Winter is coming… So how do you prepare?! For those in the inflatables industry that live in colder climates, winter months are oftentimes slower than usual or can come to a full stop. Whether you’re making a push to keep orders flowing or taking a short vacation this season, there are things you need to know to maintain your inflatable business. In this blog, we’ll outline how to care for your inflatables during the Winter and tips to help keep your business booming despite the chilly weather.
Inflatable Winter Care
When it comes to storing inflatables, it’s important to consider temperature. Vinyl can withstand extremely cold temperatures without taking on damage, so it’s not necessary to worry about them being too cold if you’re leaving them in storage all winter long. If you are still operating during the winter and inflating your units from time to time, remember that cold vinyl is stiff and more difficult to roll so that will add some time to your assembly/ take down. When vinyl is out in the cold, you need to take care in the way you handle and manipulate it since it is a bit more fragile and stiff than it would be in warmer weather. Cold weather can also be harsh on seams and printed vinyl in general, so just be wary of potential wear and tear and be sure to thoroughly inspect your units for any damage. A heated storage unit or warehouse can make inflatable rentals during the winter much more pleasant!
For storing your units, dryness is your friend and rodents are the enemy. Make sure that there is no moisture in your inflatable units before you store them for winter, because any wet spots in a unit can lead to mold, smells, and bacterial growth that can stain and damage your vinyl. Also, thoroughly inspect your storage for any leaks or weak points that could lead to problems in the future.
If you live in more humid climates, watch for any moisture that can accumulate during the winter. It may be necessary to do a mid-winter cleaning then thorough dry to ensure that no mold is building up. It's a nightmare to open a unit after being stored for months, only to find it covered in mold. Preventative maintenance will save you lots of headaches in the future.
To ward rodents away from your units, some folks recommend unconventional methods like peppermint oil and bars of soap around your storage or mothballs and dryer sheets within your rolled inflatables. They hate the smell and it will keep your vinyl smelling fresh and clean without any rodent-caused holes.
This is also a great time to review your inventory, perform repairs, and plan ahead for the year to come. Just because business is slow, doesn’t mean you have to be.
Winter Business Tips
Thinking of how to stay busy during the winter months? You have lots of options! Many people continue to rent out inflatables and focus on units that work well inside, add on different services to their business model, or stop renting all together and shift their focus towards strategy.
For inflatable units that work well during the winter months, we recommend smaller inflatables that can be brought inside a gym, church, or convention center. Items like our Cones, Zap-A-Mole, Shoot & Score 4, Mini Wiped Out, Strike a Light, Roller Ball, Carnival Games, EZ Beats, and any smaller size slide, bounce house, obstacle course or combo are perfect for inside events. We also have lots of holiday/ Winter themed units that are perfect for this time of year and any holiday events you may have booked.
Get creative and see which organizations you can reach out to before winter, incorporate your products into their events, and sell them on the idea. Corporate holiday parties, fundraisers, school and church events are abundant around the end/ beginning of the year. Use this to your advantage!
Use this time to plan ahead for the year to come as well. Do some cold calling to book events for when it’s warmer, plan which inflatables you’re looking to purchase for the upcoming season, perform repairs and heavy cleaning, establish your marketing strategy, edit your website/ social media, and do any other tasks you may not have had time to focus on during the busy season.
Winter can be a hard season if you don’t have a solid game plan for how you go into it. Plan ahead and stay busy to keep your business performing at its best!
Big thanks to Alan Graber with A Bounceable Time in North Carolina for providing valuable insights added to this article! Check out his site here.