Archive for the ‘marquee hire advice’ Category

Business plans

Monday, July 18th, 2011

When you’re starting a new business venture a business plan is a useful tool to have.  Despite what some might say it’s not essential and watching Dragons Den or The Apprentice you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a case of picking random numbers and adding a zero or 6 to give your 3-year plan.

But a good business plan can save you a lot of work or stop you making an expensive mistake. In my opinion a good business plan should make a sound and compelling argument for why you should start it.

A good article on business plans. Business link are always a good source.

My only slight reservation is don’t get carried away. If you spend too long putting the plan together you’ll use up all that new-venture energy and never get round to actually doing it!

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee partitions

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I’ve posted a few times about partitioning off a marquee for use as a catering area or other purpose.

Well this year we’ve made it a bit easier by supplying a full height partition panel. You can see details of them at the bottom of any marquee page (6x12m for eg). They have zips in to create a large middle entrance or discrete side access.

Being able to so easily make a catering area (or storage area etc) should make a hirer’s life easier which at the end of the day we’re all after 🙂

Thanks for reading – I was on holiday last week hence no post.

Spencer

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

Something to think of when buying a marquee

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

That listing I linked to on eBay was for one of our marquees bought in March with accessories for £1,684 and used once for a wedding. It sold for £1,600. Find me something else wedding-related that holds it’s value that well after using it!

For some reason the last few weeks have gone crazy with requests from people with other makes of marquees wanting spare parts. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s just the time of year for people to be planning their summer parties or whether there’s just been some unexpected bad weather somewhere but I’d say we’ve had an 800% increase than this time last month.

How does this affect you? Well generally parts of different marquees aren’t compatible with one another so if you have an accident with your marquee you’ve got to go back to the original supplier. But a lot of the requests we have are for other suppliers marquees who clearly state on their website that spares are readily available, which is confusing. I thought everyone was like us who send spares out immediately as the time you need a replacement is invariably when you need the marquee.

Now I’m not trying to criticise all of our competitors, I get on well with most and the reason for that is mutual respect and knowledge that we each offer a good service. But there are some out there who say one thing and do another. What I suggest is if you’re thinking of buying a marquee (whoever it’s from and whatever style it is) you phone them up anonymously saying you’ve got a 2 or 3 year old marquee already and need some spare parts for it, just see what reaction you get and keep that in mind when finding a supplier.

All of this and indeed our philosophy on spare parts comes from my own experience. Years ago I was really in the mire for one weekend and approached our usual supplier only to be hit by a brick wall. It was made very clear that they weren’t going to help me or go out of their way at all. So I approached another supplier we rarely used who bent over backwards to help even meeting us out of hours so we could get the job done. Who do you think we went back to in the future? Years of growth later and we were one of his best customers and I never forgot him helping us out that one nightmare weekend.

I’m not saying we’re the only marquee supplier who offers a good after sales service but just put a supplier to the test before buying. That way you can have more confidence if anything should go wrong in the future.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Used 6x12m DIY Marquee

Friday, May 27th, 2011

One of our customers is selling their once used  6x12m DIY Marquee on ebay at the moment if you’re quick

Upside down Fridays

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Now bear with me on this one..

One of the best marquee erectors I ever worked with was Darren. He was faster and stronger than just about anyone else around and he fought women off with a sh*tty stick. In short everyone loved working with him. However, he was also a very shrewd chap.

On Fridays if the day was quiet with only a small marquee to do then he’d let whatever young lad was working with him be in charge for the day and boss him around. It sounds a laugh (and it was) but it’s also a very educational thing to do. You learn what winds the lads up (as that’s what they’ll make you do!) and you get to ham up any annoying things they do.

Try it one (quiet) day, it’s a laugh and might surprise you 🙂

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Essential items for your van

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Over time you find there are certain things that you want to have in each vehicle, if you’re starting up then this is the sort of list that you need to equip each van/lorry with:

  • Wire cutters to cut all those cable ties (preferably a few pairs)
  • A few hammers (for nailing down matting/carpet)
  • sledgehammer
  • A pair of steps large enough for whatever size marquees you offer
  • several packs of cable ties
  • spare nuts/bolts/bungees/drop-nose pins whatever easily lose-able small parts your style of marquees use
  • spanners
  • ratchet straps
  • vacuum/leaf blower, whatever you use to clean up flooring
  • map book or sat nav
  • pack of baby wipes to clean hands before putting up linings etc
  • stake puller (if you use them)
  • purlin lifter (if you have the style of marquee that requires them)
  • hard hats (if you’re lifting metalwork over your head then you should wear them)
  • Cloths, bucket and some cleaning fluid (plant sprays are good for keeping cleaning fluid in)
  • a roll of rubbish sacks
  • 13amp fuses
  • selection of screwdrivers
  • 13amp socket tester (worth it’s weight in gold for testing sockets to trace any problem/fault)
  • small container of bleach (in an emergency you can remove marks on a lining at the last minute)

It sounds a lot but most of it will just stay permanently in the compartment above the cab or in a tool box. There are bound to be some things that I’ve missed but these should cover most eventualities that you may face.

Thanks for reading

Spencer