Bouncy Castle Hire Business Start Up Guide

Bouncy Castle Hire Business Startup Guide: Turning Fun into Profit

If you have a passion for fun and entertainment, starting a bouncy castle hire business could be the perfect venture for you. Bringing joy to children's parties, community events, and gatherings, bouncy castles are a staple attraction.  This is a business that can most certainly be a success, it is a tried and tested industry which can lead to much more hiring and rental opportunities as you grow and become more wider spread across the industry.

Before we begin you must consider whether you are going to do this full time or part time;

Most people start off part time whilst they are reinvesting in and growing the business. This is the most common practice but of course there are some things you will need to consider with this approach, especially if you have another full/part time job. Of course, most of your work will be done on weekends, apart from during school holidays, so it is definitely a viable option to begin part time.

Part Time

1) How can people contact you / make bookings whilst you are at your other job?

People are impatient and want a response immediately these days, therefore you could lose out on business if you are unavailable for 8 hours of the day. They could become annoyed and go elsewhere, whilst this is not your fault - you can bring in things to negate this issue.


  • Is someone able to answer your messages for you whilst you are unavailable?
  • Set an auto response on your social media pages, email or website to let people know you will get back to them within 24 hours
  • Get a website with an automated booking system - this is a fantastic way to streamline and organise your bookings.

2) Are you able to deliver during times you are unavailable?

Some of the busiest times for summer hires will be during school holidays, a time you are not going to want to miss out on.


  • Do you have someone that can fulfil deliveries for you during this time, maybe find someone you can make a financial agreement with
  • If you do not want to fulfil bookings on these days, make sure not to book anyone in at these times and end up letting them down

Full Time

If you are wanting to hit it full speed and try and go full time from the offset, you are going to need a large investment, we would recommend a minimum of 10 different units and make it your mission that these items are out every single week. There is also the seasonal aspect to consider with this. Naturally, the winter the is a quieter period for inflatable hire, however you could invest in some lower height packages also - this will allow you to do both indoor and outdoor hire, which can help bring in some revenue during the winter period. 

Here's a comprehensive guide to help you kickstart your bouncy castle hire business:

1. Market Research, Fail to Prepare = Prepare to Fail:

Research the demand for bouncy castles in your area. Identify potential customers, including parents, event planners, schools, and community organisations.

Analyse your competitors to understand their pricing, services offered, and target market. Identify gaps in the market that you can capitalise on. Do not start your business with the intention of undercutting, this benefits no one and creates tension amongst other businesses within your area. Plus if you go in very cheap, when you calculate all your costings you may not actually being any meaningful money.

You have to remember that each hire is contributing towards the overall running costs of your business, think about;

  • The cost of the inflatable you purchased
  • Fuel and Motoring Costs
  • Insurance
  • Annual Testing and Repairs
  • Staff
  • Website / Advertising Costs
  • YOUR Time (most important)
  • Ability to fund future purchases for expansion

This is vital when trying to start a profitable and successful business. So if you are entering in the market with £30 hires - are you really covering all this? Likely not.

Determine the most popular types and sizes of bouncy castles in your area to tailor your inventory accordingly.

2. Business Plan:

Create a detailed business plan outlining your business goals, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational plan.

Determine your startup costs, including the purchase or rental of bouncy castles, transportation, insurance, marketing expenses, and any necessary permits or licenses.

Your business plan needs to consider:

Startup Costs: Estimated startup costs include purchasing or renting bouncy castles and other equipment, vehicle acquisition, marketing expenses, insurance, and operational costs. There is no right or wrong start up amount. Over the years we have seen it ALL. Customers who have come in and bought just ONE item and built their way up to running their business as their full time job with over 70 units in their fleet and on the flip side, customers who have come in and bought 30 to begin with. 

That is the beauty of the business, it can be as small or as big as you want it to be.

We offer start up and package deals on our website that cater for all budgets.

What startup costs can you expect?

  • Inflatable Equipment Costs
  • Vehicle Costs (Will you need a van or trailer?)
  • Marketing (online, flyers, local directories)
  • Insurance (read our online insurance guide)
  • Extra Equipment Costs (trolley, uniform, manometer, anemometer etc)
  • Website Costs (optional, not required initially, a lot of companies start out on social media at first)
  • Are you going at this FULL time or PART time? We will get to this later.

