By Harry Smith
Hiring a marquee sounds like an expensive proposition in general, but those of us who have never done it before will not have any idea how much it costs. The fact is prices range widely, depending on a number of variable factors, so it is impossible to generalise.
The first factor that affects the price of the marquee is its size. This of course depends on the number of guests. It also depends on whether you want to have extra areas of space, such as a dance floor or a chill out zone, other than the main seating or standing area. It also depends on how roomy you want the space to be.
Once you have an idea of how much space you require, you can go about choosing the right size. It is generally helpful to have a per person estimation of space in square feet. This can help you work out how much space you will need depending on the number of people expected. The space required per person, for a buffet-type event is likely to be smaller than that needed for a seated event.
Most suppliers have price lists on their websites. Browsing through a few of these is a good way to get a rough idea of what is available in the market and at what price. Roughly speaking, marquees can cost anything from £10 to £50 per guest. This wide range of cost is attributable to the fact that there is a wide variety of marquees available.
Prices vary not only according to size, but other factors also have a bearing on the cost. For example, a lined marquee is generally more expensive than an unlined one. Traditional marquees tend to be a little more expensive than frame marquees, but this is not a rule, as prices can also vary according to the design and style of the structure. Something exotic such as a Tepee could be more difficult to find and therefore more costly than a standard marquee, all other things being equal.
A marquee is just the structure, but what about the inside? Many suppliers offer other services, such as matting, furniture, and lighting. Some suppliers also provide heating services or have connections with sub-contractors who do. Usually suppliers that provide marquees for hire tend to be event suppliers who can also take care of catering, entertainment and staffing for the event. Needless to say, add-ons affect the total cost of the order. A brochure listing descriptions of all the options available and their prices is a useful thing to have.
Once you have a list of suppliers you can request quotes, either written or online. While getting a quote it is important to understand what is included in the price and what isn’t. The costs of transporting, set-up and dismantling of the marquee are usually included in the quote, but it is good practise to confirm that this is the case. After all, you don’t want a small misunderstanding to cause major problems in the event!