So you’ve decided to start a marquee hire company

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.

  • So what sort of trailer did you use? how big and how was it racked?
    do you have any pictures of trailer, what size van did you use (our current van to short for dance floor) for tables chairs etc

  • Hi Luke. We used ifor williams trailers -generally 12ft x 5ft6in ones. We put racking at the back so the long poles just slide in then boxes at the front for the roof & walls/windows.
    If you’re transporting a lot of furniture I’d be tempted to get a luton van, you can fit a LOT of gear in one of those. We actually used long wheel base LDV or Iveco vans, you can fit 8ft dance floor boards in comfortably and they’ve got good transit engines in.
    Hope that helps.
    Spencer

  • Camelot Marquees

    This is just the post I was looking for. We were thinking of hiring a van next season instead of buying striaght away so we can get a feel as to what we'd prefer. I now think I will look more closely at the 4×4 trailer option.

    Thanks for the info

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