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Helium balloons - a business idea - Knowledge compendium

2023-06-30
Helium balloons - a business idea - Knowledge compendium

GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS OR THOSE STARTING A BUSINESS IN THE FIELD OF DECORATION

For animators, florists, companies, and decorators. Helium balloons - a good business idea? How to start? What margin can be achieved?

INTRODUCTION:

Every year at various celebrations, one sees diverse balloon decorations or helium-inflated balloons. This is an excellent product to purchase, as children adore them, but also a fantastic business idea. In reality, to engage in a business based on selling balloons that float in the air, one doesn't need an excess of costly equipment, but rather knowledge of what to organize and how to obtain all the necessary elements.

Below, based on our many years of experience with balloons, we have prepared a practical guide from which you will learn what equipment you will need, what it's used for, how to inflate balloons and what to pay attention to, as well as what margins and profits can be achieved in this business. How to start a business in balloons that rise up?

TOOLS:

When it comes to tools, you will primarily need:

  1. Helium tank and regulator - the foundation of a balloon business.
    • Disposable helium tanks: Mainly for retail customers. Higher unit price of helium, but can be disposed of after use. Equipped with a balloon inflator.
    • Refillable helium tanks: For more professional use, more efficient and cost-effective per balloon. Even with initial investment, it's more profitable. Some suppliers offer tank rental options, but you need to purchase your own regulator regardless.
  2. Special balloon sealing gel - Extends latex balloon lifespan up to several days when properly applied inside. Very efficient, and customers value balloon durability.
  3. Pump - Electric pump recommended for garlands or balloon arches. Hand pump useful for foil balloons or small balloons. Consider having both.
  4. Balloon sealer - Needed for sealing foil balloons on sticks without self-closing valves. Well-sealed balloons can last for years.
  5. Foil balloons - Popular with children and adults due to unique shapes and designs. Self-closing valves make them easy to use and reusable.
  6. Latex balloons - Traditional and most popular. Quality is crucial. Recommend brands like Kalisan, Strong Balloons from Partydeco, or Everts from Amscan for durability and biodegradability.
  7. Ribbon - Essential for tying balloons. Plastic balloon ribbon works best.
  8. Weights - Necessary to anchor inflated balloons. Can also be used decoratively.
  9. Adhesive dots and cubes - Used for connecting latex balloons in garlands or attaching balloons to walls or ceilings.
  10. Balloon sticks and stands - Simple decoration for children. Stands are bestsellers, allowing quick, helium-free decorations.

HOW TO INFLATE BALLOONS WITH HELIUM?

  1. Inflation:
  • Every foil balloon has a special tail (valve) through which air or helium enters. Simply slide this tail onto the helium tank (regulator). Each tank has a special element, an end piece, onto which the balloon valve is placed for easier inflation. After placing the balloon on the tank regulator, gently open the helium stream. Foil balloons should be inflated enough to be filled, but not overfilled as the foil also has its limits. The best inflated balloons are those that are full, but when gently pressed, the edges are slightly loose. Especially in summer, be careful not to inflate balloons 100% - when exposed to sun, helium expands and even the most durable balloon can burst in a hot car. It's worth warning customers not to keep our balloons in hot cars or rooms for long. Foil balloons, thanks to their self-closing valve, are easier to handle. Place the ribbon halfway down the balloon's end and roll the end along the ribbon, tying the balloon at the very end - this is the correct technique that doesn't damage the valve or leave an ugly end under the balloon. Pay attention only to balloons on sticks - some (e.g., Italian, Spanish, licensed) don't have a valve and need to be sealed with the aforementioned balloon sealer after inflation.
  • Latex balloons should not be "over-inflated" to prevent bursting. They should have the appropriate size and a more spherical appearance, not the so-called "pear shape," which indicates they are overfilled. If a balloon has been inflated a bit too much, it's worth releasing some helium to avoid bursting. For latex balloons, it's worth using a sealing gel before inflation, which, when applied in the right amount inside, will seal the balloon for at least a few days - several times longer than without a sealant. It's said that the appropriate amount of gel is about the size of a pea, put inside the balloon and "spread" around, then inflate the balloon. Tie the inflated balloon with a knot, then tie it with a ribbon.

