From: The British Inflatable Hirers Association (BIHA).   www.biha.org.uk    Prepared by Mark Jerram. BIHA Founder.

 

 

Welcome to the BIHA newsletter no. 24  (Released 18th November 2003).

 

Please note that this newsletter is copyright  BIHA. 

 

If you have received this newsletter in error, please accept my apologies and send me a blank email to mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  typing “delete” in the subject bar.  Please note that this newsletter is sent free of charge to members of the BIHA.  If you are reading this and you are not a member – please go to section 24 in the contents.

 

 

Contents:

 

          1.    Introduction and announcement of a new colour logo. www.biha.org.uk/images/logo.htm

    2.    IPIS - Inflatable Play Inspections Scheme http://www.ipis.org.uk/

    3.    PL Insurance News

4.       Spotlight On A Hirer

    5.    Second hand inflatables for sale (E-mailed out separately on 16/10/03)

6.    What to look out for when buying a second hand inflatable.

7.    Different names for bouncy castles around the world.

8.    Brand new safety mats for sale

          9.    BIHA message board  http://uk.msnusers.com/BritishInflatableHirersAssociation

          10.  Real life hire stories

11.  Used skittle alleys for sale

12.  Please check your free advert on 3 national websites

13.  Terms & conditions of hire for giant games.

14.  Hints & Tips

15.  Please report any accidents to the BIHA.

16.  BIHA safety cartoons.

17.  Protect your computer from viruses.

18.  LIW show 2003

19.  Get a low cost website from Act Dynamic   http://www.act-dynamic.co.uk/   

20.  How to remove silly string residue.

21.  Can you help  (Cleaning Party Popper Stains)

22.  Who’s who in the BIHA.

23.  A word from Roger Alexander.

24.  Invitation to non-Members reading this newsletter  http://www.biha.org.uk/

25.  Final word. 

 

 

1)  Introduction and announcement of a new colour logo.

 

I am pleased to announce that the BIHA has now grown to over 750 members (which represents approximately 50% of the UK inflatable hire industry).  Again, I would like to thank all those manufacturers and members who have recommended to their customers / contacts that they join.

 

The BIHA logo is now in colour (as well as black and white) and can be downloaded from the following website:  www.biha.org.uk/images/logo.htm 

Please note that displaying the BIHA logo on your business stationery, websites, yellow pages ads etc. is a privilege reserved strictly for BIHA members only.

 

Summer 2003 has been the hottest and driest probably since the long heatwave of 1976.   As a result, inflatable hire bookings have been at their highest for many years.  Several well established members have reported that 2003 was their best ever year.

 

During the summer I visited a trade show in Surrey where they had on display a huge inflatable church, you can see a picture of me in this inflatable church by clicking on http://www.biha.org.uk/church.htm    You can see some outside views of this amazing inflatable at  http://www.airquee.co.uk/church.htm  

 

In this newsletter, we have an excellent selection of real life hire stories.  The first one featured is by one of Wibbly’s staff members and is one of the most amusing hire stories I have ever read.

 

There is also a good number of hints and tips which have been sent in by members.

 

Despite an excellent season, it was very sad to hear of the tragic death of a small boy on a bouncy castle as reported by the national press during the summer.  The exact details of this tragedy are not clear, but apparently he hit his head on the top of the metal blower, while he may have either been running in the garden or climbing on the back wall of the castle.  This tragic death has brought it home to all hirers of the tremendous importance of safety and adequate supervision (e.g. by the parents)  when inflatables are being used.

If there are issues that are going on that you would like us to know about please contact us. If there is anything unfair that you have come across, or if you have experienced unethical business practices, we want to hear about them. Our intention is to gradually raise the level of expectations and professionalism within the UK inflatable hire industry. By doing that we also want to offer clean business practices that will promote and foster good relations between different hire companies and between hire companies and manufacturers.   The BIHA cannot get involved and act on your behalf unless we know about the issues that are real to you. Email us at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com 

The UK, generally speaking, has a superb range of inflatable manufacturers, who produce some of the finest inflatables in the world.  The BIHA strongly recommends that its members support these manufacturers.  During 2004, the BIHA will be giving much more attention to helping to promote these manufacturers to both BIHA members and to non-members. 

Next month (December 2003) is the third anniversary of the BIHA.  To celebrate it, the BIHA will be publishing volume 2 of “How to turbo-charge your profits from hiring inflatables”.   Volume 1 of this publication was published in January 2001, and has helped countless members increase their profits and confidence in the business.  You can read volume 1 online at  http://www.inflatedprofits.com/  If you have any good ideas to improve profits, increase safety, or anything that makes our businesses easier to run – please email me – Thanks…….

 

Please note that all the second-hand inflatables in this newsletter were emailed to all members on the 16th October 2003.

 

2)  IPIS  (Inflatable Play Inspection Scheme)  www.ipis.org.uk

 

Following a meeting with the HSE and other various trade associations connected with our industry, it has been decided to have a clearer structure for the testing of inflatables in the UK.  To see more details of this please visit  http://www.ipis.org.uk/ 

 

3)  PL Insurance news.

 

I have had a huge number of emails and telephone calls from members ref. the rising cost of PL insurance for hiring inflatables.  At the moment,  the BIHA recommend Leisureinsure  see www.leisureinsure.co.uk 

 

 

Last month, I attended a business meeting and an MD of a small scaffolding hire business was sitting next to me.  We discussed his PL insurance and he told me his premiums had risen from £5k per year (in 2001 and 2002) to £28k per year in 2003.  I asked him how he could survive and he told me that he contacted all his clients and explained to them that he would have to put his prices up.  Virtually all his customers agreed that they would have to pay more.  In fact he used it as a strong selling point, and at the same time was able to offer outstanding levels of service to his clients.  At the moment, despite this huge increase in premiums his business is still doing well.  Perhaps there is a lesson we can learn from this.

 

 

With regards to this big increase in PL insurance premiums which unfortunately affects all 1,500+ hire companies in the UK.

 

 

There are several options available to help offset this higher cost….Here are some of them:

 

1)     You put your prices up to cover this extra cost, and at the same time offering higher levels of service.

2)     You downsize your inflatable hire business (which would probably cost you more money in the long run).

3)     You supervise your inflatables (or get a staff member to do this). Insurance premiums are a lot less but you have to weigh up the extra costs of supervision.

4)     You form a limited company which offers you some degree of protection in the event of an insurance claim being made against you. (However, in the event of proven negligence, the courts can bring about a charge of corporate manslaughter).

5)     You liaise with your local council and local HSE officer who will check that all your inflatables are safe and get them all tested by a manufacturer / registered tester. Then, if in the unlikely event that a claim is subsequently made against you – you can show the relevant documentation and test certificates proving that your inflatables were deemed safe to used by the general public.

6)     You team up with another company (e.g. form a partnership) and share the cost of PL insurance.

7)     You spend more time than usual going through the correct safety procedures with every customer and drive home the fact that they must adhere to your safety requirements. Also ensure they sign your disclaimer and terms and conditions of hire. The BIHA have recently produced a cartoon safety sheet. This is very useful to show the children or attaching it to the inflatable or something close by.

 

 

I hope these 7 points make sense,  please email me any comments on the above to mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  

 

 

An incident experienced by a member.

