Your Must-Do Checklist When Renting a Bounce House

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bounce houses have become so popular these days, and for good reason!  They’re a ton of fun and kids love them.  And when it comes to birthday parties, inflatable bouncers have never been a better option.

Google the phrase “bounce house rental near me” and you’ll undoubtedly find dozens of rental places who can deliver a bouncer to your home or other location for a birthday party.  It’s important to know how the process works, and what you need to know from your rental company to ensure a smooth process.

1. Set the rental up early!

This is the most important item on the list.  If you want a wide variety of bouncers to pick from, you’ll want to schedule your rental at least a month in advance, two months if you can.  

Now, I’m sure if you have to reserve one two weeks before the party, or even a week before, you’ll be able to find one (I’ve been there before).  But it’ll add stress to the process, and drastically affect the inventory you can choose from.

If you wait until the week of the party it’ll be very, very tough to find a rental bounce house that you like.  Don’t take chances, do it early and you’ll be happy you did.

2. Get it delivered or get a friend to help

If you’re renting a bounce house, then odds are you’ve just rented a large, commercial grade bounce house.  They are big, heavy and awkward - probably much more than you would expect.

The first time I went to rent one of these things, I opted to skip the delivery and take it home and set it up myself.  My jaw hit the floor when they used a forklift to load it into my SUV.

My wife and I eventually wrestled it into our backyard, but I swear this thing weighed at least 200 pounds.  And getting it back into our SUV once the party was over was even worse.  I’m not an athlete by any means, but wrestling that thing back into our vehicle was the most physically exhausting thing I’ve ever done.

All this to say, I would strongly recommend that you consider paying the delivery fee.  It’s cheaper than getting hurt and having to go to the doctor, and you’ll enjoy your party so much more.

If you do opt to skip the delivery, get help.  Get a few strong friends who are willing to sweat it out with you and you should be good to go.  

One last note.  One of these things crushed our wheelbarrow like a tin can.  We were able to move that unit with a 2-wheel hand truck, but the point is you should make sure that your tools are strong enough if you plan on using any for help.

3. Ask about delivery fees

Most companies will include a delivery fee in the cost of the rental but not all of them do.  Discuss this up front so there are no surprises when you’re dealing with other stress from the party.

You may be able to bargain with them if delivery is a separate charge.  Tell them that another company will charge less for delivery, and sometimes they’ll lower the price.  

Something that sometimes works for me in situations like this is simply asking “What can we do to get that price down?”  When it doesn’t work it generally does no harm, and when it does then you saved yourself some money by asking a simple question.

4. Understand the rental time window

This might seem obvious but it’s really important to understand the timing of your rental.  There’s nothing worse than disappointing your little one on their birthday and so it’s critical to get this right.

I recommend double checking your time slot about a week before your party.  This will give you time to adjust should any issues come up.

5. Understand cancellation terms - on both ends

Be sure you understand how the cancellation policy works, and be sure you understand it both ways.  Find out when you need to cancel should the need arise.  Be sure you understand how much notice they need and if there are any fees involved.

And on their side, be sure you understand what conditions would allow them to cancel.  These are usually things like weather events or other hazardous conditions.  

I’ve had to scramble around last-minute in the past because a rental company cancelled due to a “chance” of rain.  It ended up being one of the most beautiful days of the year!  I’m just thankful we were able to find a replacement in time.

6. Get your yard ready

As a dad who has scrambled his way through many birthday parties, I can tell you that actually just being prepared is one of the most important aspects of renting a bounce house.

When I say being prepared, I mean you need to physically clear space for the bouncer.  And while you’re at it, be sure to clear a nice wide path to the area where you’ll be setting up.  It’s easy to forget, and it’s super annoying to have to clean up with the delivery guys standing there waiting.

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