Early arrivals?

When you have a booking that starts at 9am, do you expect the event organizers to arrive at 9am or before? I recently had a guest that booked a meeting space, starting at 8am. All 40 attendees were waiting outside by 7:45, at which time they started banging on my door with their fists! I send reminders before events to say “Do not arrive before xx to set up, for your event start time and guests’ arrival at yy,” but this was a last minute booking so I didn’t send that note. I’m just wondering if it’s standard in the events industry to expect people to arrive early? Thanks.

I’ve had the same thing happen many times, as much as 45 minutes before. I almost always turn them away, as I am always cleaning something right up until the moment the rental begins (our space always has a lovely aroma of lemon and bleach haha).

If they were banging on MY door (and keep in mind that everyone handles situations differently) I would ask sternly why they were banging with their fists.

When renters arrive early, It puts you on the spot to have your space ready to go and put aside your personal matters long before you were being paid to do so and you are under no obligation to let them in early.

I strongly recommend adding something in your house rules about no early arrivals or late departures, just to keep you covered.

Thanks for responding and for the empathy. I guess I needed to vent! But I also really appreciate your suggestion to add a house rule about it. going to do that now!

In our experience, the off-site events (corporate, meetings, workshops, etc) have more people arriving early than other types of events. I had one meeting where 2 guys arrived 2 hours early (looking like they just stepped off the set of The Sopranos). I told them they could grab some coffee at the end of the block, and they grudgingly left. Came back a few minutes later and said, “We’ll just wait here.”

In that case, whatever. Here are a few thoughts:

  • The meeting attendees often come early to account for traffic, find the location, find a parking spot, get settled. Point this out to the organizers as they may not be aware if they are new to this.

  • Organizers often feel they can set up in 15 minutes, when that is rarely the case. Point out to them that people will arrive early, and they need to decide if they want people coming in while they are still setting up, or if they want to be dialed in before opening the doors to attendees. They need to book time to arrive, get a feel for the space, load in, connect to a project, put out materials, etc.

  • They should account for at least 30 minutes of early arrivals, but that is a good time to greet them, offer coffee/water/juice/pastries, encourage them to meet others attendees.

  • Tell the booker to communicate clearly that the venue will not open until _____ o’clock.

  • Ask the booker, “If some of your people arrive earlier than X:XX, would you like us to let them in and add that time to your booking?”

  • For all events, I state it something like this: “I will meet you at the venue at 8:00am to unlock the space for you and walk you through the amenities. Please let you guests, friends, assistants, and vendors know there will not be early access to the space, and any deliveries before that time (if possible) need to be coordinated in advance in writing.”

  • My space is not my home, so I try as much as possible to have the space clean and ready, and then leave, returning 10 minutes before their start time.

All the best! - Brad

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Before I even accept the booking, I always ask for the renter to confirm that their requested booking time includes set up and breakdown. It’s tedious to have to ask so many questions to confirm things but in the end it makes the event a lot easier for me.

The day before or morning of the event I always send this message:

Hi _____,

I just wanted to touch base with you on your upcoming event at
(venue’s address)

Please note that:
-Doors will unlock at _____ for you to begin set up.
-You and your guests and vendors are expected to vacate by _____. Per Peerspace’s policy, overtime will be billed in half-hour increments at a rate of 1.5 times our stated hourly rate.

Let me know if you have any questions, I’m here to help. See you soon!

I keep a .doc on my desktop of message templates that I just copy and paste, and add in any comments I need to depending on the event.

Hope this helps!


This happens to me ALL THE @$%& TIME.

My favorite is when people say they want their booking to go from, say… 9:00am to 5:00pm and then look at me and ask how early they can access the space. The look of confusion on their faces when I say 9:00am is fun to watch.

Beyond that, the actual answer is “it depends…”.

For most events (weddings, birthdays, etc) the start time is the start time. I rarely budge on it though I will allow people to drop things off earlier in the day if it’s convenient for me. However, they cannot start setting up, unpacking, prepping, etc. until the start time on the agreement.

For photo/film productions, which is my main business, I’m flexible. The reason for this is that these are the people that are going to book repeatedly and/or tell their friends in the business about me. I want them to feel accommodated and good about being here. I usually get to the space an hour before a booking to tidy up and make sure the space is good to go. The production assistants almost always show up 15-20 mins early and I’ll let them in while I clean.

ONE SUPER HELPFUL THING TO HAVE is a sign in/out sheet. I have the first person sign in and the last sign out. Both are required to indicate the time. The security cameras in the space can give me a time stamp if I want to be stiff about timing, but having someone’s signature on a piece of paper almost always mitigates this. I also have the basic studio rules on this paper so that there’s no question someone received them.


Good idea with the sign in/out sheeet! I have a laminated info sheet with my info, venue rules, etc. on it and was thinking to have them sign this to make sure they read it.

These are all such good ideas. Thank you, Mimi, Brad, and Geoffrey!

tldr for future readers:

  • Before booking, confirm that booker has accounted for set up time and planned their start time with attendees accordingly.
  • Ask in advance if attendees should be allowed in early at overtime rates.
  • “Doors will be unlocked for you at __.” No early arrivals; deliveries earlier only by appointment.
  • Day before/of reminder with door time and consequences of early arrivals.
  • sign in/out sheet for first arrival and last departure to indicate times of arrival/departure
  • house rule on Peerspace listing about early arrivals and late departures

Hi Mimi! Would you be willing to share your list of templates we should have prepared for renters? It would be invaluable as I feel like every event there’s something I wish I had thought of before hand. Thank you

I have one message that I send out after someone has come by for a tour. During the tour I make note of any questions or requests and I recap this later in a message.

This one I send out when they are ready to book:
Setup and break down is included in booking hours. Doors will unlock when your reservation starts; and you are expected to vacate completely by the end of your reservation time.

The space must be vacated (including vendors and guests), and all items brought into the space must be removed by the end time of your booking reservation. Per Peerspace’s policy, overtime will be billed in half-hour increments at a rate of 1.5 times our stated hourly rate.

Guests must notify the venue coordinator of any food, beverage, and equipment deliveries.

Excessive or unnecessary noises that are a menace to the welfare and prosperity of the residents and businesses surrounding our venue are prohibited. Weapons, illegal drugs and activities are prohibited. Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas. No loitering. Renter is responsible for ensuring all guests vacate the property by the end of the reservation. No glitter, confetti or confetti balloons.

Guests are expected to leave the space in the same condition as they found it in. Guests must respect the space and we ask/appreciate that guests tidy up after themselves. No nails, screws, staples or penetrating items should be used on our walls. Any tape or gummed backing materials must be properly removed. Damages (walls, floors, furniture, etc) will be billed to the credit card on file with Peerspace.

To confirm agreement of these terms and conditions and to finalize your booking, please reply to this message with your full name and phone number.

And then this one I send a day or two before the event:
Hi _____,

I just wanted to touch base with you on your upcoming event at
(venue’s address)

Please note that:
-Doors will unlock at _____ for you to begin set up.
-You and your guests and vendors are expected to vacate by _____. Per Peerspace’s policy, overtime will be billed in half-hour increments at a rate of 1.5 times our stated hourly rate.

Let me know if you have any questions, I’m here to help. See you soon!

I have a few other ones specific to our venue and features (photo booth, parking, etc.).
Hope this helps!


Thank you so much Mimi!