 

I have been in regular contact during the last few months with a BIHA member who has experienced an unfortunate incident.  Without going into too much detail or naming the member or their insurance company.   The facts in a nutshell are as follows:

 

The member was operating a large inflatable slide on a regular pitch.  A small child came down the slide and was just about to walk off when an older child slid down shortly after and collided with the first child.  The first child burst into tears and ran to its mother, who comforted her child.  There were several witnesses who confirmed that the child was not noticeably injured, but merely shocked.   However, later in the day the child’s mother returned saying that her child had broken his leg as a result of this incident, and she demanded the members’ PL insurance details.   Some time later the PL insurance company paid a small compensation sum to this woman.  This was despite the fact that witnesses came forward to confirm that they had seen the child run to its mother immediately after this incident. (How can a child run if they have a broken leg?).   As far as the member knows, no solicitors or lawyers were used to fight this woman’s allegations.  (The old adage probably came into play i.e. it is cheaper to pay out a small claim for compensation than it is to hire a lawyer to fight the claim which may be lost anyway).

 

I am absolutely appalled at this case, as it seems that a member of the public may have committed fraud, and yet still received a small sum of money in compensation.   The actual BIHA member concerned was not able to renew his PL insurance on his slide and as a result it has forced him out of business.

 

Fortunately, this type of incident is very rare,  but we all need to be aware that it can happen.

 

Had the BIHA fighting fund existed a few years ago at the time of this incident – then the outcome may have been very different.

 

A couple of BIHA members have emailed me to tell me that a Fighting Fund is not necessary, and that PL insurance cover would be sufficient. This case above clearly demonstrates that they may be wrong.  Imagine this situation…The safest inflatable operator in the country suddenly has a claim against him which is handled by the insurance company in a satisfactory manner. However, when they come to renew their PL insurance a few months later, they may find to their disappointment that they are refused cover, because they had a claim or an outstanding claim made against them.

 

As a BIHA member, you will have various levels of defence available to you.  For more details on this please refer to the last newsletter at www.biha.org.uk/news23

 

With regards to the BIHA setting up a fighting fund to help members who may have a claim made against them (either spurious, unfair or fraudulent),  I have had a very mixed response from members.  Many members have emailed me to give their support on this idea, (and have liked the idea of having a free prize draw each month to help finance this fund).  Whereas other members have contacted me to tell me that it would not work as the BIHA is not big enough (750 members), due to the fact that legal fees can easily run into thousands of pounds very quickly which would empty the BIHA fighting fund and mean that there would be insufficient funds to pay a lawyer(s) on the next case.  I hear what these members say, but I am also aware that historically, the claims experience of inflatable hirers over the last few years has generally been very low.  (The exception to this was about 3 years ago, when there was a couple of large claims which had an adverse effect on the average).

 

As mentioned in the previous 2 newsletters, www.biha.org.uk/news22.htm and www.biha.org.uk/news23 a fighting fund could be operated very simply (e.g.  £2 to £10 per month from each member depending on the number of inflatables that each member operated).  Initially, I was told that the best structure for a “fighting fund” would be as a registered charity.  I am still interested in this route. However, there is a lot of “red tape”, rules and administration, and I am concerned that it may stifle the aims and objectives and the vision of this “fighting fund”.   The other option is to set up the “fighting fund” as a Limited Company, completely separate to the BIHA, and run by a board of directors, with company secretary and treasurer etc.   Any surplus of funds in any one financial year would then simply be rolled over to the next financial year and so on.  If a member needed substantial funds to pay a legal team to defend a case then this would be at the discretion of the board of directors.  It is important that I emphasise that the “fighting fund” would be created to help a member who was facing a spurious, unfair or fraudulent claim.  In the unlikely event that a member was obviously negligent  e.g. they forgot to provide safety mats on a hard floor, and a child was injured – then the fighting fund would not be used for this purpose, as it was down to negligence on the part of the operator.

 

If you would like to be involved in helping to set up this “fighting fund”, or you have had any experience in the past with this type of fund – please email me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  

 

In due course, I will be emailing a short questionnaire to all members to get their feedback and ideas on the introduction of a “fighting fund”.

 

Food for thought:   There are now 750 members in the BIHA.  If, on average, each member contributed say £4 per month into this “fighting fund” – this would equate to £3,000 per month or £36,000 per year.     £3,000 would probably cover the legal fees of defending a small claim,  and providing it was successful would mean that the PL insurance company would not have to pay this money out.

 

One interesting comment which the above member made to me when this women sued him for compensation for her son’s “broken” leg was that if this woman had come up against the “might” of the BIHA (i.e. all its 750 members) who had all chipped in to pay for a lawyer to fight her case then the outcome may have been very different and he might still be in business today.   

 

 

 

4)  Spotlight On A Hirer  (Tony Kerr – Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear)

 

When the BIHA newsletter first started, one popular section was “Hirer Of The Month”. As a result of comments from various members, it has been decided to resurrect this section of the newsletter under a different name (Spotlight On A Hirer)

 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself, Tony?

 

I am 55 years old, married, with 3 boys aged 21, 18 and 13. I enjoy tennis, hill walking and until I was 52, I played a lot of football. I am an avid reader of biographies and most fact based books. I started hiring bouncy castles in 1986.

 

How did you get into the inflatable hire business?

 

I was on the fund raising committee of our local rowing club and we needed money for tractor tyres for our beach retrieval vehicle. To raise money I loaned a large bouncy castle from the local council, which we ran for three days at our village fete. Everything went really well, and in 1986, I looked into the possibility of starting a private hire business. I carried out an opinion poll on the local beaches and shopping precincts putting various questions to families e.g. If you could hire a castle for your garden, would you do it and how much would you expect to pay? Having received a very positive feedback, I then went to the local library and looked through all of the Yellow Pages to source manufacturers in the UK. I then wrote to them and obtained brochures and prices from them. I then put a business plan together with projections of annual turnover, approached my bank and borrowed £4,000 for capital purchases.

 

In 1986, I noticed that looking at the Yellow Pages there were no other private hirers and indeed no category for bouncy castle hirers. As a result I went into children’s entertainers section. That was my start.

 

What problems have you encountered in the business?

 

The area where I live, Tyne & Wear, is nearing saturation point with nearly forty registered inflatable hire companies and numerous other non-registered part-time operators.

The legitimate inflatable hire industry is undoubtedly facing a crisis in the reluctance by insurance companies to give PL cover to anyone with any outstanding claim or even an allegation of injury leading to a claim. When cover is given the premiums and excesses have escalated so much that I think it will increase the number of operators without cover. Because of the overheads of bona-fide hirers the pricing gap between ourselves and the part-time “cowboys” is substantial which means that the cowboys may offer a cheaper quote to the customer and therefore pick up the business. The poor customer may get a very cheap price because the castle provided by the cowboy company is old or neglected or the installation and auxilliary equipment is not up the standard required (I have seen many times in the last 17 years castles sited which have not been pegged down, and no safety mats provided etc.). Also there has been no PL insurance and the level of service has been poor.

 

What other comments would you like to make?

 

I feel that as general awareness of the problems that our industry faces and such problems are realised by bodies like the BIHA which put our case to insurance companies and the HSE, life will eventually become easier for our industry to continue and make it harder for cowboys to ‘make a quick buck’ off the back of customers.

