Archive for the ‘marquee hire advice’ Category

Starting a marquee hire company: Choosing a name

Monday, December 28th, 2009

It may not be the first thing on your list but it’s one of the more interesting: -choosing a name for your new start up marquee business.

There’s lots of general information about registering your name here.

If you read about marketing you’ll hear a lot about ‘promoting your brand’ and similar ‘brand awareness’ stuff. To me that’s not too relevant to a marquee hire company but if you want to apply it go ahead.

My main focus is choosing a name, you can either go for a descriptive name (Dorking marquee hire, Sussex marquees etc), a funny/clever name (in-tents, undercover, impressive erections!) or just a name you like the sound of.

Personally I’d go for a descriptive name every time, this is purely to help you in the internet searches. Someone isn’t going to search for ‘Spencers tents’ or ‘Spencers got you covered’. They could well search for ‘Dorking marquee hire’ or ‘marquees in Surrey’ though.  That could make the difference between you succeeding or failing in your new venture.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

How I’d start up a marquee hire business

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I’m very conscious of the fact that I describe this blog as helping people set up a marquee hire business but for most visitors it’s like coming along half way through a conversation -most articles are written assuming you’re already in business.

So what I plan to do is to write a guide on what I’d do if I was starting up a marquee hire business now, maybe split in to two angles – full-time or part-time start ups.

I’ll try to post the guide in a step by step process here then at the end I’ll put it together in a down-loadable guide.

If any experienced marquee erectors out there have suggestions of what to put in drop me a line, all suggestions welcome 🙂

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year to all of our customers, thank you for your business and I hope we  can continue helping you to be successful in 2010.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Advertising: Marquee hire in Yellow Pages

Monday, December 14th, 2009

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in it helps being the first entry in the yellow pages. As it’s alphabetical this leads to lots of A1/Abacas/Aardvark marquees but you don’t have to rename your company, there is a way round it:

ypHere is an example. When booking yellow pages advertising I would book it under the name AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADIY Marquees. This would then appear as the first marquee company in yellow pages. To book it you just need a letterhead with your new name on (easily done on Word) -the A’s don’t need to be as large or obvious as my ones, it’s just an example.

If you want to see good examples of this in practice look at a really competitive listing like plumbing – the a’s go all round their adverts!

This isn’t necessary for yell.com as they choose their listings to appear randomly.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquees up in bad weather

Monday, November 30th, 2009

The weather outside – it’s not so good. As a marquee erector you face a few problems:

i. You get wet. Go back a few weeks and read my post about buying good waterproofs! You know that tan that’s just fading away? Well this is the down side of working outdoors!

ii. Waterlogging. This is a serious problem, some peoples gardens and patios will hold surface water and you’ve got to put a marquee up on them. If it’s just soft underfoot then the usual groundsheet under matting/carpet is okay, if there’s water sitting on top of the surface then you have to consider raising that surface somehow – usually by building a wooden floor underneath using plywood with battens on the back. You can be imaginative in putting sandbags round the outside or something but really a raised wooden floor is the only sure-fire way.

iii. ‘pooling’ of water on the marquee roof. This can happen to any marquee in severe wind and rain but needs resolving swiftly to avoid damage (just push the water out). You can help prevent it by making the sure the roof is tight -use your best bungees on the roof and when you assemble the metalwork don’t have the roof poles fully in to the sockets when you tighten the bolts, this makes the roof a few inches wider and stretches out the fabric. If pooling occurs regularly think about attaching a tight rope from the middle purlin out to the eaves purlin to help stop it.

Thanks for reading

Spencer (no the baby’s not arrived yet!)

9m wide modular marquees for sale – New for 2010!

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

If you visited us at the Showmans Show you will know that we’re going to be supplying 9m wide modular marquees from March/April of next year.  Why is this so exciting? Why are we doing it? Why should you buy ours?

It’s exciting because it’s the culmination of a LOT of work and we’re confident it’s going to be well received.

