This site (partnered with the British Inflatable Hirers Alliance - BIHA.org.uk) offers resources, support and forums for owners & operators of: Bouncy Castles, Inflatable Slides & Obstacle Courses, Bungee Runs, Sumo, Rodeo Bulls, Gladiator Duel, and much, much more....
home |
 

Please see below part of the BIHA newsletter which went out today (1-6-2015) to all BIHA members via email.

From Mark Jerram:

BRITISH INFLATABLE HIRERS ALLIANCE www.biha.org.uk Forum: www.BouncyCastleOwner.com Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/biha4u ==============================

1 June 2015

Hi to all BIHA members,

Welcome to this week's "Spotlight on an Inflatable Hire Company" featuring Mike from Ace Bouncy Castle Hire in Norwich.

I hope that you enjoy reading his answers and pick up some excellent ideas and tips which he mentions.

Mike has been a good pal of mine over the years, and I particularly enjoyed interviewing him.

Some of his answers are legendary!

His "hirings from hell" are unique and one of them involves a customer posting a negative review on Facebook days BEFORE the actual booking had taken place.

Just before you read Mike's answers - please could you join the BIHA Facebook Group (if you haven't done so already).

www.facebook.com/groups/biha4u Thanks!

If your BIHA membership has lapsed - please renew it by clicking here....

http://bit.ly/1PA7dhf

********************************************

SPOTLIGHT ON AN INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY.

YOUR NAME?

Mike Pittaway

NAME OF YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE COMPANY?

Ace Bouncy Castle Hire

http://www.ace-bouncycastlehire.co.uk

YOUR LOCATION?

Norwich, Norfolk

WHAT IS YOUR AGE?

34

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED HIRING OUT INFLATABLES?

HM Armed Forces

WHAT MADE YOU START AN INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?

After leaving HM Armed Forces I was working really hard to provide for my family (we had our third child on the way!)

I didn't realise at the time that we were entitled to Family Tax Credits. We got £3k in back pay, and I used some of it to buy a used bouncy castle for the kids to play on after school.

I realised how incredibly popular it was, and decided to buy another one to hire out.

I then sold both inflatables, bought a really good one with the money, and from those humble beginnings, 10 years later, I now have 45 inflatables, 2 rodeo bulls, and a lot of other hire equipment!

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?

Formula 1, Shooting

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE?

Armageddon - Bruce Willis

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?

Steak, ribs, king Prawns, chicken balls, curry, pizza (with extra cheese!)

Followed by a warm chocolate brownie with proper quality vanilla ice cream

To wash everything down, I like a large Pepsi with ice cubes and lemon

While on the move, I also enjoy a BLT from Tescos, and also Greggs Sausage rolls.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE UK HOLIDAY DESTINATION?

Southend on Sea

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION ABROAD?

Cyprus and Lanzarote

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMME?

Top Gear

YOUR FAVOURITE SONG?

Anything carribbean and with a good base!

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT THE INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?

Happy customers!

Happy staff!

Happy suppliers!

IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?

I would ban Facebook, because it allows customers to leave unjustified negative reviews, which can harm a hire company's reputation that it has spent years trying to build up.

In its place I would have an independent, intermediary review panel to ascertain whether or not the customer, the hire company, or an individual member of staff is at fault, should anything go wrong with the booking.

Conversely, when things go really well (most of the time), there should be a device that allows your customer to write a quick review upon collection.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIRING FROM HELL? (Horror story or an unusual booking?)

Yes,

it beggars belief how some people can be so cruel.......

Once a staff member apparently forgot to put a crash mat in front of a castle.

Almost unbelievably the customer not only complained about this "missing mat" but left a negative review on Facebook but it got worse...much much worse.....

Let me give you the quick background to this horror story.

On this particular summers day in 2014, we had 50 hires to deliver in 4.5 hours. (Yes, 50!!)

You can only imagine the pressure that we were under to ensure that every customer got their castle on time and set up correctly!

As mentioned, with just 1 of the 50 hires, the customer was disgruntled that apparently she did not have a crash mat with her castle (which was on grass)

She immediately went to Facebook and gave a slightly negative review and awarded 3 stars out of 5 stars, because she had her own crash mat which she was able to use for the party.

So, everything is now OK with her, or so we thought!! 3 stars is nothing too bad, but it gets worse....much, much worse.