Hiring out inflatables is without doubt a form of entertainment that is here to stay, so to keep up, we will keep the same policies that have kept us going for the last 17 years which are:

1.      A friendly, flexible and professional service.

2.      Reliability, punctuality and politeness on all jobs.

3.      Well maintained and clean equipment.

4.      A well earned pint at the end of a good/bad day

 

Are there any ideas, hints & tips you can share with other members?

 

In adverse weather conditions put a ground sheet down in front of the bouncy castle, this will help to stop children walking on wet, muddy grass and then getting the mud on the inflatable.

 

Finally, how have you benefited most from your BIHA membership?

 

Some companies and public bodies e.g. hospitals, schools and colleges have asked if we were BIHA members before they booked an inflatable from us. Being a BIHA member has certainly increased our prestige and credibility in the eyes of our customers (both private and corporate) and also in the eyes of other hire companies.

 

Thanks Tony for taking the time to speak with me.

 

If you would like to participate in “SpotLight On A Hirer” for the next newsletter (Christmas 2003) then please e-mail me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com

5) Second-hand inflatables for sale. (Please note that a large selection of second-hand inflatables and accessories was emailed to all members on 16th October 2003).

6)  What to look out for when buying a second-hand inflatable.

Buying second-hand has always been a sensible alternative for those major purchases in life.  Houses, cars, and boats, for example, are popular second hand purchases. Yet, buying second-hand also carries inherent risks. Are you getting a good deal or inheriting someone else's problems?  You'll need your eyes, your ears (and your nose!) and a little gut instinct to know if the second-hand inflatable you are looking at buying will be a good investment or a complete waste of money.  Here are a few things to think about before you buy a second hand inflatable.

Who is the manufacturer?

Is it a large manufacturer with a reputation to uphold or some chap on his own working out of a garage?  The reputation and track record of the manufacturer can give you key information about the wisdom of your purchase. 

Who is the seller?

Is the seller a private individual or the manufacturer? You may get a better price from a private individual, but a manufacturer is in a better position to repair an inflatable or offer a warranty.

A manufacturer also has his reputation to maintain. Let's face it. If you buy a used inflatable from a manufacturer and it turns out to be a great investment, you'll probably return to them when you are ready to buy new! And also tell other hire companies and fellow BIHA members.

Why is the seller selling?

You may not get a straight answer to this one, but ask anyway. Some hire companies have a policy of never reselling inflatables. Fortunately, inflatables take up relatively little space and even hiring the inflatable a few times a year may deliver a better profit than the second hand price would be.

If the answers you have received to this point are positive, it's time to have a look at the inflatable. The best way to evaluate an inflatable is, well, inflated and in person. If for some reason you can't inspect it in person (for example you live a long distance from the seller), ask for a recent video of the inflatable in action.

Assuming you are able to inspect the unit in person, your eyes are the first tool to use in your evaluation. Look for obvious wear such as places where the thread is giving way, abrasions to the vinyl and spots where seams are starting to separate.

Examine the stress points. Turn it over and check the bottom. Does the unit appear to have been dragged repeatedly? Are there mould/mildew spots, tears, nicks or duct tape repairs? Are there spots with mismatched vinyl denoting an amateurish patching or repair job? Is it clean?

Stay away from any inflatable that has a strong mildew smell. It will never go away.

Some final thoughts:

·        If possible always ask for proof of purchase for two reasons. One is to know the true age of the inflatable. The other is to know the unit isn’t stolen.

·        Consider more than just price when buying used. Take into consideration the amount of repair work required before buying for price only. Sometimes it is better to spend a little more money and be safe than sorry.

·        Always ask for test certificates, manuals and any maintenance records.

With regards to buying a second hand blower / fan.  Have a good look at the electrical connections, and check for wear, cracks and tears.  Preferably the unit will have been recently PAT tested.  Ensure you hear the blower working, if it rattles, then this may be due to worn bearings or a loose nut on the impellor.  Check the blades of the impellor, are they in good condition?

When looking at second hand inflatables and blowers, it is always a very good idea to take someone with you who is experienced and knows what to look out for.

 

 

7)  Different names for bouncy castles around the world

 

I recently searched the internet for different names for bouncy castles across the world.  
 
It makes interesting reading……..
 
Party Jumps 
Astro Jump
Jolly Air Jump
Funny Jump
Jumps
Jumpers 
Bouncing Castles
Air jumps
Moon walkers
Jumping castles
Moon jumps
 
If you have come across any other names for bouncy castles which are not mentioned above – please email them to me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  and I will include them in the Christmas edition of the BIHA newsletter.
 
 

 

8)  BRAND NEW SAFETY MATS FOR SALE


 
NEW SAFETY MATS.


 
SIZES ARE APPROX 8 FT X 3 FT X 2" THICK


 
ALL SAFETY MATS ARE HEAT SEALED AND HAVE SMALL AIR HOLES AT ONE END FOR EASY ROLL UP AND STORAGE.
 
SAFETY MATS ARE MADE FROM HIGH DENSITY FLAME RETARDANT FOAM AND ARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH BS585 PART 2 SAFETY REGULATIONS.


 
PRICES ARE £50.00 EACH+P+P OR £450.00 FOR 10


 
PLEASE CONTACT CLAIR 01702 615260 ESSEX.


 
Clair@mgminflatables.fsnet.co.uk

 

 

9)  The BIHA Message Board, and how you can benefit………..


 A message from Wibbly  (One of the message board managers).

 

Just a few words for all the BIHA members out there who are are not as yet members of the message board. We currently have 225 members and most post messages on a regular basis. It is a very good way of keeping in touch with other hirers and is a good source of information, as well as being a good forum for sharing views, tips and ideas.


 I was wondering if we could improve the message board. One way I have thought of doing this is to ask for volunteers; people who have a knowledge or expertise connected with the bouncy castle business e.g. an electrician for electrical advice, someone who knows about health and safety, maybe a manufacturer who can advise on new designs, repairs and alterations, in fact anything. If you would like to volunteer for any of these, or indeed if you have any other suggestions which you think may be of help to other members, please either email me direct at petrovitchbh@aol.com  or visit the message board.

 

To make it a bit easier, I have put a link to the message board here:

http://uk.msnusers.com/BritishInflatableHirersAssociation

 

Pete @ Wibbly Wobbly World

 

There are many advantages to members who use the message board as members can automatically receive any messages posted direct to their email inbox and therefore receive up to the minute updates on any industry specific topics currently being discussed. Or take advantage of the for sale board to advertise or buy things for sale without having to wait till the next newsletter.

 

Also your views, hints, tips and opinions are very much valued and I am sure other members would like to hear and comment on what you have to say. Remember this is your association and without your input and that of the other members the Association cannot function to its full potential.

 

The message board is strictly private and is only for inflatable hirers and members of the BIHA or those who have close links with the industry.

To access the message board please click the following link. (You will need to be connected to the internet at this time)

 

http://uk.msnusers.com/BritishInflatableHirersAssociation

You will find that you are refused entry at this point (It is a members only site) and you will be asked if you want to join the site and assuming that you do proceed to do so after which you will receive email confirmation that you have been accepted to join by one of the message board managers, and you will be given instructions on how to access the board and post or answer messages also.

