Jumping Into the Bounce House Rentals Business

Jumping Into the Bounce House Rentals Business

At face value, a bounce house rentals business seems like a relatively simple venture. One that practically anyone could pick up, run with, and profit from. And in a very broad, general sense, that's a pretty accurate assessment. Starting and running a bounce house rentals service is, generally speaking, a low cost and low effort method of adding "business entrepreneur" to the end of your name.

Of course, that's not to say the bounce house rentals business is for everyone. Like with any business, bounce houses come with their own set of perks and challenges that may render a person perfectly suited to the job, or disastrously overwhelmed by it. The business model itself has advantages and disadvantages that could make or break your engagement with the events industry.

So what exactly is involved in a bounce house business? What sort of mindset do you need to be successful in this industry? And what deterring factors are there that might turn someone off from making this sort of investment in the entertainment and event services space?

The Business of Bounce Houses

A commercial bounce house may include water featuresAt its core, a bounce house business is a fairly simple operation. As the owner, you'll buy bounce houses (also known as moonwalks, jumpers, bouncy castles, etc.) which you lease to clients for their events.

Your company (which may just consist of you alone) drives the equipment (one or more bounce houses, blowers, and other items) to the client's event, sets it up, and then returns later to break it down and take it back to base.

Bounce house rentals require seemingly big but relatively small initial investments; each commercial bounce house can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. You'll need a vehicle large enough to move the bounce houses around, as well as a place to store them (most can be rolled up to fit inside your home garage, though). And then there's the costs of blowers, patch and repair kits, vinyl, and adhesives.

This can be a physically demanding field of work, too. Commercial bounce houses often weigh hundreds of pounds and may not be manageable by a single person without the use of carts and dollies.

Some companies will lease out more party and event equipment, too. You'll need to calculate in the costs of that equipment—party tents, tables and chairs, staging, heating, lighting, etc.—to figure out your startup investment. But don't let that scare you off, of course. It's acceptable (and recommended) to start small with just two or three bounce houses.

If you do decide to scale up, you'll need to invest in infrastructure as well. Training and hiring employees, buying more bounce houses, adding another truck, replacing your aging equipment, expanding your inventory ... all of this is going to increase your overhead.

Are Bounce House Rentals Right for You? Are You Right for Them?

A commercial bounce house rentals business is a rewarding investment, and not just financiallyRunning a passable business, running a good business, and running a great business are three very different propositions. It isn't simply a matter of whether or not that business is right for you. You need to also be right for the business. And that's as true in bounce houses as it is anyplace else.

To do great in this industry, you need to really love fun. Yeah, I know ... everyone loves fun, right? But it's one thing to have fun, and something else entirely to enjoy being the person delivering that fun. You have to be the sort of person whose day gets a little brighter when you see someone else smile. The sort of person who feels warm and fuzzy when they see their work making other people happy.

A friendly, outgoing, child friendly demeanor can take the right business owner far in the bounce house space. Most of your clients measure ROI—their return on investment—in smiles, laughter, and safety. Happy guests make for happy clients. And happy clients are usually the only type who also fall into that greatly appreciated "repeat customers" category.

Those guests are almost always going to be children, too. Some bounce house rental companies cater exclusively to adult bounce house rentals, but it helps to really love kids and to want to provide a safe, fun party experience for them.

Are Bounce Houses Good Business?

With those bigger philosophical questions out of the way, we have to know whether bounce houses are a good investment from a business perspective. And the answer there is generally a yes, so long as you match up with the industry.

Bounce house rental companies have limited upfront costs with little overhead. Your initial investment is returned pretty quickly. It's a great family business, too; you can involve your spouse, your kids, and your friends and have fun in the process. And best of all, the time commitments aren't going to be as stringent as they'd be with most other business startups.

To get things started you should have two or three inflatables and a vehicle large enough to move your largest inflatable around—ideally a box truck or large cargo van with a bit of room to spare. A dolly or cart is also mission critical here.

