Guests Requesting Extra Time for Setup

Hello! How do you handle situations where guests want to come in the “day before” their actual event/reservation to set up and decorate? Do you simply charge the same rate? Offer a discount? I’m interested to hear your best practices. Thanks!

This is a boundaries issue and the best way to handle it is fearlessly.

If you devalue your space by giving a discount, then your guests will devalue both you and your space.

I’ve been asked this question before and I initially play dumb and say “I’m confused; you selected as your arrival time”. When they say “yeah, but I need time to set up”, I reply “OH you’re looking for extra time for set up but you don’t want to pay for it? I apologize, but I don’t give free extra time; it’s all a part of the rental.”

Make sure that your house rules state that your rental time is your arrival and departure time. Also, tell your guests in a message that you will see them at and that if they arrive early, to hang out in their vehicles or enjoy a cup of coffee down the street, as you don’t open the doors until their start time.

These people know exactly what they’re doing and what they’re trying to do is to take advantage of you.

If Peerspace changed “start time” and “end time” to “arrival time” and “departure time”, it would immediately end a lot of this nonsense with people arriving early for “setup” time.



You are right about changing the names but the clients would still find another way to come in earlier.
Best way to approach this is to be respectful and say sorry we are unable to let you in before your start time. I would allow for a short grace period (15mins early and late) just to help.
@Stacy_M Let me know if you have any other questions @Deacon_T and I would love to help.


Our policy, stated pretty much everywhere I can put it, is “time spent on site must be paid for.” In many cases we can’t have someone come in the day before because the space is in use. But even if it’s not–if I let them come in for anything other than the standard rate, I’m losing money (and we’re a non-profit for whom renting is a significant income stream).

So, politely, “You’re welcome to come in early, so long as you pay for the amount of time you–AND YOUR VENDORS!!!–are on site.” The all-caps is because some renters don’t understand (or don’t ask) how much time a caterer will need/want on site prior to an event, and suddenly the caterers are at the door two hours early, and… No. Especially without warning.

If they are the first rental of the day then we likely aren’t there early to let them in. I tend to arrive about 15-min before their rental time. If they somehow get in the building before me (from other tenants) then they’ll usually find the door to the rental spaces locked. Our receipt says that their access time begins at the time that they scheduled – rental time includes load-in, setup, breakdown and cleanup. If we’re there at the time and someone shows up earlier we’d ask them if they wanted to purchase an Overtime hour for early access IF the space is available. If anyone were to question their early arrival I’d simply say that they hadn’t scheduled the space until X:00. Did they want to start early and wrap early?


I tell them “I am like Uber” time starts, time stops. You want to add more you are charged. I typically mention that they need 2 hrs for set up and 1 hr for take down in addition to the ‘event’.
15 min here or there is not an issue. There are times we know we just have to help people. But there are others who want more, which is ok. Like a restaurant menu. Choose what fits your budget.

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We have this request on a regular basis. We communicate with them from the beginning in an onboarding message that comes out within 48 hours after they book to review our frequently asked questions and information about our booking. We allow individuals in 10 minutes before their event starts but only if there is not a booking directly before it. If they want earlier access, they will have to purchase. The booking is for their entire event including set up time.

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Just be firm and polite, always require payment for extra time, and try not to let your empathy get the best of you. It’s easy to give 15 minutes away and let it turn into a free half hour or more. Those nickel and dimes add up fast.
Most people aren’t venue owners so they won’t see it from our perspective. But that also means there will be many who take your stance personally or feel you’re being unreasonable. Just remind yourself it’s not unreasonable to expect payment for ALL time booked. Like THOMAS_H said, time starts - time stops. Same thing if people show up an hour late and want an extra hour. You were there on-time, and the space was ready on-time.

If you have different pricing for varying number of guests, you can always offer the discounted rate for setup time assuming they have a small crew, but I wouldn’t go any further than that.


I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said.

  1. I communicate clearly and repeatedly that set up and cleanup time needs to be included in the booking.
  2. I have a sign in/out sheet that makes sure to document in writing when people come and go (in addition to cameras)
  3. I will open the door 15 mins before start time, but not earlier
  4. I will give guests 15 mins at the end, but ONLY if they’re hustling. Standing around and talking is not free.

Someone mentioned Uber as their analogy. I use rental cars to explain this to people. Hertz would not allow you to come over the day before and use their car for free. You have to pay for it! Same thing if you were to return it late. There’s a fee. People seem to get this.


I like how you worded that: “time spent on site must be paid for.”

I am incorporating that exact verbiage into my policy, thank you!!


I am so glad to find this thread. I do find that the majority of the people request the time that they want the party to start and end. Then just a day before will say…what time can I get I to the space? I have gotten better about asking that question when they inquire. Still I find people under estimate t trine it will take to set up and decorate. Most want to book just 30mins to one hour. It actually takes 2-4 hours. I have had a challenge with updates. After agreeing to the update most don’t actually accept it. Finally a renter express his concern about the one hour update. He said it says that I am agreeing to pay $547. It doesn’t indicate the $425. That I have already paid. I am afraid if I accept I will pay $547 plus $425. It was late Friday night and his booking was the next day. I withdrew the update and told him I could add the hour after the event. After the event I gave him a good review then when I tried to add the hour through the email link How’d it go with…X ? The booking was already closed, because I gave the review on the app.

I’ve learned to not accept the initial booking until the guest and I have mutually agreed upon the right amount of time needed. Then I will communicate to him/her that the booking details have been updated and that they need to physically confirm the actual booking in Peerspace and that has worked pretty well. I’m finding that I need to overcommunicate these expectations as people don’t always read everything the first time.

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Everyone has given excellent advice already.
I just wanted to add that I clearly remind everyone who makes a booking request that our reservations are entry to exit time, and if they want to enter earlier, then they will need to request an earlier entry time. We don’t live at our rental space and can’t just be available anytime they decide to show up. If people arrive early, they are waiting outside. I never let people setup the day before unless they are paying for that time, and usually everyone just ops to set up on the same day which is better for us. Just remember to be clear and firm with your policies, and always remain polite. The minute you start offering various “deals” is the minute people start taking advantage of you. (that’s not to say you can’t offer sales to everyone equally, just don’t offer discounts to people who beg, or belittle, or coerce you to do so). Just my 2 cents.

If the client wants to show up a day before to set up their equipment they must be charged full price for those hours that are being used. Those are hours that can be booked to another customer. You can’t give people a discount just to set up their equipment. That’s just bad business.

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