Should you have any problems accessing the board or have trouble signing up to MSN (You may be also asked to sign up to a Net Passport, this is quite normal, just follow the on screen prompts to complete a membership account, this is completely free and provided for by MSN as a security feature) Please contact me at anytime by email petrovitchbh@aol.com

Thanks for taking time to read this and I hope to hear from you soon on the BIHA message board.

 

10)  Real life hire stories.

A real life hire story from one of Wibbly’s staff.

Sunday morning, myself and another member of staff went to a deliver a bouncy castle to a customers house.

After the delivery I phoned the boss (Wibbly) and ORDERED him to phone me back on my mobile. He debated doing this but curiosity got the better of him. My mobile rang and I recognised the ringtone as Carmen, which meant it was Wibbly ringing. I answered and my first words were “Boss, I ain’t Happy!!!”

Now you may be wondering where this is all leading… well let me enlighten you, Imagine the worst ever booking you have ever done, a few things spring to mind, Bratty kids, obnoxious nay violent parents, drunks, teens, dog poo or horse poo on the castle. Many possibilities there, but all wrong, Sunday morning I got the weirdest, freakiest, strangest and downright shocking booking you could ever imagine. Oh My God I hear you all cry, what can be so bad….. Let me explain………

Myself and the other member of staff arrive at the booking, it is a christening, we think no problem, should be easy. How wrong we were! As we arrive,  the customer opens the door and says “Hi, we were waiting for you, the kids are looking forward to the castle” sounds promising, doesn’t it?  So I ask, “Where’s it going love?” she says “Just round the back in that garden across the courtyard”. I walk over to the fence, taking note of the sign on the gate which says “Garden of Tranquility”  I should have realised at this point but no, I thought that’s nice, a place for the family to relax.  I survey the site, and find nothing wrong with it, so I say to the customer, “Where can we plug the extension into?” she says “ how long is your lead? “ biting back a rude comment I say “ how long does it need to be as I have 2 x 25 metre extensions” “Well if it is long enough, do you want to put it in the house or the storeroom over there?” I say “ the storeroom is probably better, as you won’t have to step over the cable all day.” Fine” she says “ I will just go open it”.

So off to the van I go and start to unload, I hand the extensions to the other member of staff and say “ Go with the lady and plug it in” and off they go. I get everything on site and start setting up, after everything is done I look round for the other member of staff for the electrics, no sign, so round the side of the house to the courtyard I go, no sign, round to the storeroom and I shout to the staff member , they come out of the storeroom still with extension cables in their hands, but their face is white as a sheet. I ask “ What have you been up to for all this time? “ they respond “ B…B…B…B…B…B…B…B…B…” I say “What are you on about?” “ B…B…Bo…Bo….Bo…Bo” To which I getting annoyed say “ Don’t bother I will do it” so taking extensions I go into the storeroom and come straight back out. I shout to the customer who says “ Is there a problem? “ I say “ Yes you could say that, come here” taking customer into the storeroom I say “ That is a problem, so is that, and that, but that one is the worst” She says “why?”

Now at this point I must mention that the 4 that I mention above were in fact about six foot long, 2 foot high and about 3 foot wide at the largest part, Wood looked a bit like pine, satin lined, lids off, 3 were empty, thank god, but 1 wasnt. 4 Chuffing coffins, supposed to be a sodding christening in a !*!*!*!  funeral parlour. Why did I ever get involved in this business!

So, as you can tell I was not happy. So after completing the delivery I phoned Wibbly, and he does not believe me. He thinks I am on a wind up, so I say  “you can come on pick up boss", he says  “fine, not a problem", he thinks he’s going to call my bluff.

So around comes the pick up time, and he says come on then. So we get in van, he’s smirking cos he thinks it’s a wind up. We get to booking and customer says "hello again", I say "Hi" and I say to Wibbly “ The electrics are in there” pointing to the storeroom, he says fine and wanders over, walks in and stops, I walk over to see his reaction, only to find the coffins are no longer there, he is grinning like a cheshire cat and says “ did you really think I would fall for that?” at which point from behind a curtain comes the undertaker pushing a trolley which has a open casket that is occupied by a recently departed old lady, Wibbly just stares at it as it is wheeled past, when it disappears around the corner he says “ let’s just pack up and never mention this to any body ever okay?” I say “sure boss whatever you say” he then leaves me and walks to the van, climbs into the back, sits down and does not move again until we arrive back at the warehouse at which point, he enters his office, closes the door and when we go to see if he is alright about 10 minutes later we notice the drinks cabinet is now empty, the 3 empty bottles on the floor explain why Wibbly is a little bit drunk.

So as you can see, I think this now qualifies as the single worst booking ever.

Anybody reckon they can beat it, let me see ya try!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wibbly’s Mad Staff

(Mad, I’m bloody furious)

 

 

Dear Mark,

Heres a story for the newsletter 

My Husband went to deliver a bouncy castle to this customer who was adamant she wanted the biggest castle we had, which was our big 20ft x 20ft unit.  Happily my husband takes this castle to her.  On his arrival she told him she wanted him to take it to her garden without the use of the trolley.  Being close on a 1/4 of a ton he tries to roll this castle to her garden.

 After around 20 minutes negotiating a car and other bits in the garage, she suddenly says she does not want it to rest on her grass very heavily as she has just laid grass seed down and she doesn't want the growth damaged.  After my husband explained to her it will only put on the grass the weight the castle is and there is no other way of setting the castle up unless there was somewhere else she wanted it put which was more suitable, she reluctantly agreed to having it left there. When it came to blowing the unit up, she said not to put the blowers anywhere near the plants as the hot air would damage the plants and the plants that were there were cold air plants!!!!! my husband couldn't win

 When he collected the unit she was very surprised all was still well with her garden and her "cold air plants"!!!!!!!!

All the best

Simone

 

 

 

Dear Mark

 

 

I had a phone call from a customer to say that he wanted to book a cheap 12ft x 12ft bouncy castle for his kids,  Could he have something at a discount as he didn’t have much money…I reluctantly agreed and knocked £20 off the normal price. .Anyway, I arrived at the house and drove through electronic security gates at the front, his and her mercs in the driveway both with personalised plates…indoor swimming pool and jacuzi. I am not very happy at this this point.  I approached the customer and said “why did you lie to me on the phone?”. The reply, Oh we always say it to tradesmen who have never been to our house before as we always get a good discount from them.

 

 

 

 

Hi Mark

 

I delivered a bouncy castle to a customer’s house and unfortunately my 12 x 12 bouncy castle was too big for the garden because a partition wall came in the way. I told the customer that I am not able to leave my bouncy castle in the garden because it would damage my equipment and it did not meet the safety requirements. He asked “what should I do”, I replied for a joke, “well I think you should knock the wall down”, The customer disappears for 5 minutes and comes back with a hammer and some other tools and this may sound untrue but he actually knocks the wall down just to fit a bouncy castle in there. Well he said he would put it back later, it honestly took me by surprise

 

Regards

 

Ziad ali Amjad

 

Krystal Bouncy Castle Hire

 

 

 

Customer rang me after booking a Tweeney themed castle:

 

Customer: I have booked Tweeney castle for XXXX date, it isn't the same as the one in the Argos catalogue for £29.99

 

Me: NO! Because:

 

a) Argos one is £29.99 - we are charging £45.00 to hire for day (work it out for yourself!)

b) You can only get one 3 year old on the Argos one!!!

