SOFT PLAY, FAQ, GUIDE

When starting any business, it is common sense that profit is the driving motive in all non-charitable developments. Indeed, profit is the leading measure of success as it is with all commercial enterprises. At House of Play, we have 25 years’ experience of both running our own profitable indoor play centres – Astrabound, Play XL and Go-Bounce – and helping our customers start their own indoor play centre journey with free access to industry specific intellectual knowledge. No new start business could possibly have better support than that available through House of Play. As an operator ourselves, we are uniquely placed to design venues that maximise profit potential and optimises operational efficiency. Our advice is always available to new and existing operators alike. Planning is everything!


DOING YOUR RESEARCH

For a soft play business to be profitable, it needs to be well researched before the doors even open. As they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail! At House of Play, we have a wealth of resources designed to explore the possibilities of what your business could achieve including an interactive business forecast model designed to help you understand ‘the numbers’ that may attract to the business. As this model is interactive, it can show a range of profit potentials dependent upon the key drivers of footfall and price against the key costs of rent (and associated building costs) and wages. This is displayed through a ‘sensitivity analysis’ enabling an ‘at a glance’ summary of potential profitability.

YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT

As the indoor entertainment industry continues to grow and develop, it is becoming increasingly important to separate any potential (or existing) business from your competitors. This can be done in many different ways – from offering a unique or different theme of equipment (for example, having a space theme if your competitors have a jungle one) to diversifying your product mix – such as introducing trampolines, VR equipment, role play or sensory areas to name but a few. Customer expectation is always increasing and your soft play area is more likely to succeed and be profitable if it can capture as many different markets as possible and even more importantly, keep people coming back.

No two businesses are the same so it is important that your product mix and prices are right for the customers in your area in order for it to succeed. With our expertise at House of Play, we’re able to advise on the most suitable product mix to maximise visitor numbers. In most cases, it is wise to apply the tried-and-tested principle of allocating a third of space to the play facilities, a third to seating and a third to ancillary area such as reception, toilets, party rooms and kitchen. It is not uncommon for a site to have up to 50% of their income come from café facilities, so the spatial allocation needs to reflect this and ensure that the building capacity relative to the play equipment capacity is optimum.


STAYING UP AND RUNNING

In order for a business to stay profitable, it needs to continue to operate at an optimum level and part of this is factoring in the requirement for ongoing maintenance and repairs of the play equipment, which, if not maintained, will suffer continual wear and tear due to the very nature of play. As the old adage goes, literally in this case, perhaps ‘a stitch in time saves nine! Whilst an annual inspection is required as part of the BSEN 1176 Part 10 in order to be compliant with safety standards, it is also good practice to keep on top of any repairs, this reduces the cost of upkeep and prevents large repair bills accumulating. Also, if parts of the equipment become unusable, customers may well seek to visit alternative venues instead.

GETTING THE WORD OUT!

In order for any leisure business to be successful, your customers need to know you exist! Marketing, whether this is through ‘traditional’ means such as local media outlets or leafleting, or through social media sites such as Instagram or Facebook, it is important to generate a ‘buzz’ about your business to encourage people through the door and get them returning. We are able to help by assisting with the development of promotional materials whether you are a new or experienced business.

We hope that these little hints give you an idea of the scope of support that House of Play can provide to help your business. All play centres operate at different levels of profit, the key is to optimise the potential and we may be able to help achieve this. To find out more, please contact us on 01302 846876 and we’d be delighted to help!

You can See what other questions our customers asked here houseofplay.com/faq

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