Archive for June, 2011

Different marquee customers look for different things

Monday, June 27th, 2011

In the main if you do a good job in erecting the marquee with a nice finish the customer is very happy, however occasionally you get a customer who picks out something that you’ve never even thought about. Some examples of unusual issues we came across are:

  • Having opened the side up and removed the ground bars to allow side access we were criticised for leaving 2″ of grass on show (what was formerly under the ground bars)
  • Curtain linings not touching the floor (they are generally about an inch off)
  • The roof lining looking different shades of ivory (we had to politely point out that this was because one half of the marquee was in the shade of an oak tree)
  • My favourite – the silver heads of the nails were ‘an eye-sore’ amongst the honeybeige carpet

These sort of things happen very rarely and there’s not much you or I can do to pre-empt them. Obviously if a customer has got it in their head that it’s a fault then you’ve got to resolve it politely otherwise it might ruin the enjoyment of the event for them.

Whether it’s carpeting an extra 2″ of a marquee, re-cable tying all of the curtains a bit lower or going to Halfords and buying some cream car paint to spray each nail head you’ve just got to do whatever it takes for a happy customer and move on. We did just point out the oak tree in the garden by the way, we didn’t just attack it with a chain-saw!

I hope the bad weather hasn’t caused too many problems for all you hirers.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

The first steps to marquee hire

Monday, June 20th, 2011

This is a conversation I have regularly, you’re interested in starting a marquee hire business and don’t know where to start. This is what I suggest:

Research
Find out who your local competitors are, what marquees they offer and how much they charge for the sort of marquees you’re likely to offer.
If there are hardly any competitors or the local companies all offer much larger marquees then this is a good thing. There’s space in the market for you to exploit.
If there are a lot of companies in your local area that offer similar size marquees to ours/yours then you might need to think twice about starting up. It’s not impossible but it is much harder to get going in a saturated market.

Stock:
The most popular marquees for hiring are 6x12m, 6x6m and 4x8m. If you’re based in a city then it’s more likely to be the smaller, 4m wide marquees that are popular.

What marquees should I buy?
I would recommend starting on a smaller scale initially. All of our marquees are designed along a similar, easy to erect style. If you’ve put one up then you won’t have a problem erecting a different size without practice.
Because of the large stock we carry and swift delivery you can just buy more marquees when you have the bookings for them – to me that makes good business sense, you only buy further marquees when you know you’re getting a return on your investment.

Insurance and misc
If you’re hiring out marquees then you should be covered for public liability insurance. When you buy a DIY Marquee we pass on 3 companies details who specialise in marquee hire cover. We also pass on a copy of the terms and conditions of hire we used to use as a hire company and we can provide some photos to get your website and advertising started.

We always enjoy helping people start up their own marquee hire businesses and will happily chat through any ideas you may have. The above is just a collection of ideas to start you off.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

The art of negotiation

Monday, June 13th, 2011

If you read about brand awareness then experts claim there are three categories of people, those who will only buy brands, those who can be convinced of buying brands and those who refuse to buy brands. It has to do with how people wish to be perceived by their peers. Don’t ask any further, I’m already teetering out of my depth.

So relating this to marquee hire you’re going to face some potential bookings where they just keep wanting to negotiate the price down, it may even just seem a point of principal (see the recent apprentice contestant getting 1p off a £365 top hat!).

Just speaking from my experience this isn’t about the customer saving money, it’s generally about them being able to say to their guests what a good deal they’ve got.

For that reason I found it much more successful offering people something for free rather than giving them money off. For example say you’ve got someone trying to negotiate over a booking for £1500. It’s much better for you giving them an entrance tent say worth £200 rather than knocking off £150 off the price. It’s only adding a bit of time for you rather than taking money out of your pocket. The customer (I’d say 9 times out of 10) is just as happy, they can say to their guests that they’ve got a £1700 marquee for £1500 even though originally they didn’t even want the £200 extra you added in.

One last frustrating point, if you ever forget something for that job it will always always be a component for the thing you’ve thrown in free of charge!

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee PVC can stretch over time

Monday, June 6th, 2011

I remember being at a country fair watching two lads fit some signs on to the top of a large marquee.  The marquee was about 30m wide and these two guys were walking along the ridge (about 10m up) making sure they trod and bounced on the PVC roof sheets as they went along. The point of this post isn’t to wonder exactly what their risk assessments were but to point out that marquee PVC stretches no matter what size you use.

So what can you do about it?

Well, essentially it’s making sure the PVC is always taught. Roofs that use ratchet straps will simply ratchet up slightly more over time. Roofs that use bungees (like ours) may need replacing as time goes on.

The whole reason we use bolts to hold our pipes in place rather than push buttons is so they don’t have to locate in the same place every time. If your roof has stretched over time then you can pull the pipes a little out of their sockets before tightening up – that just makes the framework a little wider and stretches the roof a bit tighter. It should mean your marquee lasts longer.

Thanks for reading

Spencer