Marquee Cleaning Cost Comparison: Do The Maths!

  Posted by: Chief Editor, Selmore - Marquee Hire, on September 11, 2017 7:01 pm Leave your thoughts
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Marquee Cleaning Cost Comparison

Take a look at this marquee cleaning cost comparison & set your long term maintenance program.

Marquee cleaning is an unavoidable, ongoing operational expense in running a marquee hire company. With various options for delivery, it pays in the long run to consider cost comparisons.

It's surprising how a little here and there adds up and makes the decision far more difficult.

A short term perspective can deceive of more patient gains to be had should more prudent investments be made.

Capital investments even in maintenance activity can make future great savingsmarquee cleaning capital investment

Where the turnover of marquee hire jobs, particularly in peak season with back to back projects, kit's exposure to environmental damage is high. Prolonged exposure without care can lead to costly ingrained soiling of covers.

This problem of ingrained mould, mildew and other spotting or staining can leave long-lasting damage to equipment.

Regular cleaning, therefore, makes sure you don't give dirt enough time to take up permanent residence within the fibres of your covers.

Depending on the volume of your inventory and the intensity of hire activity, the demand for cleaning could be anything from occasional to a major feature.

Frequency, as well as number of covers to clean, give a combined indicator for cleaning activity. This multiplier when compounded with cost elements involved with each cleaning option gives the basis for a business case.

Options for marquee cleaning (...typical for a PVC frame marquee hire company)

To clean a PVC frame marquee cover a hire company could choose one of many methods.Options For Cleaning a Marquee Tent

Below are just a few examples which we hope you will consider with the running of your marquee hire company:

  1. Hand scrubbing on premises
  2. Power washer on premises
  3. Marquee cleaning machine service
    • Onsite (mobile)
    • Static (via courier)
  4. Buy cleaning machine
  5. Build cleaning machine
  6. No clean at all

There are inherent advantages and disadvantages with each which method, leaving each hire company to make their own assessment & decision. What will work for one firm, may not necessarily work for another.

Our cost comparison of marquee cleaning methods

The following is our ballpark estimation of the kinds of costs incurred by fulfilling marquee cleaning by the following means (not calculated by personal/professional experience, but by exercise of simple business theory - and shared, for what it's worth):

[All costs listed below are calculated on the basis of a single 6x6 metre marquee]

[1] Hand scrubbing on premises

[Courtesy of Aztec Tents]

  • Tools/utensils:
    • One-off Capital:
      • Large scrubbing brushes
      • Bucket
      • Sponges
      • Detailing brushes - for keder and zip fabric areas
    • Recurring:
      • Detergent
  • Labour:
    • 2x men
  • Time (excluding drying time):
    • 1 hours
  • Frequency:
    • Twice a year
  • Estimated Cost:
    • Set-Up: £14.00 equipment
    • Per clean: £17.00 labour and £3.00 portion of detergent

[2] Power washers on premises

  • Tools/utensils:
    • Pressure washer machine
    • Extraction cleaning machine
    • Floor scrubbing machine
    • Detergent
  • Labour:
    • 1x man
  • Time:
    • 1.5 hours
  • Frequency:
    • Twice a year
  • Estimated cost:
    • Set-Up: £1,200.00 for equipment
    • Per clean: £12.00 for labour, £2.00 electricity usage and £3.00 portion of detergent

[3] Marquee cleaning machine service

[Courtesy of Pattis Hire]

  • Tools/utensils
    • Marquee cleaning machine on truck
    • 3-phase 32A electric socket
    • Drain
    • Tap
    • Detergent
  • Labour:
    • 2x men
  • Time:
    • 30 minutes wash cycle
  • Frequency:
    • Twice per year
  • Estimated cost:
    • Arrival: £58.00
    • Staff & energy: £30.00 (plus fuel costs and driver hire)
    • Labour: £16.00
      • £104.00 TOTAL SERVICE COST

[4] Buy marquee cleaning machine

[Courtesy of Havencrown Marquee Cleaning Machines Ltd]

  • Tools/utensils:
    • Marquee cleaning machine
  • Estimated cost:
    • Set-Up: £53,000.00 TOTAL
    • Operation: £8.00 for one man/ one hour = two clean cycles per annum

