Take the long-term view

Do you have a long-term contract with your event supplier? Peter Cook, general manager, L H Woodhouse, asks whether those that don’t can afford to carry the risk

I know that it’s stating the obvious – but 2012 is set to be a busy year. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, combined with another series of events (do I really need to mention them?) have resulted in a jam-packed schedule.

The impact of these two major one-off events has resulted in many of the annual outdoor events and shows moving from their traditional “slot” in the calendar. Most of these events occupy the same slot every year, and work around each other to ensure that audiences are able to attend all events.

This way of planning ensures that contractors can cater for them all too. Many events use the same hire equipment and contractors can schedule the same crew and equipment to move from one event to another. But there are only so many weekends during the summer and, in 2012, many of these events now clash.

These clashes not only result in potentially fewer visitors; they seriously impact on the hire industry. Many contractors are finding that two or more clients are now holding events on the same dates.

So if hire equipment is in demand, which customer do you service first? If both organisers have signed long-term contracts then it’s up to the contractor to solve any supply duplications amicably, but if one event has a long-term contract, whilst a second hasn’t, then it could be to the latter’s detriment.

The recession has seen some organisers declaring it’s a “buyers market”, pushing prices down, not committing to contractors until the last minute or even giving business to less skilled and safety conscious contractors. The organisers that work with contractors – viewing them as essential partners and taking a long-term approach – will now reap the benefits of their commitment and the long-term contracts which they very wisely signed.

Let’s just hope that the 2012 full event calendar is successful for our industry as a whole and that pro-active organisers reap the benefits of their established relationships with recognised, safety accredited contractors with skilled and experienced installation teams. For those organisers that did not, perhaps they will now consider the future benefits of longer-term commitments – it’s their own events at risk if they don’t.