How to Turbo-Charge your profits from Hiring Inflatables (Volume 1)

How to Turbo-Charge your profits from Hiring Inflatables (Volume 1)

(You will be able to download this “must-read” report when you become a member of the BIHA)

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Bouncy castle hire ebook

Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. How to correctly answer the phone
  3. Three simple questions to virtually guarantee a booking.
  4. Four words which get you that booking!!
  5. How to use the deluxe approach to win more bookings.
  6. A much cheaper alternative to sending out a brochure.
  7. How to get a low cost website for as low as £30.
  8. How to get more bookings using small, cheap leaflets.
  9. How to get hundreds of new customers by creating cross-promotion deals with other businesses.
  10. How to use add-on support products to delight your existing customers and attract new customers.
  11. The world’s most profitable hire product (The Dennis Emery System).
  12. How to get lots of bookings for the price of a stamp.
  13. How to operate an emergency call out service, and boost your profits.
  14. How to get your competitors to pass business over to you.
  15. How to make big profits from accessories.
  16. How to make sure that you get the money you are entitled to, at a show or other large public event.
  17. How to get cheaper fuel at the forecourts.
  18. How to get so many bookings for your bouncy castles and inflatables that you are turning customers away.
  19. A simple idea to increase the power of your electric fans by up to 25% instantly. (The benefit is that the strain on the bed seams of the inflatable will be less and lengthen its life)
  20. How to prevent adults from bouncing on your kiddies bouncy castles and preventing unnecessary damage.
  21. A very simple idea to make sure that you get paid, even if the weather has been very wet, and the castle has hardly been used.
  22. How to clean your inflatables the lazy way – and save hours and hours of time.
  23. How wet weather can actually boost your profits.
  24. A unique and simple way to protect your inflatable against theft.
  25. How to reduce wear on the bed seams of your inflatables.
  26. How to easily prevent rainwater from being sucked into the inflatable, through the blower when it is raining heavily.
  27. An essential tool which can instantly repair your inflatable in an emergency. (This is not glue!!).
  28. How to fully weatherproof your bouncy castle.
  29. How and where to get completely free high-impact advertising.
  30. The best 26 marketing ideas to increase your profits.
  31. Two words which can massively enhance your credibility in the eyes of your customers.
  32. How to make your inflatable slides a lot more slippery.
  33. How to get free crash mats from a local source.
  34. The best FREE marketing ideas.
  35. Where to buy a machine which will suck air out of your inflatables in a couple of minutes (i.e. like a “reverse” blower).
  36. **SOLVED** Another method on how to quickly and easily suck the air out of the inflatable, without walking on the inflatable.
  37. How and where to buy small pots of polycarbonate paint to touch up the artwork on your inflatables (choice of 50 different colours and price is approx £1.75 per pot).
  38. How to roll up giant inflatables using rope and a special winch (which requires no human effort!)
  39. Ballponds! 7 methods to get the balls back into their bags, easily and quickly at the end of the party.
  40. Simple techniques to get more referrals for your business.
  41. Summing up

To read this report you will need to Join the BIHA or login below if you are already a member…

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The inflatable hire business can be a very profitable and enjoyable way of earning a good living.
This report is a result of over 30 years combined experience of several hirers including myself.
We have all made mistakes, and we have all had our successes. Read the ideas in this report, read them again. And then try and integrate the ideas you like the best into your own business.
Not all the ideas will be relevant to you although itis hoped that some of the ideas and techniques will form a “springboard” for you to develop further or customise for your own business. You may
not agree with all these ideas, or you may be doing something in a different way which you feel works better for you, or better suits your personality.
Some of these ideas have been repeated elsewhere, especially in the password protected sections of the BIHA website. However, this report contains the best ideas (and mistakes to avoid) in one place. This volume should be
a continual source of reference for both the experienced hirer and the relative beginner. Justone good idea taken from this report and put
into practice will repay your annual membership fees many times over!

Idea 1 It always amazes me how unprofessional some small companies can be when they
answer the telephone to a prospective customer
. Unfortunately, this also applies to some
inflatable hire companies. In the mind of a custom
er their first impressions and initial opinions of a
company they are thinking of dealing with is made in the first 5 seconds of the phone call. When
my van needed a repair recently, the greetings I
got from repairers when I rang them up ranged
from “yep Steve here” to “Good Morning XYZ Van Repairs – David speaking, how can I help”. I
felt more at ease with David than I did with St
eve, purely because his greeting was more friendly
and more professional. David eventually got my
business. When you answer the phone to
customers be friendly, positive and professional. Enthusiasm also helps.
This follows on from idea 1. When I first started hiring inflatables way back in 1991. I made the
following mistake. A potential customer would ring me up and ask me about prices etc. I would
then look at my price list, and would tell the caller “parrot” fashion how much each size would
cost. Not surprisingly, the caller
would usually say something like.
“I may get back to you”, or “I’ll
think about it”. After a few months, I realised t
hat I was doing something seriously wrong, so I
completely changed my approach. When I now get an enquiry, instead or reeling off a load of
prices and hoping for the best. I ask the customer several questions such as: How old are the
children, how many are you expecting, are you
having the party indoors
or outdoors etc etc.
When they give me the answers I will then reco
mmend a particular size of unit. This approach
always results in more bookings as a ratio to enquiries. The reason for this is because the
customer feels you are taking an interest in t
heir children and the party, and more importantly you
are developing a rapport with the customer. It is an established fact in sales that people buy
people first. This means that before someone books an inflatable with yourself, (particularly a new
customer) they have to like you and trust you first. T
he only way you can initially achieve this is by
using idea 1 above, and secondly asking the calle
r leading questions. I cannot overemphasise
the importance of this. You will get a lot mo
re bookings if you follow this approach.
