Researching marquee hire for an outdoor event can present quite a dizzying array of options and variables, which can leave one not having the basis for which to make comparison, from one contractor website to another.
From an event organiser point of view, this can be confusing and not lend itself to smooth and conducive interactions with service providers. Doubtful and hesitant probing enquiries can lead to complete misunderstanding of value for money and therefore a hawking for the cheapest price ensues, as hire contractors seek to stand firm to obscure and at times seemingly unreasonable pricing policies.
The overall commercial athmosphere is a tarnishing of the potential golden relationship which could be garnered between trade parties, if only a little care and diligence be taken to establish common understanding and clarity.
Enter Selmore Marquee Hire. Or at least this is our aim...to improve collaboration and encourage confidence and firm agreement within the decision making process of hiring marquees for events benefiting both hire companies, organisers and planners alike.
The first step we will take in this quest to demystify hiring marquee tents for events is to outline the 14 main stages involved in the hiring of an event marquee, from both the provider and organiser/planner perspectives.
The blog content and other related resources on this website are tailored for the equipping both marquee hire companies and event organisers with solid communciations with which to understand one another for the purpose of collaborating in a planned outdoor event.
We hope that once both provider and organisers speak the same language and are briefed of the technical constraints as well as feasibilities - all that remains for agreement to be reached in the rudimentary issues of availability which make for a far more streamline sales cycle.
Less wasted time and wasted resources in having to talk through the basics of marquee hire, which can be competently shared well in advance of any talks.
0203 369 2443
This list is an outline of the main checkpoints in the running of an event hire business.
The idea behind this article is really to give insight to the behind the scenes of how a marquee hire company works and therefore giving appreciation for what really goes into delivering the service.
This information would be particularly beneficial to read if you are marquee hire start-up business owner or of course an event organiser/planner.
The first stage of arranging a marquee hire booking is the enquiry stage. First time enquirers will often have very little if no product knowledge at all and at times little event planning experience. The most effort by providers is expended in such cases - having to communicate the fundamental prduct pro/cons as well as typipcal service elements.
Where this service and product information is not published in documentation but rather transferred 1-to-1 by phone, the real value of the interaction can be short lived, with very little left in the hand of the enquirer before they depart the conversation and tout for a second opinion.
Businesses offering similar service provision have been well documented in case studies to have benefitted greatly in sales conversion from providing customers with answers to their most common questions in advance with sales collateral before the enquiry stage. What helps to reduce the sales cycle from this, the earliest point, is the preempting of questions which end users of all levels of proficiency in the subject may have by well targeted and produced content.
Sizing charts and pricing matricies are particular favourites as well as interactive digital applications like quote calculators for the technologically savvy enquirer.
Where enquirers spend long time periods learning about the marquee industry and 'how it all works' from published contractor communications, before the point of making enquiry, the relationship has already begun and been stregnthened in the genuine service provision of informing the customer.
The enquiry stage is the most initial point of direct communication and can either be written or spoken in format. If written, the disadavantage both parties have is being able to talk it through at the point of most interest. If spoken, both provider and enquirer can build understanding of the needs and the availability of service/product respectively. This works very effectively at establishing if there is a match of competency vs. expectation between both parties and therefore if any further investigation together and conversation is required.
Either way, if the enquiry was received by email or phone, there is a need for the provider to fully qualify the details of what is being requested. Once qualified, using professional discretion, a provider will make a recommendation as to what they think at first glance will be the best solution and thereafter, if they have the product availability to match.
The provider will have to be very comfortable at leading the conversation with prospective customers and the more liberal they are in expressing their specialist knowledge, albeit succintly, the more value is packed within that first and most critical interaction.
Having a premeditated list of questions but having enough natural nuance to go off script whilst maintaining relevancy will yield the most consistent results for providers building profitable relationships with new busienss enquirers.
For enquirers, taking their time and not rushing the conversation but also looking ahead of making a call by conducting thorough industry research in advance will maximise the value and insight gained by talking the experts. Having all relevant facts and figures, such as: dates, times and guest numbers, for example, at the ready about the planned event will ensure the most time spent talking will be about the most urgent issues.
Marquees are temporary demountable structures, the erection of which is considered professionally as a building project meriting prescribed health and safety procedures and provisions. Despite however thorough a remote phone qualification may have been, there is still always a need for a 'marquee contractor site visit' prior to agreement and booking to ensure all conceivable safety measures and precautions are laid out in advance.
Both contractor and event organiser ought to walk out the teriitory together and conduct the site visit as a 2-way assessment as led professionally by the provider but with the collaboration of the organiser, giving access to all relevant site locations and answering questions for the completion of a site survey.
Documentation of the site visit ought to be compiled by the contractor as part of the service provision and published/shared directly with all relevant stakeholders involved in the event set-up.
This is a critical element of service provision, and at a stage where there should still be no obligation to book. Each enquirer, whether new or existing customer, should be served with the most useful information possible regarding their enquiry without paritality. Even if the job is beyond or simply not do-able by the contractor, a professional recommendation for the best solution should still be served in the best interests of the enquirer.
The proposal should offer all reasonable levels of expertise and serve to deliver the most informed answer to the question posed at the enquiry stage. A well composed and laid out service delivery proposal will go a long way to communicate the benefits and options involved in the hiring of the ideal marquee tent.
Where a quotation is involved, the aim here should be to assist the customer with transaparency in how the price was calculated in order to provide them best ability to compare proposals from other contractors, determining like-for-like options.
Where a contractor is able to give clarity and labour to deliver detailed explanation on pricing, this gives the customer ability to best scrutinise the value in the potential deals and choose the most advantageous.
