic Table Rental
You will have to provide delivery. Picnic tables are too big to easily fit in to most cars, so you will have to provide delivery and pickup for the tables.
Picnic tables are clunky. It is possible to carry these tables by yourself, but you will probably want a partner to help you. A pushcart is also a useful tool.
Picnic tables are easy to clean. If you bring a couple of towels and a bucket of soapy water you can easily clean tables when you pick them up and then immediately drop them off at another party.
Picnic table rental is a great market to get into. There is a lot of potential for business from a variety of sources so the company can grow and prosper over time.