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#1 Kidcarnivals

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 02:15 PM

Hi there!  I'm so glad I've found a place where I can ask some newbie questions without too much embarrassment.

 

I just established a small rental company, looking to begin taking orders for this spring.  After being a customer (renting for school and church events) for many years, I was frustrated that I could not find what I wanted.  Everyone had the same stuff, and out of many companies, only a few had *clean* stuff in good condition.  For insurance reasons, I stopped renting (as a customer) bounce houses a few years ago, and that meant an even smaller selection of rentals available.  So I decided to start my own company and try to provide more variety.  

 

The first thing I'm wondering is what percentage of business comes from things that aren't large inflatables - i.e. carnival games and concession machines?  Is it worth investing in those? 

 

Second, I know that the larger companies in the area work together when one needs something they don't have, but I'm not sure how that works or how one approaches another company and asks to borrow (rent), say, a popcorn maker.  

 

Last, I originally planned on having only inflatable games and other types of non-bounce house interactives, but now I'm worried that I won't get any business.  Do you find that people are set on bounce houses and combos, or do inflatable games rent well also?  I am thinking of SAFE Archery and the interactive light system from JB Inflatables with an inflatable dome.  

 

I am also considering purchasing a small (but beautiful) obstacle courses from Eyecandy Inflatables, although I don't know if I want to deal with large inflatables and all the maintenance and safety issues.  I'm just having second thoughts about the possibility of getting business without some large inflatables.  

 

Looking forward to any advice!  Thank you so much in advance!  



#2 Mr. Inflatables

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:01 AM

I recommend you work your way up before you go big. I sell inflatables to customers like  you all the time that go to big when starting out by purchasing oversize equipment that turned out to be to large and heavy for them to manage on their own. With in one to two season they are out of business. This specifically occurs to owner operators without employees to help. It's not the lack of money or business that chase them away. Its the hard work involved managing the oversize and heavy inflatables.  

 

Starting out here are some examples of items you can manage 100% on your own so not to burn you out.... Bouncers, Combos, up to 18ft slides, up to 36ft obstacle courses and inflatable games. Inflatables in the 300lb to 500lb range will be easy for you to manage on your own. 

At the point your business has grown that you have a few employees under you for help. That's the time to buy larger inflatables provided your business supports the use of larger inflatables. 


Edited by Mr. Inflatables, 26 January 2018 - 11:04 AM.


#3 big top

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 08:54 AM

I must be missing something or doing something wrong. I cant roll up a 400lb bouncer or slide on my own, but then again..I am older.lol.



#4 Kidcarnivals

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 12:33 PM

Thank you for the response!  The inflatable is only 30feet long, but I'm still worried it will be too much on my own, or even with one helper.  I feel much more comfortable with carnival games and smaller interactives.  So far all the calls I've gotten have been for large inflatables, which I don't have, so I'm a bit worried that no is going to want anything smaller.



#5 Mr. Inflatables

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 02:19 PM

Thank you for the response!  The inflatable is only 30feet long, but I'm still worried it will be too much on my own, or even with one helper.  I feel much more comfortable with carnival games and smaller interactives.  So far all the calls I've gotten have been for large inflatables, which I don't have, so I'm a bit worried that no is going to want anything smaller.

30ft obstacle course for example will be intimidating the first few times you setup. I think you will get the hang of it quickly and learn it's not a big deal.  You can rent anything big or small provided your marketing supports it.  

 

It's ok to start with small things and work your way up to larger as you gain confidence and experience. Starting with small equipment I think eventually you will get frustrated watching the money falling threw your fingers. This will happen when your setting up your small stuff and you look around at all the other vendors and you will think to yourself .... "I could be do that" 

 

Hey... we all have to start somewhere.



#6 Mr. Inflatables

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 02:59 PM

BTW... if your looking for something to start out with that you can deliver in a Honda Civic as your delivery vehicle and easy setup, with a huge return on your investment. The best part it is fun and you can personally enjoy it.  "Inflatable Movie Screens" 

 

You can earn your investment back in 5-6 rentals with an inflatable movie screen and a/v gear versus 10 - 15 rentals of other inflatable equipment you can invest your money in. 

