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A Short Bit About me

I'm Spencer King, an ex-marquee erector. This blog is designed to help those running a hire business or thinking of starting. I don't claim to know everything, I'm just trying to help people avoid the mistakes I made! Check out our event planning section for advice on planning your own marquee event. Please contact us if we can help or offer advice in any way.

Negotiating, haggling and just being rude

There were a number of ways people would try to negotiate down the price of a marquee:

1. Negotiating for a much larger order than they will ever place

This is where a customer will ask you to quote for a lot of equipment and negotiate for a discount based on the large quantity. They then only book a small portion of it based on the same percentage discount (say an unlined marquee with flooring rather than several marquees with linings, lighting and furniture).

This can be a difficult one to handle as once you’ve got a deposit for a marquee booking in you don’t necessarily want to turn it away. As a precaution if you do decide to offer any discount on an order then always add the caveat ‘discount is based on the complete order’ to give yourself room to manoeuvre at a later stage.

2. The promise of a bigger order to follow

“If this goes well there’s a really big booking in 4 months time that we’ll need” -this one is used a LOT in the marquee hire industry. The promise of one or more bookings to come and how you should offer a discount based on all those future bookings.

This was used so often I just ignored it and treated each booking on it’s own merits. If people are going to book you again in the future then just say that you will then offer a discount off that one.

3. Staying silent

This is a standard tactic they teach on negotiating courses, when discussing figures and trying to agree on a priceĀ  they will suddenly just keep silent. This creates an awkward silence that a decent and polite person (that’s you) will fill using lower numbers than previously offered.

The solution? Also stay silent -trust me it’s fun! Yes it can feel awkward but eventually one of you will start talking again and you can carry on without such nonsense.

4. Keeping you waiting for an appointment.

This is a power thing as much as a negotiating trick and is very popular in large companies. They will make a fixed appointment but when you turn up to their reception you’re left waiting around. It’s a show of power that they’re in control and you’ve got to wait for them to be ready.

Again this is a difficult one to handle. I always used to stick it out but refuse to do any kind of discount when it came to negotiating. If someone did it these days then I would be out the door muttering and swearing under my breath after 10 minutes!

With the marquee hire industry discounts out of season are the norm, discounts during peak season are very rare.

I hope this helps, thanks for reading.


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