Marquee flooring

There’s basically five options for flooring a marquee:

Wooden/suspended floor, carpet, matting, plastic tiling or breathable flooring (softex etc).

The best finish is a wooden floor with new exhibition carpet on top, it’s also the most expensive.

The worst in my opinion is breathable flooring as it allows condensation to build up.

We once got called out my a lady complaining her marquee leaked when we were in the middle of a hose pipe ban and it hadn’t rained for 2 weeks! She’d watered her lawn just before we’d arrived, she didn’t have any flooring so it all came off as water vapour forming as condensation up in the marquee.

If you use wooden flooring, carpet or matting you should lay a groundsheet or polythene underneath to prevent this happening. Breathable is exactly what a floor shouldn’t be! Grass is tough stuff, it recovered soon after the marquee’s gone.

Wooden flooring:

Larger marquees offer an integrated flooring system or use an interlocking wooden floor.

Coconut matting:

This is what most marquee company’s use for most jobs. Lasts for years, just hoover it after laying (we used to use a leaf blower), put a groundsheet underneath & nail it all down with 4” or 6” nails.

Exhibition carpet:

Offered as a premium option to matting it’s laid in exactly the same way but you only get 1-3 uses out of carpet depending on the colour and intensity of use. Recyclable options now available as it is becoming increasingly difficult to dispose of.

Plastic tiling:

I was never a fan as it hides dips and holes until trodden on but other people swear by it. Bulky but easy and quick to lay.

Breathable flooring:

Hate it. Keep it for caravan awnings.

If you’re starting up a hire company I’d recommend buying some coconut matting. You can also offer carpet and you just price it for buying it new and only using it once. I’d also buy some wooden flooring to use as dance floors then when you have enough you can offer it as a solid floor.

In general there’s no need to have a solid floor during the summer. For my wedding I had carpet over groundsheets on grass and everyone walked in thinking it was a solid floor underneath. The only exception would be on patios or tennis courts that might get water pooling.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Pointers for marquee site visit/survey

A site visit is normally done from 12 months to 2 weeks before the marquee’s going up. With experience you’ll be able to see exactly what your marquees will look like when erected and therefore what problems you’re likely to face.

The first few times you go to site visits you won’t know what to look for so here’s some tips:

  • If you’re putting a marquee up against the house always have the flat gable end against any door, especially if it’s opening outwards. Two reasons: i. if it rains the water goes off to the side, not towards the house. ii. In most designs of marquee there’s no bar across the gable to stop doors opening etc.
  • Think about how you’re going to anchor the marquee down. If it’s on grass it’s usually straight forward –stakes/guy ropes. If it’s on a patio then you need to think about weights, longer guy lines or bolting it down.
  • Access: check the ease of access to the site
  • Is there enough room to erect the marquee (not just enough room for it to fit when erected). Do this twice!
  • If you’re using stakes into the ground check there aren’t any cables etc running under the area.
  • Make sure there aren’t any power lines overhead
  • Look at the parking outside, this may influence how many vehicles you bring.


If I remember any more pointers I’ll post them later.

Thanks for reading

Marquee hire insurance and terms & conditions

If you receive money for marquee hire you need to be covered for public liability insurance and have some good terms and conditions to back yourself up.

Insurance

There are several insurance firms who specialise in marquee hire cover -we include their details with all of our marquee sales. They can cover you for one-off events (though they need at least 14 days notice) or provide annual cover.

One-off cover should be considered for part-time marquee hire companies but if you’re setting it up as a full time business annual cover will almost certainly be more economic.

Public liability insurance shouldn’t be confused with fire/theft/damage insurance. Public liability insurance is always included in the cost of hiring, fire/theft/damage insurance is usually an optional extra -it’s up to the customer to decide which they’d prefer:

  • Risk it, have no insurance cover.
  • Household policy cover -some household insurance policies cover marquees. When I started out most household policies would cover marquees, now hardly any do.
  • Insure it through yourselves -most marquee hire insurance companies will allow you to offer insurance at around 5% of the total hire charge which you can offer your customers.

Terms and Conditions

You may think t’s & c’s aren’t necessary, especially if you’re only hiring to friends or friends of friends -in my opinion you should ALWAYS have them, even though you’ll rarely have to use them.

Things like cancellation policy, what happens in the event of loss or damage of equipment and especially have a force majeure part – you may think nothing will stop you putting your customers marquee up but think of the fuel crisis, foot & mouth or even someone wrecking your marquee a week before your customers event.

A copy of the terms and conditions we used as a hire company are included with every marquee sale.
Thanks for reading.

The Showmans Show

If you’re in the marquee hire industry, you must go to The Showmans Show. It’s as simple as that.

All the main marquee suppliers have  a stand there as well as flooring, lighting, heating & lining suppliers.  It’s very good for meeting all the contacts you’ll need in running a marquee hire business (incidentally we also include these contact details with our instructions when you buy a DIY marquee).

The Show is held at The Newbury Showground in the middle of October (22nd & 23rd this year), it’s good for getting some out of season deals as well as seeing the latest developements in the marquee industry. You have to avoid various jugglers and entertainers as it’s geared towards everyone in the outdoor evets industry.

Thanks for reading

Spencer.

So you want to start a marquee hire company?

Congratulations, a wise choice.But where to begin?

Research: You need to look into who you’re targeting, what competition you face and the quality of marquees you want to buy.

Target Market: Weddings, parties, country fairs or maybe all 3. Weddings require a better quality finish (interior linings, flooring etc) than country fairs who generally just need a cover out of the rain.

Your competition: Check online, check yellow pages, get your competitors brochures or any literature you can to see what they offer -don’t introduce yourself yet, you may want them to come and do a site visit for you (I’ll expand on this later).

Quality of marquees: The quality of marquees varies greatly, though mostly it comes down to the thickness and type of material used in the roof (walls are less important). You should also consider upgrades -if you want to expand into the wedding market you MUST be able to offer linings.

Finally you need to consider what your budget is likely to be. Put together all the costs, how much you can charge per hire (slightly less than your competitors I’d suggest) so that you’re aware of how many hires are required until you’re in profit.

We believe our DIY Marquees are the ideal entry level into marquee hire. They offer excellent returns on investment whilst being suitable for any event – unlined marquees for fairs & fetes or add a lining for parties and wedding marquees.

Thanks for reading

About Me

Where to begin?

I’ve been involved with marquees all my working life -I started a hire company at 18, building it up into one of the leading hire companies in the South East. A few years ago I suffered a bad back injury which meant retiring from putting marquees up – I have since taken over the family manufacturing firm so I’m now involved with making marquees and linings.

It also means I’m in charge of people who have seen me grow up since childhood -very odd!

The aim of this blog is to help people setting up a hire company avoid the mistakes I made. I’m not arrogant enough to think I know everything and I always appreciate peoples thoughts and opinions especially if they’re contrary to mine. I just want to help people out -oh, and if you want to buy a DIY Marquee that’d be good too 🙂
Spencer