With spring a couple of weeks away, it is time to work on your 2013 bounce house plan. I recommend all of our customers go through this exercise annually. It is a great way to not only evaluate your business but your competition as well. Lets make our list and then we can go into more details.
- Inspect All Existing Equipment
- Purchase New Equipment
- Re-quote Insurance
- Pricing Strategy
- Marketing Plan
The top priority to any inflatable rental business is safety. Having properly working equipment is fundamental to safety. Equipment inspection can not only avoid injuries but it can prevent downtime to your rental fleet. Inspecting all equipment should not just be a preseason event. I recommend all of our customers inspect their equipment periodically during the season and prior to storing for the winter. Why do I recommend inspecting equipment at the end of the season and as part of the preseason plan? What if you store your commercial inflatables in a barn and field mice make it their home for the winter? What if your store your bounce houses in the basement and did not realize you had a water leak? You get the point. I always start with the inspection phase because the results can dictate the the next few steps.
With all inflatable rental businesses, I recommend building into your yearly budget the purchase of new units (we can discuss at a later date selecting the right bounce house). This does a few things for you. First, it keeps your fleet new and fresh for your customers. Second, rental inflatables will be abused. You have to plan on replacing them in order to survive. Lastly, it is an excellent way to market your business. When customers see that you invest in your business, they are more likely to invest in you.
Insurance is a big expense to a rental business. Just like your auto and home insurance, you should quote out your business annually. This will ensure you are either paying the right amount or too much for insurance. Having completed the two previous steps will allow you to give insurance companies detailed information that will get you the correct coverage and rates. It is important to note that the price of you premium is not the only concern here. Make sure that you have enough coverage to protect you and your business.
The number one question I am asked by start up rental businesses is how much should I charge for a rental. This is the million dollar question. Its simple, charge as much as you can to get as much business as possible. What does this mean? I tell everyone you have to do a market analysis and find out what your competition charges. If you can rent a commercial bounce house for $150 a day in your market, why not charge $140 and gain market share? Make sure when you work on your pricing strategy that you pay attention to the services and amenities that are being offered. For example, if a competitor is offer $100 daily rentals but the customer must pickup and return, maybe you can charge $100 as well but offer a delivery and pickup service. This ties into your marketing plan. Make yourself standout from the competition.
Marketing is huge to a businesses success. Spend too much and you are in trouble. Spend too little and you are in trouble. Where do you start? I recommend starting with a critique of your previous years marketing plan. What were you good at and what were you bad at. It might be over simplified but in 2013 try to do more of what you were good at and less of what you were bad at. If you seem to attract daycare parties, you need to reach out to more. Once you complete your critique, it is time to move on to the competition. See what works for them and try and improve how you approach that marketplace. Do not try to reinvent the wheel! Like I mentioned above, make yourself standout from the competition.
Taking the above steps will get you a jump on the competition. Have a great 2013!
One of Blast Zone’s most popular inflatable themes, the Misty Kingdom Combo, is available in a Commercial Inflatable Slide. The Mystic Mountain design theme resembles both the residential Misty Kingdom and the commercial Misty Kingdom. This single lane inflatable slide is 12′ wide, 22′ deep and 15’6″ tall. Like all Blast Zone Commercial Inflatables, this slide features reinforced vinyl ranging from 15 oz on non-impact areas such as the palm tree leaves to 18 oz on impact areas such as the slide and bounce areas. Each seam features commercial double stitching as well as 30 oz vinyl reinforcements to ensure the integrity of the item. With heavy duty safety netting at the top of the slide, Blast Zone has made this not only an aesthetically pleasing slide but safe beyond industry standards.
This inflatable slide is identical to the Roaring Rainforest Wet/Dry Slide accept for the them and can double as a wet or dry slide to maximize uses. Simply add the water mister to convert your slide to the wet slide. Another bonus feature to the Mystic Mountain Slide is the front archway has the ability to and one of there colorful themed art panels. With nine different themes currently available, you can convert your tropical themed inflatable slide into a birthday party or princess themed. The ability to convert one inflatable into 10 by adding different panels in a huge perk for inflatable rental businesses.
Riders begin by entering the Mystic Mountain Slide on the front left hand side. They can climb single file order up the climbing wall to the top of the slide. We have not gotten the exact height of the slide platform but we estimate it at 8’6″ high. Once at the top of the slide platform, riders can easily slide down into the slide stopper barrier and then exit to the left.
