How To Start A Glass or Catering Equipment Hire Business
Glassware hire services supply functions and events with glassware and other catering equipment. This could be for a small private party such as birthday parties and engagements or large set-ups like weddings, religious celebrations and corporate events. Our simple to follow guide gives you the essentials for starting up and running your own glass hire business.
How To Start A Glass or Catering Equipment Hire Business?
Running your own business can be an extremely rewarding experience. You'll find yourself on the lookout for new glassware wherever you go and you'll be taking plenty of pictures of your marvellous stock and beautiful table setups. But how do you start up a catering equipment hire business? Here are some ideas and areas to focus on when starting up.
How to Buy Glassware for Parties and Events?
Glassware is the pinnacle of your business so it needs to be ready and waiting on opening day. Have a clear plan before buying, this involves deciding what size stock you are planning to keep and if you are going to specialise in certain designs such as vintage, art deco and elegant or colourful glassware. Here are some tips on other things to consider when buying glassware.
- Have a standard / low budget range so you can cater for all types of budgets.
- Stock glassware ranges with unique designs so customers can match glasses with the event theme or decor.
- Buy second-hand glassware if you have small budgets in the begining. You may be surprised how many great designs can be found and usually at a bargain price.
- Avoid buying thin and delicate glasses as it just will not last long enough, it is likely to chip and smash.
How Can I make the most of the space I have for storage?
Your stock will need to be stored somewhere. Beginning at home to keep overheads down is likely to be an option, you may have sufficient room at home to use in your garage, a spare room or perhaps an unused barn. You will find that your business premises will grow as you do. When your custom-base grows, new budgets will become available for purchasing more stock, including that "new season" glass design trending tables at venues across the country.
- No matter how big or small your storage space is it must be well-organised so you can find your stock and access it easily.
- Use specialist glassware storage boxes which you can buy based on the height and width of your glass. Buying the right storage equipment at the beginning will save you so much money and time in the long run.
- Buy storage boxes that can stack and find a storage box with a lid so it keeps your glassware free of dust and well protected.
- Get your storage boxes printed with contents text so you can see what stock is in which box without having to go through stacks of boxes to find the right glassware collection.
What's the best set up for Warewashing?
A considerable amount of space is required for glass washing so you will need a dedicated area for washing and drying lots of glasses at a time. Your washroom needs to be well planned out with the right amount of loading space to keep dirty and clean items separate.
- A good size draining area for glasses to dry fully before returning to storage
- If you are washing stock by hand you will need a double or even triple sink to wash the glasses in soapy water and then rinse with clean water
- Health and safety equipment will be need to operate safely such as anti-slip floor mats and anti-bacteria net for glassware to drain and dry on
- Have a separate hand washing station.
- The room should be well ventilated to reduce humidity
- Get Food Hygiene Level-2 training for your staff so they understand the importance of good hygiene when cleaning catering equipment
- If you're using glassware storage boxes for your glassware then thoroughly clean box before reloading with the clean glassware
Using a Commercial Dishwasher to streamline washing process.
If you are using a commercial dishwasher then consider using equipment that can store and wash glassware in.
Glass Racks are used to store, transport and wash the glasses, which is fantastic as handling is significantly reduced, saving you "heaps of time" as well as reducing the risk of glassware braking during handling. If you are using glasswasher racks then you may want to use a trolley to stack the racks on and push them away to store.
Specific commercial dishwasher baskets can help wash different catering equipment efficiently.
- Baskets for washing glasses and cups come with compartments or have a flat base for general use.
- Plate racks have pegs to hold plates in a relined position for outstanding wash and dry results. Dried on food will be removed easily and residue water will drain off at the end of the wash cycle.
- Cutlery trays are open with a fine mesh base that silverware can be washed freely without slipping through the holes.
- Cutlery baskets with compartments can also be put through the wash on top of a dishwasher tray.
Tips on how to run a glassware delivery service.
- Your delivery vehicle should have plenty of space and easy access to make loading and delivering easy.
- Brading your vehicle is a fantastic way of promoting your business. As your van sits outside venues displaying your company name for everyone to see including potential future clients.
- Having a staff uniform is also an excellent way to promote your brand as well as giving a professional appearance. It is also very important to provide staff with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, latex gloves & hard toe cap boots.
- When the delivery is made the driver should issue the hirer an inventory checklist. This is to review and complete when packing up the stock ready for collection. If any items are missing or damaged they must be marked on this sheet before handed back to the drive with the return.
- A delivery note should also be signed by the client accepting the stock and returned with the driver to be kept on record.
You're Set To Go.
Once you purchased your stock, set up your storage space and washing room and got your transport sorted, you are ready to go. Nurturing any company for growth is essentially the same no matter what sector you are in. The day to day running of an event-hire company involves organisation and clarity. It is crucial to keep on top of your stock location, what is coming in and going out, when and at what time. As well as being able to shout about your fantastic service and your must have glassware collections!
