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An interview with David Homes from The Sound & Light Hire Company
About David Homes
The Sound & Light Hire Company is a PA speaker, event lighting, staging & LED screen hire company based in Surrey, offering equipment hire services across London & Hampshire as well. Being based in Guildford puts us only 30 mins from London & 30 mins from Hampshire. We offer small dry party packages for house arties & wedding to much larger events such as award shows corporate conferences & outdoor festivals,
I work for The Sound & Light Hire Company
What steps do you take to stand out from your competition?
The Sound And Light Hire Company provides competitive hire prices across all areas of our business & this is only achievable as we stock sound equipment, event lighting, outdoor stages & outdoor / indoor LED screen systems. Due to the fact we own everything in house this allows us to offer great hire prices to our customers in Surrey, Hampshire and London.
What's the most unique way you market your business?
We have used platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & Google to advertise but we also find these platforms filled with adverts so using a platform or website like UK listings allows us to take to the time to write good content which in turn should help our customers get a feel for what we offer
Do you find social media effective in marketing your business, or do you think it's overhyped?
We are on social media 24/7 promoting our sound & lighting hire business and talking to our customers but we do believe that its a little over hyped & much prefer business to business chats.
How long have you been marketing your business online? What changes have you seen in this time?A long time.... We started our first hire company just offering PA sound equipment but over time this grow & so did our marketing budgets. We now do less social media advertising & put our time into building a strong brand for our sound & lighting hire company
How much do you rely upon word-of-mouth marketing?
A lot as we do not utilise advertisement of any kind on Google in terms of PPC or pay ads. We believe that any business should be able to support itself after a few years of trading as the work you do should be done to such a good level that people want to hire from your company.
When did you launch your website? What changes have you seen on the internet since launching your website? We launched our first website in 2007 and since published many more. We are creative with our designs and try and be unique so we stand out in the large crowded industry of hiring wedding / party equipment / conference & festival sound, lighting & staging equipment.
What do qualities do you look for in an employee?
Trust is key, if you don't have trust forget it. They say trust is earned & built over a few years but you should try & get a good feeling before you employe anybody.
What made you get into the business you're in?
I worked at a sound & lighting hire company in Surrey over 18 years ago. The company ended up becoming one of the largest staging, LED screen & PA hire companies in London only 6 years after it was sold.
What's the thing you hate the most about the industry you're in?
Cheap hire prices, there are a lot of PA, lighting, festival staging & LED screen hire companies across SUrrey, London & Hampshire but why they feel they must drop their hire prices well below market value we will never understand.
You can change three things about the industry you're in - tell us what you'd change.
This is easy to answer:
1: Stage hire companies should have to have proof they are trusted & able to build outdoor stages (maybe via training / tests) 2: Lighting hire companies should understand truss & SWL when flying truss from venues as far too many events have the wrong rigging or truss thrown up without much care. 3: Sound hire companies should have a good understand of live music & speaker design as just pointing some speakers or hanging up a line array isn't the right way to design a sound system for live events
Do you think the internet is heading in a positive or negative direction?
The internet is a great tool BUT with all these new data laws it is really hard to know what's what....
Is your business a lifestyle business, or are you always looking for continious growth?
We have been growing our sound & lighting hire company for many years & although we take a few weeks in Dec for the family its a full time business
What is unique about your business?
Not many event equipment hire companies stock PA, LED screen, staging & event lighting and this is what sets as apart from all other rental companies as we stock everything in-house so no need to sub hire equipment in.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
If your planning on starting a hire company our advice would be.... maybe re-think as it takes about 7 years to really fully understand your market & a lot of money. Your be better off cutting good deals with other hire companies & subbing equipment in unless you plan to be in the same job for 20+ years.
What's the biggest problem you are currently facing with running your business?Finding good stage crew & lighting / sound technicians over summer.