 

 

 

Dear Mark,


I have just read your e-mail regarding Silly String spray on bouncy castles and know full well how hard it is to remove as we are still trying a year later.
Our story is that we went to pick up our castle at the end of the hiring to find a lot of drunk adults, unsupervised children and lots of silly string spray on the castle. Thinking that it won't be too bad to get off when it sets we rolled up the castle so that we could clean it later, mainly to escape from the drunken idiots!


The next day we found that it has stuck like chewing gum and has proved impossible to get off especially in the seams.. Needless to say when the person phoned to book the castle again we declined. Her only comment when I explained why I didn't want her to use our castle was, "you b******ds." and then she slammed down the phone. I take it that she wasn't happy! We have now included no silly string spray as a condition of hire on our contracts.

 

BIHA Note:  When I attended the IAAPA trade show in Florida last year I chatted to some American inflatable hirers and one of their biggest concerns was “silly string” on the inflatable.  They take it so seriously that in some cases they will ask their customer to buy them a new inflatable if theres has been covered with the stuff.  Every time you do a hire – remind your customer that silly string can destroy or damage an inflatable.

 

 

 

 

Funny customer story


A customer booked our 12ft x 14ft castle and I checked that her garden is big enough as it was in an area where I know thay have small gardens. Oh yes, no problem, was her reply. When we got there the grass area was about 6ft x 6ft, the rest of the area of the small garden being borders containg various plants including roses and vegetables.


On saying to the customer that there is no way the castle will fit she replied that when she bought the house she was told the size of the garden and said that yes it would fit. I enquired if it included the plants etc around the outside and she said oh yeah I forgot about them.

Kind regards


Sue Hyde, Cosmic Castles.

 

 

 

 

Also one customer thought for his 3 year olds birthday that a reasonable "day's hire" was 8.30am until 10.30pm, I explained that he wouldn't be expected to do a "days work until those times, customer was very rude and then confided in me that he had tried to sue the last bouncy castle business as he was unsatisfied with the number of hours hire he had been given! Asked customer very nicely to book elsewhere!

 

 

Regards

 

Paula 1-2-3 Jump

 

 

 

 

I am surprised it stays up with all those holes in it. (He was referring to the air coming out of the seams in the bed of the castle)

On realising that the castle needed electric to keep the blower going a customer asked how much electric it would use up as she is on a keymeter and its on the emergency electric! When we returned later the castle was still inflated so it can't be that much. Imagine the children coming to the birthday childs birthday to find only a deflated castle to play on!

 

 

 

Last year I took a booking from a lady who seemed quite a worrier. She rang a few days beforehand to check everything was ok and again on the morning of the hire. When we got to her house, a nice new bungalow, I asked where she wanted it set up. She took us to the side of the bungalow and pointed to her back garden. We looked in horror at the 20/30 foot drop to her back garden. Access was either by a bare earth slope or about 35 steps which had been made by placing a concrete slab on top of a block so that only half of the slab was supported. As I only had my Mum helping me I asked if her husband would help us. Between the three of us we managed to get it down the slope, although at one stage we nearly lost the load and the husband landed up on his backside (and got very muddy jeans) and my Mum was almost run over. The garden was lovely and flat at the bottom!

I worried about how I was going to get the unit back up that slope all day. My husband came with me to collect it and we decided it would be best to carry it up the steps. We really struggled not only because of the weight but because it was narrow and awkward with three of us. As we paused for breath about halfway up, the hirer’s husband told us how he had had an accident and his one arm was almost useless!

The lesson I learnt from that was I now always ask “Are there steps to the property”!

Verity James

 

 

 

Also , We keep a note of 'Interesting quotes' from our customers. You might find some amusing for the next newsletter ?

 

Telephone enquiry - Customer asks 'Emm 12 x12 foot, how big is that ?'

 

Telephone enquiry - Customer asks '12 x 12 will that fit in MY garden?'

 

Telephone enquiry - Customer asks 'We've not had a bouncy castle before, what do the children do on the castle ?'

 

Telephone enquiry - Customer asks 'Is that the size you see at park fetes and boot sales etc?'

 

Telephone enquiry - Customer asks 'Would that be the same size that my friend had once?'

 

Telephone enquiry - Customer asks 'I want a marquee and a large castle for adults but I only have a very small garden'

I started by stating the size of the large castle 20x20 feet to which she said' ohh no we couldn't fit that it ' and she wanted a marquee as well??

 

We had dropped a castle and come away, shortly after the customer called and said ' I can't find the off switch'

 

We dropped a castle and asked where the nearest power point was for the lead. The customer looked shocked and stated 'Ohh you need a plug ? I thought it ran on batteries?'

 

Finally. Customer calls end of August -

'I want to book a castle for a week on Saturday, do you know what the weather is going to be like?' I explained that I did not but the castle came with a rain cover and that she could cancel on the day at no charge if it rained' She was horrified at this and stated 'You DON'T know what the weather is going to be like , yet you are still taking bookings from people?'

 

 

That's all for now

Thanks

Jacqui Rowsell.

 

 

 

It reminds me of a booking I did a few years ago where the customer refused to allow me to peg the castle down as she did not want her grass to be “hurt”. As there was a moderate to strong breeze and also as the kids were about 10 years old, I insisted that the castle be staked down on the grounds that childrens safety is far more important than any temporary damage done to the grass. In the end I threatened to remove the castle if she would not allow me to stake it down. She then reluctantly allowed me to stake it. If I had had sandbags on my van, then I would have used these, but I was not prepared to go home to pick them up.

 

Mark Jerram

 

 

How come I can set up an inflatable, go through the safety rules pointing out that it is not suitable for adults, that big people land on little people, and the little one gets hurt, and that my public liability insurance only goes up to 14, and everyone says 'no problem'.

 

However when I return to collect it the adult in charge always says "I don't know how the children keep going so long, I was only on there with them for two minutes and I was exhausted".

 

BIHA Note:  Fortunately, these types of real life hire stories are generally very rare.  The majority of customers we deal with are extremely pleasant and a real pleasure to do business with.  Any business has a tiny percentage of difficult customers.  The inflatable hire business is not immune to having awkward customers.  If you do get an unusual customer or booking – please email the story to me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  and the most interesting (and amusing) stories will be awarded prizes.  All I ask is that the story must be 100% true and not exaggerations or half-truths…………….Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

11) USED SKITTLE ALLEYS

 

Dear Mark, re our telecom we have several new and used skittle alleys for sale. They make good money summer and winter and typically are hired out at between £50 (children’s) and £100. They can be easily stored and transported in a small van or estate car. They can be hired out for fundraisers, sports clubs (cricket, rugby, football etc.), CHURCH GROUPS, CHILDRENS BIRTHDAYS, pubs, clubs etc. They take about 20 mins to assemble. We can supply parts, balls, skittles, accessories and marketing advice to purchasers. They are proven they have worked for us. We can supply new children’s alleys with skittles and balls from £495 and used from £350.00. Adult alleys start at £895 new and £750.00 used. Alleys are from 20ft to 35ft in length and can be adjusted to suit the venue.

 

Regards, Howard Simpson.

 

  Tel:  01384 831749 

  

 

12) Please check your FREE advert on the 3 websites.

 

One of the benefits of being a BIHA member is that you are entitled to a FREE advert on three different websites

which promote UK inflatable hire businesses by county.

