If you are seriously considering hiring an event tent for your special occasion, you’ve probably discovered that there are a lot of decisions to make!
At the top of this list stands one preeminent question:
How do I select a reputable marquee or tipi company?
This question is so important because the expertise and integrity of your tipi company will play a huge role in determining the final outcome of your day.
To assist you in this process, we at Elite Tents have put together a checklist to help you vet potential tent suppliers. This checklist is based on our experience of not only working on over 1,000 events throughout Central England ( and sometimes beyond) but also from helping plenty of others who found us through the internet but were outside our area, find reputable tent hirers in their area (see more about this below).
So, regardless of where you live or whether you are looking for a tipi, marquee or yurt, this checklist will help you identify various criteria to look for when selecting your tent hire company.
Okay, let’s jump right in!
The Ultimate Tent Hire Company Vetting Checklist
1. Business Information and Experience
✦ The company is licensed and insured
Note: ask if the name on companies house is the same as the company name. If not, find out why.
✦ Find out how many years the company has been in business
Note: 43% of contractors fail within the first three years after start-up
2. Customer References
Ask the following questions of the tent hire company:
1. How many events have you provided tents for since in business?
2. How many set ups did you do last year?
3. Of those installations, how many references can you provide?
Note: if the tent company does not seem to provide many or any we consider this to be a red flag. Our experience has been that the vast majority of people when asked are willing to go on a reference list. In our opinion, providing less than half of the customers as references equates to less than a 50% chance of being happy in the end.
✓ Call at least 5 references and when calling, be sure to ask the following:
1. If you could do it over, would you use the same tent provider again?
2. What did you enjoy about the experience?
3. What was least enjoyable?
4. What tent, options, and accessories did you choose?
5. What would you do differently?
6. How did the tent hire company handle challenges and problems when or if they arose?
For more guidance regarding obtaining and calling references, read The One Key to Choosing a Tent Hire Company Without Getting Ripped Off.
3. Reviews and Ratings
✦ Firstly, the company has reviews on Google that don’t sound ‘generic’ and relate to actual events.
✦ Collectively, the tent hire company has at least a 5:1 good review to bad review ratio
✦ They responded reasonably to negative reviews when possible
A Skilled Crew
✦ What training has the crew done?
✦ What evidence is there of this? (eg Skill cards H&S training certified by MUTA)
✦ What happens in the event that something needs redressing on your event date e.g. a fairy light fails, or unexpected weather occurs?
5. Design and Project Planning
✦ The Tent Hire Company will prepare a floorplan to you well before the event date showing the following:
• Position of furnishings on your booking,
• Fire safety equipment
• Position of toilets, catering tent and other ancillary items
• List of additional equipment and accessories they will be providing.
✦ The Tent Company enables you to visit their tents and meet the team for yourself prior to your event either at an open day or another customer’s event, should you want to.
✦ The Tent Company will provide you with a clear list of the items you have booked both prior to the event and on the event day when the tents and equipment are delivered.
✦ The Tent Company will give you ample notice of their delivery and collection dates and those of any other sub-contracted items they have organised for you
✦ If you have chosen your own site (i.e. it is not one that the company regular works with) then the Tent company will provide you with a site checklist for you to complete after which if you have any concerns they will
do a site visit for you to confirm the site is suitable, in good time before your planned event.
6. Pricing and Contract
✦ Whenever possible, the price for all items are included and broken down clearly in the contract.
✦ All “throw-ins” are listed on the contract
✦ VAT, delivery, damage waiver are all included on the contract.
✦ Find out where your deposit will be held and ensure it is not spent before your event. (This is a legal requirement but many tent hire companies do not follow it).
✦ Does the Tent Company have contingency items should they have an issue with breakage or damage prior to your event.
To learn more, check out our article, How Much Does an Event Tent Cost to Hire?
We hope you will find this helpful on your quest to finding the perfect tent hirer for your special event.
If you’d like to see a variety of design examples, take a look at our floorplans in our Planning Hub.