Starting a Bounce House Party Rental Business? Tips & Options
If you do some internet searches to find out details on starting a bounce house party rental company, there are 3 things that you will typically find.
1. There are lots of companies that manufacture bounce houses that have little articles online that promise easy success, no work, crazy return on investment with just working two days a week. They paint a fluffy picture of the business just because they want you to buy their bounce houses that they sell.
2. Then, there are all the articles from people that want to sell you the computer program, business plan, book, or trade secrets. Their message will be that the bounce house business is easy IF you buy/have what they want to sell you.
3. Then there are all types of super generalized articles from people that have never even worked in the industry. You can spot these because they will have no real information in them. Just very general information that is not really helpful at all. (Example - "To be successful, all you have to do is call local businesses, go door to door, print flyers, join your local Chamber of Commerce etc.")
What I am writing is NONE of those things!
Hi, I'm Jonathan Todd and I own/manage Spacewalk of Martin St. Lucie. I do it full time and have well over 100 inflatable rentals every single month (so I think I'm qualified to write about this industry.) There are 2 main options that everyone has when it comes to starting a bounce house rental business.
Personal Ownership and Franchise Ownership.
There are pros and cons for each approach and I'll address them in this article.
But first, lets click off the ridiculous articles that talk about how easy this industry is, and lets get back to reality.
Fact 1. Bounce house companies come and go like the wind. Why? A variety of reasons but a common one is that the owner thought that it would be easy. Spend some money on some bounce houses, maybe even make a website, print some business cards etc. Who needs safety training or insurance? They are already one injured child away from being put out of business. But that is not usually why they quit.
Here's how you can figure it out. Get on Craigslist, and look up party rental businesses for sale. Some of them will be honest, and some will not be honest. If they are honest they will say that most of their inflatables have rips, tears etc and are not rentable. WHY? Because good bounce houses cost a lot of money, and even the good ones need repaired, and the cheap ones need repaired even more often. Repairs are very expensive. Once people see that it is tough to pay for equipment that only lasts so long, pay to fix it, and then pay for all the rest of the business expenses, they see that they are giving up holidays and weekends slaving away for hardly anything. Once people figure that out, that is when they put their business up for sale... but of course they won't tell you that.
Don't misunderstand me! This business can be very rewarding!!! It's just that when you look at inflatable manufacturers websites, they paint a very shallow picture of what it is actually like. With that as the backdrop, I'm going to go into the pros and cons of each ownership approach.
Personal Ownership -
1. You get to do things exactly the way that you want to (although granted this can be good and bad).
2. You don't have to pay any type of royalties for using equipment that you did not have to buy.
Franchise Ownership -
1. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE THE EQUIPMENT OUT OF POCKET! This has been huge for me. While writing this, in just 3 years I have acquired over 175k worth of inflatable equipment THAT I DID NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR! I have enough overhead just paying for the extension cords, water hoses, dollies, brake pads, trucks, trailers, employee wages, generators, tables, chairs, fuel, etc. It's been majorly beneficial for me not to have to purchase the inflatables as well since they are, by far the most expensive part of the investment. Tarps, stakes, sandbags, blowers, and other equipment is provided as well.
2. Space Walk splits advertising costs with you. I'm not left to myself if I want to run an advertisement. Space Walk pays half of my advertising ventures.
3. Free inflatable and blower repairs and replacements. This has been one of the major components of my success. Repairs cost a lot of money, and shipping to and from the repair place costs a lot of money. When someone leaves my blower out in the rain, that could have cost me 300.00. But with Space Walk, that is covered.
4. Training. This is a major one. Lots of injuries, lawsuits, broken equipment, and poor customer service is happening because people just don't know what they are doing!
5. Free Website & SEO Space Walk is backed by an SEO company that specializes in getting your/their website (which is given to you as well) ranked well on the internet search engines. Their website is already ranked well and has had over a decade of internet traffic so it is established in Google's eyes. You would be given a part of their website so there is an immediate benefit since if you were to start your own website, Google would not give it the time of day since it has not proven itself. All of your competitors would outrank you just because they had their websites up before you.
6. Free accounting. Taxes and accounting are done for you. You will be given a 1099 and will just have to factor in your personal expenses.
7. Free business insurance. Most of the companies in my area do not have insurance because it is very expensive. I have the advantage of being one of the few companies that can service churches, schools, commercial events, and city parks since the majority of them demand to see insurance. As time goes on, this has become more and more valuable since insurance costs have skyrocketed. Also, if you are independent, and you happen to get a claim, your insurance will go up so high that you probably will not be able to afford being in business anymore.
8. Success Coaching. Space Walk has a staff of people that specialize in giving any guidance that you would need to succeed. A lot of specific tips and strategies will be given to them by successful space walk branches, and then they will, in turn, give that information to you.
9. Reservation program. A reservation program is, in itself, a costly investment. This is another thing that is provided free-of-charge.
10. Space Walk Family. In Space Walk, we treat each other as family. Another branch can call me up, whom I haven't even met, and ask for help, and I will help them with whatever advice they need. One thing that helped me to grow from 6 inflatables to over 75 inflatables in just 3 years was advice from other Space Walk branches. I am 1 of over 250 branches that belong to Space Walk. They have been doing this for over 50 years and have produced many highly successful bounce house rental companies across the nation. Many of which are doing a high six figures a year, while others just work it as a part time business to supplement their income. Personally, I took over a branch that was part time, while I was unemployed, and then built it into a very profitable full time business.
So what DO you do?These are just a few things they do; I kind of just skimmed the highlights. In short, here is what YOUR responsibilities are:
1. Answer the phone for customers.
2. Respond to emails.
3. Give great customer service.
4. Keep the inflatables clean between rentals.
5. Rent out the equipment (obviously).
6. Get paid. I promise! That's it! That is the beauty of the Space Walk Program. It frees you up from so much so that you can concentrate on running a great business without all of the hang-ups. No wonder so many branches have been with Space Walk for over 15 years. You should never make a business decision hastily, and so I offer you the opportunity to call me if you want to hear about it out of my mouth, or if you have specific questions. One of the first things you would need to know is if a territory is available in your nearby area. And of course, if you were in the position to relocate, then you would have all the more options. And remember, do not even think about this business if you are not prepared to give up at least most of your weekend (or at least know someone that would work the business for you)
Things you will need -
A place to store the equipment. (Garage, storage unit, shed, or large covered trailer.)
A pick up truck or a van with a trailer.
3 low buy-in levels to choose from.
With over 250 branches nationwide, many people have made Space Walk work for them. Some people do it full-time (like myself), others have other employment as well and so they do it part-time. Whatever your situation is, people are having parties, bounce houses are exploding in popularity and there is money to be made. Think about if it's right for you. Call or email me with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org That is all. Feel free to explore my website and give me a call.
See my business website here.
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