Understand Revenue Streams: Revenue will primarily be generated through rental/hire fees for bouncy castles and inflatable attractions. Additional revenue streams may include delivery fees, setup charges, and optional add-ons such as party supplies or themed decorations. We strongly advise investing in some inflatable games as well bouncy castles, these can really boost bookings as they are often used alongside the bouncy castle at parties or events.

3. Legal Considerations:

There are some legal items on today's agenda unfortunately; things you need to consider;

  • Are you going to be a sole trade or ltd company?
  • Public Liability Insurance and Insurance in general - to learn more about this, read our insurance help guide on our help guides section.
  • Inflatable Equipment Testing (PIPA Tests etc) - to learn more about this, read our testing help guide in our help guides section.

4. Purchase Equipment

Invest in high-quality bouncy castles that meet safety standards and regulations. Consider factors such as durability, size, design, and age-appropriateness. It is important you use a reputable manufacturer who are on hand to offer you advice in your endeavours. At AJL we are always offering customers our best advice when out in the field. We want you to be successful and grow your business into a full time profitable setup. 

Purchase additional equipment such as blowers, extension cords, stakes, sandbags, and safety mats. Fortunately, if you purchase from us blowers, stakes and groundsheets are included as standard and even more equipment is included in some of our package deals.

If you are not sure what items to start off with, get in touch we can offer the best suggestions for new starters. Additionally, you should consider different factors when choosing your starting equipment. Some considerations you should have are:

  • Average garden size in your area/target market, if you are in an area where gardens are generally small to medium size, then it is no use starting out with 20ft x 20ft bouncy castles, as nobody is going to be able to hire them.
  • Local hall sizes; Local halls are often popular choices for bouncy castle hire, a lot of local halls can be quite small and low height, so you might want to have an inflatable that can cater for that in your fleet.
  • Variety; You want some variety in your range, instead of having all standard bouncy castles, why not have a bouncy castle with a slide on too?
  • Neutral themes; When starting out, if you are ordering just a couple of castles to get you going, then going for neutral themes can often be beneficial. For example, party balloons, jungle animals, disco etc. Why? Because if you stick with more boy/girl tailored themes, it limits your options for hire at the beginning, you can always add these into your fleet as you expand with more inflatables.
  • Price; You want a return on your investment, so consider the price of inflatables you are buying. At AJL we believe we offer the best quality-to-price on the market. We offer a great quality at a truly affordable price.

What Inflatables / Bouncy Castles Should You Start With?

This is a very important consideration and if you are unsure what to start out with please get in touch with us here at AJL and we make can make our best recommendations for your personal circumstances. 

Often for new starters we recommend standard size A-Frames such as 10ft x 12ft, 12ft x 12ft and 12ft x 15ft - these are our most popular sizes by far. We also recommend having them printed with neutral themes such as the popular "Party Time" and velcro fitted on top, this will allow you to diversify your selection by purchasing artwork sets that can easily cover the party time and provide the illusion to your customers that you have a much wider selection available for hire.

This method has worked incredibly well for our customers over the years.

Whilst it may seem great to go all out and get huge slides and obstacle courses, we recommend adding these after you get up and running and become used to the industry and how it works. 

We strongly recommend adding some smaller items you can offer to your customers who are hiring bouncy castles, for example:

  • Soft Play Games - Such as snakes and ladders, tic tac toe etc
  • Soft Play Kits - Such as ball ponds, shapes
  • Inflatable Games - Such as Inflatable Darts, Axe Throwing Game, Football Shootout etc

+ More, these are just some little ideas, the reason for this is, you can offer them to your customers as a lower priced add on to the same booking. 

For example, if you are hiring out a standard bouncy castle for £60-80 - you can offer them a smaller add on such as the above for an extra £30-40, this turns your £60-80 booking into a £90-120 booking. You are going there anyway, you might as well collect more money!

Regularly inspect and maintain your equipment to ensure safety and longevity.

5. Reinvestment

It is important to constantly reinvest into your business, otherwise your customers will find your products stale and may look elsewhere for something new. Your items will always have resale value, so don't feel concerned by selling something off to fund a new purchase, many companies do this to keep their stock fresh. Of course you don't always want to do this as you do want to inevitably build a hire fleet. 

As you grow it, the opportunity to expand into more inflatables arises. You should then begin to look into slides, obstacle courses, more games and other inflatables you can offer. Large slides and obstacles are an important part of a hire fleet as these clean up for the big events and corporate bookings - this is where you can make real top earner bookings. But never forget, back garden hires will always be your bread and butter. Therefore, your first venture into slides and obstacle courses may well be best to aim at sizes that can go in gardens as well as for events.