Overall we are very impressed with this inflatable slide. It offers a lot of versatility and functionality. Most slides in this same size range are typically more expensive with inferior materials. We think Blast Zone will have a top performing water slide with the Mystic Mountain Inflatable Slide.
When the temperatures begin to soar my kids immediately start asking to go to the pool to cool off. The idea of packing up the bags, putting together snacks and loading into the car isn’t always exciting to me. We have a blow up pool and sprinkler that used to be much more thrilling when the kids were at a younger age, but times have changed. It was time to add an inflatable water slide to the mix. In my search, I quickly discovered there was a lot to think about. First off, how much would I want to spend. This is certainly a big investment, but I did not want to skimp on price to in turn end up with something low quality. The next thing I discovered is that the water slides did not have to always be used with water. This opened up the idea of getting something we could use year round, making it a little less painful to spend the money. Finally, the fact that there were units that were not just slides, but also had a bounce area, was the perfect scenario for me. We had always talked about getting a bounce house and now we would be able to have the best of all worlds!!
I came across a website called bouncehousesnow.com. This site was so easy to navigate and had a ton of choices for what I was looking for. There was actually a section for residential water slides!! Talk about simplifying the process. I quickly scrolled through the water slide page and found seven choices of water slides that also had a bounce area. Each one of the slides had very specific details including dimensions, weight and features, clearly stated on the product page. A friend of mine had told me to pay attention to how much the inflatable weighs, because most of the time I would be taking it out of the garage and setting it up on my own. After, careful consideration and the collaboration of my kids and husband, we decided on the Misty Kingdom Bounce House and Ball Pit by Blast Zone!! Let me tell you we were not disappointed!!!
The Misty Kingdom shipped out the same day I ordered it and was at our house in no time. Great service bouncehousesnow.com!!! My kids and all of their friends have used this thing non stop. It is for sure the hit of the neighborhood. It kind of bums me out that I am not a kid again, how fun. Because this is a residential grade bouncer, there is a weight limit of 100lbs for each user and a total weight limit of 500lb. The max weight of 500lbs would be five 100lb children using it at one time. It is very important to obey that 100lb limit to keep the integrity of this unit up to par. We have had kids from 1 year old to 8 years old using it and they all enjoyed different features in their own way. When the child first enters through the velcro enclosure, they end up on the bounce area. This is about 7′ x 9′ and easily fits 3 kids bouncing at a time. There are hand and foot holes on the climbing wall that make it pretty easy for the kids to climb up to the slide area. The slide is about 6′ wide and 6′ long. This is not a huge slide by any means, but certainly does its job. For obvious reasons, it is much faster when using the water feature. As for the water, it is continuously flowing out of a sprinkler at the top of the slide and ends up pooling a few inches at the bottom of the slide to provide a splash. When using it without the water, the areas at the base of the unit can be filled with balls to form a shallow ball pit. This is a great option for the colder season.
Set up was surprisingly easy. I really did not know what to expect, but there is nothing to it. I have it down to a science now! I take the bouncer off of the shelf and place it in a wagon and wheel it out to the yard. At 60lbs it is definitely manageable for a 5’2″ woman. There are two air tubes coming off the back of the bouncer. The short air tube gets tied closed and the longer tube gets tied around the blower. I plug the blower into a normal outlet and press the on button. There are stakes included that anchor down each corner of the bouncer and the blower. That’s it, the Misty is fully inflated in less than two minutes. When using the water feature you simply connect your garden hose to the connecter on the Mist Kingdom and turn it on. When the kids are exhausted at the end of the day, they will be, taking it down is a bit of extra work when wet, but a MUST. On days that we have used the water feature, I turn the blower off and detach the air tube and open up the other air tube to let the air out as quickly as possible. Once there is enough air out, I tip it over the best I can to get the majority of the water out of the splash areas. I then re-inflate the unit and let it stand inflated until it is COMPLETELY dry. The risk of mold and mildew is very high if you were to roll this up wet. Once the bouncer is fully dry, I have found that folding it up in three or four folds the long way and then rolling it like a sleeping bag works the best. It does come with the storage bag, but after struggling to fit it in I decided to use a rope and tie around it to secure the sleeping bag form. This also lets it breathe better than the storage bag.
