Archive for the ‘marquee hire advice’ Category

How often should you clean a marquee?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

The obvious answer is whenever it needs it so maybe a better question would be how often should you expect to clean a marquee.

A marquee is far more likely to get dirty when being erected/dismantled rather than when it is actually up. If you’re careful when erecting and especially when dismantling the marquee then you can usually get away with a thorough clean only once or twice a season.

There are however a few exceptions:

The dirtiest marquee I have ever had was one that was erected under some trees. When it rained all of the dust and grime was washed off the leaves down on to our lovely marquee. If you’ve got to put a marquee up under trees expect to clean it immediately afterwards.

Rain-skirts by their very nature will always get muddy in the rain, these should be given a wipe over on pretty much every job.

Traffic-film – eventually PVC can have a grey layer build up which is especially difficult to remove. It takes a long time for this to happen (a year or two normally) but at this stage it needs a thorough clean using a chemical. The material also needs irritating (gone over with a brush or similar) to get this off. Once thoroughly cleaned the PVC should be as good as new.

Tree sap is a nightmare to remove.

There are also some things that will never come out:

Petrol/Diesel can stain PVC. This will never come out so avoid them at all costs.

Ingrained mould – this affects many marquees especially those that are stored when still wet. PVC is made of many layers, if a marquee is put away wet or if cheap PVC is used then water can get inside the layers and create mould which will never come out. Incidentally this is one of the reasons we use better quality 500gsm PVC than available elsewhere, it takes far longer for the layers to break down in better quality PVC.

Some garden chemicals can stain – I was shown a marquee recently that had green stains around the rain skirt which seemed to have come from a chemical added to the lawn.

Better quality PVC always helps, we use a lacquer coated PVC as it is easier to clean and lasts longer than the cheap alternatives.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

The Showmans Show 2014

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

The showmans show is on again in a few weeks time, for those who haven’t heard of it it is the one show aimed at the outdoor event sector. In recent times it has become (whether by design or simply by the people attending) more about large public outdoor events rather than the relatively smaller private marquee events the marquee sales industry cater towards.

It’s something to be aware of but the industry is not the fastest moving in the world so there’s no real need to go every year.

With that in mind we will not be exhibiting this year. We were undecided but a couple of health scares have meant it is not sensible for us to attend this year – we will definitely be back next year though!

It’s a shame as we’ve got some new products for next year – you’ll just have to wait for them to go on the website over the winter.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Different styles of management on site with marquees

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Different people have different styles of management, most (certainly in the marquee industry) fall in to one of two categories: Leading by example or leading by delegation.

Some will be proficient in both but most people naturally use one or the other and it is well worth learning both how your own management style works and those you work with to prevent conflict.

Leading by example:

In a small group this is a good way of getting the job done. The person in charge sets the pace and does the work and everyone else is there as an assistant. This is how most people in small businesses work, if you’ve ever worked with a self-employed electrician, plumber or similar this is their only way of working.

  • With a small group of people this is often the fastest way of getting the job done
  • The quality of the work will always be high, after all it is the best person/most qualified that would be doing all of the work
  • Everyone has to work at the same pace as the leader which prevents people dragging their heels
  • This does place a lot of work/pressure on the leader who becomes irreplaceable
  • It’s difficult to scale up – a person can only work with so many assistants

Leading by delegation:

This is ideal for larger groups where tasks are delegated to different people. This is obviously how larger businesses work

  • The only way of working with large numbers of people
  • The quality of work can be more varied as you are relying on different peoples finishes
  • You can have different speeds of work which can breed resentment if one team is significantly slower than another

What does this mean in marquee hire?

In my experience small groups are the most efficient way of working, within this small group should be a leader who leads by example (as above) otherwise it all becomes a bit aimless and drags on. The leader is the one who will set the pace, get the job done and maintain the standard.

On larger sites where you need more people the leader needs to be able to split the people and tasks in to smaller groups so they need to lead by delegation and have a leader by example in each smaller group.

Once the frame of a marquee is up you can split people up accordingly – some do the flooring, some do electrics, some could start another marquee if required. It is simply not efficient to have everyone doing the same job, if you have enough potential leaders working in 2’s and 3’s is by far the most effective and efficient way of working on site.