Idea 3 Sometimes when I’ve gone through the standard questions which I normally ask, when
getting an enquiry for an inflatable, I get the follo
wing response: “I need to speak to my husband
before I book anything”, or “I need to speak to my
work colleagues first”. This reaction always
slightly amuses me because most customers
(you would have thought) would speak to their
husband/work colleagues etc before making the in
itial phone call. I have a theory that the reason
they say this is because there are
still one or two doubts in their mi
nd, whether or not they want to
book with you or not, or that they are reluctant
to pay the price which you have quoted. To get
round this problem I sometimes say to the cust
omer, “Would you like me to provisionally pencil
your booking in the diary, then if your husband agrees
to it I can turn it into a confirmed booking, if
on the other hand he does not agree, ring me up to
morrow and I will cancel this provisional
booking – no obligation. 70% of the time they agree to this and they rarely cancel afterwards.
Idea 4 Occasionally, I will give a hire price to a
potential customer, and they will reply by saying
“that it is too much, or too expen
sive. When they say this I could ju
st say, “okay thanks for calling,
goodbye”. However, I rarely do, one thing I am alwa
ys curious to know, is that if the customer
thinks it’s too much. How much too much?? £1,
£5, £10, £20? I always try and find out, so that I
can possibly hire them a smaller and cheaper inflatable.
Idea 5 Sometimes, it’s a very good idea to use the deluxe approach to getting more business.
When a customer phones to book an inflatable you have no real idea whether they are a multi-
millionaire or on income support, or somewhere in
between. With the deluxe approach you can
target the customer in relation to how much they wa
nt to spend on their inflatable, in a very subtle
way. This approach works as follows: If a custom
er rings for a quote for say a 12 x 12 castle, you
say to them: “ would you like economy, standard or deluxe castle”. They will then usually say
what do you mean. You tell them that the economy
unit is 3 years old. The standard units are 1 –
2 years old, (and are £5 more)
and the deluxe units are under 1 year old (and £5 extra).
Customers with a high disposable income will tend to book deluxe and standard units, whilst less
well off customers will book the economy units. However, do remember that this is not always the
case, children love inflatables so much that t
heir parents will often make a big financial sacrifice
to hire 2 or 3 inflatables for their child’s bi
rthday party. When using the deluxe approach to
increase profits, you can use any combination of
variables, not necessarily just based on age or
condition of the inflatable..For ex
ample, you could say that with
the deluxe service, they get the
inflatable delivered the day before the party; with
the standard service, it
is the morning of the
party, and with the economy service it is up
to an hour before the party starts. Use your
imagination with this deluxe approach, there are many
different variations which you can try until
you have found the one which you are most comfortable with.
Idea 6 About 6 years ago, I came up with a very simple idea which virtually doubled the size of
my business, and the number of my customers in
creased beyond all expectations. For some time
I had considered going to my local printers and ge
tting some colour glossy brochures printed up
to send to customers wanting more information.
However the cost of doing this would have been
at least £1000 + VAT. For about 250 brochures. Far
more than I could afford at the time. Another
problem, was if I bought any new inflatables at a
later date. They would not be in the brochure.
However, it suddenly occurred to me that a much less expensive alternative to brochures was to
take some colour photographs of my inflatables, get a large number of reprints and send these off
to prospective customers, with a covering le
tter and price list. The cost of getting 1000 photos
developed was just under a £100. A saving of over £9
00! However, to my surprise there was an
additional benefit which outweighed even the cost
savings. I found out about this new benefit as a
result of positive feedback from customers. I will tr
y and explain this benefit as clearly as possible.
When a customer receives a glossy colour broc
hure, they may be really impressed and love the
colour images etc. However, the problem with
a brochure is that it is impersonal, and many
people just have a browse through, and then put it away for safe keeping. I am convinced that
many people have been conditioned to admire the qua
lity of a good brochure, but a relatively few
number of people actually buy just from a brochure.
On the other hand, a photo or set of photos sent
to a prospective customer, is breathtakingly
personal. I’ve actually had customers phone me
the day they received my photos, expressing
their gratitude, and commenting on t
he good service. Some customers
even think that I took the
photos specifically for them, and book their infl
atable immediately. Another reason, why more
bookings usually result from photos as opposed
to brochures, is because when people receive
photos in the post e.g. from friends, it is
usually of exciting events such as holidays and
marriages. Importantly, these photos always get
shown around the family, relatives and the
neighbours etc. When you send your photos to
customers, the same kind of thing can happen,
albeit on a smaller scale.
When I send photos out to customers, I always make sure that that my company name and
telephone number is on the back as well as the
size of the inflatable on the photo. Try and use a
good quality camera, you will get even more bookings
if the print quality is excellent. If a potential
customer rang me and didn’t book an inflatable
there and then, I would o
ften ask them if they
would be interested in receiving some photos a
nd an information pack. 9 times out of 10, they
said yes, and of the people who received the photos, 60% – 75% would book. (One other
advantage in doing this is that you now have a
potential customers’ name and address – so that
you can write to them again.). A useful way of
reducing your costs still further is to photocopy
some of your photos, and send a mixture of colour photos and black and white photocopies. Try
and send colour photos of your best inflatables.
Idea 7 Sending photos (or brochures if you have lo
ts of money to spend) should grow your
business and improve profits quite quickly. Howe
ver, there is another way of getting photos and
brochures of your inflatables in front of potent
ial customers much more cheaply, and considerably
faster, almost instantly. I’m sure you’ve guesse
d it, the solution is to have your own website on
the internet. Imagine this scenario. A potential cust
omer calls you, after seeing your advert in the
yellow pages. She expresses an interest in several
of your designs which you tell her about, but
she is not sure which one her 6 year old daughter prefers. You then tell her she can see some
colour images of your inflatables on the websit
e. She then goes away, connects to your website,
shows her daughter the different designs etc.