Popular sizes for this are 6-10ft platform slides and 30ft-50ft obstacle courses. One of our most popular products is the 30ft 1 Part Inflatable Fun Run Obstacle Course, you can find these in the obstacle course section of our website to get an idea.

Monitor market trends and customer preferences to identify opportunities for expansion and diversification. Ask manufacturer's what are hot sellers, if things are hot sellers then they are often hot hirers. In this world of amazon and netflix, trends are changing quicker than the weather, so you need to keep up and stay bang on trend.

Consider expanding your inventory to include additional inflatable attractions such as slides, obstacle courses, soft play and interactive games.

Explore partnerships with other businesses or event organisers to access new markets and increase your reach.

Starting a bouncy castle hire business requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to delivering safe and enjoyable experiences for your customers. By following these steps and staying focused on customer satisfaction, you can build a successful and profitable venture in the thriving entertainment industry.

If you are starting this as sideline, if possible, consider saving the profits to keep reinvesting into the business, this will project you into expansion at a pretty quick rate

6. Marketing and Promotion:

Question number ONE in this section is often do you need a website? The short answer is no, you don't, certainly not at first anyway. Many companies start out on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. These are great avenues for business, particularly Facebook inside of area community groups. Try not to spam them though, nobody likes spammers and tend to swipe past their adverts once they see them too much.

Whilst you do not NEED a website when starting out, it certainly wouldn't be a bad thing if you did have one. If you are going down the immediate website route then we highly suggest creating a professional website showcasing your bouncy castle inventory, services, pricing, and contact information. Optimise your website for search engines to improve visibility with vital tools such as SEO. We strongly recommend using one of the main bouncy castle hire tailored website providers, get in touch with us and we can suggest some options for you. 

Utilise social media platforms to promote your business and engage with potential customers. Share photos, videos, and testimonials to showcase your offerings regularly, when people see you out on the job and the people behind the business, it can make them feel more comfortable booking with you.

Network with event planners, party suppliers, schools, and community organisations to generate leads and referrals. As mentioned previously, local community halls are often a great supply of work.

Consider offering promotional discounts and special packages to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. Always remember though, PROFIT first!

My experience is that you need to advertise initially to build up a customer base. An advert in the local telephone directory under Bouncy Castles and/or Party Supplies will draw in clients like play schemes, school fetes, and more serious customers. A second advert in the local press, the minimum they will allow( Bouncy Castles (your number)), placed nightly for the duration of the season will attract parents looking for ideas, if you can then sell your service they are likely to book.

Enquiries will take several forms. How much do you charge? What sizes do you do? How many can use it? How old can they be? I sell my service on several things. We have a castle to suit most situations, indoor or out. We do it all for them, deliver, set up and take away. We are flexible to fit in with the customers plans, and we always turn up on time. We always phone to confirm the night before and all our bookings are guaranteed, if we don't turn up we pay the hirer the hire fee. We don't require a deposit as customers very rarely cancel, would you if the kids were expecting one.

This service helps to create trust with our customers, which will bring them back next time.

AJL's Top Advertisement Choices:

  • Flyers - post them around local areas
  • Have your vehicle sign written - whether it is a magnetic sign on your car, or a full van vehicle decal - this is one of the best adverts you can do, and it also makes your company appear more professional instead of rocking up in a battered old van.

Google - Be setup correctly with Google - it is so important, make sure your business is registered on Google and if you have a website it is HIGHLY recommended to be SEO friendly and setup with Google Search Console. You want your website to be full of key SEO words for your surrounding areas that you cover. For example there is no point in you showing up in searches for Bouncy Castle Hire London, if you are based in Manchester. Similarly, you don't want to just target "Manchester" if you are in Manchester for example. Why? Because Manchester is a huge place! You want to be showing up for key words of specific areas such as Oldham, Salford, Burnley. Likewise for other areas all over the UK, break it down into smaller sub areas and also target their key SEO words. It is remarkable the difference this can make to your rankings.

Social Media; Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok - These are huge avenues for revenue stream.

If you want to learn more about this, contact your website provider and they will provide you with the best advice in this field. 

7. Operational Logistics and Running Your Business:

Develop an efficient booking and reservation system to manage inquiries, bookings, and scheduling. If you are having a website made, then the industry website companies have tried and tested booking systems that integrate with their websites, we advise this is something you should strongly consider if going down the website path.

