This idea revolves around the idea of selecting a “buddy” in your local area, whom you can work closely with, and give and receive bookings.
9 times out of 10, the “buddy” will be a local competitor.
Before you dismiss this idea as being too weird and just wishful thinking, I know of several BIHA members who work with “buddies” in their area, and in one case it has directly resulted in their turnover doubling each year over four consecutive years!
EXAMPLE 1: A member passed bookings in his local area to his competitor because he couldn’t honour all of them. After a short time, the competitor returned the favour. RESULT: Any booking which came in for his town was passed over to him by his competitor who had more than enough work.
EXAMPLE 2: A member sadly had all his inflatables stolen from his lock-up in 2013. His closest competitor immediately went to his aid and lent him several castles to stop him letting down his customers. The competitor even did a 100 mile round trip just to pick up some blowers for him. Not surprisingly the first member was taken aback by his act of kindness – and as a consequence they now continuously pass bookings to one another! And both their businesses have benefited!
EXAMPLE 3: When I hired inflatables (full-time) from 1991 to 2005, one of my competitors seemed hell-bent on destroying my business. E.g. He would run my business down in front of potential customers, and if he came across my flyers in community centres etc. he would rip them off the notice board. After a while I decided that enough was enough, and I went and met up with him over a pint. (I also bought a small second-hand inflatable from him which helped matters!) Long story short, we discovered that we got on quite well, and agreed to pass bookings to one another if the customer wanted equipment that the other one didn’t have. E.g. I owned a giant adult bouncy castle, whereas he didn’t, but he owned a bungee run which I didn’t have.
My competitor was also in the marquee hire business, and he encouraged me to invest in some small marquees which I did. He passed a lot of very lucrative marquee and inflatable work to me over a ten year period, because he was simply too busy to cope with them all. I was his “buddy” and he was mine!
I hope some of you can run with this idea and profit from it – although I fully realise that it’s not for everyone!