It is never a healthy thing having only one person capable of doing a certain job. If you run a small business and always work in a small group take the time to train those working with you as you work. It means your business will be easier to scale up (your assistant becomes a new leader) and less pressure on your shoulders.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

PS – if anyone can think of marquee terminology we missed please let us now.

Marquee tools

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Following (always useful) feedback from customers we have introduced a marquee tool section. This helps us become more of a one shop stop for start up or existing marquee hire companies.

Further tools will be added soon.

We are particularly proud of the marquee stake puller that could be a great help when dismantling marquees, unlike most stake pullers it is also very light so fits in nicely with our marquees that pack down to surprisingly small volumes.

Should you require any tools that are not listed please contact us and we will design/source them for you.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

6x4m marquee or 4x6m marquee?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

In the marquee industry there is not a huge amount of terminology for someone new to the scene to get used to. One is getting used to feet and metres and how to switch between the two (3m=10ft essentially), most customers prefer everything in metres but you still get some that need it in feet.

Another standard to get used to is that when talking marquees the width comes first and the length second. A 4x6m marquee is very different to a 6x4m one for example.

4x6m Classic DIY Marquee

A 4x6m Marquee means that the A-frames are 4m wide and it is 6m long (three 2m bays).

6x4m Classic DIY Marquee

A 6x4m marquee on the other hand has 6m wide A-frames and is 4m long (two 2m bays).

Why offer both?

The most popular way of covering a 4x6m area is with a 4x6m marquee, there are however times when this is not the best option.

  • If you already own a 6m wide marquee or have spare 6m metalwork then you can just buy a 6x4m roof and therefore increase your hiring potential without buying a complete new 4x6m marquee.
  • If the marquee is going up against a house then it is far easier having the gable butted up for weathering and access purposes. If the customer needs the 6m side of the marquee up against the house then it is best practice to go with a 6x4m marquee rather than a 4x6m one.

Hopefully that makes sense!

Thanks for reading, apologies for the gap in writing but this summer has been even busier than usual. Normal service (articles & blog posts alternating every week) should now be resumed.

Spencer

How often do marquees need cleaning

Monday, April 7th, 2014

It depends on the frequency a marquee is used, the environment it is erected in, the material in question and the weather conditions but in general marquee hire companies will lightly clean a marquee nearly every time it goes up but do a thorough ingrained clean maybe twice a year.

By lightly clean I mean wipe down any marks or mud that may have splattered on to the sides, this can be done when the marquee is erected on site. By ingrained clean I mean using a power washer, a floor scrubber or brush and strong marquee cleaner product. Or getting a professional marquee cleaning company in. Ingrained cleaning removes the grey film that builds up on marquees over time.

There are three categories of dirt on a marquee:

  • mud splatters or other marks on the covers. These can be removed by light cleaning
  • grey film that builds up over time, to be removed by an ingrain clean
  • dirt and residue from trees. If it rains when your marquee is under a tree a lot of dirt gets washed off leaves on to your marquee, there may even be some sap on there too. The dirtiest marquee I ever saw was one erected under a tree. These need ingrain cleaning immediately as they won’t be good enough to hire out and leaving sap on PVC would not be good.

Different marquee materials, different cleaning methods:

  • Canvas cannot be cleaned without removing it’s FR coating
  • PVC can be cleaned as above, good quality PVC (like ours) will have a laminate coating to make it easier to clean.
  • Clear PVC (window panels) must be cleaned very carefully so the clear material isn’t scratched.
  • Poly/PVC you have to be careful as the PVC coating is a single layer than can be scratched off with aggressive cleaning.
  • PE material can be cleaned similar to PVC though doesn’t have a laminate coating so will not come back as new.

The most important point of all – never put your marquee away when wet. A wet stored marquee will create mildew (PVC & PE) or may rot (canvas & the stitching in any stitched marquee).

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Marquee electrical training courses

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The lighting systems we have designed to fit in our marquees are very easy and intentionally designed to need no training however as you grow your marquee hire business the power requirements on site can become ever more complex. Our friends at Essential Supplies can help:

We shall be holding some training courses in the next couple of weeks. We are planning to run courses in PAT Testing, Event Electrics, and Event Lighting. These are tailor made to the marquee/events industry. We have a new member of staff to carry out the training courses, so these can now be held at our premises near Plymouth or closer to you.  If you are interested in getting more information then please email louise@essentialsupplies.co.uk to register your interest.

