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Apr 25, 2016



After years of working in the tenting & event industry, I was surprisingly humbled the other day. By what? A routine site inspection.

Now, for the sake of clichés—this wasn’t my first rodeo. But, I was shocked at how unsure of myself I felt after walking the space…expected to draft up a “never-been-done-before” solution within a peculiar area sprinkled with trees that couldn’t be trimmed (just to up the ante). Admittedly, I began to doubt myself almost immediately.

Needless to say, after the inspection was over, I spent my 1½ hour drive home beating myself up and self-reflecting as to where and why things had gone so terribly wrong. Was I more incompetent than I realized? Why was this site inspection so different than all the others? At the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that my failure to qualify the complexity of the site visit ultimately translated into my failure to bring the right tools. Simply put, I didn’t come prepared for class.

As the saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher—especially when it’s someone else’s experience.” So for the sake of imparting my seemingly obvious insights to you, below are 5 simple tips to ensure you’ve set yourself up for success.

  1. Set a date – You’re not just looking for a place & time. You must gather as much detail as possible. When the need for a site visit first becomes apparent, try your best to gauge how complex the space is so that you know which tools to bring with you. Are there height restrictions? Is it hilly? Are they looking to do anything custom? Get as much information your client may have…and if you’re afraid of being met with the “I don’t know—that’s why I’m calling you” attitude, rest assured that you are simply trying to get the job done right the first time around.
  2. …and expectations – Let the client know exactly what types of tools you’ll plan to bring with you so that they understand your capabilities during the site visit. This also serves to give them one last chance to call out anything else they think you may need. Try to shy away from using the term “site survey” which generally indicates the use of some more sophisticated tools. Call it a “site visit” instead unless, of course, you’re planning to use such sophisticated tools.
  3. Arm yourself – Make yourself a list of everything you’ll need to bring. Most importantly, bring it.
  4. Capture the moment—Take pictures. Lots of them. Trust me…you’ll want them for reference at some point.
  5. Draw it out— As much as we all love our smart phones which are great for taking digital notes & photos, don’t think you’re better than bringing a good old fashioned pad and pencil. Drawing the space will not only make it easier to visualize as a whole, but also serves for better memory recall down the line & enhanced spatial reasoning.


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