Outdoor hires are a major part of the inflatable rental industry, but when the rain clouds gather overhead, you may be concerned about how you can keep your jumping castle in a good condition and your guests safe when wet weather strikes.
Avoiding outdoor hires in rainy weather altogether may not be possible. Wet weather can strike at any time and the weather forecast can be wrong, so you might find yourself cancelling hires at the last minute and dealing with customer complaints if you forego the rain altogether.
How to avoid hiring out bouncy castles in the rain
Please remember that you have a legal obligation to make sure your customers do not suffer any injuries or harm as a result of your negligence or recklessness. In many countries, you will have to take every reasonably practicable step to ensure that your customers are safe, and in really bad weather you will likely be unable to legally permit your bounce houses to be hired outdoors.
Therefore it is worth coming up with strategies to avoid outdoor hires in the rain altogether.
- Form a relationship with local venues
Are there any local organisations or groups that frequently have large unoccupied rooms? Contact them to tell them you are a local party equipment supplier and that you need a contingency plan for adverse weather conditions. If you suggest that you will be able to bring them regular bookings, you might be able to arrange some cheaper deals for you and your customers should you ever need to use their services.
Try to forge relationships with a number of different venues so if one room is booked up, you can use another one – and keep a log of the dimensions of each venue and the inflatables that can fit in them so you can quickly arrange solutions to customer’s problems.
Remember, your customers probably don’t want to spend their event outside shielding themselves from the rain – they will likely appreciate the offer of an alternative venue.
- Invest in smaller products
You will find it easier to locate spaces to site your bouncy castles if you have a few smaller products to offer too. Some houses have high ceilings and spacious rooms, and you might be able to fit a low-height bouncy castle in one of these houses. Don’t forget that some smaller bounce houses are only suitable for children – be sure to tell your customers this if they previously hired a jumping castle that was suitable for adults.
- Keep the lines of communication open
Pay attention to the weather forecast and keep your customers up-to-date if you think that any problems are likely to arise. If you have any reason to believe that an outdoor hire might be taking place on a rainy day, tell the affected customer what your contingency plans are and see if you can come up with a worst-case scenario compromise. You might worry that customers will be unhappy with your services if you make last-minute changes to their bookings, but they’ll appreciate it as good service, and will be a lot happier if they are only told about the changes when they turn up at your event.
- Protect yourself with your inflatable terms and conditions
Although your terms and conditions will not be able to protect you from every bad review, if you clearly tell customers that you may have to come up with alternatives or cancel bookings in wet weather and what the refund policy is when this happens, you will be able to placate a lot of upset customers and defend yourself from someone who wants to cause you trouble. A lot of people who would otherwise leave bad reviews about you and talk about your company negatively on social media will decide against it if they see you have followed your terms and conditions policy.
If you have to hire outside
Due to health and safety requirements, you may not be able to legally hire a bouncy castle outside in heavy rain, but if the weather forecast predicts light rain or intermittent showers, certain inflatables may still be rented outside.The best products to rent in light rain contain a shower cover that will keep the bed dry and make sure it is not slippery.
If you have rented out inflatable castles without a shower cover in wet weather, you will need to give your customers specific instructions, as the bed will be hazardous and people will be unable to stay upright when the rain falls. Let your customers know that the moment it starts to rain, they must:
- Get children off the jumping castle;
- Wait for the rain to stop;
- Wipe the inflatable with a towel to dry it out;
- And let children back on it when it is dry.
Make sure your terms and conditions, which customers must agree to, state that you take no responsibility for the use of your products in wet conditions, and tell your customers that you would strongly advise them to not allow people to use bounce houses when they are wet.
Fans and generators
You will also need to protect fans and generators from the elements. Generators and any other electrical items need to be in a totally dry location – perhaps you could bring a small PVC table along with you to shelter your generators and fans. It’s important to remember that fans pull air from the surrounding environment, so make sure they’re a good distance away from the drizzle – otherwise you will fill up your inflatable with water (and potentially damage your fan).