Meeting, as we do every week, in such a relaxed atmosphere it is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that BNI members own and operate some very substantial companies.

Of course, because the purpose of BNI is to pass business referrals we are all aware of the talents of our fellow members.

However, the ten-minute presentation can occasionally act as a timely reminder that a member not only has a unique talent but that their company is capable of the truly exceptional…and such was the case this week when Iain Booth of Inside Outside Marquees delivered his presentation.


Formerly Managing Director of the largest furniture hire business in the UK, Iain now owns Inside Outside Marquees, citing the fact that the company was well established and enjoyed a fine reputation as reasons for completing the purchase in 2010.

Indeed the reputation has continued to grow under Iain’s direction and, as the company enters its 38th year of trading it is now firmly established as the premier marquee provider in Surrey and the south-east.

The size of the operation was clearly demonstrated in a video presentation, we saw marquees of all shapes and sizes in locations as varied as private gardens and stately homes. Iain pointed to the variety of styles available and reminded us that an Inside Outside event comes complete with power, lighting, sound, furniture…and even luxury loos!

Turnover is up by 35% since joining BNI

Iain explained that he was proud of the Inside Outside 10 Point Service Guarantee, a promise to deliver exceptional service to every single client, covering everything from the initial enquiry to clearing up after the event.

Plans for the immediate future include the continued development of strategic alliances with venues, suppliers and high quality brands. Providing marquees for high profile venues such as RHS Wisley and Loseley House will certainly help to improve the visibility of Inside Outside and should help deliver the budgeted 10% growth in sales for 2017.

There was just enough time for a couple of questions and first to be seen in a sea of hands was Jane Carnall, private chef and caterer and owner of Really Hungry. Jane asked what the ideal lead time was for booking a marquee?

Iain said that lead times varied but that due to the high-end nature of his business last minute enquiries were quite rare and that most clients are organised enough to plan in advance. It takes Iain’s team a day and a half to put most marquees up and a similar time to strike.

Next came a question from Jack Newman, owner of Boo Design who asked, ‘What is the average cost per head for an Inside Outside marquee?’

Whilst there was really no such thing as an average client, Iain explained that a rule of thumb when considering marquee hire of this quality, the cost starts at around £100.00 per head, but included all the essentials such as the marquee, power, lighting, AV, furniture, sound, catering…and of course, posh loos.

Iain concluded his presentation by describing the profile of a perfect referral as event or party organisers, companies with over 150 employees…and private clients with several unmarried daughters, Iain loves a wedding!.