We’re doing it because a lot of our customers are successful and expanding, at some time most expanding marquee hire companies have to offer larger structures so the sensible next step is 9m wide.

Why should you buy from us? Well we’ve worked very hard to ensure our marquees are compatible with the majority of kit already out there in the UK as well as making sure it’s the high quality and value for money people have come to expect from us.

We are taking pre-orders now for delivery in March/April 2010, if you don’t order by mid-December then we can’t guarantee availability. Prices are available by request (or look at your Showmans Show price list).

So what’s the spec of our new 9m marquees:

  • 4-channel aluminium profile with steel knuckles & apexes. The 4-channel aluminium allows greater flexibility with things like porches (see photo below) and catering areas.
  • Translucent PVC used for both walls and roofs – a lot of cheap modular marquees around the world use a ‘blackout’ layer in their roof PVC making the interior grey and gloomy (think of the light in an old canvas marquee). This might be suitable for deserts or the south of France but in the UK if it’s light outside you want it to be light inside. I think they may use the blackout layer just to increase the gsm of the fabric, certainly most of the PVC roofs already in use don’t use blackout.
  • 2.3m eaves – if you’re buying a modular marquee for use in the UK you want it to have 2.3m eaves. Why? Well nearly all the existing stock used in UK marquee hire companies uses 2.3m eaves, this means that all lining suppliers and theming companies have stock based on a 2.3m eave -so you can only use them if you’ve got the correct kit. Using 2.3m eaves also means the resale value of the marquee will be higher and you’re not tied to us if you want to buy more framework in the future.
  • choice of windows: georgian, arched or panoramic
  • choice of zips or dutch lacing (dutch lacing is by far the most popular choice)

Included with any marquee purchase we’re also offering:

  • A training session – when your marquee’s ready we’ll be arranging several training sessions for you to come along to so we can pass on all of our knowledge and tips (surprisingly that’s quite a lot!). We put these marquees up for 10 years and there’s lots of things to make your life easier.
  • A free single page website optimised for whatever keyphrase you want. A lot of companies have these single page satellites designed to get up the search rankings that link through to your main site. They can take a while to get there but we’re quite good at it and we’ll design one for you.

Below are lots of photos of 9m marquees that your marquee will look like:

Thanks for reading

Spencer

9m x 18m Marquee

Ivory pleated lining (with extra curtains over the walls)

9m x 18m roof only marquee

9m x 9m marquee with 3m porch

Two 9m marquees with panoramic windows (later ones have dutch lacing)

Two 9m marquees with panoramic windows (later ones have dutch lacing)

9m x 6m framework mid-assembly

9m x 6m framework mid-assembly

Aluminium profile (steel knuckle at the top of eaves)

Aluminium profile (steel knuckle at the top of eaves)

Gable uprights bolt securely on

Gable uprights bolt securely on

9m wide marquee with pleated lining & green swag

9m wide marquee with pleated lining & green swag

9m marquee with a walkway used as an entrance porch

9m marquee with a walkway used as an entrance porch

Know your USP

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I’m not really one for marketing lingo but everyone should know their USP -Unique Selling Point.

It will probably change as you grow, expand and find your market but you should have an idea of what it is right now.

If you’re starting up a marquee hire business or thinking of it and worried how you’re going to appeal to customers then don’t worry.  These factors are in your favour and so you should promote these as often as possible:

  • Brand new equipment. If you’re just starting out then all of your stock is new.  You should be using phrases like ‘all of our stock is less than 6 months old’. Try and avoid saying it’s never been used before as that might just worry people that you don’t know what you’re doing 😉
  • The cheapest. When you start a marquee hire business you should be among the cheapest in the area.