You'll want to take some time to read over instructions carefully and to invest in actual, proper training. The equipment is all relatively easy to use, but accidents can and will happen. Training can help mitigate that risk exponentially.

Another big out-of-the-box expense that some business owners have woefully undervalued in the past? Lawyers. Your business should invest in a quality local attorney who can walk you through insurance and liability issues, service contracts, licenses and permits, tax stuff, and all the legal mumbo-jumbo involved in running a business.

The Time Investment

Perhaps one of the most attractive features of owning a bounce house business, for some interested entrepreneurs anyway, comes by way of the time investment. The very, very, very limited time investment.

Owning a business traditionally requires you to apply large swaths of your time toward managing a plethora of moving parts. Even throughout much of the event planning and event services worlds, that standard holds firm. But party rentals? This is one industry where time constraints are rarely troublesome.

The standard operating procedure in the bounce house business involves driving the equipment to the client, setting it up for them onsite, and then returning later at a scheduled time to break it down and pack it up again. And otherwise, the rest of your time is free time. Your equipment is off making money for you while you're doing something else.

Many bounce house business owners start out in a part time capacity, renting out their equipment on weekends or other days off. They might schedule one or two days per week toward bounce house rentals, and only expand on that after business has picked up. And some just want their bounce house business to be a side thing, gently padding their monthly budget with a few hundred extra dollars per weekend and per rental.

What's great about the inflatable bounce house business is its inherent dynamism. Whether you want to do it part time on weekends or turn it into a full-scale, full-time operation, bounce house rentals are popular enough in most areas to be profitable year round and on your schedule.

Bounce House Headaches

Like with any business, the bounce house rentals world is chock full of largely unforeseeable and unavoidable mishaps that will surely upset even the most chipper business owners amongst us. And these circumstances simply can't be dodged, either.

Regardless of where you live or your climate, you will invariably be forced to endure a slow period, which might range anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If you live in moderate, temperate climates, as we do here in Buffalo, it would be wise to invest in indoor inflatables so you can remain profitable all year. But even then, you're going to encounter times of the year where you simply aren't raking in what you normally do.

This is especially true in January, when our industry always suffers a bit of post-holiday lag. A lot of potential customers are "partied out" from the holiday season. the cold and dangerous road conditions mean people aren't as keen on going out to events. You'll want to try and be prepared for this slow-down as best you can.

Speaking of weather, equipment damage is another factor we all need to be wary of. Weather can change at the drop of a hat, and your inflatable investments can take a beating in poor conditions. Rowdy event guests and guests violating safety rules can leave equipment beaten up. It makes sense to preemptively invest in repair items and kits, and have long term plans for replacing aging or worn down equipment.

A first aid kit is also a sound investment. Bounce houses are usually quite safe, but accidents do happen. children can accidentally collide with one another or suffer bumps and scrapes. And grown ups playing around in a bounce house for adults are just as susceptible to these sorts of accidents, too.

Commercial Bounce House Rentals and the Business of Fun

The bounce house rentals business is a great one to get into, but there are some cons as well as pros.Starting a business is never easy. You'll hear executive types tossing around the phrase "turnkey operation" frequently, but there's simply no getting around the fact that every business model is going to present its own set of challenges, pratfalls, payoffs, and hill climbs.

You're not going to simply buy a few commercial bounce houses and start making money instantly, and you can probably safely ignore anyone who tries to tell you otherwise. A bounce house rentals company is just like any other business in a lot of ways. You need to market your services. You need to network. You need to crunch numbers and calculate expenses. You need to put in the work.

All of that having been said, bounce house rentals can be a fun and lucrative business to get involved with. A business where the work itself is rewarding in more ways than just financial ones. But it really does take the right sort of person to make a bounce house rentals business successful. And this isn't the "earn quick money easy and fast" sort of venture some other websites make it out to be.

Your bounce house rentals service can be part time or full time. It can be a summer gig for added income, or it can be a year round adventure that you're hoping to scale into a full blown (yes, the pun was intended) empire. If you do decide to give this business a spin, we hope you'll come to Tent and Table for all of your inflatable and event planning needs.

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