Post # 1
I just barely started a vintage chair rental company and have been advertising on Craigslist.
The chairs are mismatched, but painted white to match and have been reupholstered in a coordinating neutral palette.
I’ve been getting a lot of responses on craiglist, and I’ve been quoting $8 to $10 a chair, depending on the order size, but most people say it’s out of their budget.
I love them so much and have put a lot of work into them. They’re right around what a chiavari or something like that would cost, plus they are a lot harder to deliver!
Is my pricing unreasonable? It didn’t seem so to me? Or is Craigslist just not a good place to advertise? I’d like to find other place to advertise, what do you bees recommend? I don’t have a lot of money to spend on ads right now, but I guess ironically, if I spent more on advertising, I’d have more money?
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Set up a nice website with photos of the chairs and the chairs lined up for an event. You can link to the website on Craigslist but you really need a stand-alone website if you’re going to try to charge the same as rental companies do for Chivari chairs (at least until you build up your business and have some clients that can recommend you.) I would rec doing it for a bit cheaper at first until you build a clientele and then slowly raise the rental rates as you get more demand.
Post # 4
Truthfully, I think Craigslist is the wrong place to advertise if you are hoping to get $8-10 a chair. IMO, Craiglist shoppers are looking for a bargain and that’s why you are out of their budget. Like Craigslist is where people are looking for 100 mason jars for $15 or something, not vintage rentals that are pricier than basic chairs that their venues already offer. To be quite honest, I only checked CL for a vintage-inspired mirror in hopes of finding something cheaper than Etsy or Homegoods.
I think even for event rentals, one of the best things to do is to network. So talk to local planners/DOC, caterers, florists, etc. and just let them know that you are new on the scene and have this available as a service. This is definitely a specialized product and in my area, I can only think of one major company that rents out vintage chairs at this point. It would also be helpful to team up with a photographer to do those inspired shoots and get blogged. That way, you get your name out there.
Post # 5
I think people may just not have budgets that allow for that type of luxury good. What area are you trying to market them in? In an expensive market (San Diego) our chiavari chairs, even for the more custom teal ones we used, were still only about $7.50/chair. It’s going to be hard for you to compete with businesses that have a high volume of sales – your profit margins won’t be low enough at the low volume you will be able to handle. Also, customers don’t have emotional attachment to “how much work you put into them” so try and find a way to let that go. It isn’t about your work – it’s about the value the customer sees. If you’ve chosen something that requires a ton of work and the customer can’t see the value, then that’s your mistake.
Also, I never would have looked at Craigslist for a rental. Do you have a website? I looked for rental companies that were established enough to have their own site. I wouldn’t want to leave the seating for my entire guest list up to a random Craigslist vendor without any Yelp reviews, etc.
Post # 6
@beachbride1216: My thoughts exactly.
You can’t start out at the same price as the competitor who is well known and beloved…why would anyone choose an unknown?
You gotta build the brand I think! Hey you might be the next Chivari!!! How awesome!!!
Post # 7
I agree with all the PPs that said that CL is not the place to go. Our Chivari chairs were $6 each and they were a custom color. I think $8 is too high. Also, I would try to get on those lists that venues give out as preferred vendors.
Post # 8
I think anyone that could afford that much on chairs would have a wedding planner or coordinator. I would contact party planners instead of consumers.
I think $8 a chair is a lot for a brand new company.
Post # 9
I do have a website http://www.sweetvintageseats.com and I’m in Southern California.
The vintage chair companies I’ve seen sometimes charge around $20 for a wood chair!!!
But yes, I do see your point, seeing as they are established. That’s where I want to get. 🙂
Thank you for the networking with vendor ideas!!!! That’s a very good idea indeed.
So how much do you all think I should be charging for these chairs right now? Thanks.
Post # 10
@DaphneDescends: I think the pricing is fine for the chairs given that you are in SoCal (assuming you’re not way inland where cost-of-living is lower). The issue is really reaching your target market. As others have mentioned, anyone with a budget that can afford renting chairs (at anything more than a buck or two) would likely be working with a cast of really top-notch vendors and/or coordinators/planners.
However, just to get your foot in the door and a few glowing reviews/testimonials, I would go for maybe giving out a few 50% off deals initially. I also wouldn’t just limit to advertising to brides/grooms but offer services for other events, e.g. birthday parties, backyard showers/parties, non-profit events, etc. If you were to partner with a non-profit and rent out your chairs for free, it’s a great opportunity for publicity.
Post # 11
@lilbluebird: Thank you for the advice. It’s particulary nice knowing you are from Southern California (I’m in Los Angeles County) and that you have a bit of a feel for the wedding atmosphere here.
We started collectiong these chairs for my sister’s wedding, and I really loved them and believed in them, so I will keep at it and try to reach out to event planners, etc.
Meanwhile, I have offered a discounted rate, and booked my first wedding! Very exciting, even if I had to come down on price. 🙂 I have you guys to thank!
Thanks for all the advice. Starting your own business can be daunting, even if you really believe in your product.