You should run a bouncy castle business if you want to make some extra money for your family. If you start this type of business you can stay working at your full time job and run this business by working part time and mainly at the weekends
We started our family run business in 2005. Our bouncing castle business hire out bouncy castles for birthday, communion parties and special occasions all over Cork City and Cork County in Ireland.
We recommend that you incorporate the bouncy castle business as a limited company. This will allow the creation of a separate legal identity for your bouncy castle business. This is of great significance in the event of a legal claim for damages being made by somebody who says that they were hurt using the products of your bouncy castle business. Fortunately, those situations are very rare but you should protect yourself legally just in case.
The Bouncy castle business can be operated part time and the rewards can be high. We would not recommend operating on a full time basis a bouncy castle business in Ireland because turnover is affected by the weather. Obviously if operating in a country where the climate is warmer you could be a full time business
You get to delight children and help parties run smoothly when you run a bouncy castle business. The look of joy and expectation on children’s faces when the “Bouncy Castle Man” comes is priceless. I remember a five-year-old child one day asking me if I had children. When I told him that I had four he said with a very serious face that they must be the luckiest kids in the world because they could play on a bouncy castle whenever they wanted. The monetary rewards and cash flow can be excellent but meeting kids like this makes it an emotionally rich experience.
We would advise that you would only hire out bouncing castles for use by children rather than adults. There is much greater demand for children’s castles and you can expect trouble if your bouncy castle hire business rents out castles for use by adults.
We would recommend that you would start your bouncy castle hire business with three bouncing castles. Buy a large castle with a slide (16ft x 14 ft) and two without a slide (14ft x 12ft). Charge €120 for the castle with the slide and €100 for the ordinary castles. Give a 10% reduction for off peak hires (Mon to Thursday). The castle with the slide will appeal to older kids and parents who have larger gardens. The ordinary castles are more suitable for use by smaller kids and parents who have smaller gardens.
Children have birthdays every single day of the year and bouncing castles appeal to kids from the age of 2 to 13. In the summer and autumn, their parents can hire a bouncy castle for the back garden. In the winter and spring, parents can hire a community hall or church hall to hold the party and accommodate the castle. In our experience the renting season is from April to October. Children prefer using bouncing castles outside in their gardens rather than indoors.
Your customer will almost always be a woman in her thirties or early forties. They book the bouncy castle hire company, organise the parties and look after the entertainment for the kids.
When you are established your bouncy castle business you will get bookings due to word of mouth and repeat business. Every bouncy castle business needs publicity but especially a new business.
What options would we recommend?
An option you could do is to take out a paid ad in your local Yellow Pages/Golden Pages Directory, under the category, “Bouncing Castles and Inflatables”. You will have to pay an even more significant cost if you want to have a boxed or big ad, which will make you stand out from the crowd. We found that a boxed ad does get you more business but you have to weigh up whether the extra cost is recouped in extra revenue.
A much better option for you would be that you would get the free listing in the Golden Pages where they just put in your business name and number and create your own website to publicise your bouncy castle business.
The website you create for your bouncy castle hire business is only restricted by your imagination. Do not be under an illusion that this will be an easy option. You will only succeed if you put in the time developing your website. Taking this option is much better value than just passively paying for a boxed ad in your local Golden Pages.
The website will give you countless opportunities to presell your bouncy castle hire business to prospective customers in your particular geographical area. You could get visitors initially to your new bouncy castle hire business website by using pay per click methods of advertising. This provides cheap warm leads and if done well can be very effective. When traffic to your website increases you could add another income stream by placing adsense ads on your site. This money will significantly reduce the hosting costs of your website.
You will increase the ranking of your website if you exchange links with non competing bouncy castle companies in different areas. Make sure to check out their site before you agree to link to them because if you link to a poor quality site it will do your ranking harm rather than good.
Below is a list of things, which you will need to start a bouncy castle business:
1) Bouncy Castle, rain cover, electric fan, mallet and anchor stakes.
2) Van for transporting the castle. I use a Ford Transit.
3) Ground sheet to protect underside of bouncer.
4) Electrical extension cable (25 - 30 meters long).
5) RCD circuit breaker. (Safety cutout device).
6) Safety mat to put at front of the castle
7) Local street map of your town and its surrounding area
8) Large A4 size desk diary for taking bookings (1 Page to a day).
9) Ledger book for recording takings and expenses etc.
10) Public Liability Insurance cover. We strongly recommend one million euros as the minimum.
11) Safety instruction sheet
12) Customer disclaimer form
13) A trolley
14) Mobile phone in the name of the bouncy castle business
15) A company bank account
Make sure to get your van decorated by a signwriter with pictures of your bouncy castles, website address and phone contact details. Drive your van around your locality and you will get extra bookings for your bouncy castle business.