 

Additionally you probably have less competition for inflatable movie screen rental in your area . Small backyard rental screens roll up small then a sleeping bag and weigh 20lbs rent for $250-$350. Full setup screen and a/v gear can be purchased for as little as $1500+/-, sometimes less.  You could fit 3-4 of these setups in a Honda Civic. 

 

Park size inflatable movie screen rentals start out around $450 and can be as much as $800 depending on the needs of the customer ($500 - $600 being the average). These are usually 16 ft screens  and can weigh as little as 45lbs and roll up just a little larger then a sleeping bag.  You can fit about 2-3 of these in a Honda Civic depending on your customers equipment needs. Complete systems including the inflatable screen and a/v gear for as little $2500

now days.

 

Obviously you can spend more if you want to buy top shelf a/v gear. Generally unnecessary when starting out with outdoor movie rentals. If you have any questions about renting inflatable movie screens send me a forum message or connect with me on facebook richard giammarinaro



#7 gardnergirl2

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:20 AM

I think some of your questions may also depend on the market you are in- big, huge city area or medium like me. that is going to matter

#8 Kidcarnivals

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 10:35 AM

An Update:  I did not end up purchasing any inflatables - once I got the insurance issue sorted out, it turned out it was nearly impossible to get inflatable insurance, and very expensive.  I did, however, start getting orders for my smaller games.  I have some unique offerings that made it appealing to certain kinds of clients, and we've been pretty busy this season (after a scary slow start).  I've had to use part-time help, even.  

 

I bought a Honda Odyssey - omg that thing is amazing!  It holds a whole carnival.

 

I have indeed found that the hardest part is the physical part - I have some large, heavy rentals that are just killing me ( I mean they are literally causing me injuries).  I'm trying to substitute lighter, modular things, and re-make some things to be more portable.  

 

I guess the question now is how can I grow?  I am thinking about interactive inflatables (versus bouncers) - and when do I need to do that?  I'm afraid of my offerings getting stale and people wanting something different.  I feel like I need a big wow factor, but I'm just breaking even and am afraid of taking on debt.  I'm in a big suburban area with a strong economy, and the market has plenty of room in it.  I'm just not sure of the next steps, or how fast to grow and how much to risk.



#9 ADB

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 08:34 PM

Am I missing something?  You said inflatable insurance was very expensive and nearly impossible for you to obtain.  But you're looking at interactive inflatables??????



#10 Kidcarnivals

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 12:00 PM

Am I missing something?  You said inflatable insurance was very expensive and nearly impossible for you to obtain.  But you're looking at interactive inflatables??????

Sorry, I used the wrong term - I didn't mean the kind you are thinking.  I meant inflatable games - things that are technically inflatable but that you don't actually go into.  



#11 AkaReaper

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 08:09 AM

There are a lot of different inflatable games out there to purchase. A few that are staples to the industry. if you look around you will see the 'Classics" like floating balls, home run derby, etc..  What you do have to watch out for are the niche games that may only stay in style for a year or two. Plus, anything with electronics tends to need repairs, and falls out of favor quickly. Nothing wrong with unique, but expect to pay it off and have it sit at times.



#12 moonrockrod

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 12:58 PM

There's a reason everyone has basically the same units.  - They rent out out consistently every weekend.  I've purchased some unique inflatables in the past, but they don't go out nearly as much as a basic castle or combo.  Insurance is not that expensive if you have enough units to warrant the cost.  Regardless of what you're renting or selling, you need liability insurance to protect yourself.  If you're going to give up your weekends, I would invest in 2 to 3 castles and a combo.  That alone, depending on your area, can make you $700 in one day, which beats running all over town renting low cost games out of the back of your trunk.



#13 SpiderWebDev

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 08:36 AM

Kidcarnivals, the party rental industry is very broad in what it has to offer, and there's nothing wrong with getting started with what you are comfortable. For the kind of thing you're talking about you might want to focus on the "Giant Game" category along with the carnival or skill games. Giant games has been a growing sector and I have clients that, that is all they do. http://eventpartygames.com/ Once you understand the biz a little better, then you can always expand. The secret to success is to do what you know as best you can, and as you do it... learn new stuff;-)

 

Hi Guys... it's been a while. Merry Christmas to all and a Happy Successful New Year!

 

All the best,






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