To hire or buy a tent? Buying is cheaper than you think

If you’re looking for a shelter for a specific occasion, e.g. for a wedding or family reunion, your first reaction might be to google marquee hire companies and see what’s on offer. You would probably guess that the up-front cost for a marquee hire is less than the initial outlay for a marquee.

As you’ll see in this article, that’s not always the case. Of course, if you can see yourself using the marquee for parties or events again in the next few years, the advantages of buying a marquee quickly add up. In this article we give you six good reasons to buy a high quality marquee, rather than hiring.

Marquee hire prices are not always cheaper

Hire prices for marquees in the UK are high in comparison to other European countries. The cost of hiring a marquee for a weekend often exceeds what you would pay for an economy marquee.

Mid-range marquees are generally comparable in price. Spending a little more on a sturdy marquee is also an investment in the future. There will always be outdoor parties, where you might not consider a marquee hire because of the cost and hassle, but your own marquee becomes an event saver. And if there really is no longer a reason to celebrate, you can simply use it as a storage tent. There are so many different ways to re-use marquees.

Discover our range of marquees at House of Tents

Click through to our shop to see the range of prices of the different models of marquees that we offer.

Remember: you don't hire a new marquee

If you’re considering hiring an event marquee for your birthday party, consider the following: You’re hiring a used product. The party tent is no longer as good as new and may therefore show slight damage, discolouration or signs of use in the material. 

You’ll only find out exactly how badly the quality of the party tent has been affected once it’s been delivered. You must be satisfied with the condition of the materials and sign that you accept them. It’s important that you inspect the marquee thoroughly directly upon arrival and record any existing stains or rips in writing or with photos. That’s the only way to ensure that damage caused by someone else can’t be pinned on you.

If on the other hand, you choose to buy, you’ll receive a brand new tent. You can be sure of the quality and condition of the material and you can be confident that the marquee will suit your requirements! You won’t have to place a table or the buffet in front of an unsightly spot of material to cover it up. If you buy a high quality marquee from us, you’re also safe in the knowledge that it’s 100% waterproof, stable and protects against UV radiation.

You're bound to the conditions set by the marquee hire service.

Is flexibility important to you? Then renting might not be the best option for your next event. You’ll be bound by the rental terms and conditions of the hire company. Even if these vary with each provider, certain patterns can be recognised:

The rental period

Requests for tents, especially for larger models, are often only accepted for a rental period of 3 days or longer. If your garden party takes place on a Saturday, for example, you'll receive your outdoor tent on Friday and must return it or it will be collected on Sunday. You're bound to the provider's times for both delivery and collection. If you've partied late into the night you might find yourself needing to wake up early to dismantle a marquee.

The right size

Every supplier has different sizes of marquees on offer. Often, however, you can only choose from the most popular sizes. If you need a different size than those available from the supplier, you may have to find a new marquee hire company. It's also possible that you'll be offered an alternative size, e.g. one size larger than the marquee you requested.

The outdoor area

If you're hosting a get-together in a small back garden or at a location that isn't easily accessible, this can be a problem for the marquee company. Many hire companies require truck access - for uncomplicated and quick delivery. If your venue can't be reached by a large truck, the hire service may deliver only as far as your front door step. Here you need to plan early and look for solutions.

You're likely to incur some additional costs

At first glance, the additional services provided by the marquee hire business sound simply fantastic. With most providers, you can hire wooden flooring, furniture, a heating system or a music system in addition to the standard marquees. Delivery and assembly might also be supplied. Simply an all-round carefree package! Or is it? In the following, we explain why unfortunately this isn’t always the case.


Many suppliers advertise free delivery. A time is organised in advance for your goods to be delivered to your venue. You only need to be on site to check and receive them. If you’ve hired a local marquee hire company, this offer also applies. However, if your event takes place outside the 20 kilometre radius of the rental company’s delivery area, you’ll incur additional costs. It’s often the case that you have to pay €0.70 per kilometre driven on top of the rental price. If your event is located outside of this area, the per kilometer charges can be quite expensive, as the pick-up must also be included in the calculation. ​

Assembly and disassembly

The assembly of your party marquee is often included in the price. However, not every provider has enough staff to fulfil this wish. That’s why assembly is often offered to customers as an optional extra. If you opt for this service, you’ll be charged for every helper you use – and for a large model, there are quite a few. If you choose to assemble the tent yourself, you may be held liable for any assembly errors or damage. On the other hand, if you buy the right tent for your party, you’ll not only receive easy-to-understand assembly instructions, but you can benefit from expert customer service if something doesn’t seem to be working.


Many suppliers rent out some form of matting or hard floor, alongside carpets with the marquee. This is useful, especially for wedding receptions. Wooden flooring, for example, not only enhances the white marquee itself, but can also protect your guests from injuries, among other things. However, if the dance floor isn’t included in the complete price, it’s common to charge a price per square metre. For wooden floors, that’s commonly up to £4.00 per square metre. You can always save yourself the expense of hiring flooring. Simply build a wooden floor yourself! 

Further equipment

If you’d like to rent a music system, a heating system, lighting, a stage or other furniture alongside your marquee, many providers offer you a large selection of equipment for hire. If you hire everything directly from one source, you may benefit from a quantity discount. On the other hand, you may pay far more for the convenience of a ‘one stop shop’. Either way, you should be aware that these are optional services, the prices of which are added to the marquee hire price.


