Archive for November, 2012

‘Sale ends soon – 99% off!’ (not really..)

Monday, November 26th, 2012

I was amazed recently when a quote for some kitchen parts we were shopping round for was quoted at a 66% discount. A week later and their offer was changed so we then qualified for a 75% discount.  I think at that point my wife and I were supposed to be dancing round the room so excited at this bargain offer that we could barely read out our credit card number fast enough. We didn’t, we just went to another supplier who priced their goods honestly.

But there’s no denying that this method works so is it something you should consider? There are two things to think about: target market and the moral dilemma.

Target market: If you have or would like to get a lot of repeat marquee business then someone who inspects your prices regularly at different times of the year is likely to notice your 12 month sale technique. If your target market is one-off events then customers are only likely to view your prices once so will think the sale is genuine.

The moral dilemma: You are essentially being dishonest, you will gain direct business from this technique but then do you lose business from a loss of credibility and/or trust?

It’s your choice, we didn’t use the technique as a hire company and don’t as a marquee sales company but I can tell you we lose business to competitors who do have 12 month sales on inflated RRP’s so can you afford not to?

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee storage

Monday, November 19th, 2012

When starting a marquee hire business one big consideration is where are you going to store all of these nice shiny (hopefully DIY) marquees?

Well the good news is initially you don’t need a lot of storage space, in a single garage you could fit 5 typical marquees including associated equipment. Any more than that and it will become difficult to work around. A couple of caveats to that – it assumes that you’ve got some racking to put everything on (neatly or in our storage bags/boxes) and it assumes you’re not storing any furniture. Furniture will often take up as much room as the marquees themselves so choosing whether to buy or cross-hire initially is a big early decision to make.

Another alternative I like is to use a trailer for storage, the reason for this is you’re not having to unload and load it every time it just stays there between jobs. Obviously only suitable for when you’re small and starting out but a handy time-saver especially if you’re starting it as a part-time project.

What you do not need is a state-of-the-art modern industrial building, they cost a lot in rent and rates and you can get more for your money renting a barn or container space in a remote area.  Once you’ve established your market then this is the sort of storage that we’d recommend, you just need somewhere large and dry to keep everything in with good access for your van/trailer/lorry.

Quite how the government expect businesses to grow us out of recession when business rates for industrial units are often more than the rent I don’t know.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Weathering a marquee to a house part iii – using a walkway

Monday, November 12th, 2012

A walkway is used when you can’t butt the end of the marquee up against the house as in part i (posted 2 weeks ago). It might be the marquee has to go side on to the house or simply set back a bit. Walkways are very easy and simple things but here are some thoughts on using them:

  • Put the walkway up first then build the marquee butting up to the walkway. Trying to fill a gap between a marquee and the house is a tricky tricky task
  • Butt the walkway up against the house tightly, you may need to remove the gable to allow the door to open outwards
  • If you’re using one of our walkways then we now include an extra gable with a gutter built-in to make weathering to a marquee easier and quicker
  • Be sure to anchor the walkway down (sounds obvious but I’ve seen it forgotten as everyone concentrates on the marquee)
  • In winter months allow for heating the walkway. If it’s very short it may just be angling one of the marquee heaters towards the walkway rather than having it’s own dedicated heater but you must incorporate the walkway in to your heating plan

How much you charge for a walkway is again a tricky issue. As much as we’ve made it as simple as possible you are effectively putting up another (small) marquee and need to charge accordingly. Often this is far more than a customer expects, especially when the marquee is a long way from the house and they say they’d like a ‘simple cover’ to the marquee.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Weathering a marquee to a house part ii – side-on to the house without walkway

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The next category is weathering a marquee to a house that has to be positioned side-on and you don’t have the use of a walkway.

It is much easier using a walkway (as I’ll write about next week) especially one of ours! But not everyone has one so sometimes you just have to make do with what you’ve got.

Option 1: Butting the marquee hard up against the house

Similar to last weeks method you push the marquee hard up against the house but it’s the type and size of doors that gives you a headache:

  • sliding patio doors are the easiest, this means you can butt the marquee up at whatever height and put some guttering across to weather the join. The downside is that there is likely to be a step down in to the marquee and people might knock their head on the eave rail or gutter.
  • patio doors that open inwards can be treated like sliding doors as above
  • patio doors that open outwards are the most common and are frankly a pain. You have 3 options, 1 is to use a walkway (see next week), next is to create your own walkway (see below) and the third is to somehow lift the marquee up over the doors. If you’re using one of our deluxe marquees then there’s every chance it will be high enough but on a standard commercial one it’s likely to need ‘chocking up’ a bit using bricks or extensions. This should only really be as a last resort because the marquees aren’t designed to be chocked up and it changes the angle of the roof which can affect the water run-off

Option 2: Creating your own walkway:

If the house has got a pair of outward opening doors then we would sometimes use them to create a walkway – have the doors open at 90 degrees to the house and then place a piece of wood over the top, ideally with chocks to hold the doors in place and a slight angle so if it rains the water goes away from the house. This made a very short easy walkway to then butt and weather the marquee to.

Pretty much all of these methods are just to get by, the best method (if possible) is last weeks option of having the end of a marquee against the house and if you can’t do that then using a decent walkway (again see next weeks blog) will be a LOT easier and look more professional.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer