You can make some good money turning out ever-popular balloon animals. You can do it on the street, at fairs, birthday parties, restaurants, bars, parades, anywhere where large groups of people show up.
How Much Do You Make?
What do you charge? You can charge per balloon, although that could mean you’ll have to get a vendor’s permit. You can hire out for a party as an entertainer, which should sidestep that issue. You can also work for tups. One Southern Illinois lady who sells at fairs, malls, and special events prices her balloon animals primarily depending on how many balloons are needed, at a rate of $1.00 per balloon, up to $5.00.
Your profit may vary depending on the size of the event, how festive it is, whether there’re a lot of kids present, that sort of thing.
How Do You Learn?
This is not physics. You can teach yourself with instructions freely available on the internet. That includes video demonstrations. Just Google for “balloon animal instructions” and practice. While you are at it, you’ll also want to Google for “balloon animal supplies” and examine the offers.
What Do You Make?
As for what kind of balloon animals to offer, you are limited only by your imagination. Perhaps you will come up with something few others have thought of that will prove wildly successful.
The lady I mentioned before says her top seller is Elmo, but she also offers an assortment including a monkey,spider, cobra, Pegasus, teddybears, butterflies, unicorns, bears, dinosaur, and other animals, a green alien, Oscar the Grouch, Tweety Bird, Barney, a ballerina, and more. When she spotted a fleeting glimpse of a balloon penguin on a TV morning show, she sat down with black and white balloons and figured out how to make one in 20 minutes.
Some people blow them up themselves, although that can be a problem if you get a rush of people wanting dozens of ballons. There are manually-operated hand pumps, however. You can also get pumps that are powered by a battery and, of course, you can inflate balloons with a gas-filled tank.
As for tools, all you need besides a balloon inflater are a selection of felt tip pens to add facial features and string to tie to the balloon. Naturally, you could use some business cards to drum up additional business. These can be obtained for shipping and handling from several online sites that advertise widely. A clipboard will help you assemble a mailing list. Be sure to wear a large button giving your price unless you have been hired as an entertainer providing free balloon animals.
Approaches to Vending
Many people operate on the street as “buskers,” and all they might have are an air tank and a bunch of balloons and a few felt tip pens. They may or may not wear costumes, such as a clown costume. This roving approach can be especially useful for a parade or similar public event. You can resupply at your car and avoid the expense of setting up a stand.
The Southern Illinois vendor I’ve referred to has a simple set-up. An open-sided tent she picked picked up for $50, a couple tables, a supply of ballons, and a couple racks made with coathangers where she can prop up Elmo on a motorcycle or an alien on a motorcycle. On her head, she wore a balloon hat with two Elmos, one stretching to either side. That’s about it.
You may want to offer free replacement for lost or popped balloons. Of course, if you are hired as an entertainer at a party, that goes without saying.
If you have an interest in becoming a vendor, you may find that making balloon animals can be a creative and rewarding business.
Balloon HQ, http://balloonhq.com/
“Balloon Modeling,” Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon_modelling