Archive for August, 2009

Marquee pricing

Monday, August 31st, 2009

When you start up a marquee hire business you have to do some local research for pricing – what’s everyone else charging for a marquee? Make sure you’re competitive (start ups will often just make sure they’re the cheapest to ensure they’re busy).

Once you’ve been going for a year or two what should you do with your prices? Put them up? Well hang on a minute, here’s a couple of stories to illustrate why you need to think carefully first.

Dave’s retirement:

A very good family friend (sadly no longer with us) semi-retired a few years ago. He kept on 3 customers for his maintenance business as he’d worked out he’d be financially comfortable working 3 days a week.
Unfortunately after a year one of his customers no longer needed him. His reaction? To go to his other 2 customers and put his prices up 50% to make up for it!
You can see his thinking, he needed a certain amount to live so needed to get it from 2 customers instead of 3. Unfortunately he didn’t take the views of his customers in to account and he promptly lost them.

Dorking parking charges

For those who haven’t visited us we’re based in commercial property on the outskirts of Dorking. Unfortunately Dorking town centre has the feel of a struggling town with lots of shops empty and many of the occupied ones looking to get out of their contracts.
Obviously this has a knock on effect to the local council who have found the revenue reduced. Their response?
Put up parking charges!
Honestly, you wonder the intelligence of these idiots.

So as a marquee hire company what can you learn from this? My advice is to respond to your customer demand.

If you’re turning away work all year and don’t have any quiet time (first off well done!) then by all means put your prices up. Don’t be excessive, more than a 5% annual increase might upset repeat customers.

If you’re busy some of the time but quiet on others, think of having special offers – 10% off for all August bookings for example.

The main advice I would give is if you’re not getting the returns you were hoping for, if you’re not as busy with bookings as you’d hoped, consider actually lowering prices or having several special offers to increase business rather than increasing your prices and thinking you’ll increase turnover & profit. It doesn’t always work.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Theatre style seating in a marquee

Monday, August 24th, 2009
Theatre style marquee seating

How much room do you need for theatre style seating in a marquee?

If a customer comes along and says they want to hold a ceremony in one of your marquees, how are you going to work out the size they need?

Like most things to do with marquees it’s very easy, assuming you’re using standard chairs with no arms.

Allow 50cm wide for the chair, and 1m depth for the chair and persons legs.

In the photo above we used a 9m wide marquee with a 2m (fairly typical size) aisle down the middle. That leaves 3.5m each side, enough for 7 chairs.

The marquee was 18m long and the front 2m was left clear for the ceremony. That leaves 16m for chairs – each row takes up 1m so 16 rows of 14 chairs = 224 chairs. Quite a few more than sitting around tables for example!

If you’re a bit cramped for space try turning the layout round 90 degrees so the aisle comes in from the side. It doesn’t look as impressive but a shorter aisle means more space for seating.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee site visits/surveys

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

When you go out to see a customer as well as creating a good impression you obviously need to take a good look at where the marquee’s going.

Ask the customer if there are any underground cables or pipes you should be aware of -if so have them clearly indicated on a diagram. If there aren’t any it’s worth mentioning at the bottom of your quote “you have indicated there are no underground pipes or cables to avoid when erecting the marquee”.

As well as under the marquee you need to look above. Are there any overhead power lines you need to worry about? Generally this is more likely when you’re putting a marquee up in a field rather than a garden but it should be taken seriously as this article from the BBC shows. Now don’t let stories such as this scare you, especially if you’re starting up a marquee hire business. It’s generally only on larger marquees and when you’re swinging 15ft+ poles around that you should be concerned but I’d always recommend contact EDF energy if there’s an overhead power cable nearby just to be sure.

If you’re getting a bit concerned about the things you need to think of when you’re on a site visit (remember you’ve also got to sell a marquee and come up with suggested plans!) then don’t worry – it becomes second nature after a while and it’s worth having a checklist just to make sure. If I can find them I’ll post our  old marquee site visit sheets up here to give you ideas.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

I’m away for the next 2 weeks so the factory will probably be more efficient but there won’t be any blog posts until I’m back, sorry.