Do you love kids playing with soft toys? Do you have a passion for entrepreneurship? If yes, then starting a soft play rental business may be the perfect decision.
Soft play is a fantastic way to provide children with an enjoyable and interactive experience that is both safe and healthy.
Many parents look for soft play rental services for their 1-5-year-old children, especially for birthday parties, celebrations, and festivals. Offering a temporary playing environment for these events can be a profitable business opportunity.
Soft play rental services also benefit parents by making it easier for them to care for their children. Parents are willing to pay for this service because it provides a safe and fun environment for their children to play.
So, if you’re a beginner and unsure where and how to start, then this blog post is for you.
We’ll discuss in this post:
So here are some of the general steps we’ll learn: business model, research, creativity, planning, Inventory, financing, legal, marketing, etc.
How to start a soft play rental business
1. Understanding the Soft Play Rental Business
First of all, you have to understand the concept of the soft play business; mainly, it consists of a set up of soft playing equipment, which a service company and an individual manage.
Playing centers are mostly visited by children, teenagers, young adults, and adults, for which they have to pay for tickets or entry fees, which is the profit of the business owner.
It is a type of indoor play that usually has a variety of equipment for children to play in, such as foam blocks, tunnels, slides, and ball pits.
2. Market Research and Analysis
Market research and consumer demand analysis are the most important steps.
Study your potential customers, competitors, and local market where you want to provide service, and primarily research the service facility (setup process).
Gather essential information on market trends and behavior of the local market to understand whether launching a rental service in this area is right or not.
To identify target customers, consider demographics and look for an area where people often celebrate parties, events celebrations, birthday parties, and weddings on a frequent basis.
You should conduct a SWOT and demographic analysis to understand the potential customers better.
SWOT analysis: A SWOT helps to determine the (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of the business.
Demographic research: Demographic research is the primary step for studying according to (age, gender, income, education, occupation, ethnicity, location, lifestyle, interest, attitude), etc.
Identifying target customers: Analyze the popularity and demand of potential customers; your target customers can be children (2-5 years), teenagers (10-15 years), young adults, etc.
Knowing market competition: Understanding the market competition, analyzing competitors, pricing models, and service facilities.
Research on service: Unique facility in your Soft Play accessories, marketing process.
To gather market-related information, you can check out both online and offline sources.
Online sources include:
Google Trends: Google Trends is a popular tool to find the trend of a specific search term, service, topic, and industry. Here is an example.
You can select a specific location, category, and time (years); as you can see, we have selected the United States for the last 5 years’ data, the growth trend in front of you.
It is constantly growing.
Social media: Social media is another great platform to analyze and track real-time data and trends; you can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Government data: Many government agencies often publish information related to markets, businesses, economic trends, industry performance, etc; you can also collect useful information from them.
Only online reports, government data, and market trends are not enough to launch a business.
Consider offline sources (local businesses, trade shows, conferences, consumer surveys), which are more effective and can provide accurate information about the market situation.
So, talk with event planners, childcare centers, and preschools, and know their needs and preferences.
Try to survey some potential customers to understand what they want and how a soft play service can help them; ask everything.
3. Determine Your Type of Business Model
There are many types of soft play rental business ideas, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Before selecting any, consider their importance, profitability, resources, market demand, and customer preferences.
Well, here we discuss all those business ideas that help you to decide the most suitable one.
Three main business models are commonly seen: indoor soft play service, soft play rentals, and franchise models.
Each of these models has its unique characteristics and considerations.
|Characteristic||Soft play rental||Indoor setup||Franchise|
|Target audience:||Individuals and organizations hosting events,||Families with young children,||Individuals who are interested in the brand,|
|Revenue stream:||Equipment rental fees,||Admission fees,||Admission fees and service charges,|
Indoor play centers
To set up a soft play center, you need a physical location.
Create a physical space to offer different types and a wide range of soft play equipment, playing kits, and activities for children.
You can charge admission fees for children to enter and play, depending on services, playing environment, and facility.
To be successful in this business model, focus on creating a fund and saving environment that is both helpful for children and parents.
