Starting your own inflatable rental business is a very exciting experience, but can also be a stressful one if you don't know the details of the starting process thoroughly. This is a very profitable business that generates a good cash flow while you are having fun setting up fun parties. You will be servicing to people many times a year, and with good service you provide they keep calling you back party after party. This is the type of business that does not require too much time from you - minimal hours during the week, most of the deliveries just over the weekend. This is something you can do on the side or you can comprehend on it and make it your full time moneymaker. We have created some steps for individuals to review and possibly follow:
Business name and license - you need to obtain a business license once you have come up with a proper name you want your business to carry. Also, location must be determined, you might want to have a home office and store inflatables in your garage to keep your costs low for the time being. If you are opening up a business location make sure you have the proper permits and licenses.
Research the competition - gather information on the rental businesses around, get familiar with the products they rent, see if they have websites, try to get pricing information. Search online or look at your local advertisements to see which rentals are around you, what they provide. Rental prices vary in different cities, but you will be able to have a better idea as to how much to price your rentals. Try to see if your competitors rent jumpers only or do they also rent other things (tables, chairs, concession machines, tents, umbrellas, tableware). Adding other rental products to your rental business is a great idea because most people like to rent everything from the same place to save money and time. Try to find out what areas your competitors deliver to, what they charge for their deliveries, figure out if they have been successful and if so, then how. Of course people do not like to share all of their business information with you, but you might come across someone that is willing to help, in a good way.
Set up operations - you need to set up your phone lines (800 number, cell phone, etc). This is a good time to start thinking about your business cards, rental agreements, website, bank accounts. Also make sure that you have the transportation aspect of the business covered (getting a proper vehicle and moving equipment, you will need a pick up truck). Looking into getting insurance is a good idea as well. You need to make sure that you have good communication efforts with your customers, therefore make sure that you have a dependable answering/voicemail system, this way you will get your customer's messages if you are not available to get to the phone. When you are getting your website set up make sure that the products and the services you are offering are all listed, customers will not guess what you do or do not have. Make sure that your customers can communicate with you through your website via email. Also, as you are getting your business cards and flyers printed, have your featured products show-off on them, this will make them more attractive and more presentable.
Inventory - hopefully you have researched some of the inflatable makers and know more or less about the products. Figure out how much money you are going to invest on buying the inflatable products, try to get the most for your money without getting the products that are cheap but will not last long. Make sure you are getting warranty on the units you are purchasing, this is very important; you need to get dependable units. Make sure that you get units that are not only jumpers but also slides, interactives/games, water slides or combination units. Make sure that you have enough accessories to accommodate each unit. Accessories might include blowers, tarps, storage bags, sand bags, spikes, patch kits/glue. Also, a good heavy duty dolly is going to be a “must” sometime real soon. As you purchase more inflatable units, have them added to your website. As you are picking the units that you want to purchase, pick the ones that will attract the crowd (color, shape and theme).
Advertising - even though “word of mouth” is the best type of advertising, you still might want to advertise in the local yellow pages, newspapers, etc. Make sure that all your units have banners with your business info on them. The banners advertise your business every time an inflatable is pumped up. You can also have fliers at schools, churches, camps, carnivals, basically anywhere in the public eye. Keep a database with your customer's information on it; you can update them from time to time on your special events and your new products. This way you keep in touch with people valuable to your business. Keep in mind that your advertising needs to be consistent in order for you to get adequate results.
We hope that the information provided will help you through your start up process. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact our experienced and friendly staff at 800-219-9211.