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If you run a bouncy castle business then it is highly likely that at some point you will have somebody injure themselves on your equipment. This is an unfortunate truth of business and the reason why it is so important to obtain the right insurance product. The correct bouncy castle insurance provides you with protection, protection from the legal costs associated with an accident that occurs on your bouncy castle or play inflatable equipment.

Insurance is a worthwhile investment but it is also important to understand the types of policy inclusions you will need to consider, these could be…

Public Liability Insurance

This type of cover protects you from the legal fees and compensation that may result from someone becoming injured on your equipment and you being found to be liable for the accident. Typically public liability insurance will insure you up to a certain amount, sometimes around a million pounds.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

This is another worthwhile incusing in your bouncy castle insurance policy. This type of clause will provide cover for the work your business carries out and any liability for this. This could include setting up the bouncy castle or inflatable equipment.

Employers Liability Insurance

Perhaps not a concern for those just starting out but as soon as your bouncy castle business has employees it is a wise move to obtain this type of cover. This will protect you if your employees or any sub-contractors have an accident whilst working.

Material Damage Cover

If you buy a bouncy castle you will soon understand that they represent a significant investment. This is why it can be prudent to purchase material damage cover, which will protect your items but also you premises and any ancillary equipment you may have.

As with all insurance it is wise to check through your policy documentation thoroughly to see precisely what you are paying for and what will be covered. Remember to assess any quotes you receive carefully in order to balance the price of the policy against the cover it provides. Get this balance right and you are providing your bouncy castle business with protection and yourself with peace of mind.

If you think running a bouncy castle hire business is the right choice for you and your lifestyle it is worth considering the equipment you are going to need to fulfil your first booking. The items listed below should provide you with the essentials you need to run your business, at least in the beginning.

First and foremost you are going to need a bouncy castle or play inflatable. Naturally this is a significant investment and as such the bouncy castle you choose should be an affordable size; typically a twelve by twelve foot bouncy castle will be suitable for your first bookings. (Purchasing bouncy castles and the importance of quality in any items you purchase will be explored in later posts). Read the rest of this entry »

Email has become one of the world’s most important communication mediums. It is fast, easy, cost effective and can save your business masses of time. By failing to use it effectively for your business you may be missing a trick, but how do you make sure you’re using it right?

First and foremost, make sure you collect email addresses from your customers. This can be done through your website although equally you could place a space for it on feedback forms or take it as a matter of course when taking bookings. By collecting emails you are building a set of contacts, contacts that you can communicate with for marketing purposes.

As alluded to previously, your website is a great way to harvest email contacts. This can be done with a simple contact form on your website that lets potential clients submit a query without the hassle of phoning.

You can use email for many aspects of your business, from taking bookings in the first place, to providing booking confirmation and also thanking customers after the booking has been completed. In the longer term having a repository of email addresses allows you to send out email communications, promoting special offers and discounts.

If you are going to use email to communicate with your customers however there are a number of key pointers worth considering.

First and foremost take into account data protection laws. As email has grown so has legislation surrounding the use and sharing of customer data and today’s consumer now expect their data to be handled in a secure and trustworthy way. As such you should ensure that all email addresses you use are stored privately and confidentially so that you adhere to current legislation.

Always make you emails clear and concise. When people receive emails they very rarely want to read an essay so your emails should be simple and straight to the point. Make sure that the information is laid out in a way that is scannable and try to use short, sharp sentences. Also, create subject lines that mean something, “A Quick Hello from BouncyBounce” does not relate to the content of the message whereas “Your Booking Confirmation from BouncyBounce” does.

The purpose of email is that it is a swift and easy communication tool and subsequently when you receive emails from customers don’t leave them sitting in your inbox, reply as soon as possible, ideally the same day so the customer is not left wondering about their booking.

Finally for all its benefits email remains a rather impersonal form of communication and as such if you ever receive a complaint via email you should make the effort to phone the customer in person or even to organise a face to face meeting in order to resolve the issue. There is still a great deal of truth in that bad service spreads faster than good service, so always resolve complaints swiftly.