Although I really do not have any other brand experience to compare to, I think Blast Zone really does a great job. The Misty Kingdom has commercial grade material on the bounce surface along with commercial double stitching. Blast Zone reinforces the areas that take the most abuse with an X-weave stitching pattern. I felt very comfortable knowing there was a 90 day manufacturers defect warranty on the inflatable and a full year on the blower. I did not have to use either of these. All in all this has been a great purchase for our family that we intend to use for years to come.
One of Blast Zone’s most popular bouncer slide combos is available in a Commercial Inflatable Slide. Named the Roaring Rainforest because the design theme resembles the Rainforest Rapids Commercial Bouncer Slide Combo. This single lane inflatable slide is 12′ wide, 22′ deep and 15’6″ tall. Like all Blast Zone Commercial Inflatables, this slide features reinforced vinyl ranging from 15 oz on non-impact areas such as the palm tree leaves to 18 oz on impact areas such as the slide and bounce areas. Each seam features commercial double stitching as well as 30 oz vinyl reinforcements to ensure the integrity of the item. With heavy duty safety netting at the top of the slide, Blast Zone has made this not only an estetically pleasing slide but safe beyond industry standards.
This inflatable slide can double as a wet or dry slide to maximize uses. Simply add the water mister to convert your slide to the wet slide. Another bonus feature to the Roaring Rainforest Slide is the front archway has the ability to and one of there colorful themed art panels. With nine different themes currently available, you can convert your tropical themed inflatable slide into a birthday party or princess themed. The ability to convert one inflatable into 10 by adding different panels in a huge perk for inflatable rental businesses.
Riders begin by entering the Roaring Rapids Slide on the front left hand side. They can climb single file order up the climbing wall to the top of the slide. We have not gotten the exact height of the slide platform but we estimate it at 8’6″ high. Once at the top of the slide platform, riders can easily slide down into the slide stopper barrier and then exit to the left.
Overall we are very impressed with this inflatable slide. It offers a lot of versatility and functionality. Most slides in this same size range are typically more expensive with inferior materials. We think Blast Zone hit a home run with the Roaring Rainforest Inflatable Slide.
My son’s birthday is in June and every year we have his party in our back yard with friends and family. Living in North Carolina it seems it is 90 degrees or above every year for his party. In the past we had the kids jump in out tradition bounce house and we would blow up a pool to have them cool off. Last year, my son was turning three and we decided he and his older brother were old enough to get a large inflatable water slide. The prices were a bit daunting when I first began looking into purchasing. Since we already had a really nice bounce house, I wanted something that was strictly a residential grade water slide. This narrowed my search a bit because many of the slides out there also offered a small bounce area as well. After researching online for days, I was able to eliminate quite a few of the lower priced brands due to poor reviews of the quality of material and stitching. I quickly realized that if I wanted a product that was going to last, I would have to spend more money. My kids were three and five at the time, so I certainly wanted to use this for years to come.
After looking over all of the options with my husband and kids, we ended up making a unanimous decision on the Cyclone Back to Back Water Park by Kidwise. This water slide looked like it could certainly provide years of entertainment. The best part about this unit is that it offers two identical slides setup back to back from each other. When it is just the two boys playing they can use it at the same time and at a party with several kids there is a constant flow going up and down the slides. Each slide offers it’s own climbing ramp that consists of fabric covered rungs. Children of all ages have used this water slide with no trouble getting up. I will say that I implemented a rule at my house of no climbing up the ramp while someone is coming down the slide. With flailing arms and legs it seemed to be a bit dangerous. The slope of the slide does provide a good amount of speed to keep the children thrilled. Keep in mind this is not like going down a plastic water slide at a commercial water park facility, but it still does keep them happy. At the bottom of the slide is a pool of water about six or so inches deep that the kids end up in. Try and set this unit up on as level of a surface as possible so the water is evenly disbursed through the “Lazy River” area. Again, this is really just a shallow wading pool area that encompasses the entire water slide. In the middle of the unit there is a tunnel that opens up to a small pool area on each side with a really fun water cannon. This kids are able to squirt each other as the come down the slides. Yet another great feature to keep them entertained. At our parties the small children, mainly one and two year olds were able to keep cool and out of harms way in theses areas. The final feature I want to bring up are the basket ball hoops on each side. The Cyclone does not come with balls for these hoops, but I went to target and picked up a couple of the smaller sized plastic balls with characters on it and it worked perfect.
