by Jonathan Vatner | May 24, 2010

When renting or buying from vendors, ask your contact if her company owns the product; if not, inquire who she sources the items from, and so on and so on. The more steps from the owner her company is, the more the price will be, due to the multiple middlemen getting their markup. Bernie Gaps, president of Absolutely Fabulous! Events and Productions and Spandex USA (866-772-6339; in Costa Mesa, Calif., quoted a vendor $3 per spandex chair cover for a large event; later he learned that it had been marked up three times, to $17 per chair cover. For an event that took place the night before at the same company, he rented the same number of covers direct for $4 each.