[5] Build marquee cleaning machine

[Courtesy of Tent Cleaner NZ]

  • Tools/utensils:
    • Plans
    • Brushes
    • Build labour
  • Estimated Cost:
    • Set-Up:
      • Plans: £14,000.00
      • Equipment: £5,250.00
      • Materials: £16,000.00
      • Construction labour: £4,000.00
      • Engineering tests: £750.00
    • Operation Cost:
      • Operation: £8.00 for one man/ one hour = two clean cycles per annum
        • £40,000.00 TOTAL

A scenario based cost comparison of marquee cleaning cost

Example marquee cleaning cost comparison

A marquee hire company in Hertfordshire with (3x) 6 metre by 6 metre Clearspan A-frame tents with PVC covers have come to the end of yet again another busy marquee hire season.

The company owners have recently received a business proposal from a marquee cleaning machine manufacturer to invest in one of their machines.

This has prompted an alternatives comparison in true project management tradition to be conducted by managerial team to assess the impact on long-term profitability of the various marquee cleaning options available to them.

They have operational staff who are under-occupied during the winter and therefore labour is on hand to clean structures on-site.

Currently, they use power washing as a means to keep those awnings clean. But are open to reviewing other means.

They seek for figures to guide their decision-making over 3 time intervals of: 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.

Year 1 - Marquee Cleaning Cost Options

  • Hand scrubbing on premises: £64.00
  • Power washer on premises: £1,234.00
  • Marquee cleaning machine service
    • Onsite (mobile)/Static (via courier): £208.00
  • Buy cleaning machine: ~£53,000.000
  • Build cleaning machine: ~ £40,000.00
  • No clean at all: ~ Stock replacement (used) £7,000.00

Year 3 - Marquee Cleaning Cost Options

  • Hand scrubbing on premises: £134.00
  • Power washer on premises: £103.00
  • Marquee cleaning machine service 
    • Onsite (mobile)/Static (via courier): £312.00
  • Buy cleaning machine: £174.00 (£24.00 operational costs & £50.00 per annum service charge)
  • Build cleaning machine: £174.00 (£24.00 operational costs & £50.00 per annum service charge)
  • No clean at all ~ Stock replacement (used) £21,000.00

Year 5 - Marquee Cleaning Cost Options

  • Hand scrubbing on premises: £214.00
  • Power washer on premises: £170.00
  • Marquee cleaning machine service
    • Onsite (mobile) / Static (via courier): £520.00
  • Buy cleaning machine: £290.00 (£40.00 operational costs & £250.00 per annum service charge)
  • Build cleaning machine: £290.00 (£40.00 operational costs & £250.00 per annum service charge)
  • No clean at all: ~ Stock replacement (used) £35,000.00

Limitations & assumptions with scenario based cost analysis above

The illustration above is constrained by the following points:

  • Size of marquee hire firm
  • Number of structures cleaned
  • Frequency of cleans per annum
  • Proximity to static/mobile marquee cleaning service
  • A truck is already in available from hire operations which can double-up to carry cleaning machine to customer site for mobile delivery of service

Is there room for an alternative business model?

The capital costs of purchasing a specialist marquee cleaning machine would take the average small marquee hire contractor decades to make back. there room for an alternative business model?

What about winter marquee hire cleaning for other hire firms?


  • Profitably occupy labour in the winter
  • Bring in off-season sales revenue to smooth out downturn
  • Increase business cash flow
  • Long term profitability
  • Long term savings on buying in-house cleaning equipment for slimmest revenue expense to clean

Market research to estimate the available cleaning business within a desirable service catchment area would go a long way to firming up confidence.

Remember the cross over business from awnings owners whether private or commercial customers. Also, remember the application to the sailing and marine community.

With the right plan, the option to buy a marquee cleaning machine could be quite a profitable venture.

If the location of the cleaning premises was opportune (for optimal static and mobile bookings) and there was enough capital in the business model to make the investment, then this should be considered.

Are you currently considering buying a marquee cleaning machine?

Do you have one or have you used one? What was your experience?

Join the conversation below.

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