It is not just your glassware that needs organising your bookings, deposits and inventories will need to be kept in check too.
Having an accounting software that will work the way you need it to is important for functiality but also it's very handy to be able to view and manage event bookings when out of the office and reduce the amount of paper used to save the environment.
Benifits of using a cloud base software to manamage your business activity
- Keep track of your stock so you can manage it effectively
- See when stock has been booked to avoid double-booking anything
- Change your stock levels when you lose your stock
- Invoice to charge against the hirers accounts for that loss
- Managing collections and drop-offs
- Save copies of bookings, customer deposits, stock checklists on clients accounts
It is also important to have clear terms of business prepared before you start trading. This is your chance to tell your clients what you expect from them when using your glass hire service as well as all the financial requirements involved from the beginning to end of the transaction.
- The delivery charge, think about your charging structure, you may want to offer a free delivery service within a certain radius, usually your local area. Tiered distance price lists are often used. Another good question to ask yourself is how far are you willing to travel to. Customer collection and returns should also be an option.
- Table set up service can be a nice touch as not everyone is comfortable in creating a stunning dinner table set up. Designing and setting up a table with centrepieces, charger plates, flatware, silverware and glassware can be overwhelming at the best of times so it is a good idea to offer this service if you can. Clean away service after the event also may be required especially as some caterers do not offer this. Charges for these services are typically a set amount per head.
- Post-event washing up service, for your customer's convenience the glassware and chinaware can be returned in a dirty condition to be cleaned by you. This charge is typically 20% of the higher price of the item that requires cleaning, this service has to be arranged before the event. The order confirmation must also indicate which service has been taken to save any mix up at the end of the event. If the hirer has opted out of the cleaning service you must advise them that any items returned in an unwashed state will be liable for a 'return dirty' charge.
- A booking deposit to secure the booking should be taken at the time of booking, this is generally 50% of the rental cost. A notice period for cancellation may be put in place to protect the booking, usually 30 days. The remaining balance is often taken two weeks before the event.
- Glass damaged & losses deposit is charged per head to cover any damages and losses to hired glasses during the lease period. The damages deposit is often taken two weeks before the event and is deductible of any charges due to loss of stock. Deposit is refunded after the event once the stock has been checked. Having a list of charges dealing each item's replacement charge makes calculating the total fee easy. A copy of this list (or you can segment what is out on-hire) should be provided to the customer at the time of booking for their information.
- Create a Hire Information sheet, clearly explaining how you expect the hirer to treat your stock and how to prepare for the return.
- Depending on how you have hired out the glassware, give care instructions on how to wash, dry and pack or how to return items for a washing service.
- The hire period, you should state the time and date of the agreed loan period which is typically 3 days but this can be altered if needed.
A great deal of business is to be had in the event hire sector but it's very competitive so it is important not to become complacent. Equally as important is being able to make a name for yourself by standing out of the crown. Ask yourself what is it I can offer that my competition does not?
Top Tips for Making Your Mark.
- Create an eye-catching brand that is easy to remember.
- Do your research, keeping up with the trends and new season glassware.
- Get on the socials - a picture says a 1000 words. Keep your clients updated with your latest table setups and colourful stock and don't forget to use hashtags on what you are talking about this makes your post viable to people who don't already follow you.
- When you update your stock, let people know about it.
- Get a website developed that is easy to navigate through, clear and informative.
- Help your potential customers get to know you better by detailing your unique selling points and your company ethos on your website. This will make them feel more comfortable booking with you for their next event.
- Have links to your social media on your website. This will encourage website visiter to follow you and more likely to rememebr your company if they do so.
- Most of your enquiries will come through your website. Make sure you have an enquiry form for potential customers to send over their requirements to you.
- Post regular blogs to keep your audience engaged with what's being planned for the upcoming seasons such as party themes and new styles of glassware. This can also help your SEO ranking for more traffic on to your website.
- Keep in contact with past customers via newsletter with the latest and greatest.
- Ask for customer testimonials, it is so important to share your clients feedback on your services. It can be the winning point when customers compare suppliers. Having pictures of the event in its glory to match it up with the client's thoughts is always a good idea.
- Get leaflets and business cards made up to leave at the events you supply. This can be an excellent way of winning additional business as potential clients see you and your stock in action. If you have done the job right you will be the first on the list for an enquiry when they are in need.
- Keep your stock organized and in professional glassware storage boxes with branding and content information.
And Finally, Do your research
- Take a look at your competition, see what they are specialising in and what areas they cover
- Check out the HMRC website for support and advice for start-ups
- Sign up to hospitality information newsletters like Big Hospitality
- Look into becoming a member of the Event Hire Association (EHA) trade body representing the event hire industry
- Find out more about running a catering based company on our past blogs
If you’ve followed all of this advice you should have a pretty good idea by now about what you should do to make your new catering equipment hire business a stunning success.
Enjoy the journey!