Archive for April, 2010

How much is my marquee hire business worth?

Monday, April 26th, 2010

And why do I need to know?

Well from a start up point of view you might be looking at whether to buy an existing company or start it yourself. You may have built up a business and thinking of selling for whatever reason, or you may just be nosy at how much your business is worth.

The first lesson seems to be that it’s never worth as much as the seller thinks its worth.

The second is that turnover has very little to do with the value of a business, it’s all about the value of stock and the net profit.

Investors will always look to get their money back within 3 years (less in the current climate) so the value will rarely exceed 3 times net profit. Remember net profit is the amount left over after you (or someone qualified to do your job) has taken out a wage as well as all other costs.

As a buyer (or as a seller looking to increase the value) you’ve got to look at if you can cut costs and increase the profit while keeping the same turnover. You’ve got to look at the value of the stock and if it’s been replaced recently – if people are winding up a business or if they’ve been extracting as much money as possible for a few years then chances are the equipment is old, hasn’t been replaced and will affect future business.

The final thing to look at for a marquee hire business is bookings – are there many future bookings already in place? How much of the existing business is repeat business? – This is worth a lot as you know year on year you’re getting some returns on investment.

After all that -if you can buy a business for the value of the stock or less and it has no liabilities then you know you’re on fairly safe ground.

I’m not an expert on selling businesses but I did go through the process a few years ago and I’ve been involved in buying and selling a few businesses over the years. My best mates favourite anecdote about my Dad is of joining us on a long car journey and being handed several sets of accounts to value businesses for an hour  when we were 12!

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Strong framework, old stock and melting gables

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Strong marquee framework

We often get asked exactly how strong is the framework on our marquees? We don’t often get asked what we get up to when we’re bored, but the answer to both is shown below:

Strong marquee framework, slow day

That’s the middle section of one bay of a DIY Marquee

Old stock

We’re getting rid of some old stock where the boxes have been damaged or the roofs have been repaired, they’re listed on Curlews second hand marquees website. If you’re not already on their mailing list sign up now! It’s the place to go for second hand kit.

Melting gables

I’ve mentioned before that if you’re connecting a marquee up to a house it’s a LOT easier if you can orientate the marquee so you have the flat gable end up against the doors opening inwards. This avoids the need for guttering and there aren’t any eaves rails along the gable to obstruct the door.
I was reminded of a possible problem with this while speaking to a marquee hirer last week (apologies, I forget who -I have a terrible memory).
People often fit floodlights above back doors. People often forget they have a marquee outside when turning on said floodlights (or don’t notice it’s been switched on). This is not good.
Whilst any good quality marquee will be flame retardant it doesn’t stop the floodlight melting a scorched hole in your gable meaning an expensive repair or replacement (and a nasty smelling marquee).

Check for floodlights, put a sticker on the light switch inside the house so the customer remembers.

Thanks for reading.


Absent customers

Monday, April 12th, 2010

On Saturday I left my young family to come in to work, it’s not something I make a habit of doing but someone wanted to discuss setting up their own marquee hire business so you make the effort to help out.

Imagine my joy when they didn’t turn up or phone to say they weren’t coming in 🙁

Now bare with me, this isn’t just another one of my rants 😉

Chances are if you go out visiting people then at some stage you will turn up and they’ll have forgotten and/or won’t be in. It’s very frustrating but don’t lose the business by reacting badly – leaving a note through the door saying ‘I turned up but you couldn’t be bothered!’ might not win you much future business.  Phoning the customer up soon after apologising that you obviously had the time wrong and please can we make an appointment at a different time might mean you still get the job (if they have a conscience you’ll have a headstart on anyone else at least).

Thanks for reading.


6m x 6m DIY Marquee up for viewing

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

6m x 6m DIY Marquee
Last week we put up a 6mx6m DIY Marquee for the pub at the back of our factory, it’s going to stay up all summer so if anyone wants to view a marquee feel free to go round any time with or without us. People who have visited our factory will know we don’t work in the lap of luxury here (our desks are fitted in around the stock not the other way round), we don’t have a nice showroom. So having a marquee at the back of us is very useful. Hopefully we’ll get time to fit a marquee lining but there never seems enough hours in the day.

Incidentally it took us 55 minutes to erect but we reckon if we weren’t explaining to the people watching and ran a bit we could get it down to 45mins.

Isn’t it sad I have to protect/ruin our photos by adding our website address? If you’ve got a website with lots of photos then I’m afraid you should do too. To give you an idea in the last 4 weeks I’ve been informed of:

  • four different people stealing our photos
  • two incidents of attempting to steal our marquee planning tool
  • one incident of a competitor copying our instructions!

Copying our designs I can understand, just because we were the first people to offer this style of marquee with 500gsm PVC, linings, groundbars included etc doesn’t mean no one else can do it.

It’s always flattering having people copying you but I (understandably) draw the line at stealing. Try and check out other marquee hire companies, especially local ones just to make sure no one is stealing your photos.

(rant over)

Thanks for reading