Where applicable, all necessary notation must be given to VAT and other acceptable charges in the quote.
The booking stage of a marquee hire interaction is the point where both parties will formalise all principal conditions and commit to collborating for the event.
All necessary ammendments to the written proposal will be made at this stage and then a final arrangement drafted and committed to by both parties. All product and service related elements of the arrangements will be outlined and documented here, including logistical allowances like timings of set-up and breakdown etc.
This document ought to be explicit and cover every detail as with the elapse of time between verbal agreement and delivery such details can be lost or confused if not clearly delineated on recored for all to see.
Special care should be taken where service delivery on the day is delegated by executive provider personnel to labour staff to effect on the day.
With all bookings related business there is a real financial risk in what is termed opporunity cost, which is where the ceasing of a commercial opportunity is lost by otherwise obligating oneself to another opportunity which either did not materialise (and therefore did not pay off) or otherwise, was on conversion of less benefit than another which was rejected in preference of the one taken.
Where service capacity is finite and booking commitment occupies limited space in the diary, for which other enquirers requesting the same date will be turned away from, it can be seen as a reasonsable measure for contractors to take a monetary deposit upon agreement. This is taken as 'security' against the making unavailable of booked services which are to be delivered on the agreed date.
If for whatever reasons the organiser on the date of the planned event no longer wants the services, it is at the discretion of the service provider if they will return the secure funds to the enquirer or not. Where the contractor missed out on other profitable bookings because of this obligation which did not materialise, the booking security deposit acts as conpensatory payment.
Prior to the event, the contractor will diligently prepare and set aside all of the necessary event equipment in preparation for the event. This might happen the night before or days before the day depending on product availability and allocation.
There should be diligent cross referencing against the booking order and exact matches laid aside for each requested item. Copies of the booking order should be attached to the equipment and checked just before departure on the date of delivery.
Not only should the marquee hire contractor check the tent structure and accessories for accuracy, but also for condition and replenishment, where applicable. All things should be in order and checked over more than once on the day before delivery and installation is performed.
Arriving on site, especially depending on the location, can be fraught with challenges.
A contractor establishing contact with an on-site contemporary is the most imporatant starting point, this ensures firstly the right location has been reached and secondaly that the event is still planned to go ahead.
Ensuring that both parties meet at a specific time may also be stipulated within the service level agreement within the booking documentation, to ensure a timely set-up and convenient occupation of pitch site by marquee erectors amidst other contractors also arriving on-site.
Health and safety awareness is critical for contractors to excercise the utmost care whilst building their temporary structure on the customer's grounds.
Timely set-up of the marquee and trouble free installation will be what both parties will seek after.
Once all components of the marquee structure are delivered to the build site and laid out for erection, then the rest is getting the structure built and established for use.
The team of erectors are then tasked with securing the fully built structure in place for the use by the event organiser and guests.
Once built, the foreman of the marquee hire company will typically perform a post-installation assessment of the structure checking all points of structural integrity, including anchorage etc. Once the confirmation of a successful installation has been declared, then a handover will be performed between foreman and on-site liaison.
Usually, usage notes and instructions will be transfered from foreman to organiser, with agreement made that the marquee structure is ready for use.
Using the duration of use for an event marquee hire is 1-2 days with a time and date for collection at the venue arranged in advance.
Use of the marquee and it's associated equipment will typically, unless other assisted by serving staff, will be managed by the event organiser and their staff.
Basic usage instructions will be shared by providers with organisers and even where reasonable, named individuals identified and trained prior to the event for handling marquee use on the day.
Maintenance of the condition of all equipment should be adhered to by the organiser with all due care taken to exercise diligence in every matter. There is considerable health and safety foresight needed when handling temporary dismountable structures, which if overlooked, such neglect could result in significant damage or loss.
Breakdown of the marquee tent post event is mostly a matter of routine. A post-usage check is generally conducted in view of both hire contract and organiser to ensure its condition upon return is acceptable without waiver.
Upon acceptance of condition, the contractor dismount team breakdown the structure on site and load the components back onto their vehicle with minimal fuss an disruption to the organiser's venue.
When all is collected the contractor confirms in writing satisfactory return of equipment and returns their kit back to storage safe and sound.
Once the contractor arrives at stores, the job at hand is to then pack all marquee conponents back in temporary storage for lock-up purposes before subsequent clean down and reconditioning or repair if necessary.
A final inventory check upon return to storage is performed here.
After usage, there will the usual scuffs and scratches along the canopy and structural components which appear due to reasonable wear and tear.
In preparation for the next event booking such surface blemishes which mar the aesthetic will be cleaned off or removed by one technique or another. Most marquee manufacturers will include in their product useage manual some general advice for marquee care and upkeep which contractors would be wise to observe and do.
If there requires any heavy duty washing or professional cleaning, there are specialist contract cleaners who can even offer mobile cleaning services to marquee hire contractors for the washing of the canopy material and removal of stains or scuff marks.
Replacements and repairs also can either be performed here or scheduled at a convenient time in between bookings by the hire contractor.
Once the marquee is in presentable condition again for another booking, the structure and all it's components are itemised and returned to long term storage in preparation for following marquee hire bookings.
Once the marquee hire job has been performed, it shows common courtesy for the contractor to thank the customer either by phone or written communication for their booking - which provides a convenient moment for a brief evaluation of the contractor's services and tents.
A reivew should most effectively be performed as an a casual interview between both parties as and informal round up of the whole tent rental experience.
Honesty and straight talking generally produces the best results here with listening ears on both behalves can go a long way to strengthening the relationship for both parties, who may be inclined perhaps to do it all again in the future.