Indoor playground franchises are booming all over the world. With parents spending more time at work and kids becoming obese by the day, it is pertinent to find a balance.
Starting an indoor playground business appears to be both an escape for parents who want to combat their children’s obesity, as well as an income opportunity for the owners of the franchise.
If you are looking to start an indoor playground franchise, here are the simple steps you need to take:
- Decide on the reason why you want to start the business
- Create an indoor playground business plan
- Make in-depth market researches
- Find a suitable location
- Design and plan your indoor playground business
- Get the relevant business licenses
- Acquire and install important indoor playground equipment
- Advertise what you do
- Scale your indoor playground franchise
No doubt – the points above sound thrilling. You are already fired up to start the business already.
But, we must mention this – it is a lot harder than it is. You have to spend a lot of time researching, accepting, and refuting ideas.
Indeed, starting an indoor playground business isn’t one of the easiest things to do. We understand that you are passionate about helping kids catch a lot of fun while making your money too.
However, you need to have an indoor playground business plan so that you don’t make mistakes at the onset or run into some avoidable challenges in the long run.
If you want to get started, take your time to read the entire content we put out below so you can have all the information you need.
1. Why Start an Indoor Playground Business?
Agreed – indoor playgrounds are booming. Many business-minded are opening one, and you felt you should too!
Well, it is time you take some time to find out why you want to start the franchise in the first place.
Just like every other business out there, an indoor playground requires a clear business plan that states what the business is all about.
And you may not be starting on the right foot if you haven’t drawn up an indoor playground business plan.
So, why do you want to start the business in the first place? Here are a couple of reasons why you want to venture into it:
1.1 Understand the Realities
Most times, businesses are not just started because people want to make money. Starting an indoor playground business for instance is an opportunity for you to solve some real-world problems and make money from them.
The reality today is that indoor playgrounds prove to be a better alternative for parents who want their children to have all the fun in the world while being safe.
Because the playground is inside a home or a big compound, there is assured safety that the kids wouldn’t run into the road or come into some danger.
All the fun is in-house!
Second and most important, obesity is another shocking reality that many parents have come to deal with. With persistent increases in the number of obese children, it has become imperative to find a way to keep that at bay.
One of the ways to fight obesity (in addition to healthy eating) is by exercising. And that is what the indoor playground business offers – children can exercise and play around to burn extra calories.
1.2 Indoor Playgrounds Help Children to Develop Cognitive Skills
Away from playing and making noise in the process – an indoor playground can help in the development of cognitive skills in kids.
The fact is that children who play regularly and in a serene environment as an indoor playground provides, tend to develop cognitive skills faster.
Besides, there are lots of other fun games and stimulating activities that children can engage in the playground to improve their cognitive skills.
1.3 Bad Weather, Good Business
The environment or the location of your indoor playground can also help in determining how profitable it can.
The general idea is that some environments or locations that have bad weather can be a better place to set up an indoor playground business.
For example, Africa, South America, and the Middle East are plagued by the hot climate. So, it makes sense that you include those locations in your indoor playground business plan because parents would want their children to have an indoor entertainment experience.
It will also help a lot if your indoor playground is air-conditioned so that the children (and their parents) wouldn’t have to be subtly reminded of the hot climate outside.
1.4 Attract More Customers
Okay, let’s assume you don’t want to start an indoor playground franchise as a full business. You just want it to be a side hustle – something you can run on the side.
Well, it could be of great value addition to your existing business because it would be a better way to drive more sales.
For example, if you sell products or services that are mostly bought by moms and dads; you will make a lot of money from your indoor playground.
It is because parents are often sentimental when it comes to the place they buy things from.
When you have a kid-friendly environment (as created by your indoor playground), parents would be moved to bring their kids along.
It wouldn’t be long before you will have more kids visiting your indoor playground to play. And as time goes by, you may also want to stock your establishment with products meant for kids.