By focusing on the target customers, buy the playing supply, accessories, and equipment.
Location is the key factor:
Pros and cons of the business model:
- Dedicated play space
- Steady foot traffic/customers
- Parties and events
- Revenue from fees/memberships
- Community hub potential
- Age-specific play areas
- Additional revenue through food and beverages
- Initial investment can be high
- Maintain clean and safety
- Competition from other centers
- Staffing and supervision required
- Peak time management
- Legal rules and regulations
Mobile soft play Business
On the other hand, you can provide mobile soft play equipment rental services for events or parties.
To operate this model, prepare for flexible transportation to different locations based on customer demand.
You can charge based on rental duration, package options, and facility.
Create a proper marketing plan to target (event planners, birthday parties, parents hosting parties, businesses organizing family events, etc).
- Transport: Get a suitable vehicle for equipment transport.
- Booking: Set up a booking system.
- Target different locations and events
- Wider customer reach benefit
- Potential for high-demand
- Customized packages
- Transportation costs can be high
- Weather dependency
- Staffing required to manage
Another proven business model, franchise setup, allows entrepreneurs to start their businesses using the brand name of an established company.
Franchisees pay an initial fee and ongoing royalties in exchange for support from the franchisor in areas such as marketing, operations, and training.
Then, operate the Business according to their established systems and procedures.
- Brand recognition
- Proven business model
- Support and training
- Marketing and advertising
- High initial investment
- Ongoing royalties
- Less control
Which business model is right for you?
Understand the different requirements, pros, cons, resources, target market, and business model to define your business strategy.
That helps to choose what operating model is right for you. You need to create a proper plan to ensure long-term success in this field.
If you want to create your brand, then (indoor or mobile rental) is the right choice.
4. Develop a soft play rental business plan.
Consider the market demand, customer intent, your thoughts, strategy, and business goals; by following them, create a comprehensive business plan to establish your Business.
Importance of a plan: it helps you reach goals and objectives and provides a roadmap for making strategies, plans, and other activities.
Having a thoroughly researched plan for your soft play business can help you achieve your intended goals and be successful.
A business plan should include:
This is just the overview of writing a business plan.
Search online to find more useful information (Small business administration, Bplans, LivePlan, BizPlanBuilder) are the best sources where you can find pre-made templates.
5. Name, Registration, Structure, and Licensing
A business name is important for marketing, branding, and promotion for a company.
Choose a name by following a systematic approach to ensure that the name reflects the brand and resonates with your target audience.
Also, buy a domain name. A good domain name can help build credibility and increase your online visibility, making it easier for potential customers to discover your Business.
You can register domains at (Namecheap, GoDaddy, Google, or Hover).
Select a user-friendly business name by considering the points:
Register Your Business
Establishing a clear business entity is very important for company registration.
Carefully choose a structure that aligns with your budget and goals.
You need to register as per the requirement of the state, local, and federal levels,
Choose a business structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or corporation), and decide what fits your business goals and needs.
Consult a legal advisor or attorney for guidance on completing the necessary legal formalities. Also, they guide you in selecting the best legal structure.
Get License and Permits
Obtain the proper licenses and permits according to state and local regulations.
Research to identify and acquire the various legal requirements, including licenses, permits, and certifications.
However, some general permits and licenses, including business licenses, sales tax, fire department permits, child care licenses, safety regulations, etc.
Resources to comply with those formalities: SBA, State and local website, IRS EIN assistant tool, and state secretary of state website.
Business insurance is important for any liability losses or accidental injuries of your customers; it provides a facility to recover from every loss.
Business insurance is not necessarily expensive, but you need to invest a few hundred dollars per year, depending on the location, size, and level of coverage you need.
Coverage included (General Liability, Equipment, Commercial property, and Workers’ compensation insurance).
Consult a local insurance agent for more detailed information; you can find more information here – Rental business insurance guide.
6. Procuring Soft Play Equipment and Supplies
The most important part of the soft play business is choosing the right equipment and suppliers, as well as buying from a trusted supplier at an affordable price.
It would be best if you had equipment that is safe, durable, and fun for kids of all ages.
