Light poles are right in the middle of the space where the tent is supposed to set-up, and there’s a tree in the way that requires a change of plans for the placement of the restroom trailer. How can this be? Did you send anyone to the jobsite to verify site conditions? Well…no. Your customer gave you a detailed list of what they needed and even sent a sketch of what it should look like on site.
You trusted that they would give you the information you needed. But they didn’t and now the event is just a few hours away. Cue the mad scramble, a frustrated crew and an unhappy client – who, by the way, doesn’t care that it isn’t your fault. They just wanted their event to be perfect and now they plan to share their frustration on every online review site they can find.
There’s a solution. One tried-and-true step that can help you avoid this scenario and keep your customer happy and your online reviews at four stars – the Site Survey.
A proper site survey is your friend. Actually, it’s a vital part of a successful, profitable event. Consider it an investment you need to make in the event to ensure success for your organization. The site survey allows your team to get and communicate the critical information within your organization as well as with the customer.
Before pricing, before agreements and definitely before a signature on an order, the person performing the site survey should arrive on site with the site survey form in hand. If you don’t have an official site survey for your company, TopTec has one that we can share with you on request.
The site survey gives your company a clear path of communication between the two parties involved that ensures all pertinent questions are asked and nothing is overlooked. Placement of the tent and other equipment can be worked around any encumbrances such as sidewalks, roof overhangs, trees, utilities – the variables are endless. It also allows you, the event company, to quote the job correctly as additional charges should be levied based on what is found on site. Do you have to take a tent around a house to the back lawn with a considerable elevation change and limited access? Are all the components going to have to be carried in by hand, limiting your ability to use carts for bulk transport? If so, those things needed to be noted in the site survey and you should charge accordingly as these things affect your efficiency.
Utilities are certainly a concern. If they can’t be addressed, equipment must be moved. I once arrived onsite for a frame tent install on a concrete pad to discover that there was a power line overhead that wasn’t noted when we originally discussed the install with the customer. As the lead installer, I deemed the site unsafe and shut the job down until the power company could send someone out to disconnect that power and confirm that it was safe. Only then did work resume. The power company later moved that power line to make the site safe. Installers, who were paid by the hour, stood around while we waited for this work to be done. A site survey would have noted this issue ahead of time. The delay – and extra expense – could have been avoided.
That’s just one example of a situation where the failure to conduct a site survey was very costly. I’m sure you know of more. As the event company, it is imperative that you offer a site survey to your clients and clearly explain its importance and benefits for everyone involved.
It’s a good idea to charge for these surveys, then possibly credit your customer if/when they sign the contract for the event. Site surveys lead to more efficient work by you and in turn, a more valuable experience for your customer.
You can learn more about proper site survey procedures and safe tent installs at this year’s Tent School, the industry’s longest running tent training program, December 9-11 at TopTec’s South Carolina facility near Greenville, S.C. You can read more about Tent School and register online at www.tentschool.com.