Well… What a strange past two years it has been.
When all events Australia wide were shut down on the 13th March 2020, our Events division had just finished the traditional events season with the busiest weekend of the year (Mad March weekend). Everything came to a screeching halt….from an average of 125 events a month to none. Staff had their hours cut, some made redundant, and voluntary annual leave was taken. Previously empty yards were full of idle fleet.
But where one door closes, another opens. Government incentives around renovations and new builds saw a boom in the construction industry. All of a sudden, our construction division was busier than ever. Staff were reinstated, hours increased, depots started to quickly empty and the event fleet, where possible, was turned over into construction. We bought new trucks, renovated others and employed more staff. When building materials started to become scarce, a normal build of 18 weeks, was dragging out into 26 weeks or longer and we’ve never been so busy in construction. Our events division even started to get busy again. Vaccination clinics, testing clinics and even increasing toilets at warehouses, to enable staff to socially distance better on breaks. Things still weren’t the same in events but we had dollars coming in.
Then we started running out of toilets…
Apparently, so had every other toilet hire company in the world. Our suppliers had an extremely long lead time on new stock and shipping was delayed. There were many months where we had long wait lists, were unable to take any new customers or even deliver to existing customers. There were some edgy moments with depots completely empty. As soon as a toilet was returned, it would be cleaned and sent out the next day.
Finally, our containers arrived, we employed more staff and started them building flat-pack toilets. After a steep learning curve (apparently building flat pack toilets is not a common skill in Australia), the crew are now able to build 16 odd toilets per day. As quickly as we build them, they are on a truck and out the door. We were still not able to accept any new customers but at least we were able to start servicing existing customers again.
At the time of writing, the Events world is exploding and gigs are turning back on all over the country. Promotors and Event owners are like kids getting let out on the last day of school and all rushing to run their event as quickly as they can. We now have a nervous wait for the next round of shipping containers (already delayed) to arrive to replenish the Event fleet before the season really kicks off on NYE. Then it’s not stopping in March like usual, it is extending through to April, May and potentially longer. Skilled and expert staff is a serious issue in all aspects of Events. The industry has lost many experienced staff to “real” 9-5 jobs, and this will have a real impact on festivals and Events operationally.
We are looking forward to the challenges of the next 12 months. To deal with booming construction and event division at the same time is a challenge we can’t wait for. Bring it on!!