Archive for the ‘marquee hire advice’ Category

Anchoring a marquee – the ground matters

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Deciding how much anchoring a marquee needs is not an exact science, generally it comes from experience and obviously you should always be on the cautious side when deciding how many anchoring points to put on a marquee.

Our tie down kits allow for one tie down per leg but there are many other factors to consider:

  • The quality of the ground, if the ground is very soft you will need more (or larger) anchoring points than usual
  • The area immediately around the marquee, if it is surrounded by high wind-breaking obstacles then you can use less anchoring points than usual
  • The surrounding area, being in the middle of a field on top of a hill will require more anchoring points than usual
  • How the marquee is to be used, a marquee without sides (effectively a large umbrella) will require a lot more anchoring than usual
  • The weather forecast will also influence your decision

This information is supposed to help not intimidate any one starting up, for nearly every marquee job you take on our standard tie down kit will be more than enough. But for those odd occasions these are things you need to be aware of, if you turn up to a job on a beach or sand-school or if the weather is very bad consider adding additional anchoring points. If the weather is good and the marquee is secluded then you can probably allow less.

Out tie down kits use larger stakes than the industry average, they have better quality and stronger ratchet straps and also include a figure of eight strap for secure fixing to the marquee.

Thanks for reading


Planning a greeting drinks area

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Part of your job when supplying a marquee is to help plan the event as a whole. Remember it’s in your interest for the event to go well and smoothly as that is likely to generate future bookings and expand your business in the best way – by word of mouth recommendations.

Once you’ve established where the marquee is going for most events you also have to plan somewhere to have drinks on arrival. Here are some ideas/thoughts/suggestions on that:

  • Have a wet and dry plan. In the summer invariably this will be drinks outside nearby in the sunshine or inside the marquee if it’s raining
  • If you’re running a path of matting/carpet to the marquee then don’t run it straight through the drinks area. Either have it run to one side or have it running to the drinks area then a separate piece from there to the marquee. It’s a difficult one to explain but if you have a path running through the drinks area it will effectively cut the party in two – no one will stand on the path. Have the path leading up to a table serving drinks (perhaps under a Pagoda?) then another piece by the marquee
  • Whether it’s benches, some spare chairs, hay bales or a selection of outdoor furniture allow for some form of seating. The elderly and lazy will always want to sit somewhere and if you don’t supply it they will start carrying furniture out of the marquee
  • Outdoor furniture should be exactly that – suitable to be left out in the rain. People aren’t going to be worried about your furniture if the heavens open.
  • In a large garden/field always keep the outdoor furniture in one area, this keeps the party in one place and preserves the atmosphere
  • If drinks are to be supplied from a bar in the marquee try to plan it so it can be accessed from outside without guests having to go in to the main marquee. This is easily done, just have a zipped or removable wall by the bar and tell them to have one table facing outside and another facing inside (for the evening). If people have to go inside the marquee then they will sit inside the marquee and you end up with guests everywhere when the catering staff are still setting up -or worse still on seeing some guests sitting down people may think everyone needs to go through to the marquee and spoil timings for everyone!
  • If you’re concerned about where guests will go for drinks in the event of rain think about erecting a roof only marquee or use one of our gable pieces to create a porch on the front of one of your existing marquees

Thanks for reading


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.


Negotiating, haggling and just being rude

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

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 price  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.


Choosing a name: marquees or party tents?

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Choosing the name of your marquee business is very important, as mentioned previously I favour some sort of location in the name as it tells people the area you cover and can help in google rankings. But do you use the term marquees or party tents (or both)?

Using a name like ‘Dorking party tents’ will appeal for smaller functions, mainly parties and similar events. People will expect ‘Dorking party tents’ to be cheaper than ‘Dorking marquees’ or ‘Dorking wedding marquee hire’ so you could get more business initially. The problem comes when you want to expand in to larger functions and weddings and having ‘party tents’ in your name can hold you back.

This is why several of ours customers have launched a new side of their business recently under a new (related) name with a suitable website targeting larger events.

Having several websites with different target markets is becoming increasingly popular in the industry, trying to offer everything to everyone can be a tricky thing to do and so it is far easier to split it up.

Following the example above it could be ‘Dorking party tents’ for targeting smaller functions that has a basic and functional website with packages based on unlined single marquees. There would then be a different website ‘Dorking wedding marquee hire’ with a classier appearance and packages based on larger multiple marquee functions.

So it doesn’t really matter what name you go for, you just have to be aware of the possible limitations you’re placing on yourself and consider having more than one name/website to appeal to different markets.

Thanks for reading


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.


Marquee Monthly

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

A new specialised magazine Marquee Monthly is launching this summer aimed at the marque hire industry, this has never been done before and it could be a really exciting development for the industry.

More details can be found on their website: Marquee Monthly

As a marquee hire company you should receive a copy in the post, if not get in touch with them to add yourself on their database.

One of the items in the magazine is going to be a marquee of the month so you can send your best photos in to potentially be featured. Also if you’ve got any good stories or marquee related news they’ll want to hear about it (email Stuart at their domain).

Speaking to the people behind it they sound nice guys and very knowledgeable so hopefully it will be very successful.

Thanks for reading. A quick note to say that any orders placed on Thursday or Friday of this week will be delayed until Monday as we’re taking all of the lads away for a couple of days to say thank you for all their hard work over the last year.


Connecting marquees to a building

Monday, March 5th, 2012

We have an article on connecting a marquee to a house but there’s an additional consideration. Check for any lighting on the house that you might cover up with the marquee.

We butted a marquee up against a house once (gable flush against the building) and as happens quite often the marquee covered over an outside floodlight. Imagine our surprise when we came back to collect the marquee and a large hole had been melted through the end of our marquee where the floodlight had been left on. Whether fortunately or unfortunately the customers were out when we were dismantling.

So the lesson to learn is always point out that any lighting touching the marquee should NOT be turned on (they may not even notice if it is). If it does happen to you (or something similar) then it’s not the end of the world, one of our marquee repair kits should patch up the marquee.

Thanks for reading.


How to lay marquee flooring

Monday, February 20th, 2012

This is how we and most of the marquee hire industry lay flooring in a marquee:

Any marquee flooring should have a non-breathable layer down underneath the main surface. This prevents the grass from giving off water vapour that will come back down as condensation and stops the surface getting muddy. Grass is tough stuff and covering it over for a week or so shouldn’t be a problem.

Use 4″ or 6″ nails to hold down the carpet, this pulls the surface tightly and prevents any trip hazards. On hard surfaces use double sided carpet tape.

Thanks for watching/reading.


The marquee bonus culture

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Bonus is a bit of a swear word at the moment but as long as you’re not rewarding incompetence and the bonuses aren’t 7 figures (if they are then I’d like to apply for a job) then they are an excellent way to retain key staff.

The marquee hire industry is obviously very seasonal generally peaking in mid-summer. It doesn’t matter who you are or what size company you have if you lost key members of staff at that time then it’s going to cause you serious problems.

For all team leaders (ie someone you can leave in charge on site) we would give them a 4 figure bonus if they stayed with us until the end of September. I can think of at least 2 occasions when tensions were running a little high this saved us losing a key member of staff. 4 figures may sound generous but if you sit down and work out what you’d have to do if they walked out in the middle of your busiest week then the bonus is a cheaper option.

We also had a condition that any tool breakages/losses were deducted from the bonus which suddenly increased their life-expectancy but that’s just an optional extra point.

Thanks for reading -try not to let your bonuses create a worldwide credit crisis.