Business Owner Spotlight: Ed Mahoney of Bounce For Fun

Today’s Business Owner Spotlight is of one of Inflatable Academy’s founding Partners Program members. Ed has a built a strong inflatable rental business and has a great approach and a heart to help others.

Being featured on a Business Owner Spotlight is something that’s available to all, but members of the Inflatable Academy Partners Program will have first priority. Please comment below if you’re interested in being featured. Your story will also get a linkback to your website, which can be valuable for SEO.

So let’s jump in… Here’s Ed!

Intro

I’ve lived quite a colorful past and I’ve always had this notion that I can do just about anything. In my span of careers, I’ve done just about it all. I’ve worked for plastic manufacturing companies, made SmartFood popcorn, created candles for Yankee Candle, served in the military, and worked in the airline industry. Seriously… that’s just a very small sampling. I’ve owned 5 businesses in my years. I’m not nearly done yet.

Bounce For Fun has been by far my largest endeavor. We started in 2002, and we are located just north of Dallas, Texas. We have two part time office staff, and one part time operations manager.   The rest of my staff are delivery and event staff which averages to about 30 people. We do about 800-1000 events per year. Our focus is Church, School and HOA events. We also handle backyard parties as well.

Why or how did you get into the inflatable rental industry?

I remember this story well…. I was renting a bounce house from this guy with no teeth, crazy white hair, and a beat up truck. The unit was dirty, unclean, and not staked down. We were chatting around, and I distinctly remember handing this guy a $100 bill, and then he said “Well.. I gotta go! I have 8 more of these to do today”…. All I kept thinking was… “ If this guy can do that… I could make a mint out of it” So, one day, I finally decided to make it happen… and the rest is history.

What do you enjoy most about this industry?

No two days are the same! I really enjoy making my clients look like heroes. The satisfaction I feel when I pull off a large event, and my client says how easy it was working with us… I know I’ve accomplished something.

What are your current goals in this business?

I’m actually not looking to get any larger. I’ve maximized the size I can build this without having to take the larger step into making this an EVENT business. There’s a huge difference between being a Medium/Large rental/event business and being a BIG BOY EVENT business. I actually enjoy being this size since it’s very regional and manageable.

Honestly, I haven’t delivered an inflatable in 3 years and I’ve created a great system to allow me to balance my family life and make a great income. I’ve got another business I want to start, and keeping Bounce For Fun at the current level is perfect for me. My ultimate goal is to sell the business in 5 years and move on to something else!

Tell us about a particularly memorable day as a business owner.

Early on, when I was delivering every weekend, we got hit with a bad storm that rolled through town. I receive a call from client who said their inflatable blew away. GASP!… I showed up and sure enough, it was in the neighbors prize flower garden, which just so happened to be fertilized with manure.

My fiancé and I dragged the unit out of the garden and tried our best to roll it up. The smell was too much to bear, but we managed to get it on the trailer and back to the house… However, the client wanted another bounce house right away! (The event was over in 1 hour or so)

So sure enough… to go that extra mile, I grabbed another one… and brought it to him… except, I left my dolly at the house…. So I had to roll it all the way to his backyard! THEN.. (The story continues)… I went to hammer in the stakes, and realized I forgot my hammer! It didn’t matter anyway, since I was able to push the stakes in by hand… Come to find out, the reason why the unit blew away was because it was a brand new lawn and had 4-6 inches of sand underneath the sod.

Needless to say, that goes in the record books as one of my most challenging days!

What advice would you offer someone who’s considering starting a business in this industry?

1- Write a business plan. No matter what you think you know… you don’t know enough. When you write a business plan, it forces you to think about everything possible… Even after that… you’ll miss a lot.

2- Don’t sell your services under market. It dilutes the industry, and lessens your worth. Why work for less money?.. That’s crazy talk! In fact, charge more and add VALUE ADDED services that really don’t cost anything! Easiest trick in the book.

3- Create an eye inspiring website. This business is DRIVEN by how well you look online. Don’t try to do it yourself.   Spend time looking at other websites in the business and get ideas from them!

Note from Mike, founder of Inflatable Academy:
Inflatable Academy offers a website-in-a-box service. You can be up and running with a eye catching website in a matter of 1-2 weeks, all for a fraction of the cost for professional website design and development services.

Check out the sample site and if you’re interested in upgrading your website, leave a comment below to find out more!

Tell us about a significant challenge you’ve had in growing your business. How did you handle it?

Staffing for delivery drivers has always been the biggest challenge. Let’s face it, it’s hard work! Setting up inflatables, and finding the right person who doesn’t mind grunt work, AND being the face of the business is not easy. I’ve done everything from Craigslist, Monster.com, Chamber of Commerce, etc..etc… The key is to change up and change often…   There are so many resources to find good help.. it’s out there… you just have to work it.

What is your typical day like?

Some of you might hate this… but, I work about 4-5 hours a day. Mostly back end stuff. Accounting, Insurance, Marketing plans, etc. .etc.. The front line is managed by my staff and I put fires out when needed and give them direction on how to execute projects. On the weekends, I have a list of gigs we’re doing in case any issues come up, but in all honesty, I don’t get many calls. My goal when I started this business was to create this mini-empire that could easily be managed with the right people in place.

Once I leave the office, I spend much of my time with my kids. I am also involved with many aspects of my community such as Parks and Recreation board, HOA president, and Rotary to name a few.

Any last words?

I really have enjoyed being a part of the Inflatable Academy Partners Program. To me, sharing your successes, failures and insights are one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur. In all seriousness, I want everyone to know that if you have any questions, feel free to email me directly.

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