Archive for December, 2008

Merry xmas to all marquee hirers

Monday, December 29th, 2008

A short post today as:

a. The factory’s closed and we’re not back at work until Monday 5th so this is eating into looking-after-baby-daughter time!

b. Our best friends wedding was last night and computer screens aren’t great with hangovers..

So thank you for reading over 2008, I realise I write a lot of gabble but hopefully there’s a few things somewhere in my posts that you find useful in running or starting up your marquee hire business.

Something I find myself repeating quite frequently over the phone is “what I’d do if I was starting up a marquee hire company again” so I’ll start writing posts covering that. If it goes down well I could bundle them up in one place for future readers.

For those who are already running their own hire businesses I’d appreciate any thoughts or ideas you have to include in this beginners guide. I’ve also got some ideas on offering some free (that’s f-r-e-e) promotional techniques or website features for you. Watch this space 🙂

For those of you who run temporary water supplies to marquees (mainly those who offer catering too) you should be aware that research is being done into providing a British Standard for water quality in temporary structures. No doubt the research will take a long time and may come to nothing but it’s something you should keep an eye on in case there are requirements you don’t satisfy.

As always thank you for reading, have a happy new year and let’s hope 2009 is the year of the marquee!

Spencer

Marquee Hire pitfalls

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I’m very wary about coming across as a smug know-it-all in this blog. I don’t claim to know everything about marquees but I know a reasonable amount. I don’t claim to have all the answers to your start up marquee hire business, but as I’ve been there I can point you in the right direction. To illustrate the point of my non-know-it-all status I’ll try to remember a few of our errors now and again:

We were brought in to erect a marquee for an evening presentation at a hotel/spa one day, the marquee was to be erected on one side of their car park and had to be up in the morning, down in the evening.

Now marquees going up on a hard standing are a pain in the backside. You need to either drill in to the car park (not allowed), hold it down with weights or use long guy ropes down to a nearby patch of grass.

We thought we were being pretty shrewd by lining up the marquee along the edge of the car park so we could knock stakes in the thin patch of grass on one side – hey presto we only need weights along  the front.

The presentation was a success and we’d nearly taken it all down when it came to taking the stakes out -upon lifting a stake out one of our lads heard a loud ‘hissing’ noise and smelt gas! Showing remarkable coolness he dropped the stake back in the hole before RUNNING out the marquee.

Yes we’d gone through the main gas pipe.
That fed the large hotel.
That was just about to seat 120 people for an evening meal.
Oh crap.

In actual fact we came out of it quite lightly. We paid for the British Gas emergency call out to repair the leak and we refunded half the hire charge. If we’d been pressed to compensate the 120 diners we’d have been in trouble.

So what’s to learn from this? MAKE SURE on your terms and conditions you have a line saying ‘there are no underground drains, cables, pipes or other hidden services on the site selected’ and ‘ cannot be held responsible for damage to such items unless informed in writing previously’ and only take a booking with a signature agreeing to these t’s & c’s.

If you buy one of our marquees we include a copy of our old t’s & c’s for you to use.

Thanks for reading, Merry Xmas 🙂

Spencer

How to clean a marquee

Monday, December 15th, 2008

With most parts of the country suffering ‘a bit of rain’ recently cleaning your marquees suddenly shoots up your to-do list. And rightly so, storing your marquees away when wet ages them very quickly, especially windows.

Firstly, there are two types of dirt you get on marquees

  1. There’s dirt that gets splashed on: Mud splattered on the sides,food thrown against the walls and leaves blown down on to the roof are all like this. This kind of dirt is relatively easy to wash off.
  2. A grey film builds up on to marquee covers over time. This makes the marquee look old and ‘tired’ and is a bit harder to clean off.

For splashed on mud you need to get hold of a power washer and a big tub of traffic film remover (TFR – basically concentrated washing up liquid, available from auto factors and used for cleaning lorry sides). Steam cleaners make life a bit easier compared to power washers but they’re a lot more expensive and a lot more problematic (I speak from experience).

