We had the chance to sit down with entrepreneur, Clint Crowe. Crowe owns Elite Event Rental, which is an event rental company that specializes not only in tents and temporary structures, but also tables, chairs, linens and other event related equipment. They serve anything from backyard parties, to banquets, corporate events, galas, groundbreakings and larger events like food festivals, music festivals and weddings.
Clint is not new to the entrepreneur game. He started his business as a side hustle when he was a Freshman in college making minimum wage at a gym. From there, he pursued his passion for music festivals and even got into disaster relief, restoring facilities when large storms came through local areas.
“I didn’t want to be working at a gym. I started renting tables and chairs to fraternities and sororities on KSU’s campus during my Freshman year and somebody got me into tents. They said ‘these are great, do you have a tent we can rent from you?’ And it went from there.”
Some would say money would be the main component towards an entrepreneur’s drive, but Crowe’s drive comes from a more personal standpoint.
“My drive comes from entrepreneurial spirit. This is my seventh year doing this and while I enjoy money as much as anybody enjoys money, it’s all about building something for others. Employing 15 people in the slow season, and 30 people in the high season, I’m putting food on the on the table for lots of families. My employees drive me, my customers drive me, and the events that we put on certainly drive me.”
“At the end of the night, what your customers are left with are memories. The passion and drive behind any event really is to try to make those memories better by giving people the infrastructure to enjoy themselves more.”
Elite Event Rentals takes pride in not just their equipment, but their personal engagement with their customers. Crowe stresses the importance of having his employees be there for their customers from the point of sale all the way to the end of the event. The personalized experience is what makes their company stand out from the rest.
“So there are bigger companies out there, but the equipment that we have is largely to monetize. A tent that you get from us is going to be the same as that you get from another company. What you get when you work with Elite is a level of personalized detail and attention. You’re not just another faceless customer and our sales reps aren’t just faceless names. There has to be a personal connection because the same person that sold you the event, is going to be there to help you manage it as well.”
Crowe faced many challenges starting his company so young, one being finding a great team. By learning through trial and error, Crowe has been able to sharpen his management skills and empower his team to make their own decisions.
“It took me many years to find the right people. Happy employees create happy customers, and honing my management skills and interpersonal skills over the years played a large role in that.”
Many components go into making a company successful, and for Crowe, encouraging his team to take ownership of their work is what he believes will get a company to reach that success.
“One of my management philosophies is to empower my team to make their own decisions. There’s no micromanaging that goes on here. Nobody’s watching the clock, nobody’s bugging, everybody’s inspired to add value to the company and add value to customers. My team is equipped to handle any problem or situation that comes up without calling me with every little detail.”
So what can an entrepreneur do to find the right business? Crowe says to find the hole in the market and go from there.
“I got into the event business because somebody was complaining about a tent company not answering their phone and not showing up on time. As a millennial, I remember thinking, ‘how hard is it to answer the phone?’ And if you can’t answer the phone, ‘how hard is it to call somebody back?’ That was my hole in the market. Why not build a business model around always answering the phone and being on time?”
To all the entrepreneurs out there that want to start their own business, Crowe gives this takeaway to set your company up for success:
“If you’re starting a business. Take care of your employees, take care of your customers, and do what you say you’re gonna do.”
To find out more about Elite Event Rental, you can check out their website here.