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These days, entire books are written on running events on a tight budget. The knowledge-base is vast, varied, and focused on saving you money here there and everywhere. Some recommend cutting costs with your venue choice: avoiding popular Friday or Saturday night slots or perhaps opting for a slightly cheaper location.
Others emphasize maximizing publicity on every low-cost channel possible, like Facebook and Instagram. For all the ways to spend money on an event, party and event-planners have an arsenal of tools to save their cash as well.
The party season is soon arriving, and for those looking to host something memorable for less, there’s a new way to save big on your next event – renting stuff from your neighbours.
Do Great Parties Need Huge Budgets?
The greatest events that you’ve ever attended have been intricately planned. In order for parties to be truly successful, there needs to be the bedrock of the right venues, the right music, and the right people there to make them flow.
As a part of that plan, your hosts will have wrestled with their budgets right up until the day of the event – how much thought was put into what to spend and where will really have decided how successful the party was. Costs go to food and drink, venues, hired talents and, of course, the rental of the entertainment equipment.
It’s generally equipment rental that ends up being the most expensive of the lot. You need so much stuff to make a party feel like it was run by a true pro – lighting, sound, DJ equipment, stages, photo booths and much more. Some equipment like photo booths can be surprisingly reasonable, try searching on Google for mirror photo booth hire in London or wherever is local to you to find a hire company. Whereas other equipment can be a lot more expensive!
Usually, your options for sourcing the stuff are limited. People have neither the money nor the space to buy a high-end kit, and so they are usually forced to go to rental companies, which can essentially name their price.
In 2018, the cost for all the stuff needed for an average party of 100 can stretch well over £1000 and that’s a price nobody wants to pay for one single night.
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Power your Party with Collaborative Consumption
Instead of borrowing from rental shops, more and more people are hiring stuff straight from their neighbours and saving huge amounts of money in the process. Services like *Fat Lama are at the heart of the growing sharing economy, which includes Uber and Airbnb.
Fat Lama facilitates true peer-to-peer rental of all kinds of professional grade equipment, allowing party planners to rent gear that people have lying about in their sheds or attics.
We’ve been road-testing the idea ourselves. We came up with an example 30th birthday party aiming to host around 100 people. Our imaginary birthday girl wanted DJ decks and a mixer; a top quality speaker system; party lighting and smoke machine; a stage; a marquee and a karaoke machine for the end of the night.
We checked to see how much it would cost using standard rental companies, and then we ran the list through Fat Lama to compare prices.
The results we found were very interesting – see how much we found we could save:
Lighting and Sound
Neighbour rental: £180
The standard rental companies for the PA system were charging for a package 2 1000w speakers with a DJ set for around £350, plus a deposit. A different lighting company had a lighting set plus smoke machine for about £250 dollars, taking them both to £600 all in.
Borrowing from *Fat Lama was far cheaper, with a lighting kit and speaker system package all for £130. The smoke machine was £20 and a DJ mixer and turntable came to around £30. At around £180, this was obviously far cheaper.
Neighbour rental: £100
Marquees are famously quite pricey to rent. We could not find one to hold 100 people for much less than £350 online. On the other hand, over on Fat Lama, a couple of users had listed their easy to set up marquees for between £80 and £110, naturally a much better option for our birthday bash.
Neighbour rental: £92
A company was renting a 4x2m stage for £120, while a listing online had a modular set of stage pieces at £24 dollars per 1x1m section of the stage. For a good size that added up only to £92.
Neighbour rental: <£50
For what they are, Karaoke Kits are Exorbitant to rent, most of the time you’d genuinely be better off buying one – not anymore. Online We couldn’t go much less than £200, whereas there were several cheap listings for Karaoke machines and kits for £50 or less.
Join the Wave: Start Borrowing Locally in 2018
In total, the standard rental costs for our party of the season came to £1,300 or so, while borrowing from our neighbours only cost us £422. That granted us a saving of nearly £900 – don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s pretty darn good economics.
So, why pay an extortionate fee for items that people just have lying about and aren’t using. By renting stuff from your neighbours, you win, they win and your guests win by being provided with top class entertainment. If you’re looking to throw a super party this summer, check out what you can save by renting through the sharing economy.
About Gina Caro
Gina is a content creator and award-winning blogger. Her aim is to help you live a more sustainable & simple life. Her blog covers zero waste, minimalism, wellbeing & thrift. She currently lives in Cornwall with her partner, two kids and Charles the dog.
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