Archive for the ‘marquee hire advice’ Category

Theatre style seating in a marquee

Monday, July 26th, 2010

As my wife frequently tells me I often repeat myself. This is true in blogging as well as general conversation (when limited to football and marquees there’s only so many things I can talk about). So if I repeat myself on here there’s a fair chance I’m being forgetful though sometimes it is intentional – some subjects are more important/essential when starting a marquee hire business than others so need mentioning again for more recent followers.

Theatre style seating is something you come up against now and again, often people have the legal wedding in a registry office the day before and then have a celebratory ceremony in a marquee on the day. But they’ll be looking to you as the marquee supplier to advise what space they need. Here’s what we used to allow:

For every chair (without arms): 0.5m wide x 1m deep. Most chairs (bistro, gilts etc) are 40-50cm square, you then leave a further 50cm at the front to allow for leg room.

For aisles: allow a path 2m wide (conveniently the same width as our red marquee carpet if you want to make a nice feature of it).

Here’s an example layout:

Theatre style seating in a marqueeSo of the 6x12m area you’ve got 12 seats on one side of the aisle (taking up 6m) and 8 seats on the other side (taking up 4m) leaving a 2m aisle down the middle – it’s off centre otherwise you’d have a leg at the end of the aisle on the way in/out!

This layout works better in landscape rather than portrait. If you imagine trying to have the same marquee with an aisle going the other way through the marquee it would only leave 2m (4 seats) on either side. 9m wide marquees work a little better that way round as you can fit 7 seats either side of the 2m aisle.

This may not be useful to you right now but keep the dimensions and ideas handy as you will be asked for this at some point through your marquee hire career!

Thanks for reading

Spencer

How to gutter marquees

Monday, July 19th, 2010

At the risk of educating my competitors I’ve heard several people recently describe how they (incorrectly in my view) put up gutters so thought it was a good thing to cover on here.

Several people tell me it’s easier to hang guttering using bungees rather than cable ties. Easier it may be, better it is not.

Even if you’ve got a good fall on it water is still going to weigh down a gutter, this pulls down the bungees in the middle meaning that middle section of the gutter holds water. When it holds water the bungees get pulled down even more, this continues until water overflows the top of the guttering. That is not a good thing.

Second point: You want to avoid getting kinks in a gutter, if you’ve got a kink in it water will get held up and sit in the bottom.  If you’ve got a 6inch high gutter with 2″ of water sat in the bottom then suddenly you’ve effectively got a 4″ deep gutter. Less than ideal.

The secret with hanging a marquee gutter (wake up competitors, this is the bit you’ll want to copy/steal) is to pull it out taught as you go along:

  1. Lay the gutter out between the marquees with an equal length overhanging each end
  2. Start in the middle of one marquee and cable tie tightly in place. Work your way out to either pulling the gutter taught and cable tying in place (leave the cable ties slightly looser towards each end to create a fall on the gutter)
  3. At this stage you should have a gutter hanging down from one marquee.
  4. Repeat stage 2 in the second marquee ensuring no kinks form as you go along.

Guttering is very easy to do, once you’ve done it a couple of times it will become second nature.

Remember good guttering is also part of planning – always avoid ‘T’ shape guttering as it never works. Better to have three marquees side by side than attempt two side by side with one across the end.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Cheques for more than the bill

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Not marquee hire related, just general business related today.

We’ve been offered this occasionally in the past but the frequency has gone up recently so thought I’d pass on a word of warning:

Don’t accept a cheque for more than the desired amount and refund the difference. Even if the cheque has cleared in your bank account.

This sounds a bit odd and it might be that you’re never offered this so don’t worry.  If you do then just refuse. It’s a way of money laundering. At least I’m assured that’s the case, my knowledge on the subject is similar to the guys from office space (awesome film).

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Catering Partitions

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

For any reasonable sized event you need to supply a catering area, generally this is in the form of an additional marquee attached to the side or the back of the main marquee(s).

But there is another solution.