Her daughter then chooses one and 10 minutes
later is back on the phone to you to book the chos
en castle. Just 5 years ago this scenario would
have been impossible. The great thing about havi
ng a website is that you don’t have to spend
money on photographs, brochures envelopes, postage
stamps etc. The website does all the work
for you at a fraction of the cost. Secondly, and just
as importantly, your customer can view colour
pictures and relevant details of your inflatables instantly, without having to wait 24 hours or more
to get something in the post.
In April 2000, I decided to have a website construc
ted for my own inflatable hire business. You
can visit this site at
www.allstarsleisure.co.uk
This site cost me around £300 which included
registering the domain name, buying the web sp
ace, and paying the web master for designing
and constructing the website. Amazingly, within 10 days of the site being up, it had already paid
for itself. I had 7 bookings during these 10 days as a
direct result of people looking at my website,
and then phoning me to book their inflatable. The website did all the selling for me! I advertised
my website address in my yellow pages advert.
A major additional benefit of having your own
website is that it is much easier for customers
to communicate with you. They can email you from
your site at any time of the day or night, whichev
er time is convenient for them. You simply pick
up your emails in the morning, and then email or call them when its convenient.
If you are interested in having your
own website built under the address:
www.yourcompanyname.co.uk
or other available personal domain,please contact Rob Graham at
Art and Sole Design,
www.artandsole.org.uk
– email rob@artandsole.org If you are a BIHA
membert will only cost you 50% of what
the normal commercia
l rates would be.
Idea 8 Every time I hire out an inflatable, I always hand out a dozen or so A5 or A6 sized leaflets,
with my phone number on for the customer to hand
out to their guests. These leaflets are just
photocopies and usually work very well, they ar
e cheap to produce. I usually get at least one
booking for every batch of leaflets which I give out at a party.
Idea 9 An excellent idea of getting more business is to team up with other companies which are in
a similar business. Examples
are childrens entertainers, magicians, and companies which
provide party related items e.g. barbeques
and wedding equipment. If you have a reciprocal
agreement with these companies, they refer business to you and in return for which you pass
business onto them. The secret to making this idea work well is to develop good working
relationships between the different companies.
Idea 10 Although the BIHA is concerned primarily with
hiring inflatables, it is relatively easy to
boost your profits by hiring out
add-on support products, at the same time that you set up the
inflatable at the customers’ premises. The best
examples of add-on support products which we
have come across are: helium balloons, mini
-marquees, party bags, and tables and chairs.
Trestle tables for the food and drink to go on are also very popular hire products.
Idea 11 The Dennis Emery Profit System: This supe
rb idea is repeated later as a separate report.
In a nutshell it is as follows: Many childrens parties have a theme to them e.g pirates, Barbie Doll,
mermaids, animals etc etc. Imagine if you coul
d supply your customers with a themed bouncy
castle of their choice to match as closely as po
ssible the theme of the party
or the birthday child’s
favourite character. How much ex
tra would your customers be pre
pared to pay to have the theme
of their choice? £5, £10 or even £15? How many extra referrels would you get? Traditionally, the
only way to do this was to go to the huge expense of buying a themed bouncy castle. However,
the big disadvantage of doing this is that the
theme may go out of fashion with children and you
are then stuck with a castle which no-one wants to hire. The ingenious solution to this problem is
to have
detachable artwork panels
which have Velcro attached to them, and so can be
interchanged between different bouncy castles, to su
it the relevant theme of the party. Each
artwork panel is made from bouncy castle material, and is approx. 5ft high and 3 ft wide. They fit
snugly around the two front pillars of the castle
. The castle also has to have Velcro glued to the
front pillars, in order for the artwork to be secu
rely attached. I used to use heavy duty duct tape,
to secure the 2 artwork panels. However, I found that this left a messy residue, and also in wet
weather it would come off. If you are interested
in buying some detachabl
e artwork panels of the
theme of your choice, including the all important
Velcro strips, please call me on 01344 485389
and I will put you in touch with the company wh
ich produces the artwork, the panels and the
Velcro at very reasonable prices.
Idea 12 This next idea is astonishing in its simp
licity, but can generate a huge amount of extra
business. This involves writing to a few local playgroups, nurseries and schools and telling them
that they can have a FREE bouncy castle or ballpond for the day if they promise to hand out your
leaflets and give you some well deserved free publicity. The mums will see your inflatable and
providing it is clean and in good condition, you should
get quite a lot of referrels from it. Similarly,
if you supply free of charge an inflatable for your
local shopping centre, if its busy, you will get
bookings and referrels from it. It certainly helps to have your phone number painted on the front
of the unit, and you should always give lots of leaflets out.
Idea 13 This next idea is a new one but works very
well if you are very well organised, in the
running of your business. It involves running an Emergency Call Out Service. It is a well known
fact that at the beginning of each summer, several “cowboy” bouncy castle hire companies set up
in all the major towns with the intention of ma
king a quick buck, during the peak season and then
selling up in the winter. What separates them from
established hirers, is that they rarely have P/L
insurance, they often operate with worn-out and
dirty inflatables, and perhaps most serious of all
is that they sometimes forget (or just don’t ca
re) to deliver the castle to the customer. Last
summer, I had about 50 calls from frantic people telling me that they had been let down as the
castle had not arrived and the party was starti
ng in 10 minutes! Because of the short notice
involved, and also because it was often in the nex
t town, I was rarely able to help. This concerned
me deeply, because I felt that it would harm the entire reputation of the inflatable hire industry.