Training can be essential for growing businesses especially to learn about industry best practices.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

How big a dance floor do I need in my marquee?

Monday, February 17th, 2014

A very common question. The way to work it out is to multiply the number of guests by 2.5 and that’s the square footage dance floor area you would typically need.

There are some caveats to add to that though:

  • This assumes only around a half of guests would be dancing, if you know you have a more active than average group then go bigger.
  • This does not include space for a Band or DJ -NEVER put them on the same surface (ie on the dance floor) as their equipment can jump around.
  • Larger dance floors (or even a fully boarded marquee) may be needed for more active group style dances like a ceileih, callee, kaleigh, barn dance.
  • Don’t get too hung up about the size of the dance floor, if it gets very busy then the dance floor is often just a starting point as people then dance just off it anyway.

Some examples:

  • 60 guests = 150 square feet so typical size dance floors: 10x15ft, 12x12ft
  • 100 guests = 250 square feet so typical size dance floors: 12x20ft, 16x16ft
  • 160 guests = 400 square feet so typical size dance floor: 20x20ft

As always if in doubt just contact us and we’ll be more than happy to advise.

A new design of our website is being launched over the next 2 weeks so don’t be alarmed if you notice some changes -please let us know if you find any mistakes though!

Thanks for reading

Spencer

How big a marquee do I need?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Asking how big a marquee is required is one of your main jobs as a marquee supplier. Often the size of the garden will dictate the size of marquee but you still need to know how much space everything takes up to then plan suitable numbers.

Here’s how most marquee hire companies work out the space required in a marquee:

Round table seating up to 10 (usually 5ft or 5ft6in tables): Allow 3x3m -this includes space for walking between tables so for example a 6x12m area can fit eight 3x3m boxes so can fit eight round tables with space to walk between. Saying that it is more comfortable leaving one out to stagger the tables like this example.

Tradition long top table (usually three 6ft trestle tables but oval tables are similar): Allow 3x6m

Buffet (again usually three 6ft trestles): Allow 3x6m

Bar: Allow 3x3m for small functions, 3x6m in larger ones

DJ: 3x3m is usually fine

Band: 3x6m for a small band, larger bands you have to ask them (though be careful as they often want to take over half the marquee)

Dance Floor: A blog post in itself which will be written soon

Catering area: 3x6m or 6x4m for small functions, 6x6m for medium (80+ guests), 6x8m+ for larger functions (160+)

When planning layouts you also want to consider where people walk in to the marquee -ideally you don’t want guests walking straight in to a table so you may have to leave a gap. For marquees that are a bit tight consider having the entrance near the bar or dance floor to give some space.

Often you are asked to put marquees up over features like bushes, flower beds, small trees, water features or even swimming pools. This really adds character to a marquee so in my eyes should be encourages though as the marquee supplier it does make life a little harder and you should point out that it is not useable area. Often customers will need a larger marquee to allow for incorporating these features.

When planning the marquee remember which direction guests will be arriving from – you want it to look impressive. Windows make the marquee look more inviting – you don’t want guests believe that they are walking in to the back of the marquee. Also keep in mind access to the toilets, this may require an additional exit in the marquee.

Experiment with layouts using our interactive marquee planner, it allows you to drag furniture in to a marquee to experiment with capacities and layouts.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Before starting a marquee hire business

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Starting up any new business is a big step and can be quite daunting, marquee hire is no different. something we encourage is to do a lot of local research beforehand.

Use all of the usual search methods (google, bing, yellow pages, local magazines) and see how much competition is out there. If your local area is already saturated with marquee companies then it may be difficult to start up in competition.

See what marquees other companies are offering and how large an operation they are. The company that bought my old marquee hire business stated they didn’t want to do any job less than £2,000 (!), there is a very very good living to be made solely doing marquees under £2,000 I can assure you. Several of our existing customers work very successfully with a larger marquee hire company nearby, they pass on any larger jobs to the nearby company and in turn any job that’s too small for the large company passes it on to our customer.

At this point it’s also worth looking at where everyone advertises and if you can see any gaps. We found local parish magazines to be a useful supply of business, the advertising cost is so small that it pays for itself very quickly.

Thanks for reading

Spencer