Archive for January, 2010

Marquee electrics need PAT testing annually

Monday, January 25th, 2010

If you’re hiring out electrical marquee equipment (anything with a plug on -including extension leads) then it should be PAT (portable appliance test) tested at least every year. It doesn’t cost much, an electrician would normally charge around £3-6 per item (which can add up if you’ve got a lot of equipment). They then label it up as tested and a retest date in a year (or less if recommended).

For all those small businesses out there that struggle a bit during the winter, why not take a PAT testing course (£160-£250), buy a PAT tester and set yourself up a sideline for the winter?

It’s very easy work, once you get a contract with a company you can normally rely on going back the following year and doing it again so it’s just building up a list of contracts. You can target fellow marquee companies but remember – every company should be doing this every year but most don’t. Just target your local companies pointing out that this is a requirement if they didn’t already know and away you go, a nice winter sideline. You don’t need to be a fully qualified electrician to do this just take the 1 or 2 day course.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Putting marquees up on uneven ground

Monday, January 18th, 2010

This is a tricky one..

As a marquee erector our dream is to put marquees up on bowling greens that you can park your vehicle next to.

You then come across a customer who’s dream is for you to convert their three-tiered sloped and bumpy garden in to a surface fit for a banquet.

So what do you do?

First off for those who are thinking about starting up in the marquee hire trade don’t worry, most gardens are reasonable level and you don’t come across the bumby scenario very often. You may have customers who are concerned about their flat but sloped garden and whether it’s suitable to have tables and chairs put on it -just ask them if they’re happy using their garden furniture on it, generally they will so you’re fine. DON’T chock up table legs to make them level, the seat height of chairs is standard so someone could end up eating around the ears! Just let the tables follow the lay of the land.

So, if it’s got some small bumps or holes in you can get round it, just fill the holes up and lay your floor over the top. We used to use bark as you can then sprinkle it over the customers garden with no harm done but this is a little spongy underfoot. Sand or even old newspapers are often used. Whatever it is you use put some plastic underneath it first so you can easily clear it away afterwards.

There does come a point when simply filling in some small holes won’t do, at this point unless you’ve got an integrated wooden floor system (available on large aluminium frame marquees) then it’s time to walk away and say you just can’t help. It’s upsetting but there are some cases when that’s simply how it is. We’re marquee erectors, not magicians.

One final point on flooring over uneven surfaces, if you’re laying flooring and you find a hole in the lawn make sure you fill it before finishing the floor, if you cover it over without filling it you’re leaving a hazard for someone to trip in.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Use marquee loading lists to avoid forgetting things

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

We used to limit ourselves to putting up marquees within an hours drive of our yard with a few exceptions – one was a wedding in St Albans (about 3 hours drive) which the bride insisted we do as we did such a good job for her sister local to us the previous year.

Imagine our absolute joy when we came to erect the marquee and found we were one vital part missing (an apex knuckle -10 years later I still remember it was an apex knuckle..).

Even if you’re doing a job 15 mins away if you forget something then it screws everything up, you have lads waiting round unable to get on and it can make the day drag on and on.

The solution? Loading lists. Write up exactly what you need for each size marquee and include things like: steps, sledgehammer, anything else you need on every job. Laminate it. Tick off every item with a whiteboard marker every time you have to load up. This also allows more than one person to load up without confusion over who should be loading what.

Remember to phone us urgently for any 9m wide marquee sales.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Starting a marquee hire firm: website

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It may sound surprising but a website really is one of the first things you should get organised when starting up a marquee hire firm.

Google (and other search engines) take a while to find a new website and even longer to position it anywhere near the top of the search rankings (think 3-12 months).

But this is a 2 stage process. Google finds a new website but then leaves it a month or two before having it appear anywhere in the search rankings. As someone starting up this system actually buys us some time – simply set up the website with an ‘under construction’ page so google finds it and design the marquee website at your leisure (as long as it’s done in a month or so).

Thanks for reading – I hope you had a good New Year.

Spencer