My staff member insisted that he had delivered the crash mat, and that the customer was mistaken.

I then rang the customer up and told her that my staff had given her a mat.

The customer was furious that she was not believed, and she immediately changed her Facebook review from a 3* to a 1*.

HOWEVER, almost unbelievably, she persuaded many of her friends to do likewise!

So, I had all these negative reviews posted on Facebook from strangers that had never even used our inflatable hire services.

The customer did her best to try and destroy the reputation of our hire business - all because of an apparently forgotten crash mat!!

BIHA Note: Great Share Mike. Thanks. An important message to all BIHA members. If you use the enormous marketing power of Facebook to get hire bookings and you should be!! Just be aware that there is an ugly side to it as well.

Here's my 2nd hiring from hell which is even stranger than the first one.

It all began when a customer rang me up on my mobile to book my big slide for an event coming up.

Unbeknown to her, I had a trapped nerve in my back and was in quite a bit of pain.

At the time I was loading up one of my vans for that weekend's bookings...and was under tight time pressure.

She then started to ask me some awkward questions such as:

"If it rains on the day of the event, can I cancel the slide?"

I then told her that it was nothing personal but I would rather she didn't hire it out in the first place, if she was going to cancel as a result of a light spot of rain.

Although I did emphasise to her that if the rain was hammering down then I would charge her nothing for the cancellation.

However, I could see that she was only happy to book if the weather was great on the day.

Hire companies cannot operate like this especially with the unpredictable UK weather.

Anyway, she booked the slide with me for her event (for £145), and we said our goodbyes.

HOWEVER, to my utter AMAZEMENT, a few minutes later she went to Facebook and left a negative review saying the service I had offered was appalling.

She also had the audacity to say in her review: "We look forward to seeing the slide on the day".

As you can imagine - I was incensed - and immediately rang her to cancel the booking.

Thinking "Is she for real?"

I felt she had crossed the boundary of respect.

After I had calmed down, I rang her back up and had a bit of a "heart to heart" chat with her.

She then apologised for her negative review, removed it, and the booking went ahead as planned a few weeks later.

BIHA Note: Thanks Mike for sharing. What the customer did was bordering on insanity. I have never heard about a customer posting a review BEFORE the actual booking went ahead. By doing this she was risking everything.

I am pleased that you rang her back up and straightened things out with her. This was very professional of you.

3) I was once running slightly late for a booking because my wife was literally giving birth on the floor of our living room.

The customer rang and enquired where her castle was, I explained that my wife was giving birth at home and we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive to rush her to hospital.

The customer didn't batter an eyelid about the severity of the situation developing in my living room, and offered no understanding or sympathy and she just said "Make sure the castle is delivered as quickly as possible" which it was by the way, in good time for the party.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS TIME?

A lot bigger than we actually are now. (even though we currently have 50 inflatables)

Also, I would like to do a lot more events than we currently do now.

DO YOU HAVE ANY USEFUL TIPS OR IDEAS THAT YOU COULD SHARE WITH THE OTHER BIHA MEMBERS?

Yes, join the BIHA, TIPE, and Bouncy Castle Network, and display their logos on everything you use to promote your business!! This will guarantee you more work, because customers trust these logos even though they might not have a clue what they actually mean!!!

In their eyes it means that you are following best practice, similar to CORGI for gas engineers (when the scheme ran) People didn't know what CORGI meant let alone stood for, yet they trusted it. Likewise, customers trust the BIHA, TIPE, Bouncy Castle Network logos as having a mark of authority.

Second tip: Blacklist customers who give you bad reviews. (especially where their review is unjustified). They don't realise the potential damage that they are doing to your reputation.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TYPE OF INFLATABLE?

Big slides - 15ft to the platform.

HOW HAS THE BIHA HELPED YOU IN YOUR INFLATABLE HIRE BUSINESS?

Mark Jerram (BIHA) gave me invaluable advice to help me get my website to the top of Google.

I have never forgotten this favour he did for me.

Also, it's good to have the assurance that we can get advice on certain matters when needed, from the BIHA knowing that the founder has nearly 25 years experience in the industry.

Also, there is a wealth of information from all the other members.

The BIHA Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/groups/biha4u and the BIHA discussion forum at:

www.BouncyCastleOwner.com has been very useful for my business.

---------------------------------------------------------

Thank you Mike for spending some time answering these questions - it's greatly appreciated. Some really interesting info you have shared there.

