Hire From A Boutique or Behemoth Event Hire Company?

December 10, 2022

If you're putting together your corporate event, you may be lucky enough to have favourite event hire businesses on speed dial.

But if you're new to organising events or it's unlike the ones you've typically pulled together before you may wonder whether to use a boutique business or one of the big guys, when you start Googling.

They both have their advantages and disadvantages.

The event hire behemoths
These are the major players in the event hire business. They may have branches in at least three Australian cities (typically Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane or more) such as Moreton Hire and Valiant Hire, or in Sydney and Melbourne such as Harry The Hirer.

Or they may dominate one city, such as Dann Event Hire in Melbourne and Harbourside Decorators in Sydney, or by region, such as Epic Empire which covers Byron Bay up to the Sunshine Coast.

Because they're big, they can provide a one-stop shop for your event, making it easy to get virtually everything you need in one business. Harry The Hirer for example, is well-known for working on major sporting events such as the Grand Prix, PGA Cup and the Spring Racing Carnival.

But large event hire businesses have to invest in large quantities of stock and therefore need to maximise their return on investment.

In other words, they cannot easily and quickly update their product range, which means they tend to keep the same items for a long time. And they usually can't risk investing in multiple orders of pieces which are too left-field, obscure or novel so many of their items are somewhat generic.

If you (or more importantly, your clients are) frequently looking for something fresh and unique, you may have to supplement it with hiring products from other suppliers.

And because the big guys have to make a return on their large investment, they're not cheap to deal with either. 

Currently, while we're in peak entertaining season, Dann Event Hire has a minimum hire threshold of $3,500 while Epic Empire is $1,500 inclusive of delivery and labour.

Lastly, because they have larger staff numbers you may have to wait longer for a quoteas the information filters down through the different teams.

The event hire boutiques

There are literally hundreds of micro to small event hire companies across Australia.

Most of them specialise in weddings, christenings and birthdays while a few, such as My Event Decor, specialise in props and decor hire and sourcing for product launches, store openings, expo stands, TV commercials and corporate events.

Because they're small, they don't stock, nor can they physically deliver the sheer numbers of items required for a massive public event such as 1,000 chairs or 100 centrepieces.

You'll likely have to contact several suppliers because they just won't have everything you need or at least in numbers that you need.

But when you do contact them, you should get an answer pretty quickly because while some of them have up to 15 employees, most of them are solo operators.

For this reason, they also tend to reach capacity and book out much faster. But do your research because some of them actually work full time elsewhere and hire out items as a side hustle

But precisely because they ARE small, they can be innovative with a small range of unique event items that no-one sells or rents.

These can be the finishing touches such as eye-catching bars, Instagrammable lighting, unusual signage display or memorable guest favours.

Again, they don't tend to have many of these items in quantity, so if you see something you like, book it straightaway.