Hiring a marquee is a relatively simple process, but there are lots of different marquee companies out there, each with their own approach, standards, price points and service levels.
Just like every other industry, there’s something out there for every budget. And just as with every other industry, you get what you pay for when hiring a marquee.
It’s important to have a pretty good idea of what you want from your marquee and marquee supplier before you even pick up the phone. To help you get your ducks in a row, we’ve put together our 5 top tips for hiring a marquee.
1. Create a brief
Understanding what you want is fundamental to the marquee hire process. We often receive calls from enquirers who state that they have no idea of what they want – but would like to understand how much it might cost! It’s impossible for us help.
A marquee can be anything from the simple to the sublime. It’s important to know that marquee hire costs aren’t necessarily about the structure itself; they are often about the additional elements, the finish and quality. The lighting, power, flooring, furniture and styling choices for example…
When offering an estimate or quote, a marquee company should factor all of these in, so they’ll need a fairly clear brief from you from the beginning. Without a brief it’s likely that the estimates you receive will vary hugely, making it hard to compare suppliers like for like. That said, you’re not expected to have every detail mapped out – just an idea of what you are hoping to achieve.
If you have a theme in mind, put it in the brief. How many guests are likely to attend? Will guests be dining? Dancing? Both? Will there be live music or a DJ? Do you want something contemporary, traditional or classic? Will you want additional space for a drinks reception? Toilets? Bars etc.?
Once you’ve created a brief, stick to it. Give the same brief to every supplier so that you get like for like estimates in return. If you change your brief after talking to supplier number one, then it will be hard to understand where each different company sits on the cost spectrum.
It may seem that there’s a lot to consider, but don’t over think it. Simply create a starting point that gives marquee suppliers an understanding of what you want so that they can provide you with some relevant numbers to get you started on your journey.
Your brief could start off as a wish list. It could include everything that you’d love to have and then be pared back at a later date if the costs start to spiral.
2. Understand your budget
Marquees come in all shapes and sizes and are built with different materials, to different standards and with differing qualities of finish. You can hire anything from the simple to the sublime – with price tags to match.
Whilst you may not know exactly what your dream marquee would cost, you’ll have some idea of your spending limits. Don’t be afraid to share them with suppliers. It’s vital that they understand what you are willing to spend.
At its simplest level, marquee hire is about the quality of the physical structure, the standards of finish and levels of customer service on offer. There will be some base costs for these, and they will vary by supplier. But move beyond the physical marquee structure and start looking at the additional elements – the bits that deliver the wow factor: The lighting schemes, bars, dance floors, furniture, lining materials and so on – and this is where numbers can really begin to add up.
Without an understanding of spend limitations, a supplier will simply quote for everything on your wish list – and that could lead to some big numbers, shocking you into eliminating a potentially fantastic supplier from your list.
With an understanding of your budget, suppliers can steer you towards solutions that meet you’re your budget and deliver the best possible marquee event for you.
Remember, no matter what your budget is, there’ll be a marquee supplier out there for you. It’s better to discover up front which suppliers suit you, your ideas and your budget.
3. Do your research
Now that you understand what you want from your marquee, and how much you are willing to spend to achieve it, it’s time to research suppliers.
Marquee is such a generic term and it is used to describe everything from a garden gazebo to a huge corporate entertainment space. Do you remember Pippa Middleton’s huge, solid glass wedding marquee?
Rather like when you are buying a new car, or pricing up a new kitchen, there are lots and lots of suppliers out there offering different services, and products of differing qualities and standards. The price points may vary hugely, but when they do, so will the quality.
Look at websites, check out image galleries. Look at the detail in the images. How good is the finish when you look close up? Are the carpets or floor mattings level, nice and flat, or are they creased and rumpled?
Read the website carefully. What services do they provide? Do they offer any guarantees? Check out customer reviews and testimonials to see what previous users thought of the service that they received.
Make a shortlist of the companies that you think can deliver the type of marquee that you’re dreaming of and then start to contact them…
4. Get several quotes – and carefully compare them
You’ve already created a brief, so use it. Make sure that each company receives the same brief and then interrogate each estimate or quote that you receive carefully.
Has each company quoted for the same level of equipment? Does each quote clearly breakdown and layout every element so that you understand what you are getting? What’s included and what isn’t?
Understanding what’s included is fundamental to understanding the differing prices offered by various suppliers. But understanding a quote isn’t only about considering the structural elements.
Some marquee companies go above and beyond simply supplying the marquee. Customer service levels are extremely important and should be considered too. Some companies will organise and/or supply furniture, they will install the electrics and heating, they will liaise and coordinate with your other third party suppliers to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Check out of hours policies too. Is there an out of hours helpdesk number so that you can contact somebody in case of emergency? How quickly can they get a technician to you if there’s an issue with electrics or heating for example?
5. Go with your gut
Once you’ve compared your quotes and narrowed down the choices it may be time to simply go with your gut instinct. If there’s not much to choose between the marquee companies and the costs, services and standards they offer, then it might simply come down to who you prefer.
That said, always remember that you get what you pay for. When hiring a marquee, don’t base your decision on price alone. If the choice is really that close then there may be one or two seemingly small elements that could sway you in one direction or the other. At Lifestyle marquees we lay out chairs and put the seat pads on for our clients; this may seem like a tiny detail, but it’s a time consuming job that can be stressful in the run up to a big event. Does one company offer a guarantee? Remember those out of hours service numbers? Small details that could make a big difference could help you to make your final decision.
Hiring a marquee?
We offer free, no obligation estimates and quotes, so why not pick up the phone for a chat with one of the team? We’re happy to offer advice and guidance, come out to see you, conduct a virtual site visit if required and provide comprehensive quotes and site plans. Call 01372459485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to help you create your dream event!