Durability (floating time) of different balloons:

  1. Foil balloons can easily last up to several days without any intervention, just with proper inflation. However, remember that not all balloons are suitable for helium; tiny foil balloons won't float in the air when inflated with helium due to too small internal volume. Information about the balloon's suitability for helium or air is usually found in the product description or on the packaging. Foil balloons inflated with helium usually remain intact for 3-5 days but can float in the air for about a month. After this time, they can be reinflated with helium or air.
  2. Latex balloons, due to the permeability of helium through latex, will last about 8-18 hours (30cm balloon) when unsealed, while after applying gel, which acts like a glue sealing micro-pores in the balloons, this time will often extend from a few to even several dozen days. It should also be remembered that humidity, temperature, wind, etc. have a significant impact on the durability of a latex balloon. That's why latex balloons are rarely seen at helium balloon stands, but only foil ones.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Where to buy/refill a reusable helium tank?

For business use, disposable tanks are uneconomical. Look for CO2 or gas filling points - they usually offer industrial helium tanks too. In most European countries, Linde operates and distributes helium at good prices. This is one of the best and cheapest ways to ensure an adequate gas supply for your balloon business at the start.

  • How to start a business with this type of service?

Before registering anything, conduct thorough market research. Gather information about where your customers are and who they are, the nearest tank exchange points, startup costs, which wholesaler to buy balloons from, how many balloons you can inflate per tank, etc. Calculate all costs, including balloons, and set a specific price for customers. Add travel costs to inflation sites and expenses like fees, taxes, and accounting. After pricing, check competitors' prices for similar balloons and services.

  • Is this business profitable?

The balloon business is a growing trend in Europe with not much competition yet. Moreover, inflating balloons and creating decorations is a service where we can easily stand out. With decent profit margins, the balloon business seems to be quite a sensible idea.
How much can you earn in the balloon business? Balloons and party gadgets are "small items" where the product itself is relatively inexpensive, so the margins on the product alone are quite large. Here's a real example from one of our customers:

Grabo 45cm round cartoon character balloon:

Purchase price: 1.10 EUR Approximate helium cost: 0.8 EUR Selling price: 7 EUR

Margin: (7-1.9) / 7 = 72%

Profit = 5.10 EUR

We've omitted VAT for simplicity, especially since you can start without being a VAT payer. Product margins range from 30% to 90%, plus our inflation or balloon composition creation service - as you can see, we'll quickly achieve satisfactory profitability. Remember, balloon decoration or personalization services add invaluable value to the product, for which the customer will gladly pay a few euros more.

These margins are examples for a stationary shop - for seasonal sales or at fairs, helium balloon prices can be 8-30 EUR each, so margins are even higher.

  • How to start a business without customers?

Surely someone from your family or friends will be organizing a party soon. Offer to take care of balloons and decoration in exchange for recommendations and the opportunity to create a portfolio. From day one, set up social media profiles:

  • Facebook: post photos of your work at least twice a week
  • Instagram: add Stories several times a week, showing the decoration process, inspirations, and current trends. Get your first 5 customer reviews within the first month of operation. Then focus on networking:
  1. Visit at least 10 playrooms within a 20 km radius
  2. Collaborate with 5 restaurants organizing weddings and communions
  3. Leave business cards at bridal shops, hair salons, and anywhere your potential customers might be Prepare flyers and posters for distribution in kindergartens and primary schools.
  4. Offer a 10% discount on the first order for partner companies.

Remember, acquiring a regular customer is cost-effective - the cost of retaining an existing customer is 5 times lower than acquiring a new one. Aim for 30% of customers to return to you within the first 6 months of operation.

 

If you're already running a business - register a wholesale account and start cooperating with us - we guarantee lower prices than directly from manufacturers, shipping within 24 hours, and that you'll find the most important brands like Kalisan, Grabo, Flexmetal, Amscan, Partydeco and others in one place, without a logistic minimum.

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