I do want to mention that this water slide is HUGE. With inflated dimensions of 17′ W x 36′ L x 10′H, make sure you have the room. Without the blower it weighs 106lbs!! I am able to pick up our bounce house by myself, but this one I need help from my husband. The Cyclone comes with easy to follow direction on hooking up the water lines. It is more involved that our other bounce house that only requires plugging in the blower and it’s inflated in a couple minutes. There are velcro tabs around the slide that secures the tubing throughout. It was a bit intimidating the first go round, but now it is pretty simple. You need to attach the water tubes while the unit is deflated or partially inflated. The blower attaches to an air tube off the back of the unit and there is a fitting to screw in the garden hose. Keep in mind that the water is running constantly while in use. This allows for a constant flow of water down the slides and out of the water cannons. One everything is attached and secure it is just a matter of turning on the blower and the garden hose. You are up in running in only a few minutes. Make sure that after the unit is inflated, you use the plastic stakes provided by Kidwise to secure the unit to the ground.
PLEASE NOTE: In my opinion this is the most critical part of owning a water slide. After each use you need to drain all of the water and make sure it is 100% dry before storing it. What works best for us is to deflate the slide, tip it over to get as much water as possible out, slide it over to a dry area and inflate it until it is completely dry. This may sound like a hassle, but it really is not too much extra effort to ensure we will be using it for years to come. If the slide is put away with water in it, it can quickly grow mold or mildew that is almost impossible to remove.
Overall, we are very satisfied with this purchase. Our kids as well as all of their friends have had nothing but hours of fun. Make sure you do your research on what is best for your family. We ended up purchasing through bouncehousesnow.com and were very satisfied with the fast service.Certainly don’t go and buy an item just because it is the cheapest because you may end up disappointed.
Blast Zone’s Magic Castle Commercial Bounce House is one of the most popular units in the inflatable industry. It is available in five different sizes ranging from an 8′ x 8′ to a 20′ x 20′. The most sold unit is the 13′ version. This is based on affordability at $1,399.99 (today’s price) and size. At 13′, it is large enough to handle up to eight riders and/or 800 lbs. The size is also still manageable for home use, schools and churches that don’t have the equipment that some of the inflatable rental companies do. Lets take a closer look at the Magic Castle 13. Designed out of commercial reinforced vinyl ranging from 15 and 18 ounce vinyl and 30 ounce in the seam areas. With double reinforced seams, Blast Zone has decided to offer a 2 year manufactures warranty which covers all defects, not wear and tear. In addition to the 2 year warranty, they are including a 5 year promise which allows owners who experience a defect in years 3, 4 or 5 to purchase a replacement a percentage of the sale price. The safety netting is not only heavy duty but provides a large visibility window for safety. With a removable shade canopy, you can block the sun in the warmer months. Please always check the surface temperature before letting your riders use any inflatable. If they sit out in the sun long enough, they are bound to get hot. This inflatable is what we call bang for the buck. Esthetically pleasing, affordable, basic design accommodates the masses and extremely durable.
Due to the popularity of the Magic Castle 13′, Blast Zone has decided to make a panel version. What is a panel version of the Magic Castle? Imagine convert one inflatable into ten by adding different banners to the front of the unit. This is very popular for rental companies. This allows them to have a lower amount of dollars invested in inflatable yet still appeal to events of all kinds. Below is an image of the Magic Castle with a birthday theme.
The flexibility that panels give a rental business is a tremendous advantage. Five years ago, a start up bounce house business would need to invest in multiple units to have different looks. Now a rental company can outfit their fleet with the base unit and have the ability to accommodate parties of all themes. Below you can preview the art panels that Blast Zone is currently offering.
As of this article, the Birthday Panel is the only panel in stock. The remaining art panels are expected to arrive sometime in March. It is important to note that at this time, these art panels are only available for the Magic Castle 13′ and you must purchase a Magic Castle 13′ Panel Bouncer. Currently these are in limited distribution and can be bought exclusively on BounceHousesNow.com. Be on the lookout for additional banners shortly.
When using a bounce house it is important to follow the manufactures rules and guidelines in the owners manual. Blast Zone has created a video safety piece that is now included with all of their inflatable bounce houses and water slides. While this video pertains to only Blast Zone bounce houses, it still provides great basic information for general inflatable use.
For more information, please visit us at http://www.BounceHousesNow.com