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From an insurance perspective, there are two types of corporate work for wedding car businesses:
- Private transportation – for example, you are hired to transport corporate executives on a tour of whiskey distilleries in Scotland as part of their hospitality initiative.
- Promotional events – for example, you are hired to deliver your vehicle to a location where the client is promoting their products or services.
This article will focus on promotional events.
Meet Nathalie, founder of Buttercup Bus Vintage Campers®, a supplier of classic VW Campers. We provide wedding car insurance for the business which originally started off providing vehicles for weddings. However, as campers become a popular choice for couples, the number of competitors increased.
Nathalie decided to look at new ways of developing the business. She diversified her services to cater for corporate and private promotional events. VW Campers are very iconic and there is always demand for these vehicles.
How corporate leads are delivered
Nathalie shared some initial pointers to bear in mind. Corporates will often deliver national promo tours. The larger the corporation, the more geographical coverage is expected. Leads for this kind of work are typically delivered by agencies.
These agencies usually look for businesses that have been trading for a certain amount of time. Also, you are more likely to be overlooked if you are not VAT registered or operating as a limited company.
Location of your wedding car business
Location can be a crucial factor in obtaining corporate work. A lot of this work occurs in urban environments such as cities and large towns. If you are located in the middle of the country, you might have to weigh up your options.
Marketing techniques can help increase your brand’s visibility in other geographic locations. This is a time-consuming process and may require the assistance of a professional. You need to consider whether the time or cost is worth it.
Insurance cover and risk assessments
Your insurance cover is scrutinised by booking agencies. Compared to weddings, corporate events typically require a higher level of public liability and professional indemnity cover. Agencies will also ask for risk assessments.
Corporates tend to promote at big venues such as the NEC. Therefore, having a good understanding of risk assessments for larger venues will help. For example, a health and safety officer at the NEC for a particular event may ask for a certification from a fuel doctor detailing that your fuel tank has been drained accordingly.
Your vehicle may require pushing into an exhibition so you will need high visibility jackets and a risk assessment to protect your team’s backs. Once parked on location, your batteries will need disconnecting.
You most likely will require drip trays underneath the vehicle to prevent slippages or damage to the floor. Documentation to detail the vehicle is parked in gear and chocks to prevent wheels from rolling are additional requirements.
As you can see, providing for corporate events is a complex operation. Without solid risk assessments, your business could potentially face devastating consequences. This is why booking agencies are very particular about the suppliers they choose. It makes sense to hire a professional to help you craft your risk assessments.
Don’t forget about hire and reward licensing laws
In the UK, you do not require a license to operate a hire and reward business for weddings and funerals. Be wary of this when taking on corporate work. Corporate work involving the transportation of third parties who are not employees of your business is subject to local authority private hire and reward licensing.
Buttercup Bus are sometimes hired to deliver promotional materials at multiple locations on the same day. These materials are usually distributed by the client’s staff.
Buttercup’s terms specifically forbid anyone except their team from travelling between locations in their vehicles to comply with licensing laws. For more info about hire and reward licensing, contact your local authority.
Additional food, alcohol and vendor licensing
Food and alcohol is a common feature of many corporate promotional events. Before you even consider delivering your services for these types of contracts, ensure your team and the business has obtained all required licenses.
If the promotional event occurs on public land, you may also require a vendor license. Again, contact your local authority for more info.
Promotional work is all about raising the profile of a brand. It’s understandable that clients will want their branding added to your vehicle. There are various methods to do this and associated risks. For example, full laminate wraps can often damage paintwork on removal.
There are elements that can impact this such as temperature, how long the wrap was applied, the quality of the wrap, removal technique and underlying bodywork and paint job. Risks associated with potential damage should be factored into your service, contract and pricing either to be absorbed by you or transferred to the client.
Extended terms and conditions
It goes without saying, terms and conditions are crucial for any business. Naturally, terms for delivering a wedding are going to be significantly different than a corporate event, especially when tens of thousands of pounds are at stake.
As I’ve explained earlier, corporate work can be very complex especially taking into consideration all the extras like risk assessments and licensing.
Therefore, just like when crafting your risk assessments, consult a professional when drafting your extended terms and conditions. A good place to start is to list every eventuality taking into account all the additional factors like those detailed in this article.
Corporate payment structures
Getting paid by corporates especially when an agency is involved is not always a straight forward path. The larger the corporation, the more complex their financial structures are. Payment might be delayed for 30 to 60 days after service delivery. Many payment structures involve milestones where an amount is paid at particular intervals.
Taking this into account, if your cash flow does not accommodate this, you could very quickly find your business out of pocket. This is why weddings can provide a good source of additional income.
Want to know more?
Securing a major contract with a corporate client can have a dramatic effect on a small business, however, you always need to ensure it’s for the best. This article is just a glimpse into what it’s like. If you want to find out more about the corporate work carried out by Buttercup Bus Vintage Campers®, check out their case studies.
Adam is the brand evangelist for the Wedding Insurance Group. He continuously researches how the wedding industry is changing by liaising with our clients. Connect with Adam via our social media channels where he publishes informative videos on a regular basis.