Start a Playground Equipment Rental Business

Even with the economy tight people still spend money on their crotch goblins I mean children. A playground equipment business rents out playground equipment such as jungle gyms, sliding boards and roundabouts etc.

Market need
The selling point to parents is that they do not have a large outlay and can get out of owning a white elephant if the children is no longer interested in it. On the flip side there is the benefit that the children will love it tying the parents into a long contract. You can sweeten this by offering a rent to own after they have paid say 2x, 2.5x or 3x the value. So if you breaking even at 12 months people can own at 24 months. Now remember this is like the Teljoy of playground equipment. They are still around so people are still renting even small items. Some still see value in it.

There is also the value if people don’t live close to a park, or the park is not well maintained. After-all outside of certain areas the municipal facilities have gone to shit. There are also some places where it is too dangerous for children to play in parks. Hell it might even be too dangerous for parents with brazen robberies the norm in SA (people are unlikely to fight back or chase after robbers if their children are close by).

Business Model
The most popular business in this industry is the manufacture and outright sale. But I have wrote countless times about how hiring can be a recurring income and in some cases a short break-even.

Now unlike the jumping castle business this is not a daily business it is a month to month, equipment has to be moved and set up. With some minimum contracts such as 3-6 months with a months notice afterwards to cover this initial setup cost. Or you can even charge a transport or setup cost along with charging a month in advance.

This is a traditional rental business, you have to look at the asset cost, weigh the depreciation, wear and tear etc. and say I paid R5000 for this asset. What is a monthly rental that is both acceptable to parents and an acceptable break-even. Too much and the parents will say “nah might as well buy it new I can put it on Gumtree later on if the kid outgrows it” but enough for you to be profitable.

Now it must be noted that not all equipment is made equally. I have seen some of the stuff that is rented out at between R300 and R500 a month and it looks like something that you can make in your garage with some steel pipes welded together and tyres, a steel drum (to create a “tunnel”) with a gazebo shadecloth at the top. That is not really what I had in mind.  I prefer the sturdier wooden ones but then again WTF do I know about jungle gyms and the preferences of children? When I was a child the apartheid government built us the most fantastic equipment to keep us content on the Cape Flats so my standards are really high. But I digress.

Would you try to overthrow a government that built you this? No way!
Would you try to overthrow a government that built you this? No way!

I would look at a three pronged approach:
Manufacture, have manufactured or buy the equipment in bulk to get a discount let’s say retail is R5000 each. Buy ten for say R4000 each. If the parents shopped around they know it is worth R5000 “in the shops”.

Look for a as low as possible breakeven, 6-8 month breakeven. At six months it is R666pm at 8 it is R625pm. It’s a bit high and I have no idea what the parents will go for, maybe have cheaper ones.

The approach is thus:
Monthly rental
Premature buyout: let’s say 24 months
Rent to own: let’s say 36 months

Ideally the premature buyout will be minimum 2x what you paid for it.
And the rent to own is after 36 months or 3x
But I have no idea if that is viable as I just came up with that number in the last five minutes and didn’t apply my mind. Use whatever model suits you.

Types of equipment
Jungle gyms are the most popular
Merry go rounds, roundabouts
See saw
Swings
Big doll houses (basically a mini wendy house)
Etc

Make sure indemnity forms are signed and offer “free service” the putting some onus on the parents to look for distress wear and tear.