Archive for November, 2009

Marquees up in bad weather

Monday, November 30th, 2009

The weather outside – it’s not so good. As a marquee erector you face a few problems:

i. You get wet. Go back a few weeks and read my post about buying good waterproofs! You know that tan that’s just fading away? Well this is the down side of working outdoors!

ii. Waterlogging. This is a serious problem, some peoples gardens and patios will hold surface water and you’ve got to put a marquee up on them. If it’s just soft underfoot then the usual groundsheet under matting/carpet is okay, if there’s water sitting on top of the surface then you have to consider raising that surface somehow – usually by building a wooden floor underneath using plywood with battens on the back. You can be imaginative in putting sandbags round the outside or something but really a raised wooden floor is the only sure-fire way.

iii. ‘pooling’ of water on the marquee roof. This can happen to any marquee in severe wind and rain but needs resolving swiftly to avoid damage (just push the water out). You can help prevent it by making the sure the roof is tight -use your best bungees on the roof and when you assemble the metalwork don’t have the roof poles fully in to the sockets when you tighten the bolts, this makes the roof a few inches wider and stretches out the fabric. If pooling occurs regularly think about attaching a tight rope from the middle purlin out to the eaves purlin to help stop it.

Thanks for reading

Spencer (no the baby’s not arrived yet!)

9m wide modular marquees for sale – New for 2010!

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

If you visited us at the Showmans Show you will know that we’re going to be supplying 9m wide modular marquees from March/April of next year.  Why is this so exciting? Why are we doing it? Why should you buy ours?

It’s exciting because it’s the culmination of a LOT of work and we’re confident it’s going to be well received.

We’re doing it because a lot of our customers are successful and expanding, at some time most expanding marquee hire companies have to offer larger structures so the sensible next step is 9m wide.

Why should you buy from us? Well we’ve worked very hard to ensure our marquees are compatible with the majority of kit already out there in the UK as well as making sure it’s the high quality and value for money people have come to expect from us.

We are taking pre-orders now for delivery in March/April 2010, if you don’t order by mid-December then we can’t guarantee availability. Prices are available by request (or look at your Showmans Show price list).

So what’s the spec of our new 9m marquees:

  • 4-channel aluminium profile with steel knuckles & apexes. The 4-channel aluminium allows greater flexibility with things like porches (see photo below) and catering areas.
  • Translucent PVC used for both walls and roofs – a lot of cheap modular marquees around the world use a ‘blackout’ layer in their roof PVC making the interior grey and gloomy (think of the light in an old canvas marquee). This might be suitable for deserts or the south of France but in the UK if it’s light outside you want it to be light inside. I think they may use the blackout layer just to increase the gsm of the fabric, certainly most of the PVC roofs already in use don’t use blackout.
  • 2.3m eaves – if you’re buying a modular marquee for use in the UK you want it to have 2.3m eaves. Why? Well nearly all the existing stock used in UK marquee hire companies uses 2.3m eaves, this means that all lining suppliers and theming companies have stock based on a 2.3m eave -so you can only use them if you’ve got the correct kit. Using 2.3m eaves also means the resale value of the marquee will be higher and you’re not tied to us if you want to buy more framework in the future.
  • choice of windows: georgian, arched or panoramic
  • choice of zips or dutch lacing (dutch lacing is by far the most popular choice)

Included with any marquee purchase we’re also offering:

  • A training session – when your marquee’s ready we’ll be arranging several training sessions for you to come along to so we can pass on all of our knowledge and tips (surprisingly that’s quite a lot!). We put these marquees up for 10 years and there’s lots of things to make your life easier.
  • A free single page website optimised for whatever keyphrase you want. A lot of companies have these single page satellites designed to get up the search rankings that link through to your main site. They can take a while to get there but we’re quite good at it and we’ll design one for you.

Below are lots of photos of 9m marquees that your marquee will look like:

Thanks for reading

Spencer

9m x 18m Marquee

Ivory pleated lining (with extra curtains over the walls)

9m x 18m roof only marquee

9m x 9m marquee with 3m porch

Two 9m marquees with panoramic windows (later ones have dutch lacing)

Two 9m marquees with panoramic windows (later ones have dutch lacing)

9m x 6m framework mid-assembly

9m x 6m framework mid-assembly

Aluminium profile (steel knuckle at the top of eaves)

Aluminium profile (steel knuckle at the top of eaves)

Gable uprights bolt securely on

Gable uprights bolt securely on

9m wide marquee with pleated lining & green swag

9m wide marquee with pleated lining & green swag

9m marquee with a walkway used as an entrance porch

9m marquee with a walkway used as an entrance porch

Know your USP

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I’m not really one for marketing lingo but everyone should know their USP -Unique Selling Point.

