Archive for February, 2009

What’s stopping you start up a business?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

For those who have already started up a business you can read smugly or skip this and wait for next weeks read 🙂

As the saying goes if you want to be a self-made man (or woman) don’t leave out the working parts. There’s no doubt that working for yourself can be bloody hard work, but it’s enjoyable and a hell of a lot more satisfying than working for someone else. So what’s stopping you?

Attitude? We all know someone who talks a good game. When applied to business they’re always ‘just about to make it big’ or have an idea that’ll make them a millioniaire. In reality these kinds of people will do too much research and the fire will fizzle out before they start up another dream, this is repeated several times until all they’re left with is looking in hindsight about how it was just bad luck they didn’t make it big.

Don’t make this mistake! To start up a marquee hire business (or any business) you need to be a doer not a talker. I’m all for doing research but structure it sensibly, work backwards. Say to yourself:

  • I want to be in business by ….. (say 6 months time-could be much less, shouldn’t be much more unless you’ve got a VERY good reason)
  • I need to make a decision on what marquees I want to buy and how I’m going to approach it by … (say 3 months time -this leaves enough time to buy equipment, set up a website and do other advertising before launch)
  • That leaves me with … (3 months) to do research. During which time you spend every spare minute doing research, speaking to as many people as possible in the industry finding out useful information.
  • Make decisions, do it, go for it.

Being your own boss is incredibly satisfying, but it rewards people who get out there and make things happen for themselves, not (at least very rarely) those who sit back wanting it all to be handed to them.

Intimidated?
It can be a little scary. But there’s lots of people out there who’ll help you. Small business advisers in banks are okay but can be biased towards their products (as they work on commission), places like Business Link are there to help people like you.

It doesn’t help when you get idiots/car salesman contestants on programs like The Apprentice who talk about ‘being in business’ as being members of some closed-shop religion or sect. Absolute rubbish. They don’t know all about business. I don’t know all about business. Peter Jones might know all about business.

My point is that you don’t need to know a damn thing about business as long as you’re willing to learn and put some hours in anyone can do it. And that includes you 🙂

To follow on from last week – we used large ifor williams trailers to transport equipment. Rack the back out to take long poles and have compartments at the front to take the canvas. Don’t buy triple axle trailers, they can take the same gross weight as double axle ones but you’ve taken some of that weight up with another axle. So a triple axle trailer actually takes LESS weight than a double axle one!

Thanks for reading

Spencer

So you’ve decided to start a marquee hire company

Monday, February 16th, 2009

What now?

Well first off is the boring bit – research and budget. It’s not just the marquees you have to consider, it’s the advertising, insurance, storage and transport. Today I’m going to cover transport:

Regular readers may know I went on a course to become a qualified electrician a few years ago, most people there were learning a new trade to set up in business (I did it so I could do up my house at weekends). Loads of guys there had bought their own vans fully sign-written and ready to go. Some took offence when I asked – what research did you do to decide on what size van? (none in most cases). Some had chosen a name but hadn’t looked round to see if the name was already taken by someone else!

So let’s look at the options for marquee hire businesses: Lorries, vans (low, mid, high top or luton?) and trailers:

Lorries: You need an operators licence, regular maintenance and they can be awkward to back in to peoples driveways (though a marquee erecting mate points out that furniture removal companies use them so it can’t be too far a walk). You can store a LOT of gear in a lorry but for starting out I certainly don’t think it’s worth it.

Trailers: My favourite. As long as you know how to reverse properly and safely they’re very manouverable, remember modern drivers licences don’t include trailers -if you want to tow and you’re under 30ish (check your licence) you have to take a trailer licence. The big positives in my book are – you can keep your own vehicle (as long as it can tow), a trailer doesn’t need road tax etc and finally you can rack out a trailer so it acts as storage -this saves having to unload and load it for every job.

Vans: The most popular option for most hire companies – some will use trailers on the back of vans for good measure. The size of business you are depends on the size vehicle. If you’re only going to transport 2 or 3 of our DIY Marquees around then a little Ford escort-size van will be fine. If you’re likely to need some lighting, linings and the odd bit of furniture then a mid-size transit would be suitable. If you’re going to transport a lot of furniture and/or dance floors with your marquees then a luton could be your best bet (though I’d prefer a van and trailer personally).

At the end of the day if you want to change vehicles at a later date when you’re expanding then you can do it, I’d just encourage you to sit down for a minute and think about it. If you get it wrong then it could cost you money (especially if it’s sign-written) and that’s not what we’re in this industry for.

Thanks for reading

Spencer.

DIY Detachable eyelets

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I really try to keep this blog informative rather than a sales pitch for our shiny & lovely DIY Marquees.

Today I’m going to write about an ingenious gadget that we’re starting to sell but please realise that I love this thing which is why we’re now selling them – I’m not raving about something just because we sell it. Make sense? Probably not but regular readers will be used to that 😉

Introducing the DIY detachable eyelet:

DIY detachable eyelet

dimensions approx 8cmx4cm
This is a tool that means you can create an eyelet anywhere on a marquee wall/roof without leaving marks or making holes.

How’s that useful?

Our marquee walls used to be covered in very small holes where we’d have to attach them to a house -you get quite inventive how you do it but generally cable tying to a drainpipe or door frame is the most common. This tool saves any hole-making or damaging, just create an eyelet in seconds.

I promise you if these had been around when we ran a hire company I’d have bought them by the hundred, they save so much time and effort while looking smarter. They’re also good for emergency repairs or guttering.
They’re not on the website yet as we’re rushed off our feet (I nearly said snowed under there..) but costs will be:

  • £3.80 for 4 (p&p £1.20)
  • £7.80 for 10 (p&p £1.50)
  • £14.80 for 20 (p&p £1.80)
  • £29.80 for 40 (p&p £3.95)

We only stock white as all commercial marquees are white.

Thanks for reading, hope it’s not too marquee sales pitch like

Spencer

What to name your marquee hire business?

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

First off if you’ve got marquees up at the moment -make sure you fire up heaters to get the snow off the roof! We’ve got a pub next door (I know, it’s surprising we get any work done!) and their lightweight gazebo is now flatpacked having collapsed under the weight of 8″ of snow -why they took their DIY Marquee down but left that up I don’t know.

If you’re starting up a hire company one of the first things to think about is what are you going to call yourselves?

Something funny? There’s lots of play on words available in the marquee industry – too intents, pleasing people with your erections (suprisingly under-used double entendre!), able to cover everything etc etc.

Funny names make you memorable but you might be cringing in a few years time and it doesn’t actually tell customers anything about you.

Personally I think the best name is descriptive. So calling yourself Bradford marquees or Yorkshire marquees etc – that way customers know where you’re from or the area you cover. It also means you’ll appear higher in google for those search terms. The only downside is if in years to come you want to expand to a new area.

Sorry for the short blog, it’s taken me nearly two hours to get in this morning (5 mile journey) and I’m giving blood this afternoon so I should probably get some work done 😉

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.