Archive for January, 2013

Erecting marquees over obstacles

Monday, January 28th, 2013

In my past hiring life I erected marquees over swimming pools, sunken gardens, flowerbeds, ponds, rockeries, trees, statues, just about anything you can find in a garden we covered at one time or another. The result can be stunning but the method can be tricky.

Some things to consider if you’re incorporating parts of a garden inside a marquee:

  • Allow longer to put the marquee up
  • If a tree needs cutting to fit inside then offer to cut it while erecting the marquee – this ensures the minimum amount is cut off (an unnecessarily trimmed tree can lead to an unhappy customer, I know from experience!)
  • Pools and ponds need to be completely covered by one marquee with enough space to walk round
  • Hedges and walls can be partly incorporated but this often means cutting a wall panel to fit around them – keep any old side panels for this kind of work or contact us as we often have marked walls we can sell cheaply
  • Plan how the marquee is to be erected while on site, failing that take some photos and email us and we will advise how we would approach the problem.
  • People pay a fortune to hire in small trees and bushes in to marquees, incorporating existing plants inside can really add a feature (especially covered in fairy lights for example) so it’s often a good sales pitch.
  • Remember that anything incorporated in to a marquee will cut down on the available floor space so decrease the maximum capacity accordingly.

Typically the best way to erect a marquee over any obstacle is to only partially erect the marquee. Say you’re putting up a 6x12m marquee and there’s a small tree at one end I would erect most of the marquee (6x10m say) leaving the last bay over the tree off completely. The most important bit – I would have the roof up on the framework attached on as much as possible so when the last bay is fitted (tall steps required) the PVC roof can just be pulled along that last bay to fit.

What you want to avoid is trying to lift and fit the PVC roof on to a fully erected framework, it is a very tough and heavy operation.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Fire safety in marquees

Monday, January 21st, 2013

When starting a marquee hire business it’s worth having a chat with your local fire safety officer. In my experience they are very nice people and easy to talk to.

Why talk to them? Well it’s always better to be prepared and to know what is expected of you.

My personal recommendation is to have a suitable exit within 6m of every person in one of your marquees. A suitable exit being a zipped panel or a completely clear (ie wall removed) section. This is very easy with our interchangeable wall system, less so with some other systems.

Note:

  • For a 6x14m marquee or longer it is not sufficient to just have zipped entrances at either end, you would need a zipped entrance along one of the long sides
  • For marquees that use it dutch lacing is not classed as a suitable exit (unless it is permanently open)
  • In discussions with the fire officer talk about whether the exits need signs of any kind. Again in my experience any exit that is not immediately obvious needs a sign.
  • We didn’t supply fire extinguishers for catering areas, believing those who used/supplied the catering equipment should do so. A lot of marquee hire companies do supply fire extinguishers for this purpose so again one to think about.

Like many things fire safety is easy and almost common sense but it is always something to consider and speaking to the fire safety officer will give peace of mind as much as anything.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Attitudes to customers on site

Monday, January 14th, 2013

In most successful marquee hire businesses the customer is treated very well when booking the marquee but is frequently ignored when the actual construction takes place.

The person originally pricing for the job is often not the same as the person in charge of putting the marquee up but even when it is the same person different attitudes can apply.

The attitude adopted when booking the marquee is usually one of careful consideration to the customers thoughts and requirements – this is obviously essential to get anywhere in the industry.

But when it comes to erect the marquee the erecting team often have the attitude of keeping the customer out of the way until it’s finished and they can come and ‘wow’ at the result. Any intervention by the customer is seen as a hindrance ‘this job would be great without the customers getting in the way’ is a view often expressed on site. I think this is a mistake.

If you actively engage a customer, if you explain exactly what you’re doing at each stage and why you’re doing it , if you explain that a customer can ask you anything about the marquee then you’re creating a much more pleasant experience for your customers. You obviously have to be aware of those customers that don’t want to know anything and just want you to get on with it but in general going the extra mile will create a nicer working atmosphere for customer and erector alike.

The big buzz around businesses in recent years is ensuring you engage with your customers (hey, welcome to our blog!), what can be more important than engaging with one of your customers who’s right there in front of you and shortly going to be paying you money?

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Natural listings on google vs pay-per-click

Monday, January 7th, 2013

When starting up your marquee hire business google is going to be a big part of any advertising campaign. With this in mind it’s worth knowing how the listings work:

The paid listings on the page (in red) are achieved using google adwords (before setting up an account have a good look round as there’s often free £20-£30 vouchers available for 1st registering).

In your new shiny adwords account you can select the keywords or phrases you want to target, the text to appear in your advert and how much you want to pay every time someone clicks on your advert. The more you pay the higher up the page you’ll appear (it also takes in to account the click-through-rate so its worth playing with the ad to make it the most enticing).

To give you an idea I would expect people at the top of ‘marquee hire’ paid ads to be paying between 30p-£2 per click. In contrast for ‘marquee hire Dorking’ I would expect the top listing to be paying 5-10p per click. So you can see it’s worth targeting more local and focused wording (marquee hire mytown) than more general, expensive terms like just ‘marquee hire’ or ‘marquee hire uk’.

The natural listings appear beneath the top 3 paid listings (if you look closely the paid listings have a shaded background). Getting to the top of these listings is a bit of a science (called SEO – search engine optimisation) and takes a long time. There’s lots of information and tools out there to help get you to the top so you can teach yourself how it’s done, just avoid dodgy ‘black-hat’ techniques as google will strike off your website. Again targeting the more local phrases is a better bet than the more general terms. We know a fair bit about SEO so can give some tips if required.

Finally it is well worth registering  for ‘Google Places for business’, this often means your business will appear on a small map next to the listings or even as one of the high natural listings – like the map in the top right corner of the example image above. It’s free and absolutely essential to do.

Thanks for reading

Spencer