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OUR STORY SO FAR

Making your event as special as possible is our passion and it has been since 2009. 

Let us tell you the story of how Mark and the team have built the business up over the years and all the exciting installments that have happened along the way!

2018

Our Head of Ops, James has been with us for a year now.  What an asset he has been for Abacus!  He ensures all 500 events go without a hitch ever year.  He ensures staff, vans and the right kit is where it should be every week.

We've been on a recruitment overdrive!  We've hired 3 extra marquee installers during September as we're still super busy!  They've all earnt their pink hoody now they've had their initial training.  

 

We've been busy over the winter period innovating some really cool products that we can't wait to show you!  Including our LED infinity tables!

The very first LOVE ISLAND themed party was completed.  What a party!  Hattie had the most amazing 16th birthday party where you can find out more about it on our previous events page!

We've purchased some starlight blackout lining for the ultimate nightclub experience!  

Starlight blackout lining creates a dark, nightclub-style atmosphere with the LED lights in the ceiling twinkling.  We're really excited to be installing this for special events!

We’ve now purchased some clear panoramic walls! They look great and allow natural daylight to come through and makes your event a bit more special particularly if the marquee is in nice surroundings. 

They look awesome at night too! LED Uplighting gives the marquee a bit of a nightclub feel. We’re getting some clear roofs soon as well.

My grandad who was with me at the start of Abacus during our initial years used to help me install the marquees. He was my first member of staff! He was always on time, done what he was told and never asked for a pay rise. Unfortunately his health meant he hasn’t set up any marquees for a few years which used to keep him fighting fit. So I’m dragging him to the gym with me instead! ???? He is always asking about how we’re doing and what we’re up to. Deep down I think he would love to be out there helping us…I’m sure nan would prefer that too ha!

We had a staff open day in March for potential new recruits for the busy season ahead. It gave them a chance of what being part of us crazy lot is like and we got to see who were the superstars from the pool. Terry, Matt & Alan who are now part of Team Abacus were found from our open days and we can't wait to do another one when we need more superstars!

I always reward hard work here at Abacus - it's always appreciated. Adam put in a lot of hard work during the winter months with lots of early starts, late nights and weekends, Adam ensured our customers were delighted with our service and was responsible for our amazing growth during the winter months. 
He's been wanting to go skiing for years but is currently saving for a house with his girlfriend. You should have seen his face when I told him he's going to France skiing in February! ⛷ He fully deserved it and both him and Kirsty came back in one piece too...result!

GUESS WHO WON?

Both Adam and I spend most of our days in the office. We're a great duo but we're ultra competitive. We both thought our customer service skills were better than each others. We decided in January who could receive the most reviews that included our personal name in...Loser bought pizza and unlimited cups of tea for a week...Thanks Ad ????

We got over Christmas! ???? We think we're dead certain we're the busiest marquee hire company during Christmas in the UK! With over 19 marquees up in four days for Christmas festivities, them back down again and 12 up for New Years Eve.

Dealing with a break into our storage unit halfway through the mad three weeks tested our teams tenacity and determination to ensure none of our customers were let down. GO TEAM ABACUS.

We're purchased some starlight blackout lining for the ultimate nightclub experience!

Christmas at Home

So after setting up 19 marquees for Christmas I really looked forward to setting up another marquee at home for my family! ???? As you can tell my lovely family are nuts but it was really nice to celebrate Christmas time together. Was back at it on the 27th there was no rest for the wicked!

Woohoo! We've been selected as a finalist for Young Entrepreneur of the Year again. We won the main Award a couple of years ago and we can't wait to come back and hopefully come back with another trophy! The awards evening is in November so keep your fingers crossed!

We bought a drone! It's taken some amazing aerial photography of our marquees and shows off that you can really install a marquee in the smallest and trickiest of spaces (so long as you have an award-winning, super experienced people of course 😉 )

Our team is ever increasing! We have Telephone Adam, Big Marquee Dean, Site Visit Tom, Garden Marquee Dan, Owner Mark, Self-Proclaimed "Abacus' Best Driver" Will and Snowboarder Connor!

