Duty of care
However you choose to run your hire business, always bear in mind there is a duty of care when providing play equipment. There are certain guidelines that would be good to read up on, such as PUWER 1998/9 (see Industry Links). All tools and equipment used for business purposes come under these regulations. Unfortunately there are no specific instructions we can give, people have to find the relevant parts themselves but it is important to show compliance and care.
Once your website is up and running, don't leave it to drop down the search engine rankings! Keep updating and promoting. Depending on your area, it might be worth trying different ways of getting customers – advertise in local newsagents or newspapers, post flyers by local schools and play groups, use local community groups to get the word out about your business.
It can be worth using ground sheet with indoor hires as it avoids any damage or marking of the floor. See our UK Land Inflatable Operation Manual for more details about operating indoors.
For outside hires you will need to decide if you will hire your units out during winter. From October to March, there is less daylight, unpredictable weather, damp and muddy ground, and the additional cleaning time that comes with it! Easter is generally regarded as the launch of the peak inflatable hiring season. If you do hire in winter consider things like additional lighting for parties. While some companies may lower their prices for winter hires, always be realistic about the costs and time – a business should make a profit! See our UK Land Inflatable Operation Manual for more details about operating outdoors.
With gardens often you have to rely on your customers being honest with the space available. If you arrive at a hire site and there isn’t enough space for a safe hire - don’t do it! The chances of an accident are increased and the responsibility is on you, not the customer or event organiser. Check the HSE standards for safety requirements. Remember, if you set the bouncy castle up in dangerous manner, it’s your responsibility.
Airquee’s e-range was designed with hirers in mind. That’s why our units are designed to be as light as possible and easy to roll – our 12x10 and 12x12 inflatables, with accessories, can easily fit in to a standard sized hatch-back. For bigger units, you may want to look at getting a small van. A sack trolley can also come in very useful for moving the inflatable around the site or through a terraced house with little mess or fuss.
Cleaning is an essential part of the hiring game – no one wants to have a dirty inflatable turn up at their child’s party and your castle WILL get dirty. Whether its grass and mud, face paint and food or any other substance that comes off a child, chances are you will need to give your inflatables a clean after every hire. There are loads of different cleaning products on the market, aimed at different materials and uses so look around, but remember you can also use things like baby wipes, soap and water, and elbow grease!
Think about where you will keep your inflatable(s) when they’re not in use. It needs to be somewhere dry and not exposed to huge temperature changes in order to protect the material and keep it in good condition.
Should you have accessories like a ground sheet? Whilst you don’t need to, it can be useful and save some cleaning – it also helps you to keep all the equipment together. It can also be useful to have a spare working fan around for emergencies.
Do be aware that sometimes hire companies are targeted by thieves. Although this is generally not a big risk, there are certain signs to look for. If, for example, the hire location turns out to be a building site, that’s probably not hosting a genuine children’s party.
Repairs and Inspections
All of our units are made in compliance with the European Standard EN14960:2013. Every new unit made is issued with a certificate confirming this.
Quality is very important in a bouncy castle or inflatable. Even the most beautiful unit, if made with poor materials won’t last very long against the energy and enthusiasm of children’s’ parties. We use 630gsm high strength, tear resistant material.
Every single item manufactured by Airquee Online Bouncy Castle Sales is built by Airquee staff in our own factory. Any of our clients or future clients are more than welcome to visit both of our factories in Romania or the head office in Bristol.
Buying second hand
There are a lot of second hand units available – but while it could save you £100, you can be left without any guarantees or warranty. Buying directly from the manufacturer can save a lot of hassle. If you do go for second hand, make sure you get a log book, any operating instructions and a current inspection certificate. If you don’t receive these things, then it is your responsibility to find them out.
And remember your consumer rights! If the inflatable fails or is not fit for purpose you can go back to seller within 90 days of the sale – they will need to either put it right or give you your money back.
Returns & Warranty
Here at Airquee we’ve listened. We want to help. And we believe in our products. This is why we offer our 100% money back guarantee.
If you have any problems with your inflatable during the first year we have our 12 months Back-to-Base Warranty – this means that YOU are responsible for getting the unit to and from our Bristol base, but any work carried out within the warranty period will be covered by Airquee.
There are two leading experts within the inflatable industry, they are Peter Grand of TIPE and Mark Jerram of the BIHA. Membership to either or better both organisations is highly recommend as they can offer all the impartial help and advice you could ever need.
Information sheet 49 – The safe use and operation of inflatable play equipment, including bouncy castles.
This is a very useful document which has been produced by the NAIH in collaboration with TIPE, see the Industry Links page.