Say you’re supplying two 6x12m marquees with a 6x6m marquee to one side and need to add a catering area somewhere. You could actually supply three 6x12m marquees and partition one of them in half. This saves you work and looks a little neater from the outside.

Partitioning a 6x12m marquee in half is very easy, put solid walls on the side of the catering area and hang a 6m end wall where you want the partition (tie a rope across and support it in the middle to get fixings). In the non-catering area hang a standard 6x6m roof lining, from the inside this will just look like a standard 6x6m marquee.

Keep this in mind when you’re planning layouts etc.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Marquees on sand

Monday, June 28th, 2010

There are times when you’ll be asked to put marquees up on all sorts of different surfaces, one of which is sand. There are a couple of things to be aware of:

Anchoring the marquee down. If the marquee is going up on a sand school then the ground will probably be solid enough under the layer of sand to take marquee stakes as if it were on grass. If it’s on a beech then the soft sand will go deeper so you need longer stakes, more of them or heavy weights.

Dance floors. If you put a dance floor down on sand or even on top of carpet with sand outside eventually the sand will work its way on to the dance floor. From experience I know that’s a bad thing. We didn’t even consider the implications of doing a large wedding marquee on a sand school until we went to pick the marquee up afterwards – the sand had been walked in to the marquee and on to the dance floor. Throw in 150 people strutting their stuff and the effect was like sandpaper scratching our lovely parquet dance floor all night! An expensive lesson learnt.

If you are offering a dance floor in a marquee near sand then use one that can be re-stained (wooden dance floor) or incorporate in to the price re-lacquering the top surface.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Marquee swags and pelmets, there’s a knack.

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Anyone who has a DIY Marquee with our swag upgrade or 9m+ wide linings will know that swags and pelmets are velcroed on once all the other linings are up. The idea is they are there to give a finishing touch to the lining (and they hide all manner of cables and fixings).

If you just velcro the swags up in place without much thought then it will show, these uneven swags for example:

uneven swags
Apologies for the photo quality but you can make out the swags are uneven and not stretched out.

Here’s what they should look like:

good swags
You can see they’re straight and evenly spaced out.

The trick is to pull the swags out straight as you go. The swags don’t need to be velcroed to the roof every inch of the way, if the roof is bunched up a little then pull the swag across it before velcroing. Try to bypass any Velcro that rises up a little on the roof if you can, this will keep the swags looking more even.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Marquee linings – keeping them clean

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Realistically in the marquee hire industry there are some things you can get away with and some things you can’t. For example, if you haven’t had chance to clean a dirty marquee roof you can generally get away with it if you hide it with a lining. What you can’t get away with is a dirty lining, this is the bit that transforms the marquee and needs to be clean.

These are the common causes for a dirty lining:

Dirty hands putting them up: You’ve just knocked in dirty stakes or lots of rusty nails before you have to put the lining up. Solution: Have disposable gloves or a pack of baby wipes in the car.

Dirt dripping down from the roof: Condensation forms in marquees, especially in ones without flooring or ones with breathable flooring (regular readers will know my hatred of that..). If the poles are dirty then that dirt will drip down on to your lovely linings. Solution: Keep muddy groundbars as groundbars and keep the cleanest poles for the roof sections.

Dirt from the ground: Linings can pick up dirt when they’re taken down and dropped on the ground or if there’s no flooring dirt can splash up on to curtain linings. Solution: Gather the linings in to a protective bag as they’re being taken down, avoid letting them drape on the floor if at all possible.

Dirt from transport: leaving linings lying around un-bagged means they can get dirty or damaged in transit. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of completing a really nice marquee only to look up and see a size 10 footprint in the middle of a roof lining.. Solution: Store marquee linings in protective bags whenever possible.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

DJ Areas in marquees

Monday, June 7th, 2010

When planning DJ areas try putting yourself in a DJ’s shoes:

I was once pointed to this forum: DJ forum

There’s one post that was perfect for us so I’ve quoted it in full here:

“Fortunately I only do a couple of marquee gigs each year, but there are four main reasons why I have a strong disliking for these functions:

1) The ground is always uneven, meaning you usually have to put piles of disco cards under your stands & tripods to level them up…and this looks rubbish.

