SPOTLIGHT ON AN INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY
NAME OF YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY?
Newtownards, N. Ireland
WHAT IS YOUR AGE?
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED HIRING OUT INFLATABLES?
I was a personal trainer
WHAT MADE YOU START AN INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
When the recession hit a few years ago, and the fitness industry declined, I decided that in order to protect my income, I needed a sideline.
After researching various businesses, I decided that running a bouncy castle hire business was the perfect sideline.
However, within a few short months, the earnings from my inflatable business exceeded those from my personal training business.
So it made sense for me to focus on my hire business and gradually phase out the personal training.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
I enjoy playing most sports particularly football, swimming, and golf.
I also go to the gym 5 or 6 times per week.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE?
The Call (2013) Starring Halle Berry
Law Abiding Citizen (2009) Starring Gerard Butler
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
Sausages, mash and baked beans!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE UK HOLIDAY DESTINATION?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION ABROAD?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMME?
Love / Hate
YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS
1) Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Hear song at: http://bit.ly/1lFp9I0
2) You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling (Karaoke version)
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT THE INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
I enjoy meeting new customers and also the fact that the bouncy castle hire business feels like a REAL business!
In other words, it involves various marketing methods, offline and online, customer service skills etc.
There is so much that you can now do to make your business a success. (E.g. using Facebook)
IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?
I think all hard-standing hires should be banned in the UK. I never do them, and this decision probably loses me up to 30% of my revenue.
Safety is my number 1 concern, and I feel that hard-standing hires can, on occasions, compromise safety.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIRING FROM HELL? (Horror story or an unusual booking?)
As mentioned above, because I am very safety conscious, I have been fortunate enough to never have had any horror stories in over 3 years of hiring.
However, I have on occasions had problems getting paid by corporate customers.
E.g. in July 2014, I supplied some inflatables for a big corporate event where there were dozens of different suppliers.
As at 22/2/2015 I am still waiting to be paid!!!!!
The reason: The corporate customer has told me that until all the suppliers and contractors have submitted their invoices then no one gets paid, because they want to pay everyone at the same time!!
Apparently, one of the catering stalls has not yet submitted their invoice – so no one gets paid!!
DO YOU HAVE ANY USEFUL TIPS OR IDEAS THAT YOU COULD SHARE WITH THE OTHER BIHA MEMBERS.
Yes, I have 2 ideas…. as mentioned above, in 3 years I haven’t really had any hirings from hell.
One of the reasons for this is because when a customer contacts me to book an inflatable, I spend a long time on the phone going through the booking and discussing safety factors, etc.
I also try to pre-empt any potential problems with the booking – even down to the finest detail – like ensuring that the garden is clear of dog poo!!
In addition, I always stipulate that FULL payment must be made on delivery. (This is not always possible with events and other corporate bookings who pay later)
After I have finished talking to the customer I pretty much know how the booking will go, and what problems, if any, are likely to arise.
My second idea is very simple and is FREE. Just offer excellent customer service. It costs nothing to be polite and helpful!! It’s a real shame that so many hire companies forget this.
Some hire companies seem to be obsessed with undercutting their competitors. They sadly sometimes seem to forget that if you offer great customer service then price becomes less of a deciding factor as to whom the customer will hire from.
HOW HAS THE BIHA HELPED YOU IN YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
I always advertise that I am a member of the BIHA and it gets me extra bookings. Potential customers are impressed that I’m a member of a national organisation of hire companies, and this converts to more hires.
(Anything you can do to impress or wow your prospective customers is always a very positive thing)
I also find the discussion forum at www.BouncyCastleOwner.com very helpful.