Using email can be a cost effective, fast and simple way to communicate with your customers. As long as you do it properly it can be a valuable asset for your bouncy castle hire business.

So far in this series on ways your bouncy castle business can make money over winter we have looked at promotional strategies to emphasise your indoor capabilities and also money making avenues you may not have previously considered. Until this point however the issue of discounting your prices has not been discussed, nor has the other promotions you could run to increase bookings at this time.

How much to charge during winter?

Ultimately, if you are going to discount your charges how much to discount by is entirely your choice. Naturally when allowing for discounts you must at the very least make a profit, you may also want to base it upon how many bookings you have and the necessity to secure bookings. Typically a discount of 10%, 20% or even 25% can be great head turners and help to bring in new business.

Discounts are just one of the ways it is possible to entice people to book, there are other ways it is possible to give customers a special offer.

Extra items

Rather than give a discount on the overall bouncy castle hire price another option is to throw in a free item when they book. For example, if a customer hires a bouncy castle, you may want to offer the free hire of a ball pool to sweeten the deal, particularly if your ball pool isn’t booked at the time.

Additional Time

If you are slow on bookings there is no harm to give your customers additional time for their hire. For example, you could offer two days hire for the price of one or all day hire for the price of half a day.

Multiple Hire Discounts

You may wish to consider giving your customers a discount if they hire more than one item, this could be anything from hiring one bouncy castle and getting another free or hiring a bungee run and get a gladiator duelling set for half price.

Loyalty Offers

Another tactic is to give your customers a significant discount if they hire more than once from you over the winter. This could be 30% off if a customer books twice between November and February, you may even want to carry this discount on into the summer season, say for the period of 12 months to create repeat business.

In these cash strapped times there is considerable opportunity to provide your services at a discount rate and still ensure that you are busy enough to make serious profits. Providing such discounts can also help you to build customer loyalty and generate a good reputation in your locality. With a little imagination on what you can give for free or where you can provide discounts it is possible to keep those booking rolling in during winter and beyond.

In a recent post we explored the opportunities of providing inflatables to large businesses and discussed the skills you would need to secure this business. In the post issues such as speaking to the right people, how to conduct yourself at meetings and also the importance of providing accurate quotations were all highlighted. It at this time of year however that such knowledge can be invaluable, businesses and corporations are now starting to think about their Christmas parties and with the right inflatables, you could be on hand to provide the fun for employees.

But what types of inflatables are ideal for Christmas parties? For adults, inflatables are a great way to instil a sense of competition without things becoming too serious; subsequently you may want to consider the following.

Gladiator Duels

This type of entertainment is a great way to pit two workers together in combat without it turning to fisticuffs. The set up typically includes two raised podiums, safety equipment such as helmets, the duelling sticks and also an air bed for when one party has been vanquished.

Pillow Jousting

Another combative option is pillow jousting, less intense than gladiator duels although equally a test of balance for those involved. These inflatables resemble a bouncy castle but will have pole running down the middle for the players to sit upon, the benefit of these is that they take up less room that duelling platforms.

Football Challenges

Increasingly there are numerous football related inflatables coming onto the market. These resemble a fairground stall with 3 sides and a penalty spot. There are two main varieties of this inflatable which include penalty shoot outs, a test of skill where players must shoot a ball through holes at one end of the inflatable and speed cages, which test the power of a player’s shot with a speed camera.

Sumo Suits

Returning to the combative style of inflatable sumo suits are great fun for parties. The competition is less intense than with duelling but the chance to see co-workers rolling around struggling to get up can be immensely entertaining.

Bungee Runs

Whilst they may take up a fair bit of room a double lane bungee run can be a great competition for a staff Christmas party. The purpose of this game is for each player to run as far as they can along an inflatable race track and place a Velcro ball onto a pad at the end. The difficulty here is that each player is tied by a bungee cord at one end.

