Like any other industry, the quality of suppliers varies from the good through the bad to the plain ugly. The cream of the professional operators will supply high quality,

attractive items that are well maintained, have been cleaned prior to your event and are staffed by uniformed attendants. This last point by the way is actually a health and

safety requirement, if the staff from your supplier are not in uniform they are ignoring health and safety regulations, which ponders the question what else are they

ignoring?

As a minimum any competent funfair operator will supply the following items as part of his safety documentation;

  • Event risk assessment
  • Event Fire Assessment
  • Individual attraction risk assessment
  • Individual attraction fire assessment
  • Event method statement
  • Individual attraction method statement
  • Individual attraction safety and testing certificates
  • Public liability insurance documents
  • Written health and safety policy

Most of these items are actually legal requirements for service providers, so if any of them are missing, ask for them, if they are still not supplied then find another operator, in todays culture of ‘No win, no fee’ legal action it just isn’t worth taking the risk of using the cowboys out there. Especially when quite often they are not much cheaper than the professional fairground companies. Also examine the insurance documents carefully, the amount insured varies from £1 million upto £10 million, many local authorities require a minimum of £5 million so ensure your chosen supplier meets this.

If you choose a member of the main funfair trade union, the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, you will automatically be dealing with an operator that has a minimum £10 million insurance and also has to have all of their attractions meet minimum testing and safety standards. There are many excellent operators who are not members of this organisation, who are still excellent at what they do, but they only have to meet lower standards so it depends on how much peace of mind you require. The really top notch operators will add to this list of documentation with a written environmental policy and quite possibly an ethical purchasing policy. Sustainability in events, and things such as Fairtrade are rapidly gaining acceptance in the business world as a whole, so it would be worth asking any company you were thinking of using if they supported either initiative.

You should ask for supplier or testimonials from previous clients, and also for images of the attractions they intend to supply to your event. If either are not forthcoming then again treat it with suspicion, competent suppliers are not afraid to supply details of previous jobs they have undertaken. A typical example would be a ride such as the dodgems, in the U.K. most dodgem rides average around 16 cars. Some suppliers quote a much lower price than everyone else, and then supply a ride with perhaps 8 cars on, you pays your money you takes your choice.

Just like in every other business the price is not the only criteria you should use, some companies will supply waste bins and a clean up service as part of their package, others will leave a litter strewn site behind them meaning you will have to spend extra having it cleaned up. Saving a couple of hundred pounds on your event is not much use, if one of your guests ends up in hospital having tripped over an unsecured cable some sloppy operator has installed without using cable management techniques because he wanted to save a couple of quid.

All in all if you use a bit of common sense, and take your time selecting your supplier just like you would with any other company you were thinking of using you should end up with a memorable, fun and above all safe event.

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