Our biggest ever set up to date. A 15m x 21m Marquee for Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. We were responsible for the success of over 12 events in 3 days. Including AV & Sound, staging, catering tents, luxury loo's & outside lighting. The build included 2 night shifts and lots of energy drinks!

Gearing up for an even bigger year ahead we knew we needed to add to our fleet and team. Will joined us early this year – despite joining us mid-winter he’s always worn shorts – something the rest of us are working out if he is mad or brave.

We’re now preparing for this year’s marquee madness and our winter projects are slowly coming to completion. Gearing up for not only the garden birthday parties & anniversaries but the increased demand for weddings and larger events this year too. Something we’re all really excited about!

We’re also investing in adding to our range of chairs again as well as more bars and dancefloors. Our quotations are already four pages long as we offer so much and we’re looking to increase that!

We’ve got something in the pipeline for birthday parties & corporate events coming along very soon. We’re keeping it under wraps for now but we cannot wait to unveil what we have lined up! It’s something that’s never been done before and it’s going to be extremely popular – we just know it will! If you’ve got a big birthday party lined up and you’re wanting something for your friends and family never to forget…watch this space!

2016 saw the additional of another team member Joe. Fresh out of university and not shy from hard work Joe is a vital cog in the Abacus wheel helping Tom and Adam on the marquee installs. Joe’s sense of humour keeps us sane during the rainy days. He’s also very good at communicating with our customers informing them of everything they need to know about their marquee.

Epson Marquee HireAs well as our garden marquees we were getting to work in some really nice venues installing lovely marquees for weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries and corporate events too. 

We also purchased another van to keep up with demand. Thanks to our summer workers, during the peak season we had teams of 7 or 8 installing up to 6 marquees a day between us! Our amazing reputation had spread far and wide and we were fully booked during most of the summer.

Adding LED Lighting packs, a larger array or furniture, paper lanterns to name a few made some of our marquees look amazing – we were getting more and more referrals from customer’s guests who have realised themselves what a wonderful idea installing a marquee in your back garden can be.

Nearly 400 marquees were set up in 2016 and it was fair to self-proclaim that we were probably the most frequently used marquee hire company regionally. Not a bad accolade indeed. However I wasn't impressed when my guys stuck a fake spider on me!

In 2015 the business was in full swing and having to employ several more temporary staff members during the summer to keep up with demand. We were growing month on month and were keeping up with increased demand. We purchased a second van too.

Abacus’ second member of staff joined the team – Adam. His previous retail experience is a real benefit to Abacus and our customers love his friendly manner and professionalism. Adam now joins us in the office in charge of quoting and telephone calls and is the first friendly voice our customers hear.

Abacus further enhanced its range to offer our customers as well as built its All-Under-One-Roof Supplier list. We now have a stock of over 25 marquees – some weekends we had 14-16 marquees out so we needed to make sure we had enough stock.

Who we were working for and the events we undertook were changing too. Birthday parties in the garden will always be what we’re famous for. But as we were installing larger structures as we were gaining a fantastic reputation in the wedding market. More and more referrals were coming our way from guests wanting to get married in the same marquee their friends had just done.

In late 2015 we built an office and introduced an office team to prepare for bigger growth next year. Tom and Adam are part of this team to help manage current bookings and give advice to our customers.

We installed 330 marquees this year – and we got some recognition for it too. After our third attempt we had not just become another finalist in another Business Awards – but this time won the main Hertfordshire Business Award!

We we’re elated and for Tom & Adam and myself, it was nice to get some acknowledgement from our efforts. The Awards judges claimed “Abacus has customer service at the heart of its business. The amount of client testimonials they have collected – there really was no other winner. One of Abacus’ true core values is their ability to provide a wonderful customer experience week in week out”

What a way to finish a really successful year. We also had a record busy Christmas and New Year’s – which is always our busiest 2 weeks of the year. We had some well earned rest come the next January!

