Archive for May, 2009

Where to store your marquees

Monday, May 25th, 2009

When we ran a marquee hire business my dream was always to have a large yard with everything loaded by forklifts. It strikes me as the most efficient way of running the business and we were probably a year or two away from accomplishing it when I had to ‘retire hurt’.

So is this what you should aim for in the long term? Well now I’m not so convinced – if you save up for a commercial property the costs don’t stop there, you have to pay council tax at 40% of the estimated rental income. To give you some idea if you’re paying £15k rent for a commercial unit you then need to find another £6k for council tax (even if you actually own the unit and don’t rent you still have to pay council tax).

So what’s the solution? Well it depends on where you are on the size scale for a marquee hire business.

If you’re just starting out or you’ve only got a handful of marquees then I’d always recommend using your garage, shed or a trailer for storage. Make sure you don’t upset your neighbours so they don’t compain about you running a business from home.

If you’ve outgrown your garage/shed then you need to find somewhere else to store your equipment. If you’re offering furniture and dance floors it won’t take long before you need to find more storage.

My advice is to approach local farms and see if you can rent one of their buildings. Rent is generally cheap, they probably won’t have planning permission for commercial use so again you want to keep a low profile but it does mean you won’t have to pay council tax. Make sure you use your own padlocks -barns will never be as secure as commercial property or even your garage.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

More marquees for sale

Monday, May 18th, 2009

As a marquee hire business your busiest months are generally June, July & August with the end of May and beginning of September also very popular. As suppliers to the hire industry our busiest months are obviously just before that (depending on how organised you are with ordering!) so our peak is April, May & June. Consequently we’re very busy at the moment and the blog might suffer a little.

Our new 4m x 6m Marquee proved very popular on eBay, we’ve got to see how many we’re going to have spare but I’d imagine we’ll put another one in a few weeks time.

Our show marquee has been up for the last 6 weeks (thanks to those who came down to see it) -we’ve put that on eBay starting at 99p with no reserve:

6m x 12m DIY ex-demo marquee

We had a slight accident involving the lawn mower and the tie downs, the tie downs have been replaced but we’ve got to repair a couple of the exterior eyelets before we sell it, they’re very small and there’ll only be discrete patches (2″ square?). A little embarrassing..

The tie downs and lining roof come with it. The chandeliers are already sold to a hire company and the red carpet we’re planning on using as a walkway for my brothers wedding but if someone really wants it they can make an offer for it.
It may seem like it with the posts last week and this week but I’m not just using this blog to advertise the marquees we have for sale, it’ll be back to normal next week.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Buy a marquee for 99p!

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Well okay, it probably won’t stay at 99p but someone should pick up a bargain.

We’ve made a batch of 4mx6m Marquees for a customer and obviously when manufacturing you make more than required so we have a few spare. As an experiment we’ve put one of them on eBay starting at 99p with no reserve. Details are here:

4m x 6m DIY Marquee on eBay

It’s made using the same materials as our commercial 6m wide range, we’ve changed the angle of the roof though so it’s 3m high at the apex. There’s 2 reasons for this:

1. We were concerned that if we left it as the industry standard of 20 degrees like our 6m wide marquees then there wouldn’t be enough room for chandeliers etc and
2. It’s cheaper to make it so all 3 knuckles (eaves and apex) are the same! This is actually why some of our cheaper rivals have higher roofs than standard.

We can always make linings for it if required.
Happy bidding

When things go wrong running a marquee hire business

Monday, May 4th, 2009

First off don’t worry. It’s incredibly rare to have any problem and even then they’re generally minor things.

If you’re starting up a marquee hire business you’re probably worrying about:

  • The marquees blowing away – make sure they’re always well anchored down. We never had this happen to us and I don’t know any hire business this has happened to.
  • Not being paid for the job. If you take a small deposit but then have the balance payable when the marquees up but before it’s used then you never have any bad debts (don’t allow any exceptions). It’s easy getting payment when you can still take the marquee down, if you leave it until after the event you have no leverage.

Realistically the only problem we really encountered (and to be honest it did happen a couple of times a year) is the customer complaining that the marquee roofs are dirty. If you put a marquee up under a tree when it rains all the dirt drips down off the leaves on to your marquee, this is the main cause of dirt building up. If it’s in your busiest time of year and it’s going straight back up you just don’t get time to clean it.
The solution? We’d give the customer a roof lining for free.This covered the dirty roof and the customer’s also happy because they’re getting a higher spec marquee than they’re paying for.

I was always reluctant to knock money off to solve any problem, you end up haggling and compromising so neither of you are happy and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Are people going to recommend you afterwards?

At the end of the day a happy customer has always got to be your goal, you need to do whatever you need (within reason) to make sure every customer is happy. You’d be amazed, some of our best recommendations came from people who’d originally complained but we’d sorted it out for them.

I’m a firm believer that you see the true side of a business (and a person) when things go wrong, make sure you react well and your reputation will only benefit from it.

Thanks for reading

Spencer