Surfboards and Rodeos

Another great party event and a supreme test of balance are surfboard simulators and rodeo bulls. Both have an inflatable bed for the players to fall onto; the former however requires users to stand on a surfboard whilst it moves around and the latter requires a rider to stay on a gyrating bull for as long as they can.

These inflatables are the ideal options for Christmas parties and if you have any of these items in your stock then it can be worth approaching businesses with your services. If you do not have these items in your inventory it may be worth considering this type of game inflatable to make the most of corporate opportunities.

If you have read our previous post on ways your bouncy castle hire business can make money over the winter it is likely that you have tried getting your face out there as much as possible in the locality, have spent time contacting previous customers with promotions and have spoken to local business about possible revenue share opportunities. If these haven’t yielded fruit however it may be worth exploring other potential revenue streams that make the most of your attributes and capabilities.

As a bouncy castle business it is fair to assume that you attend plenty of birthday parties for both adults and children so naturally this is key area where you can hope to generate extra revenue over the winter period.

It can be worth considering other party equipment such as chocolate fountains, popcorn or candyfloss makers and hiring these out for parties. Investing in a candy floss machine also opens up the opportunity for outdoor events such as Guy Fawkes Night when you can sell treats to children before, during and after the fireworks.

This time of year there are many different types of themed parties going on and with relatively little investment you can supply themed items ideal for Halloween, bonfire night and even Christmas parties.

Think about investing in a tent which can be used to not only house your inflatables but also to house all manner of different facilities. If you have enough you could obtain a marquee, this will give you the opportunity to host other people’s services such as hot dog makers or stalls which in turn you could charge rent for. If you cannot invest in a marquee you could team up with other companies to afford the rent.

If you fancy getting into the festive spirit then using your themed assets to create a Santa’s grotto can also be a good money spinner in the run up to Christmas. If you’re going to do this though you have to go all out – and remember to be jolly!

If you have a van for transporting your bouncy castles you may want to use this to deliver parcels, particularly in the run up to Christmas. With the growth of internet shopping this has become a lucrative business and could help you see out the winter.

Hopefully these ideas may give you the impetus to find new and interesting ways to make money throughout the winter. You never know, after investigating these alternative avenues you may decide that next season your bouncy castle hire business may form part of a portfolio of businesses which includes party catering equipment hire, marquee hire or even parcel delivery – the opportunities are endless.

The winter can be a lean time of year for the bouncy castle business owner. The summer packed full of bookings is long gone and next season’s is even further away. At times it can seem as if the best course of action is to simply hibernate during the colder months. This however is the wrong approach; whilst winter may be the time when revenues are lower; there is still a great deal you can do to make money.

Using technology to your advantage you can set up a list of email addresses from existing customers, you may be able to obtain this when you take bookings on your website. Then you can email them with special offers or discounts or simply send them a newsletter to keep your services fresh in their mind.

Getting adverts in as many places as possible is also worthwhile. You may want to speak to local nurseries or play groups, perhaps offering them free hire of a bouncy castle for the day as long as you can advertise on their bulletin board and hand out flyers to the parents that visit the group.

You could also do this off your own back and hold a local event by hiring a hall, inviting local parents, businesses, schools and groups and using your best inflatables to entice them into hiring over the winter. Once again a few special promotions here and there may assist in securing more bookings.

A good short term strategy is to print marketing literature emphasising the suitability of your inflatables for indoor use. You could then post these flyers or place them strategically so parents and groups in the local area know that your services are still applicable during the winter.

Consider the major events during this time of year, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year. At these times it is vital that you make the most of gatherings of people and social events by speaking to event organisers and offering your services.

Finally, during lean times it can be worth speaking to other businesses such as garden centres. This type of business may agree to have your bouncy castle in-store over the winter as a means of keeping children entertained whilst parents shop, helping the business to attract customers and increase profits. In such instances it may be possible to broker a deal for a revenue share over the winter.

Essentially during the winter it is important that you proactively find ways to make money either by raising awareness of your company or through bartering deals and offering promotions to make additional revenue. Whilst it is tempting to pack up shop at this time of year the winter is precisely the time to be tireless in your efforts.

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