 

 

These three websites are:

 

www.biha.org.uk/area.htm (on the  http://www.biha.org.uk/  website)

 

www.bouncy-castle-directory.co.uk

 

and thirdly:

 

www.leisurescene.uk.com

 

Please could you visit these three websites and double check that your Company / business name, address, tel. number, website address

(if applicable) and contact name is correct. If it is correct, you need do nothing more. However, if it is wrong on http://www.biha.org.uk/ and / or

http://www.bouncy-castle-directory.co.uk/ please could you email Roger Alexander on act.dynamic@ntlworld.com

 

If your FREE advert is wrong on  http://www.leisurescene.uk.com/  then please could you contact the other BIHA webmaster - Mark Stevens at

http://www.leisurescene.uk.com/Contact.html

 

If you do email Roger or Mark with your new details, please could you be very clear as to how you want your advert to read.

Always mention your county as this is what each member is categorised by.

 

Please include the following information and which part you want changed.

 

Business or Company Name:

 

Address and postcode (including your COUNTY)

 

One telephone number. (Office, home or mobile)

 

Website address (if applicable)*.

 

Contact name (e.g. John Smith).

 

It would also be helpful if you included your BIHA membership number - i.e. the IH number (but this is not essential).

 

With over 750 members currently in the BIHA, it becomes a real challenge from an administration point of view making sure

 that every member's details are up to date on the various websites. 

 

If you do email Roger or Mark, please could you also forward the same email to me at  mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  so that I can

 keep track on who needs changes made to their adverts.

 

Unfortunately, we are unable to include e-mail addresses in member's adverts. The reason for this is because some members

change their e-mail addresses fairly regularly and the cost of continually updating this information would be too high.

Furthermore, a booking could be lost if a potential customer tried to contact a member on an out of date e-mail address on the

free advert.

 

  • If you do not currently have a website but are considering one  - then Roger (The in-house BIHA web-designer)

 can create a stunning website for your business for a starting price of just £30. (This is probably the lowest cost anywhere in the UK and is

available for BIHA members to take full advantage of).

 

To see a recent example of one of Roger's websites - please click on: http://www.act-dynamic.co.uk/     

 

If you would like Roger to do something similar for your business - please email him at act.dynamic@ntlworld.com and

he will give you a quote. (Prices for a website start from just £30).

 

13) TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF HIRE

FOR GIANT GAMES

If the Hirer is in any doubt as to the meaning of the following, a representative from xxxx xxxxxx  should be immediately consulted.

Please ensure that the following safety instructions, which are for the safe operation of the game(s), and the safety of all, those who participate are followed:

There is no age limit to players, however some game(s) are not suitable for very young children as the large game(s) such as the Giant Jenga, have heavy parts, and are designed to fall over.

The play boards of Ludo and Snakes and ladders can become slippery when wet, please try to keep them as dry as possible.

Darts should not be thrown at anything other than the supplied targets.

The Mega four in a row play board is heavy when erected, and full of discs please ensure that very small children are kept well clear in case of an accidental push over during play.

Any and all damage to, any of the game(s) supplied will be charged for at full retail cost, plus 30% for loss of earnings.

A responsible adult must supervise the games at all times.

The hirer shall be deemed to have inspected the game(s)  and to have agreed that (they, it is) supplied in good condition unless (he/she) brings to the attention of xxxx xxxxxx  when the game(s) are delivered and checked by the hirer when coming in to possession of the game(s) any faults noted by the hirer.

The hire period unless otherwise agreed is from delivery until 6.30 pm or after at the discretion of xxxx xxxxxx  Loss or damage to the game(s) caused by misuse or neglect for any reason shall deem the hirer whose signature appears on this document liable for all replacements, at full retail cost, plus 30% for loss of future business.

Please have the game(s)ready for collection in the same state as (they it) were delivered to you – nice and clean - not dirty, and most importantly dry (the weather may of course intervene)

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Provided that the game(s) (are) used in accordance with the above guidelines and conditions of hire, those using the game(s) should do so safely.

However, accidents can happen. xxxx xxxxxx  or its employees can accept no responsibility or liability for injuries sustained or any other loss, howsoever caused or for the negligence of the hirer, in the absence of xxxx xxxxxx  or its employees.

As the game(s) will be in the hirer’s possession and control whilst in use, rather than xxxx xxxxxx  , or one of its employees, any liability for injuries or other losses caused rests with the hirer.

I DECLARE that I have read and understand these terms and conditions of hire and any relevant operating and safety instructions supplied with the game(s), and I sign the contract fully aware of the implications and responsibilities placed upon me by doing so.

HIRE DATE: -. ……………………… NAME OF HIRER: -

PRINT NAME. …………………………………………….

SIGN……………………………………………………….

xxxx xxxxxx  SIGNATURE………………………….

 

14)Hints and tips.

 

Thank you to all members who have contributed to this section.  If you have any hints and tips which you would like to add to the next newsletter - please email it to me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com

 

Congratulations to Darren Basket of Monkey Meyhem and Deborah Greathead who have won a prize from the BIHA (A giant garden game) for their two excellent ideas  (See Top Tip number 8 and number 12 below).

 

Some of these tips have been repeated in a previous newsletter – but are so good they warranted a second showing!

 

 

TOP TIP 1 Avoid the question, "Anything else?" when attempting to persuade your customer to hire another inflatable or game from you. Instead, give them a suggestion, and help them answer. For example, after you have established what type of an event that they are having, say to them "Many of our customers who get the "bouncing boxing" from us, also find that the "bungee run," or the "pole jousting" is also very beneficial for them. It allows participants of all ages and abilities to participate at the same time. I can also give you a package rate on them."

TOP TIP 2  Buy a diary for 2004. I recommend A4 size with one day to a page. 

TOP TIP 3 To avoid the traffic jams  visit www.theaa.com/travelwatch

TOP TIP 4 Always keep an up to date first aid box with a good selection of dressings. Also make sure you have a fully serviceable fire extinguisher in your van and learn how to use it.

 

TOP TIP 5 Try and get in with a particular local community which has a strong identity e.g. the local Asian community, or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Local National Childbirth Trust etc. and offer them sensational levels of service. Your referrals should go into overdrive, as they are very tight-knit communities and form very close friendships with each other. If they find a supplier that they are happy with, they tell almost everyone who is in their wide circle of friends and contacts.

 

TOP TIP 6   Don’t forget to mention to your customers, suppliers and fellow hirers  that you are a member of the British Inflatable Hirers Association.  You now have a choice of using colour or black and white logos.  You can download the logos direct from www.biha.org.uk/images/logo.htm  Tony Kerr (one of our members who has been hiring inflatables since 1986) has discovered that more and more of his corporate customers are enquiring whether he is a BIHA member before they book with him.  

 

TOP TIP 7 One member posted a message on the message board saying that he was having problems drying his inflatables off during the winter.  One solution to this problem is to get friendly with a local youth club, after-school club or nursery etc. and then ask them if you can use their heated hall to dry out your damp inflatables.  In return for which tell them that they can have a free use of it for a few hours.  Make sure that your PL insurance will cover you for this.

