SPOTLIGHT ON AN INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY – Scallywags Bouncy Castles (Worcestershire)
NAME OF YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY?
Scallywags Bouncy Castles
WHAT IS YOUR AGE?
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED HIRING OUT INFLATABLES?
I had a sideline business hiring out petrol quad bikes.
WHAT MADE YOU START AN INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
The household removal business was extremely hard, back-breaking work!
Being a taxi driver was very long hours for not much pay after diesel and cost of vehicle etc. were taken into account.
Hiring out quad bikes was a fun but very stressful business. I decided to move into inflatable hire, as I saw it as a LOT less stress, more money and much more enjoyable!
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
Cycling, Golf, Gardening (I enjoy weeding!)
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES?
The Green Mile (1999) with Tom Hanks
Castle Keep (1969) with Burt Lancaster.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
Indian Food (in an Indian Restaurant – not takeaways!)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE UK HOLIDAY DESTINATION?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION ABROAD?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV SHOW?
The Walking Dead
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT THE INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
I love collecting bouncy castles and other inflatables on a warm summers evening when customers don’t care if you turn up late!
There is no stress and I find it thoroughly enjoyable.
WHAT DO YOU LEAST ENJOY ABOUT THE INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
Spending ages planning the delivery route and then a customer says that their party starts at 10.30am and could I deliver at 9.30am. I then hastily change the delivery route perhaps adding a further 20 miles or more to accommodate this early delivery time and then find out afterwards that the customer lied and actually their party didn’t start until 2pm!!
IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?
I would change the law so that the testing of inflatables is as stringent a legal requirement as MOT Tests are on cars.
That way there would be no misunderstandings.
I also would like it if operators would liaise with testers more who could then give them ongoing advice.
I would also like the price of tests to be driven down, by using economies of scale. For example where a tester is able to test 500 inflatables in the same amount of time as they previously tested 50 inflatables. By e.g. cutting down on travelling time.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIRING FROM HELL? OR OTHER UNUSUAL TYPE OF HIRE?
Yes, one that was very close to a “hiring from hell” and one that had a funny twist to it.
With the first case. I delivered an inflatable for a wedding reception held in the grounds of a very posh hotel. It was an overnight hire, with collection arranged for 7am the following morning.
The next morning I woke up early and decided to collect the wedding castle earlier than agreed in order to give a good start to the day. I arrived at 5am, and just as I started carrying the equipment back, a white van suddenly appeared. They took one look at my van and then sped off at high speed.
It was obvious to me that they had received a “tip-off” from someone at the hotel, and had decided to try and steal my bouncy castle.
Had I arrived at 7am, then it would have certainly been a “hire from hell”.
My second case was when I turned up to collect a bouncy castle from a back-garden party. I just walked straight through to the garden and discovered that the mother was sunbathing completely naked. She rushed into the house when she saw me.
DO YOU HAVE ANY USEFUL TIPS OR IDEAS THAT YOU COULD SHARE WITH THE OTHER BIHA MEMBERS?
Yes, I have two tips to share….
1) If you receive an email from a customer – never assume that they have read your reply. It may have ended up in their spam or junk mail folder or just got lost!! Go ahead and ring them up. You can then make sure they have received your email and / or encourage them to book with you if they are undecided or procrastinating.
2) Always promote your hire business on the BACK of your van. You will get work from cars following behind (This tip is featured in more detail above).
HOW HAS THE BIHA HELPED YOU IN YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?
The BIHA gets me a lot of EXTRA work because my potential customers have a higher “perception” of my hire company when they see the BIHA logo. It’s all about human psychology! Customers naturally trust you more when they see that you are a member of a nationwide organisation. (This is featured in more detail above)
Thank you David for taking time out of your hire business to answer these questions – it’s greatly appreciated.