Spring is fast approaching and after years of operating an inflatable business of my own, the first thing that automatically comes to mind is Moonwalk & Water Slide season.
When you think of a bounce house, you think of fun. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that the inflatable industry is regulated and each state has different laws as to what is required to operate an inflatable / amusement business. For instance here in the State of Texas, most anything one would rent for a backyard party or festival are required to be fully insured with at least $1 Million in coverage as well as be inspected by a qualified inspector every year and have a sticker issued by the state. These items include but are not limited to Inflatables, Rockwalls, Mechanical Bulls & Bungee Runs to name a few.
Why is a yearly inspection important? Well, when a bounce house or moonwalk is properly inspected the inspector would look for holes in the side netting or in the vinyl material that could lead to serious injuries. Cleanliness is also an issue. Generally, if the equipment is not clean, it is not safe. Maintaining high quality, trouble-free equipment is a critical aspect to your inflatable business.
Here at Glynn Barclay & Associates, Inc. we believe more than 80 percent of bounce house operators aren’t compliant with state law here in Texas, (this is an estimate not an exact number). As to reasons why so many companies are not compliant, we strongly believe some owners simply have no idea that the law exists. This happens due to people just not doing their homework and research on the internet for news in the industry. Then there are the companies that know about the laws and simply choose not to operate legally. This is unfortunate for the law abiding business owners because they are often under cut in pricing by these people who do not have the same overhead costs.
The Texas Department of Insurance or TDI regulates and monitors the bounce house industry and says they have identified this issue of companies not being compliant as a concern. While TDI monitors and regulates the industry, the Texas Attorney General’s Office and local law enforcement are responsible for enforcement. The fines for non-compliant companies can be up to $2,000 a day and jail time of up to six months in jail if convicted of the Class B misdemeanor charge. Once it is brought to the attention of TDI that a company is not compliant they will notify the company immediately by certified mail giving them a deadline and what needs to be done to become compliant. If then the company does not become compliant, they are turned over to the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
In closing, maintaining high quality, trouble-free equipment is a very important aspect to your inflatable/ amusement business. Inspection regulations for inflatable equipment vary from state to state. It is very important for you to keep up to date on new regulations affecting the inspection requirements for inflatable equipment in your state, as this type of legislature can be subject to change at any time.
Information provided by:
Ms. Deanna Johnson
Glynn Barclay & Associates, Inc.