One on One with Robert Copley, Event Essentials
Regional Account Manager Eric Christensen recently sat down with Robert Copley CERP, Sales Manager at Event Essentials in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more from their Q&A session and learn how Robert views our industry and what's to come.
Q. Robert, I know that 2022 isn’t over, but, what’s your outlook for 2023?
A. We believe 2023 will be just as busy as 2022, if not busier. We have had more people reach out and confirm orders for next year than in years past. We are also quoting more future orders than we ever have.
Q. As we are all keenly aware, labor shortages have been an issue (again) in 2022. What are a few things that you have done to combat this issue?
A. We have relied heavily on our internal team to help spread the word about joining our team. This was also one of the best years we have had for hiring seasonal workers. We use a lot of college and high school help every year and we were able to get a lot of returning workers from last year and they helped to recruit some of their friends for this year.
Q. What are some things that you do at Event Essentials to keep your team engaged and motivated to achieve your company goals?
A. Taking care of our employees. We have limited our weekend work, we hold an all staff company picnic, corporate golf membership to a local golf course for all employees to use, purchased season tickets to our local semi-pro soccer team for our staff to use as well.
Q. As you look back over the past year or two, have you instituted any new processes or protocols that you have found to help you/your team be more successful (this can be sales/ops/installs etc).
A. We are just trying to make things as efficient as possible. We are constantly looking at processes, whether that be a new piece of equipment to help with a tent installations and large installations (ex. Tent Ox, we currently own 3 of them) or an automated shrink wrapper in the kitchen to help speed up the process of re-packaging of our dish and glassware items.
Q. In terms of your business, If you could wave a magic wand and immediately change or fix one thing what would it be and what would it solve?
A. I would love to have the customer be able to better understand our industry and how we make events come to life. I feel as though there is a misconception of the event rental world. It’s like we just have stuff sitting on the shelf and it magically appears. There is so much that goes into making an event happen and getting the customer to understand that can be difficult at times. I want them to understand the value of our business and staff and that we are a partner in making their event a success.
Q. In the recent years (1-3 years) what is one thing that you have learned about your business or this industry and how has that changed your thoughts/actions? …drop some wisdom on me.
A. Labor and Pricing. I do think more and more people are starting to understand and value the event rental world. Ever since COVID we have been raising our prices due to labor constraints as well as the rise in product costs. I believe this has been an opportunity for us to show our customers that our industry requires a skill set just like; construction, electricians, HVAC and other trade related industries. With that in mind, it comes at a cost. We are finally able to charge what we should have been charging years ago for tent installations of all sizes as well as other technical installations we provide our clients.
Q. Wild Card – ask me a question and I will do my best to answer it.
A. Robert Asks "What will the tent and event rental industry look like 10 years from now?"
Eric responds, "Well done on a tough question Robert! What I believe is that in 10 years, relationships will still be what matters most. Technology will obviously continue to evolve and turn some of our tedious tasks into a few clicks on our phones. Despite that, the foundation of who we are, what we are doing and the decisions we make will continue to depend heavily on the relationships we have with our customers, vendors and co-workers. There are some things that you can’t solve with an app. In general, I think this industry will become smarter, faster, and safer. I have seen it happen over the past 26 years an I have no doubt that we will continue to evolve in that direction.