Renting out bouncy castles and other play inflatables is a great home business to be in either full time or part time, and the profits can be high, as well as the fun element! You own the business and all the equipment, theres no need to pay any franchising fees or licencing rights. For example, operating just three bouncy castles part-time at weekends, at 55 ($US88) per day per bouncer will bring in 330 ($528) per weekend, or over 1,300 $US2,080) per month. Assuming expenses of around 300 ($US480) per month, this leaves over 1,000 ($US1,600) profit! Not bad for just a few hours work!
Children have birthdays every single day of the year. In the summer and autumn, their parents can hire a bouncy castle for the back garden or yard. In the winter and spring, parents can hire a community hall to hold the party and accommodate the bouncer.
To run a successful bouncy castle rental business, you dont have to give up your full time job, and also you dont need any large capital investment. This article will show newcomers how to start and successfully run a bouncy castle/inflatable hire business from home and avoid the mistakes that others have made in the past.
When thinking about starting a bouncy castle hire business, the first thing to do is to look through all your local newspapers, (classified sections), Yellow Pages, and online. See if there is anyone else in your town advertising a bouncy castle hire business. If you do spot a regular advertiser, dont be put off – theres still room for you. In most towns the demand for bouncy castles far exceeds the supply of them especially in the summer months. You will have a very clear idea of the competition in your area. In a busy area, rival companies will very often pass over enquiries and even bookings to other companies when they are too busy to fulfill the booking themselves. If you are very fortunate, there may be no rivals operating in your area.
2: Equipment needed.
Below is a list of equipment which you will need to start a bouncy castle hire business:
a) Bouncy Castle, rain-cover, electric blower, and anchor stakes.
b) Ground sheet to protect underside of bouncer.
c) Electrical extension cable (25 – 30 meters long).
d) RCD circuit breaker. (safety cut-out device).
e) Safety mat to put at front of the castle.
f) A sat nav or local street map of your town and its surrounding area.
g) Large A4 size desk diary for taking bookings (1 Page to a day).
h) Ledger book for recording takings and expenses etc.
i) Public Liability Insurance cover. We strongly recommend one million pounds as the absolute minimum.
j) Safety instruction sheet and customer disclaimer form.
k) A sack trolley.
From experience, we highly recommend that your first bouncy castle is 12 foot by 12 foot. (3.6m x 3.6m) with a 3 or 4 foot (Approx. 1 metre) safety step at the front. This size is by far the most popular with customers and is easily handled and stored, and when inflated will fit in most back gardens and community halls.
There are many excellent companies selling bouncy castles. Most new bouncy castles come with a one year guarantee, while some manufacturers offer a two year guarantee. Make sure that a minor repair kit is included in the price of your bouncer.
If buying new, make sure that the inflatable has a certificate to say that it has been manufactured to the recognised Standard which as at January 2010 is: BS EN 14960:2006 (UK and Europe).
Be very careful when buying used play inflatables as the stitching on the seams does wear over time, and can cause bed failure. Take an experienced person with you, who will know what to look out for.
3: Where to get customers.
Fortunately, children are born every single day of the year, so there is a virtually endless supply of prospective customers. Most parents prefer to use their own back gardens, or the local community hall to hold the party.
As well as private childrens parties, there are several other places where you can hire out your bouncer e.g. playgroups, nurseries, pubs, hotels, after-school clubs, shopping malls, school fetes, car boot fairs, shows and galas, charity events, football clubs, barbeques, beach parties, christening parties, wedding receptions, tennis clubs, cub and scout groups, brownie and guide groups, business promotions, open days etc.
4: How to get bookings.
In order to get your first hires, I recommend that you do the following: Firstly, tell everyone that you know who have young children, that you have a bouncy castle for hire. Offer to let them rent it at a discount, if they are prepared to tell all their friends and relatives.
Secondly, you need to place an advert in your local newspaper, and in your local yellow pages directory. This advertising will attract enquiries, and providing your telephone manner is polite and helpful you will get bookings virtually automatically.
You should also consider registering for free with Google Maps, so that your potential customers can easily find you when they type out the name of your town and bouncy castle hire in the Google search engine. (It is a very good idea to have a website, but it is not essential to have one, in order to have your company listed in Google Maps for free.
Initial enquiries will take several forms, most callers want to initially know the cost of hiring a bouncy castle, what sizes are available? how many children can use it at the same time? Up to what age group can use it? When a customer calls, the first question you should always ask is what date is the party on? Secondly, ask what age the children will be? Armed with this information, you can suggest a size of bouncy castle, 90% of the time it will be a 12ft x 12ft bouncer. If the children are very young i.e. aged 1 4, it may be better to suggest a smaller bouncer, or even a bouncy ballpond (a small semi-enclosed bouncy castle filled with multi-coloured plastic balls).
Also, tell the customer that you can deliver the castle, set it all up, and collect it at the end of the party. Tell the customer, that you will ring them a couple of days before to confirm the delivery time etc. This approach helps to develop trust with the customer, which should bring them back next time.
Always tell the customer that there is a rain-cover included in the price.
5: Promotional Items and referrals.
It is very important to take advantage of your first bouncy castle bookings. For example a parent has just rented your bouncy castle for their sons birthday party. Youve just taken fifty five pounds or so. But it doesnt end there. At this party, there will be parents of other children, and these children will have birthday parties as well, so you need to promote your company as much as possible. The best way of doing this is to hand out A5 size leaflets. It is also a good idea to get some business cards printed, and given out.
Always remember, customer satisfaction is the number one priority. You really want their party to be a success, and their children to have a really enjoyable time. That way, the parents are more likely to recommend you to their friends, and hire from you again and again.
Obviously with children, safety is absolutely paramount. We strongly recommend that you give your customers a safety instruction sheet. We have produced some templates for you. You can find a copy of this on the BIHA homepage or visit: www.biha.org.uk/safecartoons1 Also, you should familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and codes of practice which apply to the operation of bouncy castles. ( See: www.biha.org.uk ).
7: Basic Book-keeping.
It is very important to keep track of all the money you receive. Also, of course, your expenses regarding advertising, printing, fuel, telephone calls, etc.
8: Expanding your business.
After you have your first few hires under your belt, you will probably start to think of other types of inflatables that you can invest in such as inflatable slides and bouncy ballponds. Don’t forget that the corporate market can be very lucrative (E.g. local councils and big companies in your town).
Good luck, and every success!