--------------------------------------------------------

I will be putting out another email later today which will contain some profit tips.

-------------------------------------------------------

To read more "Spotlights on Inflatable Hire companies" -- please click on:

www.biha.org.uk/spotlight-on-a-hire-company

----------------------------------------------------------

Can't log in to: www.biha.org.uk ? Need your username and password?

Reply to this email and then we will rush you your username and password to log in.

--------------------------------------------------------

SEO (Getting your bouncy castle website to the top of Google) - if you have expressed an interest in SEO work by the BIHA, then I am gradually contacting everyone who replied to my email on the 28 January 2015.

Over 100 members responded, which is why it is taking longer than usual to contact everyone.

I have now contacted over half of everyone who responded to my email.

Thank you for your patience.

Please feel free to text me on 07880 - 540201 if your SEO is urgent.

------------------------------------------------------

***URGENT--URGENT--URGENT--URGENT--URGENT--URGENT***

Is your hire business listed on the BIHA Members Map - powered by Google ?

See: http://bit.ly/1uDQ0Ku If not, please text 07880 -- 540201 or reply to this email.

By being listed on this map - it gives Google an extra reason to rank you higher to make it easier for your prospective customers to find you!

------------------------------------------------------

Join the hot conversations on our PRIVATE discussion forum and on our new Facebook Group and see what other bouncy castle hire companies are saying and doing to improve and grow their businesses.

Click on: http://bit.ly/1qvvlbU and also:

www.facebook.com/groups/biha4u

-------------------------------------------------------

In the meantime you can catch me in the forum at:

www.BouncyCastleOwner.com and on the BIHA Facebook Group at:.

www.facebook.com/groups/biha4u

See you on the inside.

Best regards

Mark and the rest of the BIHA Team.

BIHA Founder - Mark Jerram

TEL: 07880 - 540201 (Please text if possible)

www.biha.org.uk

www.BouncyCastleOwner.com (Sister site and online PRIVATE interactive discussion forums)

www.facebook.com/groups/biha4u BIHA Facebook Group

http://bit.ly/1uDQ0Ku BIHA Members Map - powered by Google. Not listed? please text 07880 -- 540201 or reply to this email.

------------------------------------------------------------

www.BouncyCastleHireUK.com (Alternative Online directory for inflatable hire companies) - Don't forget to add your listing! - There's no charge)

Claim your free report to show you how to get listed on the brand new Google "Local Listings Platform"

See: http://bit.ly/1qfjE5z

-------------------------------------------------------- Interested in an online booking system for your hire business?

Check out:

www.BouncyCastleNetwork.com

--------------------------------------------------------

Don't forget to claim your discount on PL Insurance. See: www.leisureinsure.co.uk

***********************************

As a reminder, here is the link for the complete list of 6,000+ topics (threads) and over 40,000 posts on the discussion forum.... http://bit.ly/1qvvlbU

  •  |tip bottom|
  •  Sponsors
  •  |survey bottom|
  •  Commercial FORUM
    • Forum for manufacturers, suppliers, repairers, testers and anyone else supplying goods or services to the inflatable hire industry.
  •  Survey
    Survey
    • How many seconds does it take for your main bouncy castle website to fully load up on the small screen of your mobile phone (smart phone).
      1 - 4 seconds
      5 seconds
      6 - 10 seconds
      11 - 15 seconds
      16 - 20 seconds
      21 - 25 seconds
      26 - 30 seconds
      31 - 50 seconds
      51 - 60 seconds
      More than 1 minute

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Do you hire out mini-marquees (AKA Gazebos, instant pop-up-shelters) and/or full-size marquees alongside your inflatables to boost cash-flow and profits?
      No
      Thinking about it now after the wet 2012 summer
      Yes - but mini-marquees and gazebos only
      Yes - we hire out full size marquees only
      Yes - we hire out all sizes of marquees

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • You discover that one of your competitors is illegally hiring out domestic "toy" bouncy castles to the public - which could cause a serious injury to a child as they are not robust enough for commercial hiring. What action would you take?
      Just warn them that they are breaking the law
      Call Trading Standards but warning them first
      Call Trading Standards without warning them first.
      Do nothing, but wait for others to report them.

