Side Hustle Series: Bounce House Worker

I’m a big fan of side hustles. There been times when I’ve had multiple at the same time and I will try to have one alongside a job for as long as I’m able. I’ve written about lawn mowing, and working in fast food as an associate. A few years ago, I was desperate to make more money so I started looking for jobs. I found an ad, became skeptical but applied just because, and my life has changed ever since.

There’s been times in life when I’ve gotten the bug to make more money. Sometimes that comes out of necessity and other times, I just like to see if I can add more things to my schedule and thrive. A few years into my college career, if I found myself in some tight spots where I needed to have multiple jobs. I was going to school full time, had an unpaid internship and needed to make money quick. I went to craigslist and responded to all the ads that seemed to mesh with what I was looking for. One of the ads I responded to was for a bounce house attendant. At this point, I’d never had direct contact with inflatables, so I didn’t really understand what that meant. I took a competency test, got more information from one of the owners and got hired on the spot.

My first attending assignment was at an elementary school. I showed up and shortly after, the owners of the company came in a truck full of inflatables. They set up, told me to stay till the end of the event, and headed on to their next location to set up. Essentially, all I had to do was babysit kids while they jumped around on a bounce house. Babysitting was something I did in my high school days, so I knew I would do well. At the end of the 2 hour event, the owners came back, packed up and left. While watching them, my ambition grew then and there. My initial drive was to sign up for as many events possible. There were days when I was attending multiple events in a weekend and the hours added up to a nice sizable paycheck that a college kid could blow through. After a few events, I noticed the clean up crew had a few different people and that seemed a bit more interesting. I began staying after every event to ask if they needed help to clean up, and the owner would always say no. After about 5 events of doing this, one of the owners finally mentioned how they could use more help with deliveries and pickups, so they agreed to have me do more for the company.

For the remainder of that first summer, I was an apprentice in a sense. I rode around with the owners from event to event learning how to manage time appropriately, conversing with customers and problem solving. I went from just standing around at events, to working 30+ hours in a weekend. Since I was still going to class on top of other part time jobs, my work there started on Friday evenings and lasted in Sunday nights. Bounce houses I deliver are not light. The smaller units are close to 150 lbs with the larger ones being close to 350 lbs. Hauling and flipping these around from event to event was not only tiring on the body, but also thrilling. There’s a joy and sense of fulfillment I get from being able to manually handle bounce houses. After every shift, all I wanted to do was sleep, so I did, woke up the next day, and did it all over again. Looking back, I should have absorbed much more than I did because these are all valuables lessons that I could have started deploying much earlier in life. There’s no other experience like dealing with angry event coordinators, parents, and having to reschedule a whole day’s schedule just because of traffic. These skills have helped me in my professional careers with projects and to deploy some emotional intelligence in the workplace.

After being an apprentice for 2 summers, I’m now entrusted to go out on my own for deliveries and pickups. It’s been 7 years and I’ve decided to be involved in the inflatables or ride inspection industry in some way for as long as I can. This is all from a 6 to 9 month in a year that takes up most of my weekends in the summer. This company has helped me become a better person, so I’ve been trying to give them even more value to them ever since by giving some strategy advice. Through this, I’ve trained new employees and got a deeper understanding of the inflatables business. If interested in adding to your side hustle by being a bounce house worker, reach out to local inflatables companies and look at classified job postings. This has been my longest side hustle and I will give back to it any chance I get.