“Cowboy companies (“Fly by Night”) all too often only have one or two units, and in the busy
summer period, get double booked with alarming fr
equency. When you advertise your inflatables
for hire, have the words “Emergency Call Out Service
Available”. Also write it on your flyers which
you hand out at parties. A word of warning: wh
en word gets around that you can provide an
emergency call out service to customers who
have been let down by “cowboy” companies, you
are likely to get very busy during the summer
months, when the demand for inflatables far
exceeds the supply. Make sure you have sufficient inflatables, transport and organisational ability
to cope. Your emergency call out service will also get known by other hirers in the area, who may
pass business onto you at the last minute. Last
summer, another inflatable hirer operating in the
same town as me, found to his dismay that
his back axle had broken, half way through his
deliveries at 10am on a Saturday morning. To
make matters worse his spare van was being
serviced. He was able to call me and a few other hirers to help him finish his deliveries.
Idea 14 This idea follows on from the last idea.
The BIHA strongly recommend that inflatable
hirers operating in the same town or vicinity s
hould develop close working relationships. If this is
achieved it means that leads are being shared out, especially if one hirer is fully booked, and can
pass on leads and bookings to another reputable hire
r, who is perhaps not so busy. I have come
across hirers in some towns who will not pass the
time of day if they bump into another hirer. I
have also known of cases where rivalry between hirers in a town has been so intense, that rather
than pass a booking to a competitor, a hirer has instead chosen to let down a prospective
customer, even where they’ve known where a cast
le is available for hire. This is a very
unprofessional and selfish business practice, and is
not recommended. An important aim of the
BIHA is to try and bring inflatable hirers togethe
r who are perhaps working in the same town. We
believe that if leads are passed around, ever
yone will benefit, and every reputable company will
become more profitable over the years.
Idea 15 A very good way of promoting your business completely for free, is to stick a magnetic
sign on the sides and back of your van, or esta
te car, with the name of your company and the
telephone company. We have further developed this idea in more detail and is the subject of a
free report included at the end.
Idea 16 This excellent idea is very similar to
idea no. 10 above, but uses a slightly different
approach. It concerns the use of accessories to co
mplement your bouncy castle bookings. Every
time a customer books an inflatable, you have
a golden opportunity whilst they are on the phone
(after they have booked! ) to make additional money for very little extra work. Examples of
accessories which you can offer your customers to
make extra profits are: balloons, including
helium balloons; face-painting, party-bags, mini
-marquees, tables and chairs, crockery, magician
service, childrens’ entertainer, trampolines, toy trains for children to ride on, quality toys to hire at
parties etc etc. There are probably a lot more exam
ples of accessories. Give customers a choice
as to what they would like to hire in addition to
the inflatable. If they cannot decide at the point
they book the inflatable, ring them back a day or
two later. If you provide a good service for your
accessories you will also get a lot more referrel
s. It is strongly recomm
ended that you firstly do
some research to see what are the most popular
types of accessories in your area. Also have a
look at the competition. Perhaps you can strike
up a deal with a competitor, i.e they give you
bouncy castle bookings, and in return for which,
you give them bookings for their “accessories”.
Spend some time doing some research, and ask your existing customers what they would be
most interested in to hire, or buy to run alongside your inflatable.
Idea 17 This next idea is a very clever concept
recently passed to us from an existing BIHA
member. It addresses a very real problem when supplying a large inflatable to a public event.
Traditionally, the inflatable is sited, and children
(and adults!) pay anything from 50p to £2 to have
a go. At the end of the event, the operator usua
lly gives a percentage of the takings to the
organisers of the event or a designated charity. Alternatively, the o
perator will be asked for a pitch
fee , (e.g. at a car boot sale or a school fete
) of at least £20. We have heard about hirers who
have been asked for as much as £500 per day to si
te their inflatables at airshows. If the weather
is favourable, and the public (and their kids!) tu
rn up in their droves, it can be very profitable
indeed. However, unfortunately this system is
open to abuse and dishonesty by the person taking
the money. Firstly, the operator may employ some
one to take the money off the public. If you the
operator are not present, how do you know for exam
ple, that the takings were only £750. They
may have been £1000, but your employee dishonestly pocketed £250 of the takings. How can
you make sure that you are
not being ripped off, even though you
are not present? Easy, when
you know!! You buy a big book of raffle tickets,
and you instruct your employee to hand a raffle
ticket to every person that has a go on the inflatabl
e. If they have more than one go they get more
than one ticket. At the end of the event you draw a
raffle ticket out of a hat, and the winner gets a
quality prize which you bought beforehand. By
handing out raffle tickets, there are several
benefits. Firstly, more people are likely to want to
go the inflatable in the first place, as there is a
prize at the end. Secondly, you can keep tags
as to who has been on the inflatable and who
hasn’t. Thirdly, and the biggest benefit of all is t
hat you will know exactly how many raffle tickets
have been given out, because every single ticket
has a duplicate in the book. If your employee
tries to fiddle you out of a few po
unds, this will show up as the du
plicate raffle tickets and will not
reconcile with the monies taken. Its important to make it known to customers at the outset, that
they will get free entry into the raffle, every time
that they have a go of the inflatable. If it’s a good
prize you will make a lot more profits as well.
Idea 18 This idea has only just come in, and should save you many hundreds of pounds every
year, if you act upon it. BP (British Petroleum) ha
s recently started a di
scount scheme on their
fuel, which can be enjoyed by all businesses, from
the one man band right up to the multi-national
company. It works like this: you apply for a BP Plus
card, (which works a bit like a credit card).
Once you have received your ca
rd, you can then fill up with petrol or diesel at any BP filling
station in the UK, and you will be automatically be
given a discount of around 2p to 3p per litre of
fuel. This works out as being even cheaper than w
hat the supermarkets sell fuel for. If you are
interested in this please contact: Michaela Bank
s (Sales Co-ordinator) at Securicor Fuelserv on
01473 466650 or 01473 466666. She will then send y
ou an application form. Please note that to
enjoy these big savings on your fuel, there is
no mininum spend required, there is no charge for
the card and there is no contract needed. A valuable additional benefit, is that all fuel card usage
is detailed weekly on comprehensive management
reports, giving you the control you need to
best manage your costs. If you operate with severa
l vans you can have several fuel cards. Please
note that these discounted fuel cards are not av
ailable to the general public. Please mention your
membership of the British Inflatable Hirers As
sociation when applying for these discounted fuel
cards.
