Answers15

SPOTLIGHT ON AN INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY

YOUR NAME?

Rick Maddox

NAME OF YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY?

Little Rascals Bouncy Castles

www.little-rascals-bouncy-castles.co.uk

YOUR LOCATION?

Colchester, Essex.

WHAT IS YOUR AGE?

30’s

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED HIRING OUT INFLATABLES?

I was Duty Officer for a major UK airport and was head of security and customer Services. I had 280 staff under me.

WHAT MADE YOU START AN INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?

I wanted to do something that I really enjoyed and have more flexibility with how I spent my time. I wanted to work from home because I have a young son who has special needs and wanted to be at home with him – not stuck at the airport all hours!

The bouncy castle hire business enables me to achieve this dream.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?

Drawing, Playing on my PlayStation, DJ’ing.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE?

Top Gun (1986)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?

Fajitas

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE UK HOLIDAY DESTINATION?

Bognor Regis, Sussex.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION ABROAD?

Rome, Italy.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMME?

Arrow

YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS

Dangerous Love – Fuse ODG

You can do it – Ice Cube

Hero – Enrique Iglesias

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT THE INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?

I love putting smiles on kid’s faces and seeing them so full of excitement when I set up the inflatable.

WHAT DO YOU LEAST ENJOY ABOUT THE INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?

Packing away the bouncy castle when the party is still in full swing, and getting called names by the kids! (e.g. “Horrible nasty man”) Oh, and also getting blown raspberries by some of the children and the adults!

IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?

If I could wave a magic wand I would get rid of all the cowboys by insisting that Local Authorities issue licences to only reputable hire companies to trade.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIRING FROM HELL? (or an unusual booking?)

Yes, two hires from hell.

1) I once had a booking 45 minutes away from my base with a regular lady customer. However, when I arrived I found that there was no party, and the estranged husband had deliberately made a hoax booking with me in order to stitch up his wife and cause her embarrassment.

2) I once delivered a large adult bouncy castle to a paddock. All went well with the booking. However, when I came to collect the bouncer, there was a very ominous black rain-cloud just above me, while there was blue sky all around it. This rain cloud stubbornly refused to move and every few minutes would release a ton of rain (literally) onto my castle. The cloud seemed to have a mind of its own! What should have taken 20 minutes to pack away took FOUR hours simply because the cloud wouldn’t stop emptying its load. To this day, I still think that cloud was following me!!

DO YOU HAVE ANY USEFUL TIPS OR IDEAS THAT YOU COULD SHARE WITH THE OTHER BIHA MEMBERS.

1) Yes, before every hire I always give the children a friendly “pep talk” about safety when playing on the inflatable. As strange as it seems, I actually make my talk enjoyable for them, e.g. by explaining that they are supposed to have a lot of fun on the bouncy castle – not spend 4 hours in A and E! I make funny animal noises, and even “hit” them with balloons in order to make sure that the message of safety is firmly driven home. The kids talk about my safety instruction antics for weeks afterwards in the playground – almost as much as the bouncy castle they played on!! As an ex-Health and Safety Rep – the only way that kids will take safety SERIOUSLY is if you make it fun for them!

2) After setting up the bouncy castle go over to the kids, and after you have given them their “Pep talk” about safety ask them the following. “Please could you do me a big favour – make sure that mummy and daddy or their friends don’t bounce on the bouncy castle” This has 2 benefits Firstly, if the parents do go on it the kids almost certainly will tell them to get off! Secondly, at the end of the party when you come to collect – you can ask the kids if any of the adults went on it. Providing you primed them beforehand – you should get an honest answer. More often than not, they tell me that their mum or dad had a “little go”.

3) Never, ever SWEAR in front of customers or their kids. We have picked up business from customers who refused to use their previous hire company simply because the delivery guys swore while they were on the job. This is not only extremely unprofessional but it disrespects the customer and anyone else in earshot. The inflatable hire business is all about offering OUTSTANDING customer service. If they hear you or you staff swearing then they won’t recommend you to their friends. They won’t respect your equipment and are much less likely to give you an online review. Respect the customer and everyone wins! Swear in front of the customer and you lose – big time! Swear in front of their kids and say goodbye to any repeat work, a good review or referrals.

4) When delivering an inflatable – especially to a new customer and you are not used to the town or area – then ALWAYS allow extra time for traffic and finding the address especially if your Sat Nav gets it slightly wrong. Not only will this reduce your stress levels – but those of your customer as well.

HOW HAS THE BIHA HELPED YOU IN YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?

The BIHA has helped us in many ways. For example, the BIHA built us a website 3 or 4 years ago which is ranking well in Google. Also the BIHA has given us a much better understanding of the industry, and gave us good advice on how to deal with a manufacturer whom we were having problems with.

Above all, the BIHA has helped us get many more customers into our hire business.

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