You shouldn’t have to be an expert in tents, marquees or tipis in order to book one for your event. The companies you contact should take the role of expert and guide you in making the correct decision. Here at Elite Tents we take that role very seriously and always aim to help you find the right solution for you – even if it isn’t us! With that in mind we know that inevitably you are going to have to talk to other suppliers (it’s ok, we’re not offended). To help with that we’ve come up with these 9 questions you should ask your tent provider before you book. To save you asking us after reading this we’ve included our answers to these as well.
1. Are They A Member of MUTA?
Here at Elite Tents we’re proud members of MUTA, the UK’s only trade association dedicated to marquees, tents and structures. Being a MUTA member isn’t as simple as paying a subscription fee. We’re bound by a code of practice, follow an industry-leading best practice guide, and are regularly inspected on-site and at our premises to make sure we meet the highest of standards. (Which we always do!)
2. Do They Have A Separate Bank Account Where They Will Hold Your Deposit?
The time between paying your deposit and your event date can often be over 17 months, or even be multiple years! That is a long time for somebody to have your money. Through covid we saw many businesses that seemed stable go under, and learned that you cannot always assume that a company will be around in 2 years time. A lot of companies spend their customer’s deposits, meaning if they go under the client cannot get their deposit back. Businesses that do this are often likely to make last minute offers and lower prices to close a sale, as they need the deposit money to help their finances there and then.
Keeping your deposit in a separate account until your event arrives ensures that should the worst happen, you will at least be able to recoup your deposit and use it to find an alternative. Elite Tents takes your deposit and puts it in a separate account to our main one, which isn’t touched until your event comes around. Your money is safe and you have the peace of mind that 1. we are not running on fumes and 2. should we faulter for any reason, you will get it back.
3. Are They Registered on Companies House?
This question shouldn’t be necessary. Any company you speak with in the UK should be registered on Companies House, but unfortunately with how easy it is to set up an online presence and start selling online, some people will do so without registering a business! Without this, you do not have any of the protections that come with dealing with a business. Also if they are operating illegally they could be shut down at any time meaning your event and deposit could be in jeopardy!
…If it’s not already clear, yes Elite Tents Ltd are registered with Companies House!
4. Have They Ever Traded as Another Company?
A yes to this question isn’t always a bad thing, but it could be that a company is hiding something they don’t want you to know. Imagine you decided you never wanted to work with the delivery service Hermes because of your own experience or reviews online, and then one day you unwittingly use Evri, not knowing that they are in fact the same company with a new name. Now imagine instead of a delivery it’s your wedding supplier!
Elite Tents has only ever traded as Elite Tents.
5. Do Their Net Current Assets Exceed Their Liabilities (In Other Words Do They Own More Than They Owe?)
This is important! If a company owes more than they owe, they essentially have debts that they cannot currently cover, and are relying on future payments to cover past debts without contingency. At Elite Tents we own our own furniture as well as all of our tents and vehicles. Our net assets exceed our liabilities.
6. Do They Own All Of The Furniture And Equipment Advertised On Their Website?
If a company owns it’s own furniture, it means it can guarantee that the setup you are quoted is what you will get. This is because from day 1 they know that the furniture is in their building. They do not need to check stock/book it with someone else. If they do not, it means they are selling/marketing something to you before they have booked it.
Elite Tents can arrange some external items such as chivari chairs, toilet units and generators, but all of the furniture you see on the website is owned by us. This includes all tables, chairs, benches, chill out sets, and all of our accessory options!
7. Do They Have Contingency Tents and Equipment?
If your tents were damaged the weekend before your event, what would they do? A lot of newer companies who are starting out will only own enough tents to handle the jobs they have, meaning there is no backup plan should they be damaged.
At Elite Tents we always have enough Tipis left at the warehouse to use as a contingency plan should any of our tents be damaged.
8. Can You See The Tents And Meet The Team Before Your Event?
One of the great things about hiring a tent is that you are essentially having a venue built just for you. Of course the downside to this is that it doesn’t make it easy to just ‘pop in’ and see it. If you came down to Elite Tents on a random weekday, you’d find an office and a warehouse!
Open events are the norm for tent hire companies. Check that your company has them so that you can go and see the tents you are planning to hire. Also check if you can meet the team at these events or at their base. At Elite we hold 3 Open Weekends per year, where you can book an appointment to speak with our team. If you can’t make it to these, we will look for events that are using our tents local to you so that you can go along before the event starts to view the tents. Also, you can always arrange to meet our team in our office in Aldridge, or have a video call!
9. Do They Have A Guarantee? And What Is It?
What is their promise to you, and what will they do if they break it? When booking something as important as your wedding day a guarantee will really help settle your nerves and give you peace of mind.
The Elite Tents guarantee is that if your tent is not ready on time for your event you will get a full refund – plus £10,000! (please refer to our Ts&Cs for full details).