We hope that you like all these 18 ideas in “H
ow to turbo-charge your profits from hiring
inflatables – volume 1”. We would like to express our appreciation to all members who kindly sent
in their ideas to make this booklet possible. If you have any more ideas, hints and tips which we
could include in volume 2, we urgently need to hear from you.
We are currently in the process of compiling a list of brief testimonials from members who have
read these free reports. When you hav
e finished reading them all, we would be very grateful if
you could write a sentence or two about what y
ou thought of the ideas mentioned in these free
reports, and perhaps about the BIHA in general.
You can either email your comments to us, leave
a message on the answerphone 01344 485389 or writ
e to us at the BIHA office address at 33
Ladybank, Birch Hill, Bracknell, Berkshire,
RG12 7HA, United Kingdom. As a token of our
appreciation to you for submitting a brief testimonial
to us we will send you another free report:
“How to get all the schools in your local area contacting you to book a bouncy castle, after you
have sent them one letter or made one phone call”. (This excellent idea has nothing to do with
summer or Christmas school fetes).
The Dennis Emery Profit System
:
This superb idea can be detailed as follows: Many childrens parties have a theme to them e.g
pirates, action heros, cartoon characters, dolls, mermaids, animals, monsters etc. Imagine if you
could supply your customers with a themed bouncy ca
stle of their choice to match as closely as
possible the theme of the party or
the birthday child’s favourite character. How much extra would
your customers be prepared to pay to have t
he theme of their choice? £5, £10 or even £15? How
many extra referrels would you get?
Traditionally, the only way to do this was to
go to the huge expense of
buying a themed bouncy
castle. However, the big disadvantage of doing this
is that the theme may go out of fashion with
children and you are then stuck with a
castle which no-one wants to hire.
The ingenious solution to this problem is to have
detachable artwork panels
which have Velcro
attached to them, and so can be interchanged bet
ween different bouncy castles, to suit the
relevant theme of the party. Each artwork panel is made from bouncy castle material, and is
approx. 5ft high and 3 ft wide. They fit snugly around t
he two front pillars of the castle. The castle
also has to have Velcro glued to the front pillars, in order for the artwork to be securely attached. I
used to use heavy duty duct tape, to secure the 2
artwork panels. However, I found that this left a
messy residue, and also in we
t weather it would come off.
If you are interested in buying some detachable
artwork panels of the theme of your choice,
including the all important Velcro strips, please email me on
mark.jerram@ntlworld.com
or call me
on 01344 485389 or write to the BIHA office add
ress. I will then put you in touch with the
company which produces the artw
ork, the panels and the Velcro at very reasonable prices.
The explanations of the ideas, hints and tips
mentioned in your original letter of invitation
.
Q1) How to get so many bookings for your boun
cy castles that you are turning customers away.
A1) Write a simple one page letter to all the schools,
nurseries, playgroups etc in your local area.
Tell them that you will lend them a free bouncy ca
stle, if they hand out your leaflets and publicity
material to the parents. Do make sure that your telephone number is clearly displayed on the
castle as well.
Q2) A simple idea to increase the power of your
electric fans by up to 25%. This takes just 5
minutes per fan and does not involve dismantling the fan or undertaking any electrical work.
A2) During normal use, whilst the impeller in the f
an is spinning at high RPM, it builds up a strong
static charge which has the unfortunate effect of
picking up dust and dirt, insects and other debris
and depositing it on the actual blades of the impellor,
as if stuck by “glue”. This gradual build up of
debris reduces the efficiency of the impellor in
the same way that the build up of ice on an
aircraft’s wing can reduce its aerodynamic lifting
ability. When the impellors blades have become
really clogged up over say an entire season, t
hen the amount of air being blown out into the
inflatable can be reduced by as much as 25%. This can mean that the inflatable is only partially
inflated, which rapidly increases the wear on the
unit, and causes a safety hazard. In order to
remove this debris from the impellor blades I
normally use a long thin metal tent peg, which I
insert at the funnel end and then carefully clean t
he impellor getting as much of the debris off as
possible. The removed debris will fall back into t
he blades, but when you swit
ch the blower on, all
the loose debris will shoot out, so be very care
ful of your eyes. After you have cleaned the
impellor blades, you will notice an improv
ement in the force of air coming out.
Q3) How to make sure that adults don’t bounce on your childrens bouncy castles and cause
unnecessary damage.
A3) This is a slightly controversial idea, but it does
work well, as I’ve actually done it. It involves
painting in clear letters on the back wall of t
he castle. “NOT TO BE USED BY ADULTS”. If an
adult jumps on to have a bounce, the children will often shout at the adult to get off, purely
because of the notice.
Q4) A very simple idea to make sure that
you still get paid, even if
the weather has been
extremely wet and the castle has hard
ly been used, that you still get paid.
A4) The solution to this problem came about bef
ore one of our members submitted the idea of
how to beat the problem of wet weather. (Pleas
e see the attached mini-report). The original idea
we used to use, if the weather was exceptiona
lly bad, and the castle didn’t get used, was to
promise the customer that they could have t
he castle again on a dryer day, and only pay us £5
(which paid for our diesel). If the weather forecast
is very grim, we always give the customer the
opportunity to cancel before we deliver. We do not charge a cancellation fee for this.
Q5) How to clean your inflatables the lazy way – This will save you hours and hours of time.
