Inflatable and Party Rental Industry’s Biggest Challenges (pt 1)

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You spoke, we listened.

Our recent survey revealed some top areas of challenge and concern among business owners in the inflatable and party rental industry. Below you’ll find two of those top themes (in no particular order), and some examples of people’s comments.

Do you agree with these themes? They show us at Inflatable Academy where we should be focusing our priorities for training. Let us know which is most important to you and why in the comments below!

Employees

A key challenge in the industry is clearly how to manage employees. With the industry being so cyclical in nature for much of the country, it’s a challenge to hire, train, and retain good employees year after year. Also, there was consistent feedback that people want to know the most effective way to schedule and pay their drivers.

Here are some of the comments straight from small business owners in the inflatable and party rental industry:

How do I keep seasonal employees happy/motivated when they know there’s no work for 4 months?

Is it better to just have a morning delivery crew and afternoon pick up crew? It’s hard since there are only 2-3 full time workdays in a week and hours would be minimized and would require more employees.

Should I pay workers hourly, salary, commission, per delivery, etc?

How do we implement policies and procedures to make sure we have the best possible operation. How do we ensure all employees follow the safety guidelines? How do we properly train the employees?

Should employees use their own vehicles or your fleet?  How many deliveries should each crew handle on average?Having a reliable and full staff is vital to growing. It’s difficult to commit to an event if I am not sure I can staff it.

How to get yourself (the owner) out of the day to day operations without the business falling apart.We pay very well but still have high turnover and difficulty getting really committed employees.

I would be interested in how they schedule crews, what size crews they use, what equipment do they use, etc. This is our single biggest issue when we are in busy season.I understand that if I can get workers and labor that I can take on more business, however, I really struggle with a system of how to pay employees.

Knowing how to train your staff to work with the equipment on site is a real need.

Strategy

Some common themes in the category of strategy included: what equipment and inventory were the best investments, how to deal with the seasonality of the business, how to effectively start a business in this industry, and how to manage growth and expansion.

Here’s what you told us you would ask an industry expert:

How can we stay busy in winter?

What was you initial game plan starting out? How did that game plan change as time progressed? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

How did you choose your units? Do you recommend buying used units?What are your pointers for setting up an indoor facility?

Just because an inflatable looks good or nice dosen’t mean it’s safe. How do you know which are safe for your customers?

Which rentals are most popular? Is leasing better than buying?How to increase weekday business. How to increase off season business.

What are the latest trends in party rental? What are the highest profit margin items in the party rental industry? Is a full-service party rental business a good idea, or should one try to specialize in more limited areas?How to compete with large franchise inflatable companies when you are just starting with a few units.

Which item, service, or category is your best return on investment?

How do you know what inflatables to purchase?

How to start a business with little or no income.

How much should be set aside from each rental to plan to buy additional units?

Note: The quotes above are intended to be a representative sample. Some quotes may have been edited for readability and to condense for this post. The author’s intent was always maintained.

Employees and Strategy are the first two of four primary categories of the current challenges in the inflatable and party rental industry. In our next post, we’ll reveal the other two.

What do you think?

Which challenges resonated most strongly for you? We’re still prioritizing our focus, so let us know what’s most important to you and why in the comments below to influence our priorities and so we can tailor our training for you.

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