SPOTLIGHT ON AN INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY
NAME OF YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY?
Tearaway Leisure Limited
www.bouncycastlemanufacturers.org.uk (New site under construction)
(NB: We also manufacture inflatables & accessories)
WHAT IS YOUR AGE?
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED HIRING OUT INFLATABLES?
I was a motor vehicle technician.
WHAT MADE YOU START AN INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
After my redundancy, I took a low paid job, and to supplement my income I bought a bungee run.
It was a very popular hire item and I realised I was onto something with the inflatable hire business.
I then started manufacturing inflatables as well as hiring and haven’t looked back.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
Doing up classic motorcycles
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE?
Les Miserables (2012)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
Steak and Chips with all the trimmings
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE UK HOLIDAY DESTINATION?
North Norfolk and the Coastline there
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION ABROAD?
San Francisco, USA.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMME?
Any good, well written TV Drama.
YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS
Bat out of Hell (Meat loaf)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT THE INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
Watching the excitement on kid’s faces when you blow up the inflatable.
IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?
I would want all the bad practices to be banned. In addition, I would stop hire companies from letting down their customers at the height of the summer – when they may not be able to get another castle at short notice.
I occasionally get frantic calls from people who are let down and I do my very best to help.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIRING FROM HELL? (Horror story or an unusual booking?)
First hiring from hell.
I once hired a castle to a village hall. Unfortunately, and almost unbelievably, one of the kids fell asleep on the castle, and initially couldn’t be woken up.
An ambulance had to be called out. While this was all going on people were pointing the finger of blame at me. Happily, while at the hospital the doctors realised that she had simply been over-tired and over-excited and had just fallen fast asleep.
Second hiring from hell.
I delivered a castle/slide combi to a private house and set it up on grass. All seemed OK. Unfortunately, the customer decided to move my castle to a recently dug part of the garden (Just soil and mud). To make matters worse, the customer used a hose on the slide to make it more fun. By the end of the party the inflatable had over 6 inches of mud inside it where the kids had trampled it in. It was beyond filthy! To make matters even worse, the following day the same inflatable was booked out to go to a Christening inside a smart hotel.
Needless to say, a lot of cleaning was done to get it gleaming in time for the Christening.
I once delivered a bouncy castle to a funeral, and surprisingly there was also karaoke, streamers and even party poppers!! The chap who had died was full of fun and had given strict instructions that the guests at this funeral have a party and really enjoy themselves.
DO YOU HAVE ANY USEFUL TIPS OR IDEAS THAT YOU COULD SHARE WITH THE OTHER BIHA MEMBERS.
1) Yes. Don’t buy cheap bouncy castles. You may save yourself £100 or £200 but it will cost you at least an extra £500 in repair costs.
Like anything in life – you get what you pay for.
2) You shouldn’t charge the customer if they accidentally “break” your bouncy castle. The castle should be built strong enough to last and withstand light to moderate abuse. If you have tried to economize and bought cheap then it’s unfair to charge the customer.
However, if the customer has deliberately damaged the castle (e.g. gone on with stilettos) then that’s a different matter, and should be charged for.
If you charge the customer for damage that was not directly their fault, (e.g. boisterous horse-play) then you will miss out on repeat business, referrals, and run the risk of getting a damaging online negative review.
HOW HAS THE BIHA HELPED YOU IN YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
The BIHA is a great source of contacts with everyone else in the inflatable hire industry. Also, I like the discussion forum at www.BouncyCastleOwner.com and the fact that I can put my views forward on a particular aspect of the industry and then read the views and opinions of others. I also like seeing how the minds of other hire companies work. As a manufacturer, the BIHA is also a very useful form of advertising. I’ve also received some excellent advice and guidance from the BIHA.