So how did The Jump Off start? What got us into bounce house rental and waterslide rental? My favorite answer to that is “by accident”! It was my wife Michelle being wise, and me being ambitious and crazy, being aggressive, and being prepared for the INSANE opportunity the pandemic would put in front of us. After that, it was so much hard work and hustle it’s hard to describe.
This all got started in June 2019. After buying the not-so-cheap bounce houses from Walmart, and having them each only last one year, my wife Michelle said, “Screw this, I’m going to buy a real Spacewalk!”
I remember her calling me while I was traveling for work and telling me that she was going to go buy a real bounce house from Spacewalk in Kenner so we could have it for for personal use, save the money on the rentals that she used to get for bday parties, and then if I wanted to “start a business” I could start renting it out.
I was onboard! At the time I was working up the courage to quit my job and start my own business, and I figured that a bounce house to rent out would only help!
Michelle ended up getting sold 2 units; An orange Dinosaur bounce house and a blue slip-n-slide.
When I got home I was SHOCKED how big and heavy they were! I was totally ignorant to anything in this industry.
So, ambitiously, I posted them for rent for way too low of a price on FB marketplace, and over 4th of July we got our first rental!
I still remember how weird it felt leaving our Slip-n-Slide at a stranger’s house and driving way!
We would usually drop off the units on Friday evening and pick it up on Sunday morning, cause I had a crazy job, and Michelle owns a salon called The Hair Lounge.
Then in August, I did it. I quit my job as a district manager, and started investing a little more time into The Jump Off, and was working on turning my blog into a consulting agency.
To pay the bills I was reselling stuff I’d take from the side of the road (not kidding!) and driving Uber in Michelle’s Armada, because I didn’t even have a car anymore. When I quit my DM job I had to give back my free car too!
I’m nuts I know.
In October, Michelle went and bought another unit, The Combo Cube, this a MUCH bigger bounce house slide combo. It rented REALLY good, and was so much bigger than our other 2 it was comical.
Then, through luck, assertiveness, and pure random chance, I got the break that I’d always “knew” was coming, I just didn’t know when and how…
My buddy contractor Kip, owner of KML Enterprises, called me asked me if I wanted his kids old bikes to sell. Hell yeah! I’m out here trying to make it and I need inventory to sell! So he brings the bikes over, I clean them up and post them on FB marketplace.
The next day a guy wants to come buy them, so he swings by the house to pick them up, sees The Combo Cube in the front yard deflated and asks me how many units I have to rent out. I said 3. He said he has 28!!
I asked where he buys them all, and he kinda hesitates, and says “My brother is going to kill me…” I got out a little notebook from my back pocket and got ready to write…He said he bought them in bulk from a guy named Tony at Red Stick Entertainment in Prairieville.
I looked him up and called Tony 3 times that day, but the receptionist wouldn’t put me through to him.
So the next day, my mom and I took my dad’s truck to Prairieville and walked into Red Stick Entertainment cold, and asked for Tony. The receptionist was annoyed, but I talked her into getting Tony for me. He walks through the doors, and turns out to be one of the nicest guys ever!
He walks us out back and says there is 20+ old units in a shipping container and I can have them all for $5000. I had no way to move them, no where to store them…that was crazy! So then he says, “Fine, I have that 14ft cargo trailer back there, and it has 7 units in it. You can have the 7 units for $1800 or if you wanna take the trailer too, $2000 total.
Is the trailer drivable? YEP
The next day we drove back with $2000 in cash, aired up the tires, and headed home! We had no idea what 7 units were in there. I had no idea what to do with the trailer. I’m an uber driver that just spent $2000 blind. LETS GO!
So we get home and are yanking these old units out of the trailer and blowing them up.
This one is a bear
Oh a water slide!
Dang an obstacle course…
It was pretty funny. I wish we would’ve filmed it, man.
Anyways, we end up renting one of the units in there 2 times that weekend for $200 each time, and then I sold the trailer for $1600 on Monday.
Within 5 days I was even on my $2000 investment.
And here’s the best part…it had 9 units in there not 7!!
Now we have 12 total units! We’re ready to rock man. Only problem is that it’s early December so we’re not renting them out very fast, but we know come spring things will be good.
My mom and I scrubbed every inch of the 9 units with Mr Clean Magic Eraser, and got them as fixed up as we could.
The Jump Off was set to be a decent little side hustle 🙂
Coming into Feb I was doing everything myself, cleaning the units, delivering them, picking them up. We were set to have a 4 rental weekend in mid-March and I was so excited!
Then we get hit with Covid-19 news to cancel all parties etc. All 4 rentals canceled…just a minor set back I thought. The business was there, so after we figure out this coronavirus thing we’ll do good this year!
Uhhhh, you know what happened.
So as school was out, someone had rented our one waterslide from us. We were driving it up to Folsom when we got hit with the news that Michelle was being ordered to shut her salon down.
I’m still trying to scrape money together as an aspiring Entrepreneur, so she’s not only the bread winner of the family, but the main provider! We had a kindergartner and 1 year old too.
I remember vividly that I was calm as Michelle was kinda freaking out about what we were going to do. I was scared, but ready. The details are all very fuzzy, but I remember thinking that this was my shot. This was the opportunity that I had been waiting for to step up and lead. (I’m getting the chills and a little emotional writing this right now…)
I was driving, so I told Michelle, “I don’t want a damn bounce house left in our garage. They ALL have to be rented out at any cost. That’s how we’re going to make it through this.”
I told her to make a Facebook marketplace post, and to do our 2 smallest jumpers for $100, to drop the price on everything else, erase all delivery fees, and (here’s the part that changed everything), switch to all 7 day rentals.
As we get to the clients house we start setting up the slide and talking to the client, and her boys. We were there for about 45 minutes. As we get back to the Armada, Michelle says to me, “I think I should drive, my post is going viral right now!”
On the 40 minute drive home I’m chatting on FB Messenger with person after person, and book out completely by the time we get home. I had a rental in Lacombe, then one in freaking Picayune, Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville….it was NUTS.
I actually stopped answering my phone that day because I had no way to keep track of these rentals. I’d always tracked everything in my head prior cause it was always 1-3 rentals a weekend. Now all the sudden I can’t even speak to clients because I have no idea what to say!
The date was Monday, March 23rd, 2020. It was the day my whole life changed. The day that I would get to fulfill my life long dream and get to call myself an entrepreneur.
Did I ever think I’d be your bounce house guy? Hell no! But I’ve said for a very long time that I didn’t care what industry that I broke out in, I’d love it no matter what because I’m obsessed with business. Intrigued by marketing, and saas products, and PNL sheets, and hiring, and stress and leadership. I love to work. It’s my hobby. It’s my passion. I just need any business and I’m a happy camper.
So from that point forward, my full time gig has been The Jump Off. There has been a million lessons and funny stories along the way, but I’m so damn proud of what we’ve built. If you ever find yourself in my neighborhood on a Saturday, you’ll see half my neighbors and their kids wearing Jump Off shirts, and drinking beers out of Jump Off cozies.
It’s just incredible to even be alive, so dammit find something that your love and just keep doing it until people pay you for it!
So at the time of this writing, it’s April 9th, 2021. The Jump Off has 2 trucks, 2 trailers, and is operated out of 2 storage units (warehouse soon!), and we have 3 part time employees. I have also started 2 other businesses, Lets Get Lit which is a Christmas light installation company, and I just started The Haul Off junk removal in February.
Life is good.
Thanks so much for reading!
The Jump Off