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Do you charge your customers a "booking deposit" when they book an inflatable with you either through the phone or online? (E.g charge their credit card or ask them to send in a cheque, bank transfer or PayPal payment)
      Never - we're happy for full payment on delivery
      Sometimes - depends on the booking
      Yes - but only if they are a new customer
      Yes - for every booking, unless very short notice
      Yes - we won't deliver without a deposit up-front

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • How many bouncy castles and other play inflatables do you own which you hire out?
      1
      2
      3 - 5
      6 - 8
      9 - 10
      11 - 13
      14 - 16
      17 - 19
      20 - 29
      30 or more

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Which is your most popular add-on hire product?
      Jenga (all 3 sizes)
      Connect-4
      Croquet
      Giant Chess
      Giant Drafts
      Didi Cars
      Pitchburst
      Boom Blasters
      Giant dartboard
      Basketball Shooters

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Do you charge a little extra for hiring bouncy castles to weddings? (and other very special events?)
      No, we keep the same hire price
      We charge an extra £10
      We charge an extra £20
      We charge an extra £30
      We charge an extra £40
      We charge an extra £50
      We charge an extra £60
      We charge an extra £70
      We charge an extra £80
      We increase price in accordance with their budget

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Do you use Facebook and/or Twitter as a marketing tool to reach your local prospects and customers?
      Yes
      No

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • There are 10 main benefits of your membership to the BIHA and this sister site (BCO). Which one do you find MOST useful?
      Learning about Health & Safety / Legislation etc.
      Getting help & advice from the Discussion Forum
      Displaying the BIHA logo to increase your prestige
      Learning from the mistakes (& successes) of others
      Directory listing of your business on BIHA website
      Receiving ideas to help increase your hire profits
      Saving money on PL insurance and other services
      Getting the FREE Tip of the Week from this site.
      General sense of belonging / Less loneliness!
      Hearing about special deals etc.from manufacturers

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Which payment methods do you accept from your customers who hire inflatables?
      Cash and Cheque only
      Cash, Cheque and PayPal only
      Cash, Cheque, PayPal and Credit/Debit cards

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Do you ask your customers for referrals when they are happy with your inflatable hire service?
      No, never.
      No, unless the customer recommends me to a friend
      I sometimes ask for referrals
      I always ask for referrals at every hire
      I have a system to collect referrals at every hire
      I have a system & they get rewarded for referrals

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Should hire prices of your inflatables be included on your website?
      No, I prefer people to call me to discuss prices
      Yes, but only one price e.g. From £50 per day
      Yes, all my prices are displayed on my website
      Cannot answer as I don't yet have a website

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • How much do you charge for a standard 12ft x 12ft bouncy castle (including 12 x 12's with a 4ft+ safety step) delivered LOCALLY in your town.
      £35 per day
      £40 per day
      £45 per day
      £50 per day
      £55 per day
      £60 per day
      £65 per day
      £70 per day
      £75 per day
      £80+ per day

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • What is your most profitable type of inflatable which you hire out?
      Childrens bouncy castles
      Adult bouncy castles
      Small inflatable slides (Max 6ft to platform)
      Large inflatable slides (incl. mega slides)
      Castle/slide combis
      Sumo/super hero suits
      Bungee runs
      Rodeo bulls / surf simulators / multi-rides
      Bouncy boxing / Gladiator duel
      Activity centres / Obstacle courses

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Do you reduce hire prices in the winter?
      Yes
      No
      Only if the customer wants additional hire items
      Sometimes

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Do you own an Apple iPhone (e.g. 3G, 3GS or 4)
      No
      Yes

    • Show Survey Results
    • Show All Surveys
    • Has The Soaring Price Of Fuel Made You Stop Taking Bookings Further Afield?
      Yes
      No

    • View Survey Results
    • View All Surveys
  •  |foum bottom|
  •  Calendar
    Calendar
    • Previous Month
      September 2017
      Next Month
      S
      M
      T
      W
      T
      F
      S
       
       
       
       
       
      1
      2
      3
      4
      5
      6
      7
      8
      9
      10
      11
      12
      13
      14
      15
      16
      17
      18
      19
      20
      21
      22
      23
      24
      25
      26
      27
      28
      29
      30
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Bouncy Castle Hire
  •  |Members Directory bottom|
  •  Stolen Inflatables Forum
  •  Recomended Websites
  •  Example Websites
  • What do you think of this site and it's discussion forum?
    I love it!
    I find it helpful
    It's ok I guess
    It's nothing to write home about
    I am not keen

  • Show Survey Results
  • Show All Surveys