Archive for March, 2013

Keep your website updated

Monday, March 25th, 2013

You may write a blog, you may write articles, you may post photos in albums. Depending on exactly how you present this information chances are each one is dated in some way. ‘this article was written on…’, ‘Sarah & Tim’s wedding from ….’ feedback received on… etc etc

This is great for your website, it keeps the site looking fresh and relevant whilst also pleasing the search engines with changing content.

The only problem arises when you get too busy to update the site. If you’ve got dated information on your website that hasn’t had a new entry for 6 months then you risk losing customers.

Think of it from a customers point of view, a site that had regular updates and then stopped abruptly looks like a company that might have ceased trading. Rather than risk looking silly by making an enquiry with you they’ll go to someone else down the road.

Two options: Commit to updating the site regularly come what may or failing that don’t date stamp anything.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Inflatable sofas

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Here’s something of interest: http://www.sofair.co.uk/

Inflatable sofas, if they are as good as they look then it could be an interesting option for the hire industry.

Hiring out sofas can be a pain, they take up a lot of room in transport and storage so having a collapsible inflating option could be an excellent idea.

I should point out I haven’t seen these in the flesh, the photos are obvious photoshops so this is probably quite new and there’s no mention of prices on the website (which really annoys me).

But it could be an interesting idea, maybe one to find at The Showmans Show in October.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity

Monday, March 11th, 2013

It’s very easy to fall in to the trap of thinking increased turnover is always a good thing. In business circles you often hear people talking of how much they’ve increased the size of their business and what their projected turnover is but turnover means very very little.

Allow me to illustrate this with 3 scenarios and then I’ll draw comparisons with the marquee industry afterwards:

Job 1: Jim runs a company in the service industry, he has a turnover of £100k, has very very low overheads as it’s only him and his salary is £90k

Job 2: Dave runs a medium sized company, it employs 10 people, it has a turnover of £1.5m and he’s the highest earner at £60k

Job 3: Ian runs an international company but the overheads are very high. Sales last year was £8m but costs were £8.8m

Jim, Dave & Ian go out for a meal. Ian will talk about flying all over the world, how his company has grown in the last couple of years (turnover has gone up you see) and how high his stress levels are (often seen as a badge of honour for some bizarre reason). Jim will sit there contently with probably the lowest stress levels and confident that it won’t be his card that bounces when the bill arrives.

So bringing this back to the marquee hire industry (that being the purpose of this blog after all) keep in mind that the larger the span of marquee the higher the costs -purchase price, running costs and storage.

If you’re running a healthy marquee hire business offering whatever size marquees you do then don’t assume offering larger marquees will add to your profit. They will certainly increase costs, stress levels and turnover but that doesn’t always convert to increased profits.

Please don’t interpret this as I am against increasing turnover per se, growth is good and increased turnover is good provided it is increasing your profit.

Similarly I am not for corner-cutting to increase profits.  Cutting corners can lead to disgruntled customers and therefore increased stress for very marginal increases in profits. Much better to do a consistently good job.

I believe being successful in any business is finding your personal balance of stress vs reward.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

The best material for marquees

Monday, March 4th, 2013

There are lots of different materials used to cover marquees, here are some pros and cons of each:

Canvas:

Pros: Essential for use on traditional marquees, thick and tough material, good resistance to tearing
Cons: Problem when wet, F/R issues

I don’t claim to be an expert on using canvas for marquees as whenever we tried sourcing canvas to make covers we had trouble finding any that was flame retardant. It’s been used for centuries all round the world so there’s no arguing with the benefits of it, it’s very strong durable material. The only problems arise when it becomes wet, it becomes much heavier to lift and could rot if left damp over a period of time.

PE

Pros: Cheap
Cons: Doesn’t last, creases easily, noisy in wind, F/R issues

PE is the entry level for marquee material, it is the same material used in tarpaulins and groundsheets. It’s very cheap, it will keep you waterproof but the material isn’t very tough so won’t last long. It’s also very difficult to get flame retardant PE material.

Poly/PVC

Pros: Cheap, more durable than PE
Cons: Not as durable as PVC

Polyester with a PVC coating makes a more durable material and so you are more likely to be able to re-use a Poly/PVC marquee than a PE one.

PVC

Pros: Durable
Cons: Can be difficult to clean, stretches

PVC fabric is far superior to PE and Poly/PVC, it is more durable and consequently your marquee will stay waterproof for longer. Without a laminate coating it can be difficult to clean PVC back to its original new appearance.

Ripstop PVC with laminate coating

Pros: Very durable and easy to clean, holds eyelets very well
Cons: Expensive to buy

When you see the professional large marquees 9-30m wide this is the type of material they use. Generally 500-700gsm fabric but I have seen some 800-900gsm fabric when a blackout layer is used in the middle (generally used in hotter European countries than ours). The material has a polyester (terylene) mesh core with every 10th thread larger to resist ripping. The laminate coating means companies can clean the fabric thoroughly so it appears as new but the laminate coating does make the fabric more expensive than standard PVC.

As a point of reference we use 500gsm (Commercial range) and 650gsm (Deluxe range) ripstop PVC with a laminate coating. We could make our marquees cheaper by using PE, Poly/PVC or standard PVC but the reason we’ve been in business for over 30 years is by supplying a quality product that won’t let people down. In our opinion laminate coated ripstop PVC is the best, that’s why we use it.

Thanks for reading

Spencer