So just power wash the dirt off using diluted TFR. For stubborn marks pour some undiluted TFR on and leave it for 5/10mins, then wash off.

Easy huh? Remember to always take a small tub of TFR in a plant spray with a cloth or sponge to every job just in case you tread on a wall or something when putting it up (it also looks good to the customer to see you ensuring their marquee is clean for them).

Then we come on to the grey film that builds up (a lot of people think this is just the material aging like canvas but it’s not and can be cleaned off to look like near-new).

To clean this off you need to spray the TFR quite strongly over the area and leave it for 5 mins. When you come back you need to ‘irritate’ the grey film to lift it off the surface for which you need a stiff brush or broom. If you’ve got a lot to do we used to use an electric floor cleaner (like you see cleaning supermarkets etc). Once you’ve gone over the whole area just wash it all off with your power washer and hey presto -back to (nearly) new!

There are a couple of exceptions to this second part.

  • window material shows scratches so don’t go over any transparent section with a brush or floor cleaner, just wipe it as thoroughly as possible by hand.
  • if your marquee uses ‘pvc backed’ material rather than ‘pvc laminate’ (which is what we use) then only use the brush/floor cleaner on the non-pvc backed side. PVC backing as a product is fine but if you start attacking it with a brush or floor cleaner it might start to flake away. That would be bad.

Basically the better you look after your equipment the longer it will be before you come back to us for replacements so the more money you make. It’s also offering your customers a better service, which is never a bad thing.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

New size of marquees to buy

Monday, December 8th, 2008

6m x 14m commercial pvc diy marquee

When we first entered the marquee sales industry no one was really offering PVC marquees at reasonable prices. Your choices were either to go for cheap PE party tents or expensive PVC frame marquees. Then we came along 🙂
Since then others have now copied (with mixed results) and offer reasonably priced PVC marquees.

We offered our marquee linings with our marquees. Others have also copied (with even greater mixed results).

We lead, others follow. But then imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so we take it as a compliment.

So in our constant strive to bring you the best available options for your business we’re now offering 6m x 14m PVC Marquees. They’re made to the same high specifications as all of our DIY Marquee range but the greater length means you can fit in ten 5ft round tables – giving a seated capacity of up to 100!

We really think offering these will help the rental market and should offer you excellent returns on investment.We will of course be making linings and other accessories for them.

“Hello Jerry, remember last month when I paid back that loan, well now I need you to do a favour for me” Homer J Simpson
It’s in this spirit that we’re asking for a favour. After constant requests we’ve made some carry bags -these are mark II versions that have carry handles and top access, the mark I’s we made were basically sacks with drawstring that we weren’t willing to sell/let people use.

Anyway, we’ll be selling these bags at £6 + VAT each but we’d like some hire companies to provide some feedback for us so we’re willing to sell some at half price (£3 + VAT for those with Monday-morning rusty brains!) as long as you provide some feedback and/or photos.

Contact me if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Marquee Hire Websites

Monday, December 1st, 2008

We’ve finally got round to something I’ve been meaning to sort out for a while now -we can now offer websites for start up hire businesses (or existing ones if you want to change your current site).

An example is here

Cost is likely to be £180 for the first year, £45 a year from then on which we think is very reasonable for what we’re offering:

Home page – supply your own text to fill the page, change the locations you cover, choose your own colour scheme. This will also be optimised for the search engines.
Photo Gallery – all photos are included for you to use, we’ll also add your own photos when you get them.
Marquee Planner – we’ll add whatever size DIY Marquees you stock.
Contact Page – If you want other details for people to fill in we can do it for you.
Webmail – log in to send & receive work emails.
Advice on getting up the search rankings – We’ll point out what you can do to get your website up the search rankings and links to tools to help you. It can be time consuming but very little expertise is required.

Any extras you would like adding we can arrange (price on application). Once the website is up and running any subsequent alterations we’d also have to charge for (except adding photographs).

A .co.uk domain name is included in the price so you can choose whatever name you like (subject to availability) and your email address would be yourname@yourdomain.co.uk.

As always , feedback appreciated.

Thanks for reading

Spencer