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5 considerations for patio umbrellas (and 1 must-do)

When toying with the idea of investing in branded patio umbrellas, there is much more to consider than which colors will match. (Umbrellas are more interesting than you might have thought!) Here are the considerations you need to make to get the most out of your patio umbrellas.

#1: UV hours

A UV hour is a measurement used for gauging how much sunlight a particular type of umbrella fabric can handle before it needs to be replaced. The lower the UV hours, the shorter the life of the umbrella.

Industry standard umbrella fabric is a high-end 8-oz. polyester. This umbrella has a lifespan of approximately 200 UV hours, meaning it will maintain its original vibrant colors for at least 200 hours of direct sunlight. We recommend avoiding umbrellas with less than 100 UV hours. While the fabric might look nice, it probably has not been designed for sunny climates. As a result, it'll fade much quicker than the 8-oz. polyester.

If you're looking for a premium umbrella fabric, there are options that are even more durable. Take Pacifica fabric, solution-dyed polyester that will last five times longer than the 8-oz. fabric. Why? The cloth is treated with a heavy-duty sun protection solution and has a lifespan of 1000 UV hours. You could also consider Sunbrella fabric, a UV solution-dyed acrylic material. This cloth is noticeably thicker and will last up to 10 years before needing replacement. 

#2: Fiberglass ribs vs. steel ribs

You might have noticed most umbrella frames come with either fiberglass or steel ribs. But what is the difference? While steel is sturdy and looks nice outdoors, fiberglass ribs are more durable and flexible. These features are especially beneficial in harsh, unpredictable weather. Wood frames are also available. While not as flexible as fiberglass, wood is enduring and gives off a relaxing beach bar vibe.Harpoon branded patio umbrellas

#3: To vent or not to vent

The majority of patio umbrellas have single wind vents (SWV). Others come with Dual Wind Vents or no vent at all. But what does the vent do? A vent helps regulate air flow under the umbrella when the heat rolls in. This ensures your customers aren't sipping your beer in a sauna! Vents also help in windy weather, as a vent will help prevent the umbrella from pulling a Mary Poppins and flying away. Consider the weather your umbrella will face to make the best choice for your venue.

#4: What's the deal with valances?

An umbrella's valance is the bit of fabric that hangs down over the sides of the frame. Some people like the look a valance provides; others don't. Regardless, there are certain subtle advantages you might want to think about. As a benefit for your patrons, a valance offers additional shading to keep the sun's rays at bay a little longer. As a benefit for you, it provides more marketing space to brag about your brand.

#5: Should you try underside printing?

This is a relatively new trend among umbrella manufacturers. Underside umbrella printing provides an opportunity for brands to showcase their logo on the inside of the umbrella, right above patrons' heads. This additional advertising space is a fantastic option for companies that need larger quantities of umbrellas (MOQ 300) and can order earlier in the year to combat longer lead times. Why not use all the space you can?Server smiling with tray on restaurant patio

Bonus #6: Order early!

Everyone wants to set up their new umbrellas as soon as patio season opens. However, many businesses forget to place their umbrella orders until April or May, making those two months the busiest of the year. Get ahead of the competition!

What happens to orders that come in even later in the year? Because there is a 5 - 6 week domestic lead time, their umbrellas might not be ready until mid or late summer, causing the company to miss out on much of the patio season. To avoid this costly mistake, order your umbrellas as close to the beginning of the year as you can – shoot for March if you can. The MOQ on most types of umbrellas is just 24, but be aware that the more you order, the longer your projected lead time should be.

Ultimately, if you want to make an impression this summer and continue to raise your brand awareness, patio umbrellas are an excellent option. Order early to ensure you're out in the beer garden with your customers, enjoying the sun. Want to get more information about patio umbrellas? Reach out to us to get started.

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