Let me start by saying, I want you to start a party rental business. As mentioned in my last post, it can be a fun business with low barriers to entry. However, you should be aware that it is not all palm trees, sunshine and freedom. Here are five reasons why you might want to give it a second thought before jumping in.
1) Say Goodbye to Your Weekends
You will be giving up your weekends at the time of year when you least want to. By that I mean when the weather is nice and everyone wants to get outside and enjoy themselves. But you won’t be joining in on the fun, you’ll be working.
While, I think, everyone realizes this, I’m not sure they really think it through.
This means you are no longer going to your buddy’s bar-b-que or taking that weekend trip to the mountains or the beach.
2) It’s Hard Work
The work is harder than most people think it is going to be. Yes, a regular bounce house is not so tough, but the large water slides and obstacle courses are. If you plan on doing any of the manual labor yourself (which most do at first), be prepared for hard work.
You will end up working in extreme heat & humidity. Moving 500 lb inflatables across uneven ground and up hills. Picking up equipment in pouring rain and thunderstorms. Getting eaten alive by mosquitos. The list of fun stuff goes on and varies depending on what part of the country you live in.
And when you hire employees so you don’t have to do this work, you have to hear them complain about it.
3) You (Probably) Won’t Get Rich
On the surface, it all looks good. You charge $400 for a water slide rental. The slide only cost you $3,000 to purchase. You’ve paid for it after 7.5 rentals. It’s all profit from there. It’s like printing money.
But there are so many costs this kind of math does not take into account. Such as labor, insurance (or various types), warehouse rent, other equipment (vehicles, trailers, handtrucks), taxes, advertising, administrative expenses, etc.
Unless you figure out how to scale your business, build it so it can pretty much run without you, you will never end up making much money. Very few inflatable rental companies ever figure out how to do this.
4) It’s a Seasonal Business
In most parts of the U.S., the season is about seven months long (April through October). You really need to work your butt off during those seven months to make it work as a full-time business.
The seasonality makes it tough to hire full time employees. Not having full-time employees makes it tough to scale. You need to hire part-timers who care, and that is not always easy.
5) You May End Up Creating a Job Instead of a Business
If you aren’t careful, you can easily end up doing a lot of low value work creating a low paying job for yourself rather than a real business. You get so busy doing the work of the business you have no time to grow the business.
With only part-time employees, you end up being the one who does all the little odds-and-ends-type work. You end up doing a lot of $10/hour work because it is easier than finding and training someone else to do it.
This is a trap, that once you get caught in it, can be tough to escape from.
Being self-employed is the dream of many who are stuck working 9-to-5 jobs they hate. A party rental business may be the right option for you. The initial investment can be low, you can start it as a part-time business, you get to make people happy. But keep it mind, as with any business, there are negatives, and you should be aware of them before you get started so that you aren’t caught off-guard.
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