Archive for the ‘terms and conditions’ Category

Check list for completed marquees

Monday, February 9th, 2015

It’s good practice when you’ve finished a marquee (and before the event) to have a check list, one copy for the customer and one for you.

What goes on a check list is entirely up to you but here’s some suggestions:

  • Sign to say that they are happy with the marquee. It won’t cover you completely, they may find something and call you back but it does help to have a paper trail should anyone try to take action against you after the event (I’ve never heard of this happening but it’s simply good practice).
  • Sign to say that all furniture is there (by sign I mean one signature for everything)
  • Sign to agree to take responsibility for all of the equipment (unless you have separate insurance/damage waiver).
  • Sign to say they have been shown how to use any marquee heating and/or lighting.
  • A note to say where any equipment can be plugged in (and not to plug in anywhere else)
  • A note asking for any decorations around the marquee not to be attached using staples or non-removable tape.
  • A note mentioning no metalwork should be removed and side panels only removed if good weather.
  • A note asking for pets (dogs) not to be allowed in to the marquee. There were a couple of occasions I can remember finding presents from the family dog, they were not pleasant experiences!

It’s also good practice to have the emergency contact number on the bottom.

Note this is a check list for the customer (they have a copy, you have a copy) which may be separate from your own erectors check-list, something the team leader might fill in ensuring everything meets the required standards. Flooring is well fixed down, all straps are done on the outside of the marquee, no lighting or heating could come in to contact with PVC/lining, furniture all laid out, dance floor laid flat etc etc.

For those who are starting out this may all understandably be a bit of overkill. If you’re in charge and just putting a 6x6m shell of a marquee then that’s fine. The above should always be the aspiration though, as you get bigger, as your equipment becomes more diverse, the jobs become bigger and when more of the responsibility is delegated to others having check lists is simply good practice.

Some see setting up a marquee hire business as very easy. Others see setting up any business as a potential headache. At DIY Marquees we work very hard helping people set up marquee hire companies by taking a lot of the stress and worry out but promoting good practices so they can thrive in the long term.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

I want to set up a marquee hire business

Monday, April 16th, 2012

This is something we hear often and fortunately this is where we can help. Arrange a time to come in and see us and we will sit down with you and discuss any ideas you may have.

How we can help:

  • We can offer advice from our many years experience both in the marquee hire industry (10+ yrs) and from running a business (30+ yrs)
  • If we can’t help you with something we’ll know someone in the industry who can
  • We are happy to discuss the pros and cons of all products used in the industry, not just the ones we supply/manufacture
  • We are happy to offer continued advice in the future, we take the view that helping you to expand and be successful is ultimately beneficial to both parties
  • We offer sample photos to get you started
  • We offer sample terms and conditions (the ones we used for 10+ years)
  • We include a list of industry contacts, these are people that we can recommend from either our experience or others who we have helped over the years
  • We are one of the most innovative marquee suppliers around, we repeatedly come up with new products and new ways for you to gain returns on your investment. We’d love to take all of the credit for these ideas but most of them come from our large network of existing DIY Marquee users

We can’t do everything for you (we’re not going to come and put the marquees up for you for example!) but we believe we are comfortably the best place to start –contact us to arrange a meeting.

Thanks for reading and thanks for to everyone reading who’s come to see us over the years.

Spencer

Anchoring marquees down

Monday, March 19th, 2012

95% of the time anchoring a marquee down is very simple, just use a tie down kit with the marquee stakes knocked in to a lawn, this is very secure and the risk of underground pipes should be taken care of beforehand (generally in your terms and conditions of hire). Some companies do use a CAT detector just to be sure.

Sometimes a tie down kit isn’t suitable, this isn’t just on hard standing – there are occasions when you can’t use stakes in grass like a burial ground or even Olympic 2012 sites (who are insisting that no stakes are used).

There are 2 options, the first is to use longer guy rope style straps. These are run to an area where you can put in stakes or other secure fixing points (concreted in fence posts on a tennis court for example).

The 2nd option is to strap heavy weights to the marquee, the most popular method for this is to use water butts that can be filled and emptied on site. Always strap the water butts directly to the marquee, don’t run straps/ropes to water butts set back from the structure as you’ve given a drag factor that will slacken off any tension. You also need to ensure water butts are suitable, again on the Olympic 2012 sites water butts aren’t being allowed.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Remind customers of their responsibilities

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

One of our favourite customers has recently had a problem that is interesting to highlight for others in the industry.

They erected a marquee for a client and left it well strapped down. The client then in all their wisdom decided to ‘borrow’ most of the tie downs to anchor down their own gazebos as strong winds were forecast. Lo and behold the strong winds caused damage to the main marquee exactly where the tie downs had been removed.

This is an incredibly rare occurrence, I can think of only one similar incident happening in all my time of marquee hiring so there’s no need to be too concerned but it would be sensible to take precautions.

Essentially you need to ensure the customer is aware of their responsibilities and obligations, for example:

  • ensuring no part of the marquee is dismantled (partially or otherwise), this includes tie downs but also wires or cross-braces on larger marquees
  • not to leave indoor furniture outside -chairs with seat pads and/or covers are often carried outside by guests but not returned at the end of the event leaving them open to rain overnight
  • marquees should be closed up overnight or in strong winds
  • no electrical equipment should be tampered with including any temporary earth rods (used with generators etc)

Ideally have a form that is signed just to cover yourself if anything did happen.