A5) When I first started hiring inflatables way back in 1991, I would inflate my inflatables outside
my house, and give them a good clean using diluted
traffic film remover which I still use to this
day. I quite enjoyed the cleaning, but I didn’t like ro
lling up the inflatable afterwards, especially as
it was still sometimes a bit wet. One day it occurred to me that I could make life much easier for
myself if I delivered the inflatable to the cust
omer say one hour earlier than normal and cleaned
the inflatable in the customers ga
rden. Virtually all customers we
re happy with this arrangement,
but I always made a point of forewarning the cust
omer that I would be cleaning the unit in their
garden.
Q6) How to get access to dozens of new customer
s by creating cross-prom
otion deals, with other
businesses.
A6) This idea is incredibly simple but very under-exploited by inflatable hire companies, and
indeed by many other small businesses in t
he UK. This idea involves forging a working
relationship with other businesses who are not di
rect competitors, but
nethertheless operate in
the childrens (and adults) entertainment market. Examples include childrens entertainers,
magicians, puppeteers, and hirers of mini-mar
quees. I strongly recommend that you develop
some close working relationships with wedding organisers, as they often need an inflatable to
amuse the kids at the reception. In return fo
r which keep an eye out for anyone you know who is
getting married, and pass them onto to your wedding organiser friend.
Q7) How wet weather can act
ually boost your profits.
A7) If the weather forecast is for wet weather I so
metimes suggest to the customer that they can
hire a mini-marquee from me, at a discount of course. They often agree to this, so I get paid for
delivering the inflatable and the mini-marquee as well!
Q8) Some ideas to help you reduce your business overheads.
A8) This is the subject of a major report which
we are working on at the moment, especially for
BIHA members.
Q9) How to reduce your household expenses.
A9) Again, this is the subject of a br
and new report currently being worked on.
Q10) How to use add-on support products to de
light your existing customers and attract brand
new customers.
A10) There are a lot of other products which
you can hire out or provide alongside your
inflatables. The best ideas which we have come across are: balloons and helium balloons, face-
painting, mini-marquees, tables and chairs, toy trains
for children to ride on, and other quality toys
for children to hire. If you operate your inflatable hire business on a husband and wife basis, the
husband can tend to setting up the inflatable whilst
the wife does the face painting, for example.
Q11) A unique and simple way to protect your inflatable against theft.
A11) We strongly recommend that all hirers write their name and telephone number inside the
main inflation TUBE at the rear of the inflatabl
e, using a permanent black marker pen. We are
currently working on a national database of inflatabl
es, which are owned by hirers in the BIHA. If
it proves popular we will extend this idea nati
onally. There are a few problems with implementing
this idea, if you have any suggestions pleas
e let us know at the BIHA Head Office.
Q12) How to use the deluxe approach to increase profits.
A12) Sometimes, it’s a very good idea to use
the deluxe approach to getting more business.
When a customer phones to book an inflatable you have no real idea whether they are a multi-
millionaire or on income support, or somewhere in
between. With the deluxe approach you can
target the customer in relation to how much they wa
nt to spend on their inflatable, in a very subtle
way. This approach works as follows: If a custom
er rings for a quote for say a 12 x 12 castle, you
say to them: “ would you like economy, standard or deluxe castle”. They will then usually say
what do you mean. You tell them that the economy
unit is 3 years old. The standard units are 1 –
2 years old, (and are £5 more)
and the deluxe units are under 1 year old (and £5 extra).
Customers with a high disposable income will tend to book deluxe and standard units, whilst less
well off customers will book the economy units. However, do remember that this is not always the
case, children love inflatables so much that t
heir parents will often make a big financial sacrifice
to hire 2 or even 3 inflatables for their child’s
birthday party. When using the deluxe approach to
increase profits, you can use any combination of
variables, not necessarily just based on age or
condition of the inflatable..For ex
ample, you could say that with
the deluxe service, they get the
inflatable delivered the day before the party; with
the standard service, it
is the morning of the
party, and with the economy service it is up
to an hour before the party starts. Use your
imagination with this deluxe approach, there are many
different variations which you can try until
you have found the one which you are most comfortable with.
Q13) How to reduce wear on the bed seams of the inflatable.
A13) There are several ways of making your bed
seams stronger and less suseptical to wear.
The best method is to get them webbed with a mate
rial very similar to car seatbelts. Another way
of reducing wear on the seams is to put a slight
ly more powerful blower than you would normally
use. I personally use a 1.5hp blower instead of a 0.75hp blower. I also find that the castle is a lot
more bouncier, and the children enjoy it a lot more.
Q14) How to easily prevent rain-water from bei
ng sucked into the inflatable, through the blower
when it is raining heavily.
A14) Very simple, place a plastic picnic table (approx. 4ft diameter) over the blower. You can
remove 2 legs of the table to create a steep slope for the water to run down.
Q15) An essential tool which can repair your boun
cy castle/inflatable in an emergency. e.g. at a
customer’s house. This method usually works well for small to medium repairs and is an
alternative to using glue and patches at the cu
stomer’s house. Although, after the booking, we
always recommend that you have the repair
professionally stitched or patched.
A15) Use a heavy duty stapler, it works wonders at achieving emergency temporary repairs. I’ve
tried it and it works. Make sure you get the rip
or tear properly repaired as soon as possible.
A new idea to beat the problem of wet weather.
One of the biggest problems with hiring bouncy ca
stles in the UK is the unpredictable weather.
One day it can be glorious sunshine and your
phone doesn’t stop ringing. The next day it can be
torrential rain. Heavy rain causes all sorts of problems for hirers. When the bouncy castle gets
very wet the children’s enjoyment is reduced and o
ften, especially if it has hardly been used, the
customer expects a discount or even a refund. Mo
st bouncy castles have rain-covers or shower
covers, but in prolonged heavy rain these t
end to be inadequate. How many times have you
collected a castle after a very wet day, to find that
not only is the raincover soaking wet, but so is
the inflatable. It then becomes a nightmare to try
and get as much water off it as possible (both
inside and outside), and then to try and roll it up while it is still soaking wet. Yuk! Perhaps the
biggest problem of all is trying to lift a soaking wet bouncy castle which weighs half a ton onto
your sack trolley, and then trying to get it into
your van, when it can be nearly double the normal
weight because of all the rainwater inside.
