Small Business

Starting an Inflatable Hire Business – Part Two

Hopefully by now you have researched the market in your area and found that there is a reasonable demand for inflatable hire and some strong competition. The next phase is to work out your budget because this is going to need some investing on your part. How many bouncy castles or bounce houses you start with will depend on the money you have available of course but may I suggest no less than two and no more than five. You need to be able to offer some choice to your customers but at the same time you do not want to be in a position where you are unable to handle the volume of bookings on your own or have to let customers down at the last minute.

Let’s assume you have decided to start with two inflatables. With so many different types on the market, you may be confused as to what to buy first so let me help. Your initial purchases should be identical slide bouncers. Two bouncy castles with slides attached on the side or the front giving a dual purpose for the children. These days the difference in cost between a straight forward castle and a slide bouncer is negligible but you can charge more for hiring the latter. One should be a boy theme like pirates for example and the other a girl theme, pink and white, candy, princesses, that type of thing as these styles will never go out of fashion and hence will always be in demand. Both should be arched at the top as this allows the air to circulate more freely. This is particularly important if you live in a warm climate. The other tip is to buy detachable shower/shade covers giving the option to the customer on delivery.

You should now have a good idea as to the type of thing you are looking for so it’s now time for some more research. Over the last ten years or so, there has been a huge increase in the number of inflatable manufacturers. Fortunately for you, the global financial crisis means there are deals to be had. By shopping around and using the internet, check out some of the prices, particularly locally. You will probably find that they vary significantly but cheap is not necessarily a good thing! Once you have made a list of potentials, it’s time to use the phone. Ask how long they have been in business. Although there are no guarantees, length of time trading does prove some continuity. Call other local operators and ask who they would recommend. Generally in this business you will find most people helpful, even though you may be in direct competition with them. One day they might need your help.

Hopefully by now you have created a shortlist of suppliers. Get back on the phone and ask how long the warranty is? Does the price include delivery? Is there a certificate supplied with the castle confirming it conforms to the required safety standards in your country? When would they be able to meet the order? What age limit is the inflatable designed for? (You want a minimum of age 10). What is the maximum number of children that can use the castle at any one time? (You want a minimum of 8). Finally does the price include any of the following? Electric fan, repair kit, groundsheets or tarps, extension leads, safety mats or metal stakes. Depending on the answers given, you should now have an even shorter list.

Congratulations, you have just completed phase 2.