Bounce houses have become synonymous with fun. You see them at birthday parties, school events, carnivals, and more. If you’re like many, you may have even considered renting a bounce house for your child’s birthday party.
Considering their popularity and the general infatuation kids of all ages have with bounce houses, commonly known as moonwalks, it’s not surprising to see that many people are considering launching their own bounce house rental startup.
After all, all you need to do is buy a few bounce houses, place a few ads, and you’ll be in the money, right? Well, not exactly. As with anything else, building a successful bounce house rental company will take a bit of effort, but those who have found success in the space have found the work to be worth the reward.
The Basics of the Bounce House Rental Company
A bounce house rental company is a pretty simple concept. The company purchases bounce houses that are then rented to consumers, making it affordable to have a bounce house at birthday parties and other one-time events.
After renting your bounce houses out enough times, the investment will have paid for itself, and you find your way to profits. Of course, the bounce house business does have some obligations to the customer. These obligations include:
- Delivery and Pickup. Moonwalks are heavy pieces of party equipment, often weighing hundreds of pounds. As a result, it’s uncommon for the renters to pick up and return the bounce houses they rent. It is up to the rental company to figure out how to get the bounce house to the event address and back into storage upon the completion of the event. Some bounce house rental companies will charge a delivery and pickup fee, while others include this in the cost of the rental.
- Cleaning. Nobody wants to rent a dirty bounce house. Not only can sticks and leaves cause harm to the bouncy castles and inflatable slides, they can be a hazard to people using the bounce house. Moreover, as the rental company owner, it is your obligation to make sure that there are no viral pathogens that can be contracted by customers, especially considering the recent COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the vast majority of bounce house companies spray their inflatable rentals with sanitizing solutions upon both drop-off and pickup.
- Education. If not used properly, inflatable bounce houses can be pretty dangerous, leading to serious injury or even death. It is the party-rental business’ responsibility to provide their customers with a detailed explanation of how to properly use their rentals in order to avoid injury.
Think Legal Before Spending Your First Dime
The bounce house business sounds great and you’re ready to dive in head first. Well, you may want to step back a bit and make sure there’s water in the pool. Having your own business is the American dream, and a party-rental business is fun. What could be better and how could it go wrong?
Think of this scenario:
Your party-rental business is going well. You drop off an inflatable water slide for a weekend birthday party on Friday. On Saturday, you get a call saying that 9-year-old Timmy broke his arm on your equipment, and not only do you need to pay for the medical bills, but the parents also want $50,000 in damages for his pain and suffering. If you’re only doing one or two rentals a weekend, such a lawsuit could put you out of business.
Thinking ahead will help you avoid the devastation that can come from these types of liabilities. There are two potential ways to avoid these types of issues:
Before moving forward with your first rental, you should strongly consider working with a contract attorney to develop a liability waiver for your bounce house rental company. Liability waivers transfer the liability associated with use of the bounce house to the renter.
By signing a liability waiver, the renters take responsibility if little Timmy is hurt on the bounce house, so the party that provided the bounce house won’t be responsible for his medical bills or any pain and suffering associated with the injury. Most contract attorneys charge between $500 and $1,500 to develop these types of liability waivers.
Liability Insurance Policy
Along with a liability waiver, you may want to consider opening a liability insurance policy. Liability insurance policies work just like any other insurance policy. The owner of the party-rental business pays an annual or monthly premium for insurance. If any person or property is harmed as a result of the use of the covered moonwalk, the insurance company picks up the bill, taking the liability off the shoulders of the bounce house rental company owner.
Liability insurance policies are relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things, with rates ranging from $2,000 and $3,000 per year for small startup party-rental companies. The most reputable company in the industry is known as Cassio Insurance Agency.
Check Your State Requirements
Liability waivers aren’t worth the paper they’re written on in some states. In other states, the law holds the parties in liability waivers to the agreement they signed. Having insurance is ultimately an option. Although there are no legal requirements surrounding liability insurance, it is an absolute must if your state does not recognize liability waivers.
Keep in mind, as a business owner, if your business doesn’t have the assets to cover its liability, you may be found personally liable for damages. So, a refusal to do your research on this topic could ultimately cost you house and home.
Equipment You Will Need to Start Your Business
As with many businesses, in order to get your party-rental business off the ground, you will need to invest in equipment. Bounce house rental companies will need the following equipment to get started:
Bounce Houses and Other Inflatables
You can’t rent inflatable bounce houses to anyone if you don’t own them. Most startup moonwalk rental companies start with between three and five commercial grade inflatables. Here’s what you need to know when picking them out.
Where to Buy Commercial Grade Inflatables
Finding a quality source for commercial grade bounce houses is relatively simple. Amazon.com is a great place to start. Some other quality sources of commercial grade moonwalks include JumpOrange.com, JungleJumps.com, and BlastZoneCommercial.com.
What Kinds of Inflatables Will You Need?
It’s possible to start your bounce house rental business with a single moonwalk-style bounce house. However, if you want to be competitive, you will want to offer a range of inflatables for all party needs. The most commonly available rental inflatables include:
- Inflatable Bouncy Castles. Inflatable bouncy castles are your classic moonwalk style bounce house. They generally range in size from 8 feet by 8 feet to 15 feet by 15 feet. Keep in mind that larger inflatable bouncy castles will return higher rental income rates. You’ll be able to find a quality standard bounce castle for around $1,250.
- Wet/Dry Combos. Wet/Dry combos are a twist on the traditional moonwalk-style bounce house. These generally have a bounce house with a water slide connected to the side of it. Although rentals with water features will not be popular in the winter time, they yield a premium in summer months. Wet/Dry combos generally cost about $2,500.
- Inflatable Water Slides. Inflatable water slides are tall inflatables that generally feature a single, wide water slide or two slides for racing purposes. Like wet/dry combo inflatables, these will not be popular in winter months but will be hard to hold onto in the summer. You should be able to find a quality inflatable water slide for around $3,500.
- Inflatable Obstacle Courses. Inflatable obstacle courses are a relatively new trend in the party-rentals industry. They are overwhelmingly popular for all times of the year. Moreover, because they provide far more activities than the traditional moonwalk bounce house, they yield higher rental rates. These are the most expensive inflatables with quality inflatable obstacle courses costing around $4,250, or more.
What to Look for in Quality Commercial Grade Inflatables
Investing in a commercial grade inflatable will cost quite a bit of money. In fact, quality moonwalks will range in price from just over $1,000 to $8,000 or more. When you make that kind of investment, it’s important to make sure that your investing dollars are being spent on quality merchandise.
When shopping for a bounce house, here are a few tips to help you ensure that your investment is one that will yield returns for years rather than months:
- Material. The type of material used to make the bounce house is one of the most important factors. Most bounce houses are made of either PVC vinyl or heavy-duty nylon. When purchasing a bounce house, look for those made out of PVC vinyl. Not only is this material far lighter and easier to work with, it’s also far stronger than traditional nylon construction.
- Visibility. Safety is a major concern in the bounce house rental space. So, it’s important to invest in bounce houses that promote safe use. Look for bounce houses that have large mesh areas and provide as few blind spots as possible. When renting your bounce houses, promoting this featu
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