A lot of investment was made in 2014 and Abacus had an inventory or nearly 20 marquees offering 28 different size combinations. I took on my first full time member of staff, Tom. If anybody had a really successful event in 2014 chances are Tom was fully responsible! He is now one of our current Team Leaders - who now does all of our site visits ensuring the marquees will fit and offering advice on enhancing any event. Tom is a fantastic at asset to the business – his knowledge of how to create really successful events, sometimes in the trickiest of spaces is amazing.

After another two business awards finalist positions - it wasn’t just my customers realising Abacus is a very special business. We’re now setting up over 180 parties a year and our now famous “All-Under-One-Roof’ service was introduced too. Not just offering the marquees and equipment but also introducing catering, DJ’s, balloons, event loos etc to further enhance our events.

After another two business awards finalist positions - it wasn’t just my customers realising Abacus is a very special business. We’re now setting up over 180 parties a year and our now famous “All-Under-One-Roof’ service was introduced too. Not just offering the marquees and equipment but also introducing catering, DJ’s, balloons, event loos etc to further enhance our events.

My grandads’ marquee career was caught short after I was partly responsible for a knee injury (my nan fully blames me but I’m disputing my case!). It’s a shame as I really enjoyed working with him but he’s still really keen to try and get out there with us again!

We also took the attention of the CEO of RedBull too – as we were responsible for his big birthday celebration in London. They had a marquee in the back garden and we decorated the house with LED lighting and a dancefloor too. It was a hit and they loved what we offered and had a wonderful night.

We also had our first Christmas in a marquee too which was special!

In 2013 was the year I bought my first van and had my own independent storage unit. Abacus was growing up and it needed to quickly to take on the increased business. We obtained a very good reputation and we were getting a lot of repeat and referred business. Friends and family of our customers were in our parties that we arranged and realising how we could help them too. 

My grandad was still helping me set the marquees up (much to my nans annoyance haha!) but I needed some extra help as I didn’t want to overwork him.

We were now installing over 70 marquees a year now with a stock or 10 marquees offering flooring, linings lighting and furniture. I took on several casual labour staff during the peak summer months ensuring I had the capacity to keep up with demand.

I also applied for the Hertfordshire Business Awards and I was a finalist. I was ecstatic when I found out and brought my family and two part-time team members with me to the big gala ball. I didn’t win the category I was in but it was a great experience being there with other successful business owners and gave me great inspiration to go and win it the next year. 

Most of the profit was put back into the business and I purchased more marquees and ancillary equipment. I now had a stock of 5 marquees as well as more chairs & tables.

I was really lucky - I had a (very able!) grandad who was more than happy to help me when I needed an extra pair of hands. Come rain or shine he’d have my back and help set up many birthday parties, weddings and family events with me. I would have struggled a lot during this time without my grandad – so I’m really grateful for his hard work.

My time working at the local school was down to only 2 days a week as I could rely on Abacus for more income as the marquee bookings were more frequent. We started to get busier especially in the summer doing a lot of street festivals for the Queens Jubilee this year too. The marquees themselves were getting bigger as well as demand.

At the age of 18 I didn’t know what path I wanted to take. I knew I didn’t want to go to University after finishing my A-Levels taking a degree I may never use and be several thousand pounds in debt. So, for my birthday present that year my dad gave the business to me. (better than a car, right?!). 
He gave me two marquees and 16 plastic garden chairs. He let me borrow his van to use if I ever took on a booking. I worked hard that summer building a website and generating more and more enquiries. I took on 22 marquee bookings in my first year. I was also in a part time occupation too at a local school to generate me enough income during Abacus’ early years.

Abacus Party Cover was formed by my dad, David. He got the idea from his 40th birthday party. He bought a cheap gazebo (eurgh!) for his party and it was a huge hit. A number of his friends asked if they could borrow it subsequently for their own parties so my dad decided to commercialise this idea and Abacus was born. 
He purchased two higher quality marquees and he was used locally for small birthday parties and family events. Abacus was his second business at the time – so it never got his full attention but he set up 2 or 3 marquees a month in his first year.