Estimate your budget – how much you want to invest, as well as research and compare different suppliers (their pricing, quality, terms).
Create a list of different types of soft play kits that are needed to provide a better service.
List of commercial soft play equipment:
This is only the basic list; depending on your target market, you can consider additional supplies; before buying anything, conduct proper research.
Climbing Toys for Toddlers
- Baby toddler climbing toys
- Foam climbing blocks
- For crawling and sliding
How much does soft play equipment cost?
The cost of equipment depends on (material quality, size, manufacturer, quantity, company brand, and complexity). To learn about pricing, check out online stores.
As you can see, pricing is on the image.
The cost can vary anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per square foot or quantity.
Ball pit tents and tunnels
Elephant hopping horses
The best sources you can buy are soft play suppliers:
- Online retailers: Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target, Best Buy
- Brick-and-mortar stores,
- Find wholesalers and manufacturers.
Search on Google “soft play equipment supplier.” You can use words like “near me, wholesaler, manufacturer, retailer, etc.
For example, when we searched for suppliers, the results arrived (the location, company name, website link, directories, rating, and offering).
7. Organize your finances and secure Funding
Soft play rental business requires a significant amount of investment, in which the cost of inventory, equipment, supplies, vehicle cost, ongoing expenses, legal, marketing, and other types of budget are Included.
If we make a rough estimate of the startup cost, then at least a $10,000-$20,000 investment can come.
Calculate the startup costs:
Some tips for reducing the initial budget:
The budget depends on various factors, so the thing is to make a proper calculation of all.
Funds to launch your soft play business can be arranged through different channels.
But, it is important to have a detailed business plan to provide insights about your goals and strategy.
Explore different funding options:
8. Website Development and Online Presence
Setting up a website for your Business can make it easier for potential customers to find useful information (pricing, facility, company details, contact information, and service).
No matter your business model (indoor setup, franchise, or mobile service), a well-optimized website is important, which is also helpful for creating an online presence.
Follow the given steps to create a website:
By following the steps, you can easily build a website. Hopefully, those steps are helpful.
9. Marketing and Promotion
Soft play is a great way to keep kids entertained and active, and for your Business to succeed, you need to make sure people know about your service.
This means you need to invest your time, money, efforts, and dedication in marketing and promotion.
With a well-crafted marketing strategy, you can reach more potential customers and increase your profits.
Your strategy should include identifying and targeting new customers and attracting them with a strategic marketing plan: social media marketing, SEO, word-of-mouth, digital ads, influence marketing, etc.
This is the simple way to reach potential customers of your service.
Promote your service through effective online and offline marketing strategies, focusing on high-quality service, pricing, and safety.
Online: Social media, SEO, Email marketing, PPC advertising, Online directories.
Offline: Networking, Partnerships, Direct mail, Print advertising
Create a safe and fun environment with high-quality soft play kits.
The demand for soft play rental services continues to grow, and it is a popular rental service in most cities. However, with the increasing demand comes increased competition.
Entering this field requires a substantial investment, hard work, consistency, research, and planning to build trust with customers and establish a strong brand.
Hopefully, this post is helpful and provides in-depth information about the Business. If you have other doubts about the soft play business, let me know in the comments.
You might also like:
FAQs (frequently asked Questions)
Here are answers to some questions that people usually ask, so the short answer is here.
Is Soft Play Rental A Good Business?
Yes, the Business is a profitable idea to start. Soft play rental is a booming business, as parents are increasingly looking for safe and fun ways for their children to play.
What Is The Requirement For Starting A Soft Play Rental Business?
A soft play rental business requires a passion for children, a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and a willingness to invest in high-quality equipment and marketing.
Do I need insurance for soft play?
Yes, It is recommended to obtain insurance for your soft play business. Insurance protects against various risks, such as public liability claims, employer’s liability claims, product liability claims, and business interruption claims.
What is Soft Play?
Soft play equipment and gadgets are designed to be safe for children.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Soft Play Rental Business?
Starting a soft play rental business requires a rough investment of $10,000-$20,000, depending on various factors.