Fortunately, there is a unique solution which goes a long way to solving this problem of wet
weather. We will now look at
this solution step-by-step.
Step 1 In very wet weather rainwater gets sucked
into the electric or petrol fan, and then gets
forced deep inside the castle, adding enormously to
the weight of the unit when it is rolled up, and
coming up through the bed seams, when the castle
is being used, and causing bubbles and froth.
To prevent this rainwater being sucked into the
blower, buy a plastic picnic table (approx. 4ft
diameter) from any good DIY shop. If you then place th
is table over the fan, when its raining, it
will stop water coming in the side vent, but still allow the fan to suck air in.
Step 2 You will also need a heavy duty raincover, t
hat is oversized. For my 12ft x 12ft castles I
buy a large piece of heavy duty tarpauline (similar
to what market traders use as a roof on their
stalls) that measures about 25ft
x 25ft. I then lay this cover over the deflated castle. I then get a
helper, or even the customer to hold one side of
the cover, while I hold the other side. The fan is
then switched on and as the castle inflates I make sure that the raincover is evenly distributed
over the castle.
Step 3 Once the castle is fully inflated I then use st
ring or twine to tie t
he raincover to the metal
stakes at each corner. The cover has eyelets
spaced at intervals all the way round. As the
raincover is so oversizes, it should seal up any
gaps at the sides and back of the inflatable. (In
windy weather you may need an extra person to help
hold the raincover in place prior to it being
tied down).
Step 4 At this stage the raincover should be securely attached to the castle, with no gaps
showing. The front of the raincover should be hanging loosely downwards, obscuring the bed of
the castle. At this point get two telescopic keepn
et poles which you bought from your local fishing
tackle shop, and press the sharp bit into the ground,
about 7 feet in front of the castle and to the
left. Repeat this procedure with the
other pole, but this time put it
7 feet out from the castle, but on
the opposite side . i.e. on the right.
Step 5 Now take hold of the front of the raincover, which is hanging downwards in a vertical
position and move it outwards, so that it becom
es about 45 degrees and forms an awning, which
protudes about 8 feet from the front of the cast
le. You then need to tie this “awning” to the two
keepnet poles. Because the keepnet poles are adjus
table you can alter the angle of the awning. I
recommend a very steep angle in very heavy rain,
so that up. Providing everything is securely
tied, the children should be 99% dry when using the castle.
IMPORTANT: Always make sure that any exposed
electrics e.g. plug sockets are fully protected
by a waterproof bag, or better still,
that you use waterproof connectors.
In October 2000, I had an ideal opportunity, to te
st this idea. To my amazement and delight it
worked extremely well. I recommend you do the same. If your castles already have good
raincovers, I strongly recommend that at the very least you carry out step 1. i.e. putting a picnic
table over the fan.
Another excellent idea – The Free Advertising Method.
This idea has only just been received by the BIHA
head office but we greatly admire it for its
sheer audacity. When we first saw it our initial reac
tion was that it was too good to be true. Here it
is in the same format as it arrived in the office last week.
“I take my newest and best bouncy castle I own to a busy road in my town which has a wide
grass verge and is not located near any footpaths or pavements. I then use a petrol blower to
inflate it. I make sure I park my van next to it, which has been signwritten with my company name
and telephone number. Every time a vehicle drives by, the occupants stare at my castle in
absolute amazement. I usually stay about 2 to 3 hour
s, by which time several thousand cars have
driven by. I have permission from
my local council, but they w
ill not allow the castle to be
displayed during the evening rush hour or after dark.. When I get home the answer phone is
crammed full of messages from people who saw my
castle by the roadside, and want to book it
for their kid’s party. Over the next few days I get
a steady trickle of bookings. Apart from a phone
call to the local council asking for permission, and
a couple of hours of time. The cost is virtually
zero, and brings in a lot of extra business”
Please note that this submitted idea is for inform
ation purposes only. We like it because it takes
initiative and a lot of nerve. However, one problem
we can see with it, is if children somehow
manage to get onto the unit by the roadside. Also,
we believe it may cause a distration to drivers
as they drive past the inflatable. We suggest an
other, possibly safer version of this idea. This
involves asking permission to site the inflatable
where there are a lots of people congregating, e.g
busy shopping centres on a Saturday afternoon,
popular parks, the local zoo etc. Always get
permission first.
26 Marketing ideas, hints and
tips to increase profits.
.
1) Delivering leaflets through peoples letter boxes in your area.
2) Advertising in your local newspaper.
3) Have a FREE listing in your local Thomson Directory.
4) Advertise in your local Yellow Pages. (Highly recommended).
5) Advertise in the shop windows of local newsagents.
6) Advertise in the windows of Toy Shops.
7) Advertise in your local library.
8) Tell all your friends, neighbours, family and work colleagues what you do.
9) Advertise on the noticeboard of the local churches.
10) Advertise on the noticeboard of local supermarkets.
11) Have your phone number written on the top of
your bouncy castle, everyone will see it.
12) If your town has a “Free-ads” newspaper or
similar, you can advertise very cheaply.
13) Getting customer referrels by providing a good service.
14) Write to your local councils, for any council sponsored leisure events.
15) Advertise in doctors and dentist surgeries,
and hospital waiting rooms if permitted.
16) Hand leaflets out at your local shopping center.
17) Advertise in your local wedding shop (the children at the wedding need to be entertained).
18) Advertise at childrens’ playgroups and nurseries, and Mums and Toddler groups.
19) Advertise FREE on company noticeboards. Ask y
our friends, family and contacts to put up
your leaflet on their noticeboard at work.
