Archive for July, 2008

Larger marquees for sale

Monday, July 28th, 2008

A few people thought I went a bit over the top in criticising breathable flooring a couple of weeks ago and point out that there’s a lot of people using it. And that’s true. But I hate it and find it pointless. Carpet is better for single events, matting is better as a long term investment, both will be less of a headache than breathable flooring. Hey it’s my opinion.

I don’t want this to be all about our DIY marquees (despite them obviously being the greatest thing since sliced bread), there are other, larger marquees for sale out there and they have their place in most larger marquee hire companies.

In our company we used our style of marquees for 6m (20ft) wide stuff, and aluminium modular frames for 9m and 12m wide tasks. Any job larger than 12m x 24m (four 6mx12m marquees connected) we’d use 9m or 12m modular kit. We also had some pagoda/witches hat marquees as entrance tents etc.
We needed a 9m wide marquee for this for example:

pool7

So here are some useful tips for when/if you buy some aluminium frame marquees:

  1. Be careful when lifting. I blame my serious back injury purely on lifting 12m frames. Even now I’d happily lift our 6m marquees all day but there’s no way anyone would get me near 12m wide marquees.
  2. Make sure the marquees are completely square, you can tell this by looking at the scalloped trim from a distance. It should be perfectly straight all the way along. If it’s not square your marquee will leak. We found this out the hard way, if the roofs aren’t on square the keader must be buckled slightly and it allows water in -this is why we designed our DIY Marquees to have roofs all in one piece.
  3. When pulling the roofs on (using two ropes) clip a third rope on that gets pulled back over the marquee with the roof. This means the two pulling ropes can be clipped on to it and pulled back rather than throwing them again and again. Not sure I’ve explained this one too well but this saved us a LOT of time (ropes would get stuck round purlins regularly).
  4. You shouldn’t need to use steps for these marquees: gables (pvc & uprights) can be put on and lifted with the frame, ropes should be put through the apex pulleys while down on the ground and lighting can be attached to the lining poles before they’re pulled in to the ceiling. The only reason we took steps was in case the roofs got caught when feeding over the apex. I’ve heard some people (braver or more stupid than me) actually climb up the frame when this happens! S*d that!
  5. Be careful when strapping the roof beams on to a roof rack or trailer. It’s very easy to bend the beams doing this which weakens the structure and can result in them staying bent out of place.

There’s probably loads of other things that I’ve forgotten that we took for granted. If I remember any more I’ll post them.

Thanks for reading

Spencer.

The most important thing about Marquee Hire

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Be confident.

Sounds a little over the top to call it the most important thing about marquee hire? Not really.

People are putting their trust in you for their event. What are they basing this on? In the case of weddings or large events 90% it’s about you (and your reputation).  Festivals, places where all people want is a cover over their heads it’s all about price and you may not even meet your customer until you put the marquee up. But for weddings or special occasions it’s how you come across at a site visit.

Not a confident person? Don’t worry, neither was/am I. You’ve just got to pretend to be -fake it till you make it.

Think about what the customer wants from you
-confident
-knowledgable (gained over time)
-listens to what they want
-polite (manners are free!)
After a while all these things come naturally. Then you’ve got the other extreme to worry about -arrogance.

One of our competitors was particularly arrogant when going back for repeat business (a 2nd or 3rd marquee for the same family) -this resulted in us getting loads of work!

Confidence is important but remember it’s a fine line between very confident and arrogance!

Marquee flooring

Monday, July 14th, 2008

There’s basically five options for flooring a marquee:

Wooden/suspended floor, carpet, matting, plastic tiling or breathable flooring (softex etc).

The best finish is a wooden floor with new exhibition carpet on top, it’s also the most expensive.

The worst in my opinion is breathable flooring as it allows condensation to build up.

We once got called out my a lady complaining her marquee leaked when we were in the middle of a hose pipe ban and it hadn’t rained for 2 weeks! She’d watered her lawn just before we’d arrived, she didn’t have any flooring so it all came off as water vapour forming as condensation up in the marquee.

If you use wooden flooring, carpet or matting you should lay a groundsheet or polythene underneath to prevent this happening. Breathable is exactly what a floor shouldn’t be! Grass is tough stuff, it recovered soon after the marquee’s gone.

Wooden flooring:

Larger marquees offer an integrated flooring system or use an interlocking wooden floor.

Coconut matting:

This is what most marquee company’s use for most jobs. Lasts for years, just hoover it after laying (we used to use a leaf blower), put a groundsheet underneath & nail it all down with 4” or 6” nails.

Exhibition carpet:

Offered as a premium option to matting it’s laid in exactly the same way but you only get 1-3 uses out of carpet depending on the colour and intensity of use. Recyclable options now available as it is becoming increasingly difficult to dispose of.

Plastic tiling:

I was never a fan as it hides dips and holes until trodden on but other people swear by it. Bulky but easy and quick to lay.

Breathable flooring:

Hate it. Keep it for caravan awnings.

If you’re starting up a hire company I’d recommend buying some coconut matting. You can also offer carpet and you just price it for buying it new and only using it once. I’d also buy some wooden flooring to use as dance floors then when you have enough you can offer it as a solid floor.

In general there’s no need to have a solid floor during the summer. For my wedding I had carpet over groundsheets on grass and everyone walked in thinking it was a solid floor underneath. The only exception would be on patios or tennis courts that might get water pooling.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Pointers for marquee site visit/survey

Monday, July 7th, 2008

A site visit is normally done from 12 months to 2 weeks before the marquee’s going up. With experience you’ll be able to see exactly what your marquees will look like when erected and therefore what problems you’re likely to face.

The first few times you go to site visits you won’t know what to look for so here’s some tips:

  • If you’re putting a marquee up against the house always have the flat gable end against any door, especially if it’s opening outwards. Two reasons: i. if it rains the water goes off to the side, not towards the house. ii. In most designs of marquee there’s no bar across the gable to stop doors opening etc.
  • Think about how you’re going to anchor the marquee down. If it’s on grass it’s usually straight forward –stakes/guy ropes. If it’s on a patio then you need to think about weights, longer guy lines or bolting it down.
  • Access: check the ease of access to the site
  • Is there enough room to erect the marquee (not just enough room for it to fit when erected). Do this twice!
  • If you’re using stakes into the ground check there aren’t any cables etc running under the area.
  • Make sure there aren’t any power lines overhead
  • Look at the parking outside, this may influence how many vehicles you bring.


If I remember any more pointers I’ll post them later.

Thanks for reading