 

As the winter season fast approaches, and most of your bookings will be inside halls, make sure that you allocate certain inflatables which will only go indoors (and never be tempted to put them outdoors if you can help it, in case they get damp or muddy etc).  I still get the occasional outdoors booking from a brave customer at this time of year, but I always recommend to the customer that they try and hire a hall due to the weather being colder.  If they are adamant that they want it outdoors then I have a 12ft x 12ft castle especially reserved for outdoor work in the winter.

 

 

It is worth stating in your Yellow Pages advert that you are able to provide indoor bouncy castles etc. during the winter.

 

TOP TIP 8  (Star Tip)

 

Thought I would share with the members an easy method of pulling out stakes:

 

We always bang our stakes as far into the ground as possible to prevent tripping hazards.  However this makes them difficult to pull out.  In the past I have used another stake to manoeuvre the pegs out.  To make the peg easy to pull out make a small rope circle (loop) and place it under the peg when you bang it in,  this then allows you to put a lump hammer head through the loop and jerk the peg out easily. 

 

Darren

Monkey Mayhem

 

TOP TIP 9

 

When you are getting your inflatables sign written with your telephone number and company name on it,  why not go one stage further and put the hire price on it…for example “FROM £45 PER DAY”.   You will probably get more enquiries and bookings because some people who have never hired an inflatable before may think it is much more expensive to hire.  (Make sure you use the word “From” so that you are not committing yourself to a set price).

 

TOP TIP 10

 

Buy an aqua vac for around £40.00. It makes the drying of a wet castle a lot easier and looks much more professional. The tube can be inserted in through the exit, sucking any water from inside, and easily takes the bubbles from the seams. It is also very useful when washing the castle.

 

Andy Parr,

Caterham

 

TOP TIP 11

 

CLEANING CASTLES

 

I use a weak mixture of Cif, Fairy Liquid and Dettol in spray bottle. I clean each at the end of each hire so it's ready for the next.

 

TOP TIP 12  (Star Tip)

 

Dear Mark


We have not been doing this business for that long and we are still learning heaps, but one thing which I have done this year, is send a letter with pictures of some of our inflatables with prices and a sponsor form to our local schools and day care centres with the suggestion of them raising funds for their school/centre. The idea of a sponsored bounce/slide goes down brilliantly and after they have paid us for the hire of castle/slide they have raised a pretty tidy sum, plus we always get a couple of bookings from parents who see our inflatables, free advertising for us, and saved us a fortune this year.



Deborah Greathead

 

 

TOP TIP 13

 

In the last news letter you mentioned 6 tips relating to safety. I carry an accident book at all times and my safety instructions state that if there is an accident it has to be entered in the book on collection. In this way if someone claims at a later date (up to 3 years) then if there wasn't an entry at that time it can obviously help with the defence.

 

Best Regards

Colin Whittaker

Anytainment UK 

 

TOP TIP 14

 

I have been to a local cleaning supplies company. Tried all sorts of products including graffitti remover. None of them worked. On way home popped into local DIY store and have found something that seems to work!!!

Its another graffitti remover made by a company called HG Hagesan UK Ltd. They have a web site www.HGinternational.com  Their address is:

Unit 11

Grange Way Business Park

Whitehall Road Industrial Estate

Colchester

Essex

CO2 8HF

Tel: 1206 795200.

I bought a 500ml tub for £7.95

Put it onto spare piece of pvc material and although there's still a faint trace of the biro it has removed most of it so its virtually unnoticeable. It does say on the tub to keep away from children and pets so it will need rinsing off well before kids are allowed to use the castle.

 

TOP TIP 15

 

If you are storing your inflatables in a garage or lock-up where the floor is concrete, if you lay carpet down you will protect the edges of the inflatable from getting scuffed.

 

TOP TIP 16

 

This time of year most hire companies get bookings in community centres and school halls etc.  Find out who the caretaker is and get to know them….explain what you do and ask if they can recommend yourself to the people who enquire about having parties in the hall during the winter months.

 

I would like to say a big thank you to all the BIHA members who kindly sent in their ideas, hints and tips.
If any other BIHA member has any tip they would like to contribute to the next newsletter (Christmas 2003) - please email it to me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com   
 
 

 

15)                           Please report any accident to the BIHA.

The BIHA is compiling a list of any accidents  that is experienced by a member’s customers.  This information will obviously be kept strictly confidential.  However if you prefer to remain anonymous please write to me at:  Mark Jerram, 33 Ladybank,  BRACKNELL, Berkshire, RG12 7HA.   

The purpose of this is to try and get a much more accurate picture as to the type and frequency of accidents which are occurring on inflatables.  This will make it easier to set up the BIHA fighting fund.

In addition, if an accident occurs which you suspect may result in a claim for compensation – please also write or email me.  Alternatively, you can phone me on 01344 485389.

 

16)  BIHA safety cartoons.

 

These cartoons (Mk2) are now ready and every BIHA member is entitled to have a copy completely free of charge, and is given permission to copy these cartoons as many times as they want. Please send a large stamped addressed envelope (A5 size or preferably A4 size) to Mark Jerram, BIHA, 33 Ladybank, Birch Hill, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7HA

Please note that if you use these cartoons and attach a copy to your inflatable, in the event of a claim, you will have a degree of protection as it could be shown that you did every thing possible to educate the users against the particular risks involved. Moreover, in the USA, virtually all inflatables that are manufactured have a notice listing all the do's and don'ts actually sewn in above the entrance (often in a semi-cartoon format) so that all users know the risks before they enter the inflatable. (For more details of this please refer to a back issue newsletter - which you can read online at www.biha.org.uk/19newsau/

 

 During the summer, I had an opportunity of testing the effectiveness of these cartoons, by showing them to various children of different ages.  Without exception every child looked at them and studied them.  At one booking, the children sat down and just looked at the safety cartoons for 5 minutes reading all the words. They were totally engrossed and seemed to forget about the castle inflated 3ft behind them.  Also, I noticed that some parents attached the cartoon sheet to the side of the house or similar so all the children and guests could see it.

 

 

 

17)  PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER FROM VIRUSES

After the recent virus alerts like SoBig etc. it is a good idea to protect your computer against viruses.

Install an anti-virus program.

Keep it up to date

Get the latest patches and updates for your operating system from the internet.

Never automatically open e-mail attachments if you are not familiar with the sender of the email.

Download or purchase software from trusted, reputable sources

Make backups of important files

 

18)LIW Show 2003

 

On the 18th  September 2003, I attended the LIW trade show at the NEC in Birmingham.  As usual this was an excellent show, and there was a good selection of inflatable manufacturers exhibiting their products.

 

One of the products that was particularly interesting, was The Moonbug manufactured by Gaz Inflatables.  You can see a picture of the Moonbug at:

 

www.gazinflatables.com/gaz-2004/moonwalkers.htm 

 

 

Click on http://www.gazinflatables.co.uk/  to see the rest of their site.

 

Some of the other manufacturers present at the LIW show exhibiting some excellent products were:

 

Bounceabouts  http://www.bounceabouts.co.uk/

 

CY Inflatables  www.inflatables.uk.com

 

Bargain Bouncers  http://www.bargainbouncers.com/   

 

Just Inflatables    http://www.justinflatables.com/

 

Airquee                http://www.airquee.co.uk/ 

 

Inflatable World Leisure http://www.inflatable-world.com/ 

 

BR Inflatables   http://www.br-inflates.co.uk/ 

 

Gibbons Fans   http://www.gibbonsfans.com/ 

 

The Soft Brick Company http://www.softbrick.co.uk/ 

 

G.S. Engineering  http://www.rodeobullsales.co.uk/ 

 

Funflatables  http://www.delta-clothing.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19) BIHA members are entitled to a low-cost website from Act Dynamic (Prices start at just £10 per year).