If you are not starting out with a website, find a method that works for you, the most obvious is a diary. It pays to be organised in this regard. Of course, mistakes can happen but you must try your hardest NOT to double book, you don't want to be the one letting down a kid's party!

Establish reliable transportation methods for delivering and setting up bouncy castles at event locations. Ensure that your delivery vehicles are equipped to transport inflatable equipment safely. Some people do not invest in a van or trailer straight away and opt to use their personal vehicles to save on costs. This is fine but you must consider these factors when doing this:

  • Limited space
  • Clocking mileage on your car
  • It may invalidate your motor insurance policy

Train yourself and any staff on proper setup, inflation, anchoring, and safety procedures. Provide clear instructions to customers on how to use the bouncy castles safely. Read our other help guides for some tutorials on how to this.

Practice setting up in your garden and putting away, the faster you become at the process the quicker you can fulfil your bookings.

You need to cover some important bases with your general booking and operation process. What do we mean by this?

It is important that you get as much information as you need at the point of a customers booking, if you are taking bookings via website or phone, your forms and calls need a script to gather this information for you, considering:

  • Name
  • Contact Number
  • Email
  • Address for delivery
  • Preferred drop off time (we understand this cannot always be met but you can at least try)
  • Preferred collection time
  • Access to siting area (for example if a customers garden has a 40 flight of steps to get down with a trolley, you're gonna wanna know about it)
  • The site itself (you do not want to turn up to find out the customer has a concrete yard and no where to peg down your inflatable, or it is on a huge slope)
  • They are aware of your terms and conditions 
  • They are full aware of the PRICE - do not have any hidden costs it never, EVER goes down well

We strongly recommend sending confirmation emails or texts with your customers, particularly if you do not charge a deposit, it is not unheard of customers booking two different companies incase of being let down only for both to turn up on the same day, making for awkward situations.

It is imperative you have your customer SIGN a hire agreement, whether you have them sign a digital version online or a hard copy upon delivery, you MUST do this, it will protect you from so much provided that you have setup correctly. Once you have setup and leave, you cannot control what happens, a waiver is so important for this. If you want an example of a hire agreement, check out our downloads section.

8. Deliveries

You need to consider delivery distances and times, perhaps consider having a 10 mile radius covered under your standard booking price for that product. If a customer is then further out, add a surplus per mile to the booking as it does not make financial sense to charge £60 for a booking that is 5 miles away and £60 for a booking that is 15 miles away, especially with fuel costs these days.

It is strongly recommended that you use a route planner for your deliveries and get out as early as possible (within reason)

You may want to start at 7am but customers will not likely want to be up at 7.10am accepting delivery of a bouncy castle.

The route planner is imperative as it will work out your most efficient route with all the addresses you have to drop off at. There is absolutely ZERO point in going back on yourself for deliveries, you are just wasting time and fuel.

Try and accommodate requests, for example if someone wants a bouncy castle dropped off for 12.30pm as they have a hall booking, try and be on time or early - you don't want to be the person that ruins a party.

Whether you are delivering yourself or your staff are, it is going to pay dividends to have an equipment check list - this is will prevent you from leaving or losing equipment, what might this look like?

  • Bouncy Castle
  • 6 Pegs
  • 1.5hp Fan
  • Ground Tarpaulin
  • 2 x Mats
  • Any additional lights or speaker systems
  • Extension Lead
  • Hammer
  • Manometer/Anemometer 
  • Deflator

Something like this is going to save you so much money in the long run, you might think you can remember it all, but one day you will forget something!

9. Customer Service:

Provide exceptional customer service to build trust and loyalty with your clients. Respond promptly to inquiries and resolve any issues or concerns.

A polite and friendly attitude when on site at customers homes or locations will go along way for repeat business. Customers want them and their families to feel comfortable. Have a chat with them and ask them how the party went upon collection.

Collect feedback from customers to continually improve your services and offerings. See what products they would like hire from you in the future.

Build long-term relationships with your customers by offering personalised recommendations and special promotions for repeat bookings.

Happy customers are the most valuable part of a business. Treating our customers well is integral to the way we do business at AJL. Identify services which fill the needs of your customer, and fulfil your promise to the customer. Hire customers are, I believe, looking for 3 things.

They want good value for money. Price your service to match your competition.

They want you to have a castle available for when they want it. Have enough stock to fill the demand.

