Hiring a bouncy castle is always popular with kids.
These castles come in all shapes and sizes. From giant dragons to pirate ships. They’re designed for different age groups and cater to different settings. Choosing the right one can seem tricky.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about hiring a bouncy castle regardless of the occasion.
Is the Bouncy Castle Suitable?
The most important thing to consider is whether hiring a bouncy castle is suitable for your event or not.
Does it fit the space you have? Does the venue authorize bouncy castles? And, just as important, does it fit in with the flow of the event?
Different types of bouncy castles take up different amounts of space. You’ll want to check the size carefully before making a booking. You should be able to find this information online.
For example at PartyWizz, our bouncy castle partners, provide castles that measure 12ft x 12ft all the way up too 41ft x 10ft. In addition, you’ll want to have 3ft all around and at least 4 or 5ft at the front.
Pro-tip: Make sure the bouncy castles fits before placing the booking. On the day of your event, they might not have any smaller options available if it doesn’t.
As there is no industry standard, check what space you have and compare options.
The castle needs to be brought in and inflated. This means the bouncing space needs to be accessible. Not car accessible, as most castles can be wheeled on a trolley, but accessible.
For example, carrying a large castle through a living room in order to get to a garden isn’t possible. On the other hand, if you have a side gate, or garden access that doesn’t require going through your house, you’re golden.
When you contact the supplier, describe to them how accessible the space is. They’ll know if the castle will fit. If in doubt, take out the measuring tape.
Pro-tip: As a rule of thumb, always look for the venue first and then the entertainment. This allows you to consider how well everything will fit together.
Bouncy castles are noisy.
They’re powered by inflation fans which need to be kept on the entire time combined with the noise emitted by bouncing kids… the later is definitely noticeable.
For that reason, it’s always best to set up the bouncy castle slightly to one side. This gives a bit of peace and quiet to the non-bouncing guests.
However, you don’t want the castle to be too far away either, or else the kids won’t play on it as much (On top of a bouncing game, it’s a bit of a balancing act).
Pro-tip: If you’re hosting a kid’s party where the castle is the central activity, skip this step. Noise isn’t too much of a concern.
4. Set-up Requirements
In order to book a bouncy castle, there are certain set-up requirements you need to meet.
- Electricity: You need access to electricity in order to plug in the castle. A regular socket is all you need. The service provider should have the required adaptor.
- A Flat surface: The bouncy castle needs to be set up on a roughly flat surface. It doesn’t need to be perfect but a slope will not work.
- A Clean Area: The set-up area for the bouncy castle needs to be clean and free of sharp objects (rocks, glass, …).
These are just the common requirements. Check on your supplier to see if they have any others.
For example some bouncy castles need to be placed on grass. Both for security and to tether it to the ground. While others can be attached with sandbags & use protective mats for security.
Lastly, If you’re hosting your event in a venue, you might want to check with them to see if they have any requirements or restrictions of their own.
Vetting the Quality of a Bouncy Castle
Not all bouncy castle providers are created equal. Unfortunately, verifying the quality of a service online is always tricky.
Here are a few tips you to follow:
1. Pictures & Videos
Seeing the castle firsthand is obviously the best indicator. If this isn’t possible, try to find videos and pictures of it online.
You should also check for reviews. On PartyWizz, you can find reviews on the profile pages of each service provider.
If you are hiring a bouncy castle outside of PartyWizz and reviews aren’t available, try getting feedback from other bookers.
3. Get in contact
Don’t be afraid to get in touch with the supplier. They should be more than happy to help.
What’s Included in the Fee?
Take the time to understand what is included in the bouncy castles fee.
Different service providers will generally have different packages, which will include different features.
1. Set-up & Take down
The obvious one.
The set-up and takedown can take anywhere from 15 to 30+ minutes. You’ll want to take these logistics into account when planning your event.
2. Rental Duration
How long will the bouncy castle be up and running? Check with the supplier to see what’s possible, what they recommend and whether that meets your unique event needs.
While the exact duration is different for each supplier, most rentals last all afternoon.
The bouncy castle is set up in the morning and it’s down that evening after the event. That means the castle will be operational for 8 to 10 hours; plenty of time for the kids to blow off their steam.
If you book the castle off-season, the supplier might offer to the leave it overnight and collect it the next day. Ideal for sleepover parties. However, take this as the exception rather than the rule.
