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This article is geared for those tempted by "$89 moonwalk rentals" populating Craigslist.

As a fairly new-ish company, one of the rules to live by is to keep overhead down. And we have sucessfully done so. Even yours truly [webmaster] doubles as delivery driver, moonwalk sanitizer, photographer, route planner...the list goes on. However, there are things that we will not cut corners on.

 

 

Including our products.

The typical life span of inflatables in the rental industry ranges from 4-6 years. When this corporation was formed, the decision was made to limit our secondhand purchases and instead buy less quantity of new items. At time of writing, we have just over 50 items in inventory. The "bought secondhand" items can be counted on one hand. We have also established a company policy to replace items when they are between 2-3 years old in exchange for new products. What does this mean to you, the consumer? Actually, it is beneficial to both parties for us to keep fresh inventory. For you, it means that you have reassurance that the moonwalk you rented doesn't deflate in the middle of the birthday party because an old motor went kaput. Or that your waterslide doesn't rip into two pieces when your crazy uncle cannonballs down the waterslide because of a cheap and/or old seam. For us, it means lots of time and money spent rectifying the situation. Ultimately it would result in a disappointed customer and tarnished image because of something that would have been a small price to pay beforehand.

On to the point of this article (finally!)..

When I say not all inflatables are created alike, I mean this in the way that cars are not made alike. I'm referring to safety, durability, and appearance. These are the things one needs to take into account when choosing an inflatable manufacturer, not only as a rental company but as the end-user. You.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your attraction:

Safety

  • Flame Retardant Material - much of this industry is unregulated, and as such many Chinese manufacturers do not use the proper grade vinyl in an effort to reduce costs. These materials go up as quickly as a Christmas tree and release carcinogenic toxins when they burn. 100% of our inflatables are constructed using flame retardant material.

    • "Chlorine gas is emitted because [vinyl] is often more than 50 percent chlorine. When that gas comes in contact with moisture in eyes, throats, or sprinkler systems, a concentrated form of hydrochloric acid forms. This is essentially the same as the chemical weapon that was so devastating in World War I."
  • Foam Steps, NOT Netting - On waterslides, obstacle courses, or any inflatable where climbing is involved make sure that foam steps are installed instead of netting. The problem with netting is that if a child slips, their foot can become entangled in the net which results in sprains or worse. It becomes even more dangerous in a wet environment. Make sure that your slide has foam steps!
  • Bumper Size - Material costs money. Cheaper units often have smaller bumpers on the sides and bottom of them because it costs less money to make. However, smaller bumpers means its easier to go over the side or off the back of the unit. All City-Wide products can be consided to have oversized bumpers. And they have more bounce in them anyways!
  • Slip N' Slides Must Have Pools - Absolutely do not rent a Slip N' Slide if it does not have an attached pool. Some of these guys will take pictures of their items so you can't tell or won't think about it, but make sure that there is something there to slow you down. Our Slip N' Slides drop into 8' long pools to slow you down, but the back bumper still receives plenty of "attention". Imagine hitting the back wall at full momentum. Inflatable Slip N' Slides retain much of the original speed throughout the ride, and simply having a bumper there to stop you is not enough. Period. We have personally witnessed a torn rotator cuff from coming in to the bumper the wrong way, and can easily believe reports of serious neck injuries.
  • Moonwalk Entry Step and Safety Netting - The most dangerous thing that can happen on a moonwalk is for a user to fall out. That's why all of our moonwalks have a landing step extending from the front of entrance, which is also covered by safety netting that must be pulled aside to enter/exit the jumper. There is virtually no risk of falling out of our moonwalks.

Durability | Reliability

  • Seams - The weakest link in any inflatable are the seams. Ours are triple stitched in most areas, preventing aforementioned crazy uncle or Grandma from going straight through the slide but instead to the glistening pool below.
  • Repairs - In the event of a tear, either from a sharp object or on the seam, ask how the repairs have been made. Labor rates aren't cheap for repairing inflatables, usually because of the cost of shipping. So, many guys try to patch the problems themselves with rubber cement or the like. Hopefully it won't come undone during your event. All of our work has been professionally repaired and documented at AstroBounce Moonwalk Repair™ in The Woodlands, TX.
  • Motors - The blowers we use, strictly from B-Air, are industry leading and offer reliable performance, safety features, and quiet operation for year after year. However, our software lets us keep track of how many times our blower motors have gone out, which allows us to know when we should keep a closer eye on them or bring newer motors to the front of the queue.
  • Extension Cords - Serious motors require serious power. Make sure that whomever you choose uses at least 12 gauge grounded electrical cords. If they show up with anything repaired with electrical tape, RUN! Waterslides and cheap extension cords don't mix. The cords we use will provide reliable power for hours and hours and hours without fear of overheating, melting sockets, or blowing breakers.

Appearance

  • Sun Fading - This goes back to us promising to keep new items in inventory, because there's just nothing like that "new moonwalk smell". OK in all seriousness, most inflatables will look good when they are new. However, low quality color dyes and the sun don't mix. It won't take very long for cheaper inflatables to look way older than they are because of fading. While this won't affect the performance, it doesn't look good in pictures either. Just something to keep in mind. Many of our inflatables still look and feel like the day we bought them because of high quality material and dyes.
  • Shapes and Intricacy - Compare the looks of a Honda Civic to the [new at time of writing] Lexus Hybrid HS. You will find the same differences in attention to detail in the product from quality manufactures of inflatables that City-Wide uses such as Magic Jump™, Ninja Jump™, and Bouncin Bins™ as you would from Lexus™. These manufacturers use more complex patterns and new ideas to create dynamic and attractive attractions. You won't find any cookie cutter inflatables here.

 

It's differences such as these that you must ask yourself when choosing your rental company. Not only does City-Wide offer a proven track record of customer satisfaction in the areas of service, both during reservation and at your event, but we also offer superior products. You may pay a premium over the other guys; but, if you choose not to and any of the problems discussed rears its ugly head, you will indeed realized how small of premium it actually is.

Quality Products, Dependable Service, Reasonable Price.

Take me Home.