So You Want to Become a Balloon Decorator
If you're looking to start a fun and creative business or side hustle, consider becoming a balloon artist. Balloon decorations are in high demand for all kinds of events, from weddings to holiday parties. Anyone can start a balloon business with a few basic skills and the proper planning. The cost to become an independent balloon decorator is relatively low compared to other small business ideas. In this guide, we'll explain how to start your own balloon decorating business.
Is the Balloon Business Profitable?
The balloon decorating industry is highly profitable and expanding quickly. If you're considering starting a balloon business, there is plenty of demand. The party balloon market is growing by 4.8% every year and is expected to reach $1.96 billion by 2028.
Balloons are extremely affordable, so startup costs are low and profit margins are high. Balloon businesses don't require much storage space at first, so many people run balloon businesses out of their homes. You can start a balloon business as a side gig or full-time job.
Your potential earnings will depend on where you live and how dedicated you are to growing your business. There is always room to grow for those offering new products and services. Partnering with other party vendors can help you expand your reach to other communities. As you gain experience and start attracting more clients, you can slowly raise your prices.
You should set your prices carefully to earn the highest profit. Your price must take into account materials, labor and delivery plus the market increase. Depending on your location and the quality of your products, you can double or triple the cost of materials and labor. For example, if materials and labor cost $50, you can charge the customer $100-$150, plus a $20 delivery fee.
Becoming a Balloon Decorator for Events
Balloon decorations are extremely popular for parties. You can grow your business by offering unique balloon decorations for any of the following events.
1. Birthday Parties
Balloons are a classic way to decorate for birthday parties at any age. You can match the colors and designs to any theme. Balloon animals are fun and whimsical for children's parties, while metallic balloons add impressive height and flair to a sweet sixteen.
2. Baby Showers
Balloon arches and centerpieces look adorable at baby showers and gender reveals. They provide the perfect backdrop for photos. Pink and blue balloons are popular for baby showers, but unique color schemes like sage green, peach and gold are also trending.
Balloon decorations are an affordable replacement for flower displays at weddings and bridal showers. You can offer balloons to match any color scheme. They're also an effective solution for couples with pollen allergies. You can also mix greenery or pampas grass into your balloon arches to make them look even more impressive.
Every graduation party needs balloon decorations that coordinate with the school colors. Balloon displays make a big impact at indoor and outdoor graduation parties. You can also offer foil number balloons to emphasize the graduation year in your balloon backdrops.
5. Corporate Events
Balloons are an affordable decoration that makes a big impact at corporate parties, grand openings and conferences. Impressive balloon displays encourage guests to take pictures and advertise your business on social media for free. You can offer balloon decorations to match the company branding and logo.
6. Sporting Events
Schools and sports leagues can rally team spirit and celebrate games with balloon decorations. Balloon arches are popular decorations for the entrance to a football stadium or over the finish line of a race. Customers can match their balloon decorations to their team's colors.
Festivals are community-wide parties that focus on a theme and often last several days or weeks. Some popular festival themes include:
- Food festivals
- Beer and wine festivals
- Music festivals
- Dance festivals
- Seasonal festivals
- Religious festivals
- Cultural festivals
Creating unique balloon art to display at local festivals is an excellent way to promote your business.
How to Start a Balloon Decor Business
Starting your own balloon business can seem overwhelming at first, but with the proper planning, anyone can do it!
Step 1: Create a Business Plan
Careful planning is key to starting a balloon business, and a business plan is key to careful planning. Consider the type of balloon business you want to operate and the unique value it will provide. How will it stand out from the competition? How will it fulfill your target audience's needs?
For example, if your community has many parents with young children, you can focus on decorations for kids' birthday parties. If there are a lot of young couples, you can specialize in wedding and bridal shower decorations. As your business grows, you can expand your product offerings to target different customers.
A business plan acts as a guide to help you reach your goals. It should outline information like what you'll offer and how you will market your services. You should also include your suppliers and startup costs.
Step 2: Name Your Business
Choosing the right business name is an important step. It should reflect your brand identity and mission. Consider these factors when naming your business:
- Length: Choose a name that is easy to spell and say. Names that are short and simple are easier for customers to remember.
- Relevance: Choose a name that reflects your products and services but isn't so specific that it hinders your expansion in the future. For example, the name "Kids Party Balloons" might be confusing if you also want to sell balloons for corporate events in a few years.
- Keywords: Include high-value keywords like "party balloons" or "balloon decorations" to promote your online presence for those terms.
Step 3: Register Your Business
You must register your business to get the Employer Identification Number (EIN) that you need to pay taxes. Registering your business lets you apply for personal liability insurance and offers other legal and tax benefits.
How you register your business will depend on the structure. Most balloon decorating businesses are run as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC).
Step 4: Prepare to Pay Taxes
When you start a business, you are responsible for paying taxes on the income you earn from it. The taxes you pay will depend on the structure of your business and how much money you make. You should create a bank account for your business so it's separate from your personal finances and easier to track revenue. Visiting an accountant is the easiest way to ensure you're paying your taxes correctly. Paying your taxes on time is crucial to prevent fines and legal charges.
