Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No
If you've got creativity and a sense of fun, you can soar with a balloon bouquet service. You'll design and deliver balloon arrangements for all occasions--white and gold for weddings, black for that over-the-hill 40th birthday party, green and white for St. Patty's Day bashes. You can tie gifts to your bouquets--candy, stuffed animals, decorative tins of coffee and cookies--let your imagination be your guide, and make up both standard and custom presentations. You can also make a really big splash by providing hundreds of balloons en masse for grand openings, sales presentations, inaugurations, graduations and just about any other celebrations you can dream up. The balloon bouquet business's advantages are that you can start part time, you can work at home, your startup costs are relatively low, and if you're a creative person who likes conjuring up themes and packaging and putting them all together, it's a lot of fun. And it's gratifying--everybody's delighted to receive a fancy bouquet, especially with gifts attached. A balloon bouquet--or wreath, rainbow or cloud--can be elegant, whimsical or sporty, but any way you go, it needs to look smart; you can't just toss together a hodgepodge of colors and gifts and stick on some ribbon. You'll need a flair for the creative and the design ability to pull it all together into an attractive package. You'll also need to be a savvy marketer who can sell those unique bouquets to a variety of clients and customers.
Your clients can be just anybody who might buy florists' bouquets, gift baskets, or any other sort of delivered gift. Individuals will make up a large part of your sales, but be sure to target business customers, who can be a terrific source of repeat business. Start off with travel and real estate agents, innkeepers, apartment complexes, car and boat salespeople, public relations firms--or any other corporate clients who'll want to make their customers feel they're walking on air. Don't forget clubs and organizations--they're always throwing dinners, teas, parties and assorted awards banquets for which clouds of balloons make a stunning statement. You can net these clients and customers with creative marketing. Send brochures to businesses and organizations, then follow up by setting appointments to show your bouquets or a professional portfolio of your designs. To attract retail customers, place ads in local newspapers, send press releases to local and national publications, offer yourself as a guest on a local radio chat show, and donate a few bouquets to other businesses' grand openings or for fund-raisers in return for free publicity. You should also send brochures to wedding and event planners and caterers, all of whom can take advantage of your services or refer their own clients to you.
You'll need a supply of helium tanks, an assortment of colorful, fun and elegant ribbons, and as many kinds of balloons as you can lay your hands on. In most states, you'll need a liquor license if you plan to attach that fine wine, and you'll want a resale license so you can buy gifts and supplies at wholesale prices. You'll want a hot glue gun and a workspace large enough to spread out your materials and assemble your bouquets. (Keep in mind that a business client may order 100 or more bouquets at a time.) You'll also need a delivery vehicle with plenty of balloon room to cart all those clever gifts around in. And don't forget a credit card processing machine so you can take orders over the phone.