The 5 BEST Things about Opening an Indoor Playground
How Opening a Profitable Indoor Playground has Brought Joy, Opportunity, and Value to Our Lives ABOVE The Income It Provides!
As an owner, I am constantly scrutinizing my business and making tweaks to our processes and systems to maximize our profits and elevate our clients’ experiences, and often forget to reflect on the immeasurable joy this venture has brought to our family.
Yes, there have been tough times-- lots of tears and many hours spent away from my family while getting our business up and running, but I am so happy to look back and say it was ALL worth it. We are at the point in our venture where we have mastered what works and what does not work, and we have an incredible team who runs the show and constantly brings us new ideas to implement.
Now that we are into a brand new year I want to share the five BEST things about opening an indoor playground and give you an idea of how opening ours has changed our lives for the better.
1. Working As a Family
When I was considering different business endeavors, one of the most important factors I looked for was how seamlessly I could involve my family in the day-to-day. While some opportunities, such as restaurant franchises, seemed like they make for a great family environment, it didn’t seem realistic that the patrons (or the health department!) would be understanding of having our children behind the counter and behind the scenes of our business.
It’s not always easy, but I feel so lucky not only to be able to bring my children to work with me, but also to be able to connect with my customers over this shared experience. Parents love that I involve my children, let them help me clean the play area, and hold them while I check customers in.
It is also wonderful to be able to draw inspiration from my children and their interests to bring my community fun events and programs. For example, we recently hosted a sold-out dinosaur party that was largely inspired by my 3-year-old’s passion for the prehistoric and I incorporated his favorite activities we had been experimenting with at home.
Though there are some parts of the business I choose to tend to alone