Step 5: Apply for Insurance
Business insurance helps protect your new venture from losses and financial risks. Different types of business insurance protect you from different things. Two policies to consider right away are liability and inventory insurance. Liability insurance covers client injuries or property damage caused by your business. Though balloon injuries are uncommon, they're not out of the question. Inventory insurance covers the cost of your products if they are lost or damaged during shipping and handling.
You might also consider the following insurance policies as you expand your balloon business:
- Business property insurance
- Workers' compensation insurance
- Equipment breakdown insurance
- Commercial auto insurance
- Professional liability insurance
Skills Needed for Balloon Decorating
Operating a successful balloon business isn't always a party. Though projects are often fun and rewarding, they also require time, effort and certain skills. To run a successful balloon decorating business, you or your team must have the following skills:
- Creativity and imagination: Customers love new and creative designs. You must have an active imagination to come up with exciting decorations that stand out from the competition. The internet is an amazing source of inspiration to help you create beautiful and innovative balloon art.
- Artistic talent: Once you've chosen a design, you also need artistic talent to bring that vision to life. Artistic people understand how to manipulate the balloons into different shapes and choose color schemes that look good together.
- Organization: Staying organized is key in the balloon business because there are a ton of moving parts. You may have hundreds of balloons and accessories to keep track of for different projects. If you want to earn good reviews, you must keep your inventory organized and show up to every job on time.
Math: Any business owner needs basic math skills to calculate pricing and add up material orders. Of course, you can always use a calculator to double-check your numbers.
- Communication: In balloon decorating, pleasing the customer is the most important thing. Having strong communication skills is crucial to building a good relationship with your clients and understanding their expectations.
- Problem-solving: With any business, there are bound to be unexpected challenges. For example, helium shortages are common in the balloon industry. Having good problem-solving skills will help you navigate these situations without upsetting your customers.
- Networking and sales: Networking with people and other business owners will help you get your name out there. If you have great sales skills, you can also maximize your profits by upselling customers on more elaborate balloon packages.
Balloon Decorating Supplies and Equipment
Starting a balloon decorating business is relatively easy and affordable compared to other ventures. Here's what you need to start your own balloon business.
To start a balloon business, you need plenty of balloons! Find an affordable distributor that sells high-quality latex and foil balloons in bulk. Choose a seller with fast shipping so you can stock up quickly for last-minute jobs. As you turn a profit, you can expand your business by stocking more colors and styles of balloons.
2. Helium Tanks
Refillable helium tanks are a good investment if you plan to own a balloon business. It's more affordable to refill your own helium cylinders than to purchase disposable tanks.
3. Inflation Equipment
To fill balloons with regular air for balloon columns and arches, you'll need an inflator. We recommend purchasing at least one electric air balloon pump and one hand pump to start. An electric pump costs less than $20 and will fill your balloons quickly and efficiently. Hand pumps are even more affordable and convenient for filling balloons at venues without electricity.
4. Bases, Frames and Weights
The proper base is essential for creating professional quality balloon decorations. You'll need a variety of bases, frames and weights to support and secure your elaborate balloon designs. You can purchase premade professional framing or make your own using materials from the hardware store.
5. Design Essentials
Now that you have all of the major supplies, there are some smaller things you'll need for installation and finishing touches. Here are some helpful items to keep in your tool kit:
Cord and fishing line
Tape and glue dots
6. Large Bags
Many business owners fill their balloons before transporting them to the event so they can set them up quickly. Large bags are useful for protecting and securing your balloons during delivery. Plastic balloon transport bags are lightweight and can be reused several times.
7. Phone and Computer
A phone and computer are essential for communicating with customers and marketing your business on social media. We also recommend using a computer for things like taking orders, making payments and tracking sales. You probably already have at least a phone at home that you can use to get started. As your business grows, you may want to invest in a separate phone and computer strictly for your business.
8. Other Accessories
You can take your balloon decorations to the next level with a few additional accessories:
9. Large Vehicle
A large delivery van or truck is ideal for transporting large balloon decorations. If you're starting your balloon business on a low budget, you can rent a moving truck for a small fee or assemble your creations at the event.
How to Become a Certified Balloon Artist
To become a Certified Balloon Artist (CBA), you have to earn your certification from the Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN). Before starting the program, you have to become a QBN member. Then, you are eligible to take the four-hour practical exam.
QBN recommends waiting until you have at least two years of experience working with balloons before taking the exam. You can also prepare by watching QBN's training videos and reviewing their study guide. You have to score 80% or higher on the exam to earn your CBA certification.
Becoming a CBA adds value to your business and offers perks like special discounts and invitations to Qualatex events.
Choose Mayflower as Your Wholesale Balloon Distributor
To run a successful balloon decorating business, you need an affordable and reliable supplier. Mayflower Distributing is a leading distributor of balloons, helium and party supplies. We carry a broad selection of over 25,000 products and provide fast shipping nationwide. Our inventory is priced low so that you can earn higher profits. We also offer volume discounts on bulk orders.
Our website is a one-stop shop for everything you need to start your balloon business. Create a new customer account today to shop our wholesale balloons and accessories.