As you grow as a business these will obviously change – for a start your stock will be older and your prices will probably have gone up! To give you an idea before I had to sell our marquee hire company I would promote the following about us:

  • Wedding specialists. We had done a LOT of weddings by the end but always tried to make sure each customer felt special and individual. We’d offer them advice and choices even though 90% of people ended up having the same thing!
  • Reliable and trustworthy – this is just something you build up over a long time by reputation. It can swiftly be lost which is why I was careful who we sold it to and made sure they’d carry on in the same vein.

So if you’re thinking of starting up a marquee hire venture then play on the ‘new stock’ and ‘cheapest’ angles to get you business.

If you’re an established company make sure you know your USP and where you’re currently at. If you don’t know then take time out and think about it, if you’re confused about what your angle is then how do you think customers are going to feel?

Thanks for reading

Spencer

PS -advance warning, next week’s post will be all about our 9m wide kit as the pre-order deadline is coming up soon.

Every marquee hirer should be using google

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Most marquee hirer’s will let someone else look after their website, our speciality is putting up marquees not web design after all. But whoever you are you should still be using google and making it work for you.

By using google I don’t mean using their search engine, I mean using their extra tools. You have to register and set it up but it doesn’t take long.

What tools are available?

Google’s local business center: when it looks like you’re searching for a local business, the first few results appear on a map – these are results from google’s local business center. Registering for this is a MUST.

Webmaster tools: This helps you find out if there’s any problems with your marquee website. If the person who looks after your website is on the ball you don’t need this. For those of us who look after our own websites it’s very handy.

Adwords: You know the ads that appear on the right hand side (and sometimes above) the normal search results? They’re paid-for ads, that’s how google makes money. In my experience they’re very useful and well worth the small amount of money required, -note when you first start out have a good search round as often there’s vouchers out there for free £20/£30 for adwords.

Google analytics: With adwords comes another incredibly useful program called analytics, by installing a small piece of code on to your website you can keep track of number of visitors, where they go, what they searched for to find your site and 101 other things. If you’re technically minded and/or do your own website this is incredibly useful.

Google alerts: you put a search term in and every time google finds something new with that search term it’ll email you (once a day,week or month). How is this of use? Well if you put your name in here you can keep track of anyone online anywhere who mentions you. If you put “marquee hire” and your local area then you’ll keep track of who else is around you. This is not to be underestimated, it’s very very useful.

There’s other tools on there but these are the main ones that I think most people would be interested in who run marquee hire businesses.

Sorry for the delayed entry this week, my daughters birthday yesterday meant I was at the Zoo 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

DIY Marquees bulletin board

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

There’s various things to mention so this isn’t technically an advice article, sorry!

1. We’ve got a used 6m x 6m DIY Marquee for sale on eBay at the moment. It’s in reasonable condition and could help someone out.

2. The 9m wide modular marquees, walkway and new sizes of marquee advertised at The Showmans Show aren’t on the website yet, they’ll be put on in January when they’re in stock – with the exception of the 9m marquees that we’re taking pre-orders for to be ready in March.

3. Probably the biggest news/problem is we’ve been told this week that we can no longer get hold of the shade of lining material we use. We’ve sorted out a replacement that is slightly more expensive but long term could actually be better as it’s a shade that’s used more widely in the marquee industry. The two shades are not really compatable in the same marquee so if you’ve already got our linings we’re trying to make sure we don’t let you down –  we’re buying as many thousand metres of the material as we can to continue supplying you. But it will run out at some stage, at this time I would estimate in 4-6 months time.

If anyone knows they want linings for next season then you can reserve some in the existing colour without paying a deposit as long as they’re standard stock items, that way you know where you are.

Sorry if this is bad news, we’re doing our best to help in any way we can.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Showmans Show 2009 follow on.

Monday, October 26th, 2009
Our stand at the show

Our stand at the show

So this was our stand at The Showmans Show 2009. Hopefully most of you came along and saw it in person.

Firstly I apologise if it seemed rude I wasn’t up greeting everyone, I injured my back quite badly on Wednesday morning which meant I could only stand for a few minutes at a time (an appointment with a specialist is booked for later today). By the end of the show even the security guard was taking the p**s out of me for taking so long to hobble back and forth to the car park!