2) If its been raining, then can be very muddy. I had this problem big time at one particular gig last year.

3) They often have a dodgy power supply, either from a generator or from extension leads from a nearby building…and you’re never sure if they are being shared by caterers or the lighting.

4) Lack of headroom. Being at the side of the marquee, we are normally in the area where the roof is at its lowest, and I often find that I don’t have the 9 feet height required by my main lighting tripod.”

Okay, so lets deal with these points in order:

1. There’s not much you can do about uneven surfaces. Don’t increase the dance floor to accomodate DJ’s – dancing will make the records jump etc.

2. Encourage customers to have flooring if there’s any chance of it being muddy. It makes for a better party and means DJ (and your) equipment stays clean.

3. Try to make sure you have a completely separate power lead for the DJ, either their own extension lead from the house or a separate lead from the generator so it doesn’t conflict with anything else.

4. When designing your customers’ layout try to have the DJ area at one end rather than to one side, this means they’ll have greater headroom and also looks more impressive.

I’d also add a couple of my own points too:

5. If possible allow for access in to the back of the DJ area, this saves equipment being carried through eating/greeting areas.

6. If you’ve got lighting controls position them near the DJ, this allows him/her to dim them down when starting their set and helps control the atmosphere.

Thanks to Rob James Entertainment for letting me quote their forum post & thanks for reading

Spencer

Customers decorating your marquees

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

In the marquee hire trade it’s to be expected that sometimes people will want to decorate their marquees. The results can be stunning so there’s no problem there, the problems arrive when they’re not taken away properly afterwards.

The sort of things you come across are:

  • Bits of tape. If left on your metalwork or worse -your roofs and walls they can become a problem. The stickiness doesn’t go away so picks up dirt and ages your marquee prematurely. If there’s tape on your marquee take it off asap.
  • Glitter. This gets everywhere but is actually quite easy to clean off with soapy water.
  • Staples. If people have stapled things to your linings (trust me this happens regularly) then take them out straight away. If a lining goes through the wash with a staple in then you get rust marks and they’re very very tough to get out.

We had a note in our terms and conditions about using tape and staples in the marquees. Did it make a difference? Nope. Did we charge for the work of removing said tape and staples? Nope. It’s just one of those things.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Marquees and trees. A love hate relationship.

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I can confirm that looking after kids is a lot harder work than putting up or selling marquees. I’ve come back to work for a rest.

What happens when the site you want to put a marquee up on has a tree in the way? Sneakily attack it with a chainsaw, erect the marquee and walk away whistling innocently? Well it really depends on the size of it what your options are. If it’s a 50 year old oak then there’s not much you can do (except the aforementioned chainsaw solution). If it’s a small tree (3m or less) then why not have it inside the marquee?

Tree inside marquee

People pay a lot of money to hire in trees and shrubs to decorate marquees, why note use what’s already in the garden? This also goes for small hedges or flower beds. They’re also ideal to put fairy lights in to.

Isn’t it a pain working round a tree? Well… yes it is. But it’s not too hard. Say you’re putting up a 6mx12m marquee and there’s a small tree 3m in from one end. The easiest way we found was to erect it as normal but leave off the last 2 bays (at the tree end) and have the roof on the frame but the excess folded back on itself out of the way. You then go up on steps and assemble the last two frames whilst it’s up in the air (there’s a knack to this that comes with practice). The advantage of this is if any branches need cutting then you can do it now and you’re only cutting back what you absolutely have to. Lastly just pull the roof over and hey presto, your 6mx12 is up complete with trees inside. If you’re putting up linings then the tree will have to be smaller (by nature of by chopping).

It is always worth having a small saw in your van just in case your measuring wasn’t quite as accurate as you thought (always remember that it’s the tree that must have grown, not your measuring that’s wrong!).

Thanks for reading

Spencer.