They want you to turn up. Keep your promise and offer to pay them the hire fee if you don't.

Customers will book if your prices are what they are expecting to pay, if you have one available and you are there to pick up the phone when they call. If you are not there to answer the phone they will ring the next company who will get the booking. Many customers phone during the evening and at the weekend so be prepared for them. Have your diary available and sell your service.

10. Some Extra Considerations

Castle Designs

There are several excellent companies selling bouncy castles, with good products and keen prices. As a hire operator which is the best design for your customer?

Size is critically important. Do your customers have large gardens or small? A high proportion of your potential clients are likely to be on low to average incomes with gardens to match. A bouncy castle is a low cost alternative to taking a group of 15-20 kids to a restaurant or play center.

12' (3.6m) and 10' (3m) square castles are the most popular sizes and will fit in most places. They are easily handled and stored. Larger castles are more suitable for 'pay per play' situations where you can fit more kids on at the same time and they can be seen from further away. Box bouncers being walled on all sides stop kids accidentally falling off, but visibility is restricted.

There are many companies offering many different castle designs. Some of these look great and some are good quality, but as a hire operator you need to consider the return you will get on the investment of purchasing a bouncy castle. This is why AJL concentrates on providing standard designs at excellent value for money. Your customers will be as pleased with a standard design as they would with something fancy which costs you half as much again. In order to make some profits you should consider how quickly your investment will start paying for itself. Take a look at our SUPER DEALS & SPECIAL PACKAGES.

Customer Demographics

Kids are born on every day of the year so there is an endless supply of prospective customers. But widening your potential customer base is healthy and you should also consider setting up in shopping malls, at the beach, car boot sales, school fetes and galas, street parties, play schools and nurseries, garden centers and so on.

Anywhere that attracts family groups will make good business because the kids will pester mum and dad for a go, while mum and dad will be keen to stop the kids getting bored. Every child that sees your castle will end up having a go. Charging 50p or 5 minutes play should see you with over £150 at the end of the day in the right location. (Earnings may change with inflation, article written some time ago!)

Some suggestions are family parties, pubs, hotels, shopping centres, play school, after school clubs, on the beach, in the town centre, social clubs, church halls, school fetes, galas, car boot sales, charity events, business promotions, open days, and so on


I offered a no fee cancellation service, the customer can cancel at any time without penalty. This makes clients who are not 100% sure book with us. Once they've booked, they tell the kids and then can't back out. It would be a brave parent who spoilt their child's birthday party by cancelling the bouncy castle man. I find we get very few cancellations and lots of last minute calls to take over the booking when they do. Once you become more established, you may want to introduce a deposit, if you find it helps filter out failed bookings.

Some businesses take more bookings than they have castles, to cover themselves for any cancellations. Inevitably someone is let down and a kids birthday is ruined. Would you use that company again? I wouldn't, and I'd tell all my friends not to as well.

Legislation and codes of practice

You should familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and codes of practice which apply to the operation of inflatable games in your country. For the United Kingdom, the main document you should read is EN14960 (latest version). This is the law on how inflatables covered by this standard should be manufactured and operated in a commercial setting.

Accidents involving breach of health and safety laws can lead to criminal prosecution of not only the individual responsible but also the owner of the business, including company directors. This is quite separate from civil claims for compensation which are usually covered by insurance. In the UK, Magistrates have the power to send offenders to prison for up to 6 months and impose a fine of up to £5, 000 per offence; more serious cases are dealt with by the Crown Courts. They can impose unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to 2 years for health and safety offences.

Please be careful!

The following list applies to the UK only and is not intended to be exhaustive:


Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Occupiers Liability Acts 1957 and 1984

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992

Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992


Some HSE approved Codes of Practice/Guidance Notes:

Safe operation of passenger carrying amusement devices - inflatable bouncing devices". Guidance Note PM76 (April 1991)

"Code of Safe Practice at Fairs". HSE Guidance on Regulations L23 (Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992).

"Management of Health and Safety at Work" HSE L21 (1992).

"Maintaining portable and transportable electrical equipment" HSE (G)107 (1994)


"Soft Play and Inflatables" by The Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management

"Safety in Indoor Adventure Play Areas" - A Code of Practice by ILAM/NPFA/RoSPA

NB breach of an approved Code of Practice is not an offence but if you are prosecuted and it is shown that there was a failure to observe the relevant Code, contravention of the Act or Regulation will be considered proven unless you can satisfy the Court that you complied in an alternative, acceptable manner.