2. Create an Indoor Playground Business Plan
Only a few businesses will work without a business plan. And even at that, the foundation of the business will be shaky because most of the important considerations were not factored in before launching.
Therefore, it is pertinent that you create an indoor playground business plan, detailing most of the important factors to consider before starting the franchise.
A good indoor playground business plan should among many other things, include:
- A mission statement explaining the aims and objectives of the indoor playground
- The desired location of the business, and why it was selected
- Operational techniques, such as cleaning and maintenance plans
- Marketing strategies – how to get more customers
- And most importantly – your budget so you don’t spend more than you wanted to
3. Make In-Depth Market Researches
This is one of the points that some potential indoor playground business owners tend to make mistakes.
Do not confuse the absence of an indoor playground in your area or choice location to be an opportunity for you to start one.
Taking your time to draw up an indoor playground business plan will save you some troubles because you will find out some of the loopholes that must be avoided.
So, how do you make market researches to see if starting an indoor playground franchise is a good idea?
3.1 Check Market Demand
When many potential business owners hear the term, “Market Demand,” they usually confuse it with the number of people asking for a product or service.
It is not entirely the case. Market demand can also be constituted by the features and services that are missing in already-existing businesses.
Thus, your first approach to researching your potential market for the indoor playground franchise is to check market demand.
A good way to start is by spying on your competitors – brands that are already running an indoor playground.
Find out some of the services they are yet to include. Then see if some of the existing customers would be happy to see such a service in an indoor playground.
If the answers are in the affirmative, you have successfully found out one of the features that will make your indoor playground business a hotcake.
3.2 Evaluate Your Target Audience and their Ages
Contrary to what some up and coming indoor playground franchise owners have been made to believe, parents aren’t entirely your target audience. Instead, the children are!
The kids are the ones to enjoy the services your indoor playground renders. And they are the ones to use the indoor playground equipment you installed.
So, your market research should mainly focus on children. While at that, determine the following factors:
- How many kids/children live within the proposed location of your indoor playground business? The more children, the better.
- What are the ages of the children? Preferably, ensure that the children within the location are between the ages of 1 and 12.
3.3 Lifestyle and Income of the Parents
Now, let us look at the parents. Their lifestyle and the amount of money they make can determine if you are going to make some profits from your indoor playground business.
The rule of thumb is that parents or guardians who don’t make much money in a month may not be able to afford some luxury for the children or wards.
So if you must make some money from your indoor playground franchise, the business has to be located in a place where the parents are financially buoyant to afford the kind of fun their kids want.
3.4 Tourist Location or Primarily Residential?
Another important factor to consider when making your indoor playground market research is to find out if the proposed location of the franchise is residential or not.
Depending on the income of the people around the area, you may find it better to site your indoor playground close to a tourist location.
The reason is simple – tourists already have in mind that they will spend money. And when they are tagging along with their kids, they’ll spend much more.
So, when those kids learn that there is an indoor playground somewhere close to their tourist location, they would convince their parents to take them there.
Let’s leave the details of such influx of children and parents on tourism to your imagination!
3.5 Conduct Online Pools and Surveys
Nobody knows it all. Besides, what you consider an ideal indoor playground business idea may not even be what the target audience is thinking about.
A good way to getting into the minds of your target customers is to conduct online polls and surveys.
The idea is that more people are using the Internet today, especially social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
So, consider asking for their opinions on starting an indoor playground in their location just to have an idea of what they think.
Their feedbacks when summed together will help in giving you a clear direction on how to start your indoor playground.
4.Find a Suitable Location
You have to also consider the location of the indoor playground. Like every other business, you want to make great sales from your indoor playground franchise.
And for you to hit those huge financial goals, you must locate the business in an area that has a lot of traffic.
By traffic, we mean citing your indoor playground in a location where there are a lot of people.
Examples of those places are:
- A high tourist area
- A shopping center/mall
- Residential areas (only if the parents are always busy and wouldn’t have all the time to attend to their kids).
