BY PAUL BICKLEY
For Indiana University’s football game against Ohio State two years ago, Master Rental Center set up 52 tents. That number marks the highest single-event tent rental in the business’ 38 years, says General Manager Deron Lavin.
Previously an independent Indianapolis business consultant, Lavin had never worked with a rental organization before starting with Master Rental in 2014 under a one-year agreement.
“I told the employees, ‘I don’t know the first thing about tents, tables, or chairs,’” Lavin recalls. Three years later, he’s still Master Rental’s general manager and a Bloomington resident.
Lavin says when he started at Master Rental he developed a business plan; instituted a work culture of empowered, shop-responsible, and team-oriented employees; acquired new clients and rental stock; and hired more staff. By 2016, Master Rental had doubled its gross annual income, and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce named it the medium-size business of the year.
Much of Lavin’s efforts have been in events rentals. “In 2014, Master Rental was strong in equipment and hand-tool rentals, but the tent and event side hadn’t been driven to its potential,” he says.
After garnering Indiana University football as a client, he bought more than one million dollars’ worth of tents and other equipment and dedicated more employees to events.
In 2016, Lavin says, Master Rental boosted its tent and event business by 325 percent over the previous ownership’s final year. Working with IU football contributed most to that growth. “It made us more visible within IU and the community,” he says. At Memorial Stadium’s Hoosier Village, IU schools and corporations like ATI Physical Therapy host tailgates under Master Rental tents. IU Greek organizations rent 20 tents per game. Twenty-four tents went up at Little 500.
Business events, weddings, and home parties fill out the tent demand. “We go full bore for nine of the 12 months,” Lavin says.
Master Rental’s tents range from a 10-by-10-foot pop-up for $47 a day to a 9,000-square-foot model for $12,600 a day. The center also rents tables, chairs, grills, and other party items.
Call 812-332-0600 or visit masterrental.com for more information.