Archive for the ‘marquee hire advice’ Category

What area do you cover?

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

I find myself spending a lot of time looking at different marquee hire websites. It might be looking for people who would find the marquee forum useful or just keeping up with what’s going on in the industry. But the biggest thing that hits me on most of the websites is you can’t see what area people cover.

Take this luxury toilet hire website (yes I am biased). You can clearly see the area they cover there on the front page. Instantly people will arrive and know they’re not wasting their time -don’t underestimate that.

If I search for blue striped widgets and open several interesting results in different tabs the one I’m going to spend my time on is one that on the first page says -we supply blue striped widgets. No searching through the site. No ‘we supply a variety of widgets’ where you have to mail them to find out if they do blue striped ones.

If I want a marquee in Dorking and google marquee hire the resulting websites that are going to grab me are ones that in words or maps say ‘we supply marquees to Dorking’. I’ll probably still be interested in one that says ‘we supply marquees to Surrey’ and I may stay on one that says ‘South-East’. I’m not going to linger on one that doesn’t say the area and I have to email to find out. What’s the point when others obviously do?

Apologies for the 24hr delay in posting, I was off yesterday shopping for blue striped widgets 🙂

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Google alerts

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Wouldn’t it be nice if -like Voldemort in Harry Potter you would know if someone ever mentioned your name. Well, now with google alerts you can (at least anything that appears  online).

Just set up a google alert for your business name and google will tell you whenever it finds a match, this informs you what people are saying about your company.

But it’s more powerful than that:

  • It lets you know if a competitor is using your name in any marketing (this has happened to us in the past)
  • You can set up alerts for your competitors names to see what people are saying about them or even what they’re saying about themselves
  • You can set up alerts for your keyword phrases – so if anyone mentioned ‘marquee hire surrey’ (for eg) on a blog then you can make a comment with a link back to your site (very good for the rankings)

All in all very useful and strongly recommended.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

How to anchor a marquee

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Modern marquees can be erected on any surface, they can even go over swimming pools with spectacular results. But marquees are essentially strong boxes and you need to anchor them down to make sure they don’t go anywhere.

Keep in mind that marquees are better at resisting strong winds with the sides on, taking the sides off effectively leaves you with a large umbrella which needs a lot more anchoring down.

On soft surfaces:

  • Use tie downs with ratchet straps attaching to the eaves of the marquees pulling down to marquee stakes.
  • If it is a sheltered location then just using the marquee stakes through/over footplates is usually sufficient

On hard standing:

  • If there is soft ground nearby or other strong anchoring points (fence posts for eg) then use longer tie downs to these points
  • If long tie downs aren’t possible then you must use heavy weights: concrete blocks, sand bags, a vehicle (if a marquee was only up for a few hours we’d use one of our vans) or water butts (assuming you have access to a hosepipe to fill them up on site)
  • Strap the heavy weights to the marquee. Avoid setting them back and using tie downs as the weights might get dragged towards the marquee slackening the tie down and allowing the marquee to move.

If in doubt put more weights/tie downs on.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee electrical leads

Monday, January 24th, 2011

As readers of the marquee forum will already know there’s been some debate about the type of electrical leads we should be using in the marquee industry.

Essential Supplies kindly forward this article to me recently which discusses several marquee related issues but the main bit of interest for me was this:

“The [arctic] cable can often be seen supplying caravans or used at live musical events, it can even be purchased from DIY shops in the form of a ready made extension reel with BS 1363 13 A accessories for use at 230 V 1Ø. As can be seen from Table 7B of BS 7540, the cable was not designed for and is not suitable for these purposes.”

My understanding of this is that despite their wide spread use arctic cables shouldn’t really be used for temporary installations in marquees. Instead we should be using HO7 RNF cable instead (much more expensive).

In my eyes that doesn’t mean we should replace all of the arctic cable we currently use but when it comes to ordering new/replacements we should then go over to HO7.  Like everything on here this is just my opinion and it’s a judgement call for you to make yourself, I just think it’s worth highlighting to people.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

New marquee layout planner

Monday, January 17th, 2011

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed some changes to our marquee layout planner. It’s a useful tool for looking at different options for laying out marquees and I made some improvements before Christmas:

  • Different sizes: Every size marquee we offer is now on there in a nice compact layout
  • Different orientation: Each size is available in portrait or landscape. Marquees at funny angles (anything other than 90degrees) are to be avoided, they are impossible to securely weather proof
  • You can decide on different backgrounds: lawn, car park or snow. Okay, not hugely practical but a fun thing to have 🙂

If you can think of other features or scenery that would be useful to have on there let me know.

If you want to use the planner on your own website (complete with your own name at the bottom) then contact me, we’re considering licensing it out.

Thanks for reading (and thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes, life is just about back to normal now)

Spencer

SEO for your marquee hire website

Monday, December 13th, 2010

You might be busy with Xmas & New Year functions but once they’re out the way it’s generally pretty quiet until the spring. The perfect time to update and improve your marquee hire website.

If you want your website to work for you and generate business rather than just be a tool for existing enquiries then it needs to appear near the top of the search rankings. I’ve discussed SEO (search engine optimisation) previously but a good SEO guide can be found here.

This guide explains what you need to do to help your search rankings. Please don’t think you’re suddenly going to appear at number 1 for ‘marquee hire’, that takes the work of a professional and a lot of time. Getting on to the first page for local searches (‘marquee hire Dorking’ for eg) should be achievable for us unprofessional types.