 

All BIHA members are entitled to have a web page from just £10 per year from Act Dynamic. That is all you pay! You do not get a domain name but you can put it on your business card as an extension of the Bouncy Castle Directory BCD. (please see http://www.bouncy-castle-directory.co.uk/ ) You can even create your own page and Act Dynamic will upload it into your space for you. The page can contain up to 10 pictures. £10 is all you pay each year and your page will be easily accessible to search engines etc through the BCD which we believe is the biggest bouncy castle directory in the world.

 

Alternatively, If you want a website, and your own unique domain name then Act Dynamic can beat any price that is currently offered by any other website design company. Their email address is act.dynamic@ntlworld.com (Please mention that you are a BIHA member). Act Dynamic also designed http://www.biha.org.uk/   You can visit the website of Act Dynamic at  http://www.act-dynamic.co.uk/ 

 

 

 

20)        How to remove silly string residue which is stuck on your inflatable.


 We have twice recently had the problem of silly string on the same castle. Both times it took quite a bit of time to get it all clean because it covered nearly every inch of the Castle, on top of the pillars, between the walls and the pillars and mainly on the walls (inside and out) and the bed. It did however come off relatively easy with Tar spot remover from a car accessory shop.


Regards
Rob Wilcock


Rentabounce

 

 

21)  Can you help?  We need to remove stains from party poppers.

Hi all,  I have just collected a castle today that was covered in party poppers on front step and where there had been a shower during the day its left the front very stainedHas anyone got any ideas how I get it off??  If you can help please email me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  Thanks…and I will pass your email on..

 

 

 

 

22)  Who’s Who in the BIHA

 

The team that help run the BIHA is growing.

 

At the moment they consist of the following:

 

Roger Alexander – BIHA website designer  and webmaster for  http://www.biha.org.uk/ 

 

Mark Stevens – Administration assistant and web master for http://www.leisurescene.uk.com/ 

 

Pete Bowdidge-Harling (Wibbly)  Message board manager.  http://uk.msnusers.com/BritishInflatableHirersAssociation

 

Tracey Christie - Message board manager.                             http://uk.msnusers.com/BritishInflatableHirersAssociation

 

Ben Cook -  BIHA Safety Officer

 

Mark Ridgway – Management consultancy and systems support

 

Stuart Sharp  -  IT Support

 

Myself – Mark Jerram – founder and association manager.

 

As well as these people the BIHA also has a wide range of other members who help out on an ad-hoc basis.  I would like to say a big thank you to you all.

 

It is hoped that a photo gallery will be published shortly showing all the people who are involved in the management and running of the BIHA.

 

Before the photo gallery is formally set up you can see a photo of me inside an inflatable church at:   http://www.biha.org.uk/church.htm

 

 

You can see a picture of Roger Alexander (The BIHA webmaster)  at:  http://www.act-dynamic.co.uk/merlin.htm  Roger is playing the part of Merlin at “The Knights Before Christmas – On Ice”  Pantomime at the John Nike Olympic Ice-Stadium in Bracknell, Berkshire next month. 

 

You can see pictures of Wibbly and Tracey -The  2 message board managers at http://uk.msnusers.com/BritishInflatableHirersAssociation 

 

 

 

23)  A word from Roger Alexander.

 

I have a new product which will sell during the bouncy castle 'off season'.

I have sold many of these items which I use myself and make myself at present.

I am setting up a manufacturing arrangement with a bouncy castle manufacturer and want to market them in quantity.

 

Only BIHA members need apply.

Anyone interested should let me know and I will tell them all about it.

 

Roger Alexander

 

email enquiries to

 

act.dynamic@ntlworld.com

 

  

24) An invitation to any non-members who may be reading this newsletter.

 

I hope that this newsletter has given you a taste of the BIHA and the large number of benefits available to the members. To date the BIHA has over 750+ members (which represents approx. 50% of all the inflatable hire companies in the UK). Since the launch of the BIHA in December 2000, our industry has gone through some changes, in particular the problems of the soaring price in getting PL insurance and the new Inflatable Play Inspection Scheme (IPIS)  www.ipis.org.uk . As a result of the current problems with PL insurance, the BIHA is focussing on finding a solution, and we feel that the setting up of a "fighting fund" to help members who fall victim to a compensation claim against them is a natural progression for the BIHA to head towards.

 

The other benefits of joining the BIHA are as follows:

1)      Comprehensive list of useful contacts and networking opportunities.

2)      Directory of other members who can be communicated with and friendships created.

3)      Newsletter sent out to all members via e-mail. For example see www.biha.org.uk/19newsau and www.biha.org.uk/news17

4)      Receiving discounts from certain inflatable manufacturers.

5)      Free help-line for hirers. (With 750+ members someone is bound to know the answer to a problem or issue you may have). Including message board facility.

6)      Use of BIHA logo on your business stationary and websites etc. to show your customers that you are a member of a large organisation. See www.biha.org.uk/images/logo.htm 

7)      All members get a free advert on three different websites. E.g. http://www.biha.org.uk/ and http://www.leisurescene.uk.com/

8)      Opportunities to purchase second-hand inflatables at bargain prices.

9)      Health and Safety issues. The HSE now officially recognize the BIHA as being the largest organization in the UK for hirers.

10)  Massive discounts for members who want a website created for them. (A website from only £30 or webpage from just £10 )

11)  Hints, tips and ideas to improve your profits and safety etc.

12)  Many members enjoy the “feel” and the extra security of being part of a large organization and getting that “belonging” feeling. We are now in times of insecurity and uncertainty and this benefit show not be overlooked. Members know that they are not isolated when they are facing problems e.g. PL Insurance issues.

 

 

 If you are interested in joining the BIHA, please could you email me your name, address and post-code to mark.jerram@ntlworld.com and I will send you a BIHA information pack and also an application form by first class post.

 

25) FINAL WORD

 

 

Thank you for reading this newsletter no. 24. I hope you found it interesting and enjoyable and that your businesses will profit from some of the ideas mentioned.  Next month (December 2003) is the third anniversary of the BIHA.  To celebrate It, the BIHA will be publishing Volume 2 of “How To Turbo-Charge Your Profits From Hiring Inflatables”.   Volume 1 of this publication was published in January 2001, and has helped countless members increase their profits and confidence in the business.  (You can read volume 1 online at  http://www.inflatedprofits.com/   If you have any good ideas to improve profits, increase safety, or anything that makes our businesses easier to run – please email me. Also, If you would like to add anything to the next newsletter (No.25) due out around Christmas time - please email me at mark.jerram@ntlworld.com  e.g. second-hand inflatables for sale or wanted to purchase, any hints and tips you would like to share with other members, and any real life hire stories. Also, I would appreciate your feedback on the BIHA having a fighting fund”.

 

 

Prepared by Mark Jerram

 

Founder of the British Inflatable Hirers Association (BIHA).

 

 www.biha.org.uk

 

email: mark.jerram@ntlworld.com

 

Tel:  01344 485389