Tentage companies see booming business
It will be a golden year for companies providing tentage services, said many of the suppliers who spoke to The New Paper.
Many have been busy since the start of the year, thanks to events celebrating Singapore's Jubilee birthday, a record number of getai performances during the Hungry Ghost Festival and now the general election.
Companies are looking at exceptional earnings, some into the million-dollar mark, said a spokesman for the Singapore Tentage Association (STA).
Profits are expected to surpass the previous year's by up to four times at least.
A check by TNP found that for major players in the industry, business could go up by as much as 80 per cent in just August alone. For the smaller ones, the increase could be about 20 to 30 per cent.
Ms Sheena Cheong, 30, administrative executive of Singapore Tentage, said: "Everyone in the business knows that the seventh month in the lunar calendar usually helps the business to survive the rest of the year.
"This year has been completely crazy from the get-go."
And the race to engage tentage companies started as early as the middle of last year, she said.
Most of the companies are now fully booked.
Ms Cheong said: "There is no way to squeeze in last-minute bookings without throwing our schedule into chaos."
Ms Susan Goh of Goh Seng Lai Company said that while there is ample opportunity to make money this year, her company, like many others in the business, does not have the means to do so.
"The inventory to set up the tentage is limited and so is the manpower," she said, adding that there is no intention to increase resources.
"After this year, we would need to store the excess.
"We do not have enough storage space and leaving them in the open would mean leaving them to rot.
"It will also mean facing fines if we are deemed to have dumped them outside."
Ms Cheong said it is a good thing the companies in the tentage industry help each other.
"If there is a last-minute booking and we cannot accept the business or do not have the resources to do so, we usually hand the client over to someone who can," she said.
There are about 50 companies in Singapore specialising in setting up tents for stage performances, outdoor corporate events, weddings and funerals.
But when pressed for absolute numbers, the STA declined to give figures.
Ms Goh said that charges depend on the location and resources needed.
"We look at the ease of getting the equipment to the location, the size of the tent, the number of tables and chairs needed, the duration the tent is needed and the urgency.
"We also look at the manpower that is needed to set up or take down the tentage. So there is no set or standard charge," Ms Goh said.
At the 2011 General Election, for example, contractors charged between $10,000 and $12,000 for setting up.