Remember it does take time to get up the rankings so start working on it now in preparation for the summer.

It’s also worth updating your website with new photos and scan through all of the text to make sure it’s all still relevant, for example seeing special offers that expired 6 months ago is a real turn off for viewers .

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Marquees in the snow

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Apparently there’s been a bit of snow recently. As someone who lives in Reigate it sounds like we had our fair share.

So what does this mean for marquees?

1. Obvious but make sure no snow is allowed to build up on ANY marquee roof. Marquees are not designed for snow loading, if they were they’d be designed with much steeper roofs and look like Austrian ski chalets. Scrape it off and/or put heaters on to melt it/stop it settling.

2. Gutters are going to be problematic in the snow, snow will build up in any gulley so gutters can overflow if you’re not careful. Scrape as much snow away and keep it warm.

3. If you’re putting a marquee up in the snow scrape as much of it away as possible before erecting the marquee but don’t put a heater on until you’ve got the flooring laid otherwise lawns turn in to mudbaths.

4. Remember your winter clothing including gloves – I can remember to this day forgetting my gloves and putting up a marquee with the metalwork sticking to my fingers!

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Getting fixings in a lining without damaging it

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Nearly every time you use a marquee lining it will be to go in your standard marquee stock and (if it’s one of ours!) will fit perfectly. Easy.

But sometimes you have to fit a lining somewhere unusual. It might be lining a customers porch, it might be lining an unusual walkway or just making good to a house. At some time in your marquee hiring life you will need to do this.

So how do you get attachments in a lining without damaging it? Follow these instructions:

Step 1: Find a decent sized pebble (about 4cm diameter ideally) and place it on the good face of the lining (ie the side you don’t need to get a fixing)

Step 2: Scrunch the material round the pebble at the back of the lining

Step3: Tie a cable tie tightly around the scrunched material and also include an extra cable tie (this gives you your fixing).

And there you have it, a fixing in the middle of a lining that looks okay from the front (you can’t see the pebble) and gives you a fixing at the back without damaging the lining.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Site visits part 4

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I’m sure it will surprise no one that these posts aren’t planned out, they’re just my thoughts on the day. Because of this system I’ve forgotten a few things to include.

1. In 1999 I was visited by a yellow Pages rep called Gary. We spent a reasonable amount with Yellow Pages so a rep came round at least once a year, I can’t remember any other rep’s name or many of the details of any other appointment. I remember this one because I couldn’t wait to get rid of him, his breath stank. I mean really really unpleasant. So whenever I went on site visits I’d have a couple of mints on the way. Who knows if it helped or not, it certainly didn’t harm my chances.

2. It’s not something I did but looking back I think it’s a good idea – get the bride & grooms names and always refer to the booking as “Andy & Liz’s wedding on Saturday 10th September 2011” for example. It looks better and more personal.

No doubt there’s other things I’ve missed, if so I’ll collect them together and do a part 5 in the future.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee site visits part 3

Monday, November 15th, 2010

This last list are things that I tried to do or mention at each site visit. Putting it in a list like this might make it look like I was quite cold and calculating in what I went through but I genuinely wasn’t (and probably couldn’t have listed these things at the time), they’re just things I note from looking back at what I did.

  • Turn up on time. If the appointment was at 10am I’d be round the corner waiting at quarter to. You want these people to trust you’re going to do what you say you’re going to, the first impression should be turning up on time.
  • Offer to take your shoes off (or insist on it if it’s muddy/raining). This act alone got me a couple of jobs
  • Before going outside to measure up sit down with the bride & groom and ask them:
    • Is there anything they definately want or don’t want? Including anything they may have experienced or seen in a marquee.
    • What number of guests are there likely to be
    • How formal is it?
    • Do they need: dance floor, bar, pre-breakfast drinks, buffet, catering areas etc
  • Once I had this information I’d go outside to measure (see part 1 from 2 weeks ago). If it wasn’t immediately obvious how and where to position the marquee then I’d ask the customer to give me 5 minutes and I’ll come back in with ideas. This just gives a bit of breathing space to gather your ideas together -preferably getting at least 2 suggestions.
  • Come back in and discuss what’s possible and what options they would like to go for. If you heavily favour one particular layout then explain the reasons why you do so.
  • When leaving I’d always finish by saying this quote will be typed up and be in the post first class tomorrow so you should receive it the day after. Make sure you stick to this timescale (or whatever you specify). Again it’s just doing what you say you’re going to do. These days I’d imagine people would appreciate it emailed, in which case do it asap while it’s fresh in their memory. In many cases we had clients who had accepted our quote and sent it back with a deposit before they’d even received others so don’t delay.

At the end of the day the most important points are:

  • Listen, listen, listen to what the clients are telling you. Don’t try and sell them something they’ve specifically said they don’t want
  • Make sure you make them feel important, not just another marquee in a long production line
  • Come across in a manner that makes them trust you. Be genuine, honest and reassure them that you’ll do what you say you’re going to do.

Obviously you can pick and choose anything from these posts, I realise it can seem a lot initially but it just becomes second nature after a while. I can promise you this approach works. I wasn’t the best at putting up marquees, I wasn’t even the best at staying on ladders! (a couple of cracked ribs and broken fingers is evidence of that) but I had a pretty good record on site visits (conversion percentage was usually in the 80’s, sometimes 90’s).

Thanks for reading

Spencer