You also have to consider the convenience and visibility of your indoor playground. For example, it would do your business a lot of good and savings on advertising costs if you can locate it in a place that has more foot traffic.
That way, parents wouldn’t have to rack their brain on how to park their cars and get their kids into the indoor playground.
Besides, the structure of the building housing your indoor playground is also important. You may be interested in building or acquiring a structure of 15 feet so that it can conveniently house a 3-story indoor playground.
5. Design and Plan Your Indoor Playground Business
Okay, we now move over to the important details. What is the design you propose for your indoor playground?
Would the kids have a lot of space to play and exercise? Can the parents have a space to sit and watch their kids play?
Designing your indoor playground needs to be done in a way that includes innovation while making the environment fun and engaging for all ages, including parents.
Happy kids and happy parents mean more business for you. So, take the design seriously so you can easily attract them to come back without running a single advert.
When it comes to designing your indoor playground, here are some things you may want to consider:
5.1 Custom Design vs. Upgrades
You have 2 options here. The first is to buy land in a good location and start building your indoor playground from scratch. The other option is to purchase an existing indoor playground and upgrade it to your taste.
While the latter may save you some money, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start from scratch. The benefits of building your indoor playground far outweigh the initial costs you may have to pay to get it done.
For one, you will have a fully customized indoor playground that allows you to set your imagination to work towards creating a playing atmosphere that kids will love.
If you choose to design your indoor playground from scratch, note that it has to meet federal standards. You may need to hire the services of a professional to design the structure for you.
5.2 Brand It
Find a way to consistently include your brand name and possibly the logo on your indoor playground equipment. The walls and interior of the playground aren’t left out either.
It will go a long way to embed your brand in the minds of the kids. So, the next time they think of going to an indoor playground, your brand will come to their minds first before the others do.
5.3 Make It Spacious
Also, ensure that there is sufficient space to accommodate both the indoor playground equipment and parents with their kids.
High ceilings with a lot of space on the ground will go a long way to provide adequate space for equipment, bathrooms, seating, and food areas.
5.4 Incorporate Toys
Children love toys, as much as they love playing. So, research the types of toys kids love and incorporate them into your indoor playground.
Some of the toys you can consider are:
- Climbing structures
- Bright interactive games and
- Inflatable bouncers
6. How Much Does it Cost to Start an Indoor Playground?
Now, the financial commitment can take you by the surprise. Have you considered just how much you need to spend to set up an indoor playground franchise?
Many factors can influence the costs of the playground – and you need to have them in mind going forward.
Two major factors will help you determine the amount you will spend on your indoor playground.
The size of the playground matters a lot. You are either choosing the compact size, which works best if you are expecting a few people. Or you go for the large and elaborate play center that requires more equipment, and which can contain more people.
6.2 The Number of Play Areas
How many playable activities do you want to introduce in your indoor playground? The higher the number of play areas, the more expenses to incorporate them.
6.3 What Should be in Your Budget?
Here are some of the most important costs that you should include when factoring in the costs of the playground:
- The total costs of starting the playground, including the costs of rent and insurance.
- Advertising costs
- Operating costs, including salaries and utilities
- Estimated profits you want to make after other expenses have been settled.
7. Get the Relevant Business Licenses
You will need to get the approval of your state government before you can start your indoor playground.
Have in mind that your chances of getting approved will be higher if they were already-existing laws that permitting child-care in the state.
That said – here are the important business licenses you need to get as a new indoor playground business:
7.1 General Business License
The general business license is primarily for business registration. You also need the license for tax purposes.
Depending on your location, getting the general business license can cost you between $300 and $500.
7.2 Doing Business As (DBA) License
This type of business license permits you to use a customized or branded business name for your indoor playground franchise.
It can cost up to $60 to get the Doing Business As (DBA) license.
Also, note that you may have to pay additional costs, especially if you are incorporating additional businesses into your indoor playground.