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

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

Out of hours marquee cover

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Out of hours marquee cover is a nice selling point to offer customers, especially weddings. The downside to that is you have to man an out of hours number.

Whilst the most important thing to emphasis to customers is that their marquee will meet their expectations everyone realises that problems can occur. Offering customers a number to contact you on out of hours is always received well.

But… that kind of means you can’t go out drinking on a Saturday night in case you have to drive to one of your jobs.

My solution? Take it in turns with someone who works for you to give yourself a break. Rotating it between 2,3 or 4 of you makes life a lot easier and manageable.

I don’t want to overplay this, getting called out happens very very rarely. At our peak we were doing say 10 weddings per weekend, over the course of a year I’d guess we were called out around 6 times. 6 times a year really isn’t that many considering the scale of the operation.

From memory I’d guess these are the common reasons for getting a call out together with percentages for each:

  • 80% Fault with the power. Generally someone else’s equipment, be it a faulty earth that keeps tripping your RCD or they’ve just overloaded your power leads so a fuse needs changing.
  • 15% Heating. The most common reason is they’ve run out of fuel. Always make sure you leave plenty of gas/diesel and specify in your original quotation that any heater includes a minimum of 12 hours fuel (that way you’re covered if they use it for 3 evenings beforehand)
  • 5% Leaking. As long as you use good quality marquees (like our DIY Marquees!!) then this will happen very very rarely. Very very few call outs were for genuine leaks, mainly it was just severe condensation from uncovered grass or plants incorporated inside the marquee.

Finally as anyone who’s tried to phone my mobile out of hours will have learnt we don’t offer any call out facility. If you need an answer urgently then email me as I try to check that regularly, otherwise weekends and evenings are for my daughters 🙂

Thanks for reading, I’m off on holiday next week so if you need anything speak to my Dad, Rich or Mary or whoever else fancies picking up the office phone..

Spencer.

Putting marquees up when the customer’s not there

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

There are times when you have to put a marquee up and the customer isn’t around for whatever reason, my advice is to be very careful and have an accurate diagram or get the customer to mark out where it’s going.

I remember I attended one wedding we did where the groom turned round halfway during the evening and told me the marquee was in the wrong position. What can you do at that point other than apologise?

It turned out he wanted a different layout but failed to pass that on to us until half way through his wedding, we just put it up as the original plan.

Sometimes people can’t be there when you put up the marquee, the ideal would be they mark out where they want the marquee but if not get a very very clear diagram. Instructions given over the phone (“near the hedge” etc) can only go wrong. I’d also be tempted to put a line in your terms and conditions saying if you have to go back and move the marquee there would be a charge just to cover yourself.

Thanks for reading

Spencer.

Marquee site visits/surveys

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

When you go out to see a customer as well as creating a good impression you obviously need to take a good look at where the marquee’s going.

Ask the customer if there are any underground cables or pipes you should be aware of -if so have them clearly indicated on a diagram. If there aren’t any it’s worth mentioning at the bottom of your quote “you have indicated there are no underground pipes or cables to avoid when erecting the marquee”.

As well as under the marquee you need to look above. Are there any overhead power lines you need to worry about? Generally this is more likely when you’re putting a marquee up in a field rather than a garden but it should be taken seriously as this article from the BBC shows. Now don’t let stories such as this scare you, especially if you’re starting up a marquee hire business. It’s generally only on larger marquees and when you’re swinging 15ft+ poles around that you should be concerned but I’d always recommend contact EDF energy if there’s an overhead power cable nearby just to be sure.

If you’re getting a bit concerned about the things you need to think of when you’re on a site visit (remember you’ve also got to sell a marquee and come up with suggested plans!) then don’t worry – it becomes second nature after a while and it’s worth having a checklist just to make sure. If I can find them I’ll post our  old marquee site visit sheets up here to give you ideas.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

I’m away for the next 2 weeks so the factory will probably be more efficient but there won’t be any blog posts until I’m back, sorry.

Marquee Hire Health & Safety

Monday, January 12th, 2009

As with a lot of industries health and safety has become a bit of a nightmare, with ignorance no defence all you can do is try your best and hope nothing happens.

The biggest health and safety issue I heard of was someone dying (yeh that’s pretty big) by touching an overheard power cable with a marquee pole. If there’s overhead power cables just don’t put a marquee up there. Telephone cables aren’t a threat though would still be expensive if you knocked them down.

From memory I think power cables are run vertically, telephone cables are run side by side.

Once you’re past this point you’re onto the more day to day things. I’m far from an expert in this so don’t treat my word as gospel I’ll just recount what I experienced.

At the time the regulations were ‘if you’re lifting anything above head height you should wear a hard hat’. It depends on your style of marquee how long this would be appropriate for – on our DIY Marquees it would only be when lifting the sides so around 20 minutes. On aluminium frame marquees it would be a couple of hours (falling purlins are the main cause of accidents I’ve seen on site). Steel toe capped boots should also be supplied.

Now as an empolyer things start getting interesting. It’s not just enough providing a hard hat and/or boots. You need to be making sure they’re worn at the appropriate times and worn correctly. If someone suffers a head injury through not wearing a hard hat, even though you’ve provided it you could be liable. How stupid’s that? This is where common sense and health & safety don’t go hand in hand.

So if you’re employing people you need to supply hard hats and make sure they’re worn at the correct times.

I believe this is the sort of thing associations such as mutamarq cover. We never felt the need to join ourselves but I can see the appeal. It’s worth having a look at them whether you’re just starting up or have been hiring out for a while.

Thanks for reading

Spencer