If you buy a marquee, you can have it delivered to your home and have someone help you transport it to the venue free of charge. That way, you’re independent of the rental company on the one hand, and on the other hand, you save on expenses once again. You also avoid paying for strangers for the set up. It’s not difficult, so simply ask your friends for a hand assembling your marquee. You can rely on tent experts from a specialist retailer like ours just a phone call away.

Not every marquee hire provider is reliable

Let’s say you would like to rent a traditional marquee for around 50 people for a party. There are plenty of pages for marquee hire to be found online. They all advertise that you can rent the right marquee from them. But who can you depend on? You first have to invest a lot of time in research and planning.

You will most likely want to check the following criteria carefully:

Can the marquee rental company provide reliable references? Are these verifiable? What do other customers say about the provider, what experiences have they had? And what are the rental conditions? If you want to rent the marquee, there’s no way around it: you have to compare many different providers. Who provides which services at what price and what conditions are attached to them? This research takes a lot of time and can become very tiresome.

And once you’ve selected a provider, the planning really starts. All the details about delivery, rental duration, rental return and corresponding handover times have to be arranged. You won’t get a guarantee anywhere that the rental will go off without a hitch. There’s also no guarantee that the desired size will be available at all when you need it. Either the search starts all over again or, in the worst case, you place your trust in an unreliable marquee hire provider. However, if you buy your marquee from a specialist dealer with years of expertise, you’re not only well advised, but can also save yourself a lot of stress.

The deposit & liability aren't included in the hire price

Keep in mind that when you hire a marquee you become liable and responsible for this product. As the hirer, you’re liable for loss and damage to the marquee during the entire rental period (starts with delivery and ends with collection). And such damage can happen quickly.

All it takes is for a guest to be a little careless with a cigarette or lighted candle, and you could face the unwanted prospect of fire damage. It won’t be the careless guest who is liable, but you. That’s because with most rentals, third-party liability is not included in the contract.

Also not uncommon: the provision of a deposit. The rental company requires you to forfeit a deposit before renting, which will be returned to you after you have completed your contractual obligations. The amount of the deposit varies greatly per provider, but is often set from £300.

The hire company may decide that the marquee has been damaged or wasn’t cleaned sufficiently, and will deduct costs from the deposit. If you buy a high-quality marquee, on the other hand, a hole in the tarpaulin is annoying, but it doesn’t necessarily cost you anything. You can also decide according to the occasion, when cleaning is needed and you don’t have to pay for any deposit.

Did you know?

In the unfortunate event that your function has to be cancelled, you are bound by the terms of your rental contract. In most cases, a sum of 20% of the invoice amount will be demanded upon notification of the cancellation up to 14 days in advance. However, if you have to cancel your wedding or corporate event with short notice, e.g. due to a sudden bereavement or stormy conditions on the wedding day, you'll have to pay the full invoice amount. If, on the other hand, you've bought a marquee, you can simply sell it on and only make a small loss on the price.

Case study: using a hire service for your marquee wedding

You’d like to hire a large marquee for a wedding. Let’s assume you’ve found a provider who rents out various types of marquee throughout the UK. Since you need an event marquee for approximately 100 people standing or 60-70 seated, you’ve decided on the 5×10 m marquee with 50 square metres of space for your unforgettable outdoor wedding.

In order to get everything directly from one source, you also rent some additional equipment for your celebration. Unfortunately, the provider isn’t located within a 20 kilometre radius of you, they are 40 kilometres away from your venue. Not everything you’ll need is listed here of course. You’ll need to consider lighting, drinks, catering or flower arrangements. What is more worthwhile for your special day – renting or buying the wedding marquee?

If we subtract the additional equipment from this example, we end up with a total price of approx. £531 including the cost of delivery and assembly, not including the deposit. At House of Tents you can buy the 5x10m marquee with a tarpaulin made of PE material from just £529.99* plus VAT or with PVC tarpaulin from £629.99 €* plus 20% VAT. Yes that’s right! With our economy model, you’re saving money by buying the tent instead of hiring!

Even if you would prefer a PVC tent for your wedding, the difference of £99 for the Premium PVC model is worth it when you consider that you have a brand new tent, and no organisational headaches in the days leading up to your big event. If you don’t want to keep the marquee after the wedding, it’s still worth buying. Why? It’s simple: you can now sell it. As-new marquees in very good condition are in great demand on online marketplaces. Anything you make above £100 for your near-new £600 marquee can go towards your next event!

Wrapping things up

Whatever the weather, your tent should be both 100% waterproof and have a high level of UV protection. If you rent, you’ll benefit from getting everything from a one-stop shop, but you’ll also have extra hassle and responsibilities towards the product. Also, you can never be sure about the tent quality and how reliable the supplier actually is.

If you buy a new tent in our online shop, it will not only withstand wind and weather, as well as UV rays, but will give you above all, flexibility. From our wide range of quality marquees, you can find exactly the product that meets your individual requirements and decide for yourself when and where it will be erected. If there is damage, you can rest easy, because it’s your property. You can have the marquee for as long as you want it. If you don’t need it any longer, you can easily sell it on online platforms.

Do you have any questions on the subject? Our tent experts will be happy to advise you personally on +44 (0)118 31 50 873 or by e-mail at

Written by:


my name is Julia and I have lots of experience in the world of tents and marquees. I enjoy giving advice to our customers about planning big events, including our favourite design tips, as well as advice for saving hundreds of pounds on a marquee hire.

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