8. Acquire and Install Important Indoor Playground Equipment
With the location already determined and the necessary licensees obtained, the next step is to install your indoor playground.
You may want to hire the services of Topkidsplay to handle the installation on your behalf while incorporating the style and structure you want your playground to have.
Also, you need to choose a reliable supplier so you can quality indoor playground equipment that would not only last longer but is also easy to maintain.
Safety is paramount too. So, ensure that you get the relevant authorities to make a full inspection of the playground to be sure that the users wouldn’t be in harm’s way.
9. Advertise what You Do
With everything now set, it is time to get the word out. There are many ways to advertise your new indoor playground, even if you are working on a budget.
Here are a few strategies on how you can advertise your new indoor playground and get more customers in the shortest time possible:
9.1 Hold a Grand Opening
Everybody does this these days – and you should too!
Schedule a grand opening for your new indoor playground. Invite family and friends and tell them to invite their loved ones too.
With many people coming for the grand opening, you can include a wide range of offers to make some sales on the first day. Some of the offers include:
- Offering a discount of up to 40% for the first 30 persons to have fun in your indoor playground during the grand opening.
- Giving out free samples to select children on the day of the grand opening.
9.2 Advertise Online and Offline
While social media adverts are awesome, you can also invest in offline adverts. The combination of both online and offline advertisements for your new indoor playground could be the magic wand.
Your major goal is to raise awareness among your target audience about the exciting products your new indoor playground has, as well as the amazing opportunities for kids who play there.
9.3 Set Up a Website
The Internet has given us a lot, and among the many benefits is establishing an online presence.
Set up a website for your business so that you can have an online platform from where you can publicize your indoor playground more.
Besides, you can use your website to showcase some of the impressive indoor playground equipment you have, as well as the fun activities that the children wouldn’t want to miss out on.
9.4 Generate Leads and Follow them Up
Not every parent that sees your adverts or learns about your indoor playground would want to patronize you immediately.
Some would want to take their time to check how your business model works and to be sure that your brand can be trusted to deliver exactly what it says.
So, consider generating more leads as you advertise. You can do that in many ways, such as:
- Embedding an email signup form on your website for people to join your email list.
- Sharing flyers to collect the telephone numbers and house addresses of parents who may be interested in bringing their kids to your indoor playground.
9.5 Get Involved in Your Community
Consider sharing your ideas about indoor playgrounds on both radio and television stations. You may also want to organize some offline events where you will educate parents and kids about the benefits of indoor playgrounds.
It wouldn’t be long before you establish trust with your target audience. And trust means more customers coming to patronize you!
9.6 Collaboration is Important
No man is an island, even though an indoor playground shuts out noise and crowd. Start collaborating with schools, daycare centers, and any other hub for children’s activities.
Depending on how strengthened your relationship is with them, you can get more kids coming from those places to place in your indoor playground.
10. Scale Your Indoor Playground Franchise
One of the biggest challenges new businesses have is scaling or growing their businesses to the next level.
As your indoor playground business continues to boom, start looking for more business concepts to integrate so you can make more money.
Also, consider hiring more persons to help you manage the playground so you can have more time to think of other ways of driving revenue for the playground.
Do you prefer allowing your kids to visit their friends to play and possibly be influenced by a bad character?
Or would you rather have them frequenting an indoor playground where they would be improving on their cognitive skills while having fun?
Contact Us to Learn More
Indoor lay areas are profitable, but you need professional advice from people who have been in the business for many years.
At Topkidsplay, we want to help you start and scale your indoor playground to the highest you envisage.
Our team of installation professionals will be more than excited to help you install and take care of your indoor playground. And when it is time for maintenance, we will schedule the best days to clean germs that build up in the playground. We will also be there in real-time to replace and or repair damaged lost or broken indoor playground equipment.
Above all, we would continually offer you professional advice that you can take advantage of to scale your indoor playground franchise to the next level.