We would recommend that you buy your castles for your bouncy castle hire company from a reputable bouncing castle manufacturer. Your new bouncy castles should have at least a 1 yr guarantee. Make sure that a minor repair kit is included in the price of the bouncy castles. Do not buy a second hand bouncy castles for your bouncy castle hire company unless you are very experienced and know what to look out for in relation to things like stitching.
Leaflet your local area to get local business. It wil cost you very little and increases peoples awareness of your bouncy castle company.
Only rent out to householders having a party in their house or a local hall. That way lessens the chances of anything going wrong and you know there will be proper adult supervision of the playing in the castle. Avoid renting out at fetes or to community groups as this significantly increases the chances of something going wrong. There is less supervision at these events and your bouncy castle hire business might regret taking the booking.
Every Irish Bouncy castle business is very busy every Saturday in May. The reason for this is that this is the month that 8-year-old children make their first holy communion. This is a very important event for the child and their family.
The way it is normally celebrated is that the family, relatives and the celebrating family brings out friends to lunch. Later in the day the party is continued in the home of the child and there is a tradition of hiring a bouncing castle to keep the children amused.
Parents usually have to hire the bouncy castle by the previous December if they are to avoid disappointment. Parents having their first child for communion, often do not realise that this is the story and can sometimes leave it too late to hire their bouncy castle. They do not make the same mistake when it comes to the hiring of a bouncy castle for their subsequent children.
Suggest to disappointed parents that they hire the bouncy castle for the Sunday. Resist the urge to increase your price at this time. The customer will remember having to pay over the odds. They will not use your bouncy castle hire business again and will not recommend you to others.
When taking telephone bookings for your bouncy castle business you should check that there is sufficient side access to the back garden. Believe me, there is nothing worse than trying to bring a bouncy castle through a customers house.
Hirers will not cancel bouncy castle bookings. The first thing they will do after hiring a bouncy castle is to tell their child that they have booked. They are not then going to turn around and cancel the bouncy castle coming up to the big day.
Do not take the money in advance unless they are paying by cheque. Allow two weeks to have cheques cleared. Assure the hirer that there is no cancellation fee.
In our experience the only way that they will cancel the bouncy castle hire is if it is pouring rain.
At the start of our business we were constantly checking the weather forecast and advising customers. We no longer do this following an incident where we phoned and advised a customer that the weather forecast was very bad and did she want to cancel the bouncy castle hire at no cost to her. She asked us if we were refusing to deliver the bouncy castle, completely missing the point and our good intentions. We delivered the bouncy castle. It rained incessantly for the day and they got very little use out of the bouncy castle hire. When I returned she said that she should have listened and now realised that we had been thinking of her best interests. Let it totally up to her if she wants to cancel the bouncy castle hire. You could even, like us, add a page to our bouncy castle hire website where potential customers can check the weather forecast eight days into the future.
We recommend that you always put up the bouncy castles in the back gardens of the hirer. This allows her have greater control over who uses the unit and from your perspective limits the possibility of outsiders to the party getting on the bouncy castle unit.
When you arrive at the party check with the hirer as to where exactly she wants the bouncy castle to be positioned. Make sure that the area is grassed and big enough for the bouncy castle.
We have had situations where people have had to take down clothes lines and dig up plants and shrubs to allow the bouncy castle to be put up. Hirers will do anything to make the bouncy castle they have hired fits because they will have told the child that the bouncy castle is booked. They will not want to have to turn around and tell the child that they have had to cancel the bouncy castle hire order because the space is smaller than they thought.
Do not be surprised if your customer wants the bouncy castle moved when it is up, as she may not have factored in such things as being able to see what is going from the house.
Get paid when the bouncy castle is set up to her satisfaction and get her to sign two copies of the disclaimer form. Give her back one copy and keep the other on file. Insist on cash as cheques can bounce or be stopped. If taking cheques you should get them sent to your bouncy castle hire business address two weeks in advance so that they are cleared by the time of the booking.
Show the hirer how everything works and point out the different things that can go wrong unless the children are properly supervised while playing on the bouncy castle. Make sure that she has your mobile no in case something goes wrong during the bouncy castle hire.
Call back at the agreed time or a little later. The children will always want one more bounce on the bouncy castle, so there will be less resentment if you arrive later than the agreed time.
Children love giving a hand deflating, folding and putting away the bouncy castle. This should be encouraged provided that you ensure that they will come to no harm while giving you a hand. Check that everything went well and when the bouncy castle is put away give her a €10 voucher off any future bouncy castle hire. Give her business cards for any mother who was at the party who may want to contact your bouncy castle hire company in the future.
We would recommend that you buy your bouncing castles from Bee-Tee, Cemetery Lane, Carlton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF3 3QT, England.
We do not receive commission for making this recommendation
Good luck to you if you decide to go into the bouncy castle hire business.
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