Do your research: as with all prospective business ventures, thorough research of the bouncy castle market in your area is essential. Look through the local newspapers, go on the internet, look in the Yellow Pages and find out how much competition there is in your area. If you spot some competition, don’t be put off, for the fact that there are people running successful bouncy castle businesses proves that there is money to be made, and more than likely, there is still room for you to take your share of it.
Equipment/items that you will need for your bouncy castle business:
– Bouncy Castle (see below for sizing advice)
– Repair kit (should be included in price of the castle
– Ground sheet
– Safety mat (for the front of the castle
– Rain cover
– Sack trolley
– Anchor stakes
– 25-30 meter electrical extension cable
– RCD safety cut out circuit breaker
– Safety instruction sheet
– Terms of business
– Customer disclaimer form
– Local street maps
– Desk diary or personal computer program (to keep note of bookings
– Ledger book (for recording receipts and payments
– Public Liability Insurance cover (rec. minimum one million pounds
How to start out: my firm advice is that you start out with a 12 ft. x 12 ft. (3.6 meter x 3.6 meter) bouncy castle, this being the most popular with customers. Moreover, it is easy to set up and store and will fit in most back gardens and community halls. However, you might be tempted to go for something smaller, say a 7 ft. x 7 ft. bouncy castle – it would keep costs down, wouldn’t it? This is a common mistake – don’t fall into this trap. You may think that you can’t afford a bigger bouncy castle when you start up, but you’ll be kicking yourself if you are unable to do business with people who want a bigger castle – as the vast majority will.
A small bouncy castle will still make money, but not as much as the bigger one suggested, and just imagine how you’ll feel at seeing business go elsewhere because you have set up your bouncy castle business with the wrong equipment.
Where to buy your bouncy castle: see the list of manufacturers at the British Inflatable Hirers Association website. There are a number of good companies that supply bouncy castles, so take your time in choosing. All the good companies will have brochures, so just give them a call and get them to send you one in the post, together with a price list. Many companies will be willing to enter into credit terms, and will even paint your trading name and telephone number on the front of the castle at no extra cost. Your successful marketing of your business starts right from the moment that you make the order for your first castle and put your name up on it. The manufacturer should offer to do this for you – but ask for it if they don’t. You will get many bookings from people who see your phone number on the castle. Your bouncy castles will be big and brightly colored, so take full advantage of your portable advertising billboard. The industry standard guarantee for a bouncy castle is 1-2 years, depending on the manufacturer.
What about buying a second hand bouncy castle? The trouble with doing this is that – as a beginner – you don’t know what to look out for. I can tell you to look at the stitching on the bed, and at the pillars and where the side walls meet the bed, but are you confident that you will know the signs of wearing if you see them? Many second hand bouncy castles on the market are overly worn, have re-stitched bed seams, deliver a poor bounce and have to be replaced within a short while. When you are just starting out you need to be sure that you are hiring out a quality product that will last through the delicate ‘start up’ period, so go for a new bouncy castle when you start up.
Article written by Stephen Turner www.bouncycastle-web.com