This is a really good question and an important one. There are a number of factors that might affect the cost of your tipi hire.
The first is the type of tipi… yes there is more than one type of Nordic Tipi – in fact two of those on the UK scene are not Nordic at all – they are British.
The original, authentic tipis were developed by Tentipi™ in Northern Sweden in a village called Arvidsjaur. These were developed to protect the Sami people (the indigenous people of Lapland) from mosquitos in the summer and from snow and extreme weather in the winter. Consequently the quality of these tents, with the strength of their wood (Norwegian pine) and the durability of the canvas, means these tents will not leak, fail or have any issues when you hire them for an event. The down side is that these have to be imported so are usually more expensive to hire for your wedding.
By contrast the copies of the authentic tipi created in the UK usually use British (well Scottish) pine. This type of pine also looks beautiful, but the way that branches grow opposite one another does mean that the poles made from this pine may be weaker at those points than their Swedish counterparts. These companies use a slightly different canvas. To find out more about the differences please click to read about The Origins of Our Tents. The up side of using an English Tipi Hire company is that it will most likely cost you less. These tents are cheaper for hire companies to purchase and that is often passed on to you as a customer. One word of warning, some English tipis require ‘weatherproofing systems’, not needed by the authentic Nordic ones, which may incur slightly higher costs.
For that reason you may have two quotes that are seemingly for the same items with quite different costings, but you need to be sure you are actually comparing apples with apples!
Secondly, your price may vary as a result of your hirer. Like anything you buy there are levels of service, quality and reliability that you need to consider when you book a company to provide you with an event tent.
What makes one company cheaper than another?
Often newer, less experienced companies will have cheaper prices – obviously they have less they need to spend on overheads, staffing and other business costs. They may even be under the VAT threshold which will save you the additional 20% that the larger companies have to charge you by law and pass to the government. If you are on a budget that can be a great way of getting your authentic Nordic tipi for less.
However you also have to weigh up the cons of this – if a business is going to fail it is usually in the first couple of years, so you need to be sure that when you hand over your sizeable deposit it is protected should your chosen company go into administration.
Newer companies rarely have contingency, spare tents, spare furnishings and most importantly spare crew. If a business has just the owner with casual labour as the crew you need to understand what would happen with your event should they for example break a leg and not be able to erect your tipi.
So paying for experience may mean you need to dig deeper into your budget – but then if you were having an op would you want to be one of the first to be operated on by a surgeon… or would you like to know they had successfully done the job many times over. Tent hire may not be major surgery, but if your special event is important to you it is good to know your tipi is guaranteed.
Even amongst established companies however there can also be discrepancies. To understand why that is you need to look at what the company is actually offering you.
Some, for example, are for all intents and purposes, a tent provider. They will book your date, you will pay them and they will come and erect then dismantle whatever you have ordered for your event. These type of companies are usually the cheapest to work with. They don’t have many staff in their office to chat through ideas, variations and give advice but if you don’t need that of course that is fine.
Other companies will pride themselves on being a core part of your event, will help, advise, create lots of floorplan options, arrange calls and consultations to help alleviate any stress as you plan your event. They will often liaise with suppliers for you. These companies usually have a dedicated team of event coordinators whose job it is to make the planning process as easy and fluid as possible.
Then there will be some in between, who will give you some help, but not necessarily be at your beck and call.
More recently and further to this, sadly there are tipi hire companies who whilst they may have bookings in the diary, and have been established for a while have not learnt that you cannot spend their customers deposits. We saw a number of these fold during lockdown, leaving clients stranded without their event and having lost their deposit. These types of companies live hand to mouth and are often keen to drop their prices and secure your booking so that they have money to get them through the low season. This might sound scary (well it is) so if you want to be certain that the company you chose will still be around when your event date arrives check out our guide ‘Questions to ask your tent provider before you book’
The final reason for a variation in cost of hiring a tipi is the time of year. Summers for any tipi providers can be very busy, in truth they have to fill their books between May and September because they need to make sufficient revenue to carry them through the rest of the year when the tipis go out so much more infrequently. Consequently the summer months of tipi hire are usually more expensive than if you choose an event date in the low season. This can work really well if you are on a budget – as I have already explained tipis are absolutely all year round tents and with the addition of a heater and potentially some wooden doors you can have an amazing tipi wedding much more cost effectively outside the summer months. Equally if you want the most peak of peak season, you may need to pay more – the most popular dates of the year tend to be around the summer solstice (June 21st), most of July, and the August bank holiday.
You may wonder where Elite Tents sit in terms of these prices… established in 2010 our team has delivered over 1000 events to over 1000 happy clients. Our tents are all Tentipi™ made authentic Nordic Tipis. We have an office team whose mission it is to help make your special celebration memorable for all of the right reasons. We have a highly trained onsite team, inspected by MUTA (the industry standards executive for marquees and tipis), we CAT scan when ground is unknown, we have contingency of everything needed on a job (affectionally known as the get out of poo box 😂) plus spare staff on hand, a call out service for your event and even spare tents and vehicles. Our experience and dedication means that we have never failed to deliver nor will we. And because we know that, we offer a watertight guarantee – if we don’t deliver your tipi in time for your event we will fully refund you AND give you £10,000.
If you have any further questions about tipi hire costs…. just ask the team.