3. Safety Instructions
When you hire a bouncy castle, make sure the supplier gives you all the security details and instructions.
Ideally, you want to have these written down. It can be hard to remember everything once the supplier leaves.
4. Rain Cover
Does the castle have a cover against rain? Although this is model specific, a lot of them have a cover for the main area. A very useful feature in this country. However, the slides and the entrance usually remain unprotected.
For the glass-is-half-full readers, this feature also comes in handy when it’s really sunny. It keeps the bouncing area nice and cool.
5. Public Liability & Insurance
Are the castles insured and does the service provider have public liability? Don’t overlook this step. It’s essential.
With proper supervision and precautions, bouncy castle accidents are rare. However, for these rare occasions having the proper insurance is key.
There is two types of insurance and you want both:
- Public Liability Insurance: This in case one of the guests or the party members gets injured.
- Bouncy Castle Insurance: This is in case one of the guests damages the castle.
On PartyWizz, you can see if the provider has public liability directly on their profile. If you’re not based in our area, you’ll need to check the service provider’s website.
If you’re not booking through PartyWizz, check to see if this information is available on the supplier’s website. Otherwise you will need to get in contact directly.
Questions to ask:
- How long will the bouncy castle provider be there?
- How long will the bouncy castle be operating?
- How much space do they need?
- How accessible does the space need to be?
- Are there any special requirements?
What Isn’t Included in the Fee?
It’s also important to understand what isn’t included in the fee! Some bouncy castle providers might offer additional services, which you might not be aware of. Conversely, you also want to avoid any nasty hidden extras.
1. Electricity Costs
Bouncy castles need to be plugged-in in order to function. This will increase your electricity bill. The amount will vary depending on where you live. In UK and Ireland, it’s not huge. It’s usually between 1 to 5 euros/pounds for a day of bouncing.
The service provider should give you a clear estimate. However, if you’re still unsure, contact your electricity supplier directly.
2. Travelling Costs
Are the travelling costs included in the price?
When hiring a bouncy castle, travel costs are usually included up to a certain point. If you’re outside of their “normal” service area they might charge you extra. The exact amount will depend on the mileage but it’s usually in the 20 to 30 euro range.
A bouncy castle needs to be supervised at all times to make sure kids don’t go overboard (literally).
If you don’t have a charitable adult at hand, it’s worth asking the supplier if they provide this service (for a fee). Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t as they usually have other set-ups to do.
A few questions to ask:
- Are there any additional charges?
- Are traveling costs & set-up costs included?
- Do you have any special requirements?
Once you’ve made up your mind, check for the bouncy castle’s availability. Start early! 6 months early isn’t over doing it for busy periods.
Bouncy castles get booked fast. In UK and Ireland, we have a limited number of sunny days so calendars fill up quickly, especially during school holidays.
On PartyWizz, availability is generally programmed into the system. When browsing for a specific date, the platform will automatically bring up the service providers with availability.
If you aren’t based in Ireland, get in contact with the supplier directly. Most websites will have a phone number, an email address or a contact form.
If the supplier you were hoping to hire isn’t available, ask if he or she knows a similar entertainer they could recommend.
Have a Contract or Agreement
Once you have made your booking, professional suppliers should provide you with a contract or agreement.
This contract, or written agreement, is important as it contains all the details. It will also spell out what happens in unforeseen events.
On PartyWizz a general agreement is set between the service provider and the organizer upon booking the party by accepting the terms and conditions.
Get in Contact Before the Show
After you’ve hired the bouncy castle, make sure you get in contact before the day of the event. This is helpful to make final arrangements and to check details.
Plan how the activity fits in with the rest of the party. An email or a text message will do, but a quick phone call is often the best method!
A few questions to ask:
- When will they arrive?
- Will the service provider need anything specific?
- How will the entertainment fit in with the rest of the event?
Have a Back-up
Having a back-up but not needing to use it is always the best outcome.
Unfortunately, unforeseen events do happen. The bouncy castle might get badly punctured, your child might be sick or a snowstorm might prevent the guests from arriving…
Check if the booking service you used or the bouncy castle you contacted directly provides a backup plan.
For example, will they provide another castle if the one you booked has an issue? If you have to cancel the party, can you get a partial or full refund? Or can you move the party to another day?
PartyWizz helps parents and party organisers easily book entertainment and key elements of a party online.
If you’re based in Ireland and you’re interested in hiring a bouncy castle, you can place the booking directly through PartyWizz.