It will probably change as you grow, expand and find your market but you should have an idea of what it is right now.

If you’re starting up a marquee hire business or thinking of it and worried how you’re going to appeal to customers then don’t worry.  These factors are in your favour and so you should promote these as often as possible:

  • Brand new equipment. If you’re just starting out then all of your stock is new.  You should be using phrases like ‘all of our stock is less than 6 months old’. Try and avoid saying it’s never been used before as that might just worry people that you don’t know what you’re doing 😉
  • The cheapest. When you start a marquee hire business you should be among the cheapest in the area.

As you grow as a business these will obviously change – for a start your stock will be older and your prices will probably have gone up! To give you an idea before I had to sell our marquee hire company I would promote the following about us:

  • Wedding specialists. We had done a LOT of weddings by the end but always tried to make sure each customer felt special and individual. We’d offer them advice and choices even though 90% of people ended up having the same thing!
  • Reliable and trustworthy – this is just something you build up over a long time by reputation. It can swiftly be lost which is why I was careful who we sold it to and made sure they’d carry on in the same vein.

So if you’re thinking of starting up a marquee hire venture then play on the ‘new stock’ and ‘cheapest’ angles to get you business.

If you’re an established company make sure you know your USP and where you’re currently at. If you don’t know then take time out and think about it, if you’re confused about what your angle is then how do you think customers are going to feel?

Thanks for reading

Spencer

PS -advance warning, next week’s post will be all about our 9m wide kit as the pre-order deadline is coming up soon.

Every marquee hirer should be using google

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Most marquee hirer’s will let someone else look after their website, our speciality is putting up marquees not web design after all. But whoever you are you should still be using google and making it work for you.

By using google I don’t mean using their search engine, I mean using their extra tools. You have to register and set it up but it doesn’t take long.

What tools are available?

Google’s local business center: when it looks like you’re searching for a local business, the first few results appear on a map – these are results from google’s local business center. Registering for this is a MUST.

Webmaster tools: This helps you find out if there’s any problems with your marquee website. If the person who looks after your website is on the ball you don’t need this. For those of us who look after our own websites it’s very handy.

Adwords: You know the ads that appear on the right hand side (and sometimes above) the normal search results? They’re paid-for ads, that’s how google makes money. In my experience they’re very useful and well worth the small amount of money required, -note when you first start out have a good search round as often there’s vouchers out there for free £20/£30 for adwords.

Google analytics: With adwords comes another incredibly useful program called analytics, by installing a small piece of code on to your website you can keep track of number of visitors, where they go, what they searched for to find your site and 101 other things. If you’re technically minded and/or do your own website this is incredibly useful.

Google alerts: you put a search term in and every time google finds something new with that search term it’ll email you (once a day,week or month). How is this of use? Well if you put your name in here you can keep track of anyone online anywhere who mentions you. If you put “marquee hire” and your local area then you’ll keep track of who else is around you. This is not to be underestimated, it’s very very useful.

There’s other tools on there but these are the main ones that I think most people would be interested in who run marquee hire businesses.

Sorry for the delayed entry this week, my daughters birthday yesterday meant I was at the Zoo 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

DIY Marquees bulletin board

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

There’s various things to mention so this isn’t technically an advice article, sorry!

1. We’ve got a used 6m x 6m DIY Marquee for sale on eBay at the moment. It’s in reasonable condition and could help someone out.

2. The 9m wide modular marquees, walkway and new sizes of marquee advertised at The Showmans Show aren’t on the website yet, they’ll be put on in January when they’re in stock – with the exception of the 9m marquees that we’re taking pre-orders for to be ready in March.

3. Probably the biggest news/problem is we’ve been told this week that we can no longer get hold of the shade of lining material we use. We’ve sorted out a replacement that is slightly more expensive but long term could actually be better as it’s a shade that’s used more widely in the marquee industry. The two shades are not really compatable in the same marquee so if you’ve already got our linings we’re trying to make sure we don’t let you down –  we’re buying as many thousand metres of the material as we can to continue supplying you. But it will run out at some stage, at this time I would estimate in 4-6 months time.

If anyone knows they want linings for next season then you can reserve some in the existing colour without paying a deposit as long as they’re standard stock items, that way you know where you are.

Sorry if this is bad news, we’re doing our best to help in any way we can.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.