Secondly a thank you to Colin, Kim and the local first aiders for keeping me in drugs for 2 days (some of them even helped my back!), but especially a big thank you to Mal at Premier Party Tent who hung round in the pouring rain to take my place dismantling all of our marquees. Sir you are a gent and I owe you a very large pint.

A lot of things came from the show and I learnt about various things which I’ll discuss on here soon enough (every day’s a school day!).

Unfortunately a slightly sour note came from the show and it’s been bothering me ever since. Someone started a rumour saying I was bad-mouthing one of our competitors. Now anyone who knows me or has dealt with us knows that this is something we just don’t do. Not only that but I’d encourage you never to do so either.

As a hire company you’ll always have people asking you to compare yourself to another company and I’d strongly strongly urge you to stick to positive comments, only praising yourself and your companies strong points. If you start saying negative comments about someone else then they’ll start doing the same to you and before you know it you’re both coming across like politicians and customers won’t want to deal with either of you!

Anyway back to us – I’m very lucky in that we get on very well with most of our competitors so a quick phone call took any tension out of that situation but it’s still not pleasant to have said about you. I’ll give this anonymous person the benefit of the doubt and rather than accuse them of malicious rumour-mongering maybe they misinterpreted my comment last week of bad-payers not being allowed to attend as aimed at one of our competitors. It certainly wasn’t.

Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting us at the show and for those who don’t know my wife’s pregnant and due to pop in the next 4 weeks so I may suddenly disappear for a few weeks 🙂

Spencer

The Showmans Show 2009

Monday, October 19th, 2009

We started setting up our stand at The Showmans Show today with a few bits left for tomorrow, obviously our stand looks good(!) but the show in general looks very impressive.

I’d heard that some exhibitors weren’t going to be allowed to attend due to being bad payers but as far as I can see all the major players are there and some marquees look very very impressive. When I ran our business we always stopped at the size you could put up without machinery so to see some of these huge structures being erected is fascinating.

Anyway, enough of that, what are we going to be offering you this year?

2m x 6m Walkway – as mentioned previously we’ve started offering a modular 2m wide walkway. The number of times we’re asked for it means it should prove popular and an essential for any expanding marquee hire business.

6m wide deluxe marquees – Initially only available as a 6m x 12m marquee even though we’re displaying it at the show as 6m x 8m (we don’t have endless space, you get the idea!). These marquees are 2.3m high at the eaves making them the same height as aluminium frame marquees and feel a little more spacious walking in. They will also have 650gsm PVC roofs and 500gsm side panels but they’re not finished yet so the 6×8 has the standard 500gsm roof & 380gsm side panels. Do I think it’s worth having this extra thick roof? Honestly? not really, the big appeal to me is the added height but some people out there base everything on the thickness of material rather than other factors so we have to offer something thicker.

Coloured linings – bit of a cheat as it’s not new, we’ve always made coloured linings but having a purple interior to our pagoda sounded quite eye-catching. Hopefully in a good way..

Starlight roof linings – We’ve started supplying these always popular black twinkling roof linings. Again, something different for you to see and offer your customers next year. They come in 6m x 2m sections so you can use them across our whole range of 6m wide marquees.

9m wide aluminium frame marquees – my God some work has gone in to these. And is still going on in fact, it’s a bit of a race against time over the next 24 hours but we should have some framework and covers for you to see.  The next step for any expanding marquee hire business is to go bigger, and that means using an aluminium/steel combination to go 9m wide. We’ve developed these to be compatible with others in the market so even if you’ve already got some this could be of interest.

As always thanks for reading, I hope to see you at the show – the forecast is mixed so have those waterproofs I mentioned a while ago handy just in case. Remember – Avenue E, stand 267. Half way up on the right or just two along from the HUGE black/silver marquee.