20) Lend your bouncy castle or inflatable to a char
ity event for FREE. All the money taken goes to
the charity, but you get FREE publicity, (especially
if you hand your leaflets) and if you are lucky,
you will get a mention in the local press.
21) Contact hotels and guest houses. They often
have private functions in
their grounds, e.g.
christening parties, wedding receptions, company
do’s etc which require a bouncy castle or
similar to amuse the children.
22) Check up on all the local newspapers and free papers, to see which schools, churches,
hospitals, community centers, local businesses et
c are having fetes, fairs, open days, sports
days, company fun days, jumble sales, car-boot sales etc. Ring them up to offer them the
opportunity of hiring a bouncy castle from you. Do
this regularly, you will pick up a lot of business
from it.
23) Contact a broker who is involved in childrens
entertainment. Tell them that you will pay them
a commission for every bouncy castle booking which they get for you.
24) Contact all the pubs in your area, which have
a public garden or a large car park. Tell them
that if they hire a castle from you it will a
ttract adults who have young children. Parents can have
a drink, while watching their children having f
un on the inflatable. Some pubs have family fun
days in the summer. Make sure you let them know you can provide the inflatable.
25) You only need to use your imagination to find out
some really great places where you can site
your bouncy castle, and perhaps charge children 50p or one pound to have a go. Here are some
examples: shopping centers, the
village green, country shows, ope
n air museums, zoos, the local
park, a large retail outlet, e.g. a DIY shop or supermarket, etc.
26) You could hire your bouncy castle to the lo
cal childrens home or orphanage, perhaps offering
a small discount.
Two words which will massively enhance your credibility to your customers
Two words to use to develop more trust and confidence
with your customers. This important tip is
all too often overlooked by hire companies, but
can have a powerful effect on showing the
customer that you are a reputable business. Th
ese two words are your name. If a customer
phones me to enquire about hiring an inflatable but does not book one there and then, I will tell
them my name – Mark Jerram, so if they do ring
back they have a contact, and they know there is
a real human being at the end of phone. Also,
if your customers and people who enquire about
your services know your name they are mo
re likely to refer you to other people.
How to make your childrens’ inflatable slides more slippery – instantly.
How to make your childrens inflatable slides more
slippery, so that the children slide down easier.
(and have more fun). Childrens inflatable slides
are a great hire product, and are relatively new to
the inflatable hire scene. For safety reasons, t
he slides are not very steep and as a result the
children often slide down quite slowly. What I do
to slightly speed them up is to spray a wax
based furniture polish (Mr Sheene polis
h works very well) on to the sliding part of the slide, and
then I thoroughly rub it into the material with
a dry cloth. The children have more enjoyment, the
customer is pleased and you are likely to get more referrels. This idea is only really suitable for
childrens slides where there is an inflatable hor
izontal area at the bottom of the slide where the
children slide into and come to a safe stop. This
idea is not really suitable for much larger adult
slides, which tend to be steeper than childrens slides.
How to get FREE crash mats.
How to get free crash mats. Many schools in the UK have large numbers of safety mats which
they use for many purposes, such as gymnastics
and martial arts. When these crash mats start to
get slightly tatty or slightly damaged, the school
usually has to dispose of them and buy brand
new ones. Try contacting a local school in your
area, and offer to take away their slightly
damaged crash mats, in return for which you could
offer a small donation to school funds, or even
a free castle for the day. IMPORTANT!!: Please only contact the schools in your local area, if
members are greedy with this idea and start contac
ting many different schools, not only in their
town but in other towns as well, then there will be less crash mats to go round.
The 15 best FREE marketing Ideas
a) Put your advert up in your local community
centers, church halls or local schools. It is
recommended that you get permission first.
b) Put up your company advert and logo on the side of your van or car.
c) Put your advert up on your staff notice-board.
d) Take advantage of a free advert in your local Thompsons directory.
e) You can benefit from a free advert on
www.biha.org.uk
if you are a member of the BIHA.
f) You can have a free advert on
www.leisurescene.uk.com
– if you are a member of the BIHA.
g) You can have a free advert on
www.partypages.co.uk
h) If you provide a small inflatable for free at your
local playgroup or nurse
ry, you will pick up lots
of business.
i) Provide a free castle for your local shopping
center and get lots of potential customers.
j) Every time you deliver your inflatable to a par
ty, hand out your leaflets to the hosts and ask if
you can put them in the party bags.
k) Stand outside your local schools and hand out leafle
ts to the mums and dads as they arrive to
collect their kids.
l) Register your website with the various search
engines – many of them will let you register for
free.
m) Set up reciprocal website links with other companies which are also in the leisure industry
such as children’s entertainers, marquee hirers, mobile DJ’s etc.
n) Some shops e.g. supermarkets and newsagents
will allow you to display a postcard size
advert either free of charge or for a small fee.
o) If you donate an inflatable to a local high profile ch
arity event, it is likely that the local press will
be there. Send a press release to them, well befor
e the event with a photo of the inflatable which
you will be donating for the day.
Summing Up.
We hope that you like all these ideas, hints and tips
. We would like to express our appreciation to
all members who kindly sent in their ideas to make this possible. If you have any more ideas,
hints and tips which we could include in anot
her report, we urgently need to hear from you.
We are currently in the process of compiling a list of brief testimonials from members who have
read these free reports. When you hav
e finished reading them all, we would be very grateful if
you could write a sentence or two about what y
ou thought of the ideas mentioned in these free
reports, and perhaps about the BIHA in general. You can either email your comments to us at
mark.jerram@ntlworld.com, leave a message on
the answerphone 01344 485389 or write to us
at the BIHA office address at 33 Ladybank, Birch Hill, Bracknell,
Berkshire, RG12 7HA, United
Kingdom. As a token of our appreciation to you fo
r submitting a brief testimonial to us, we will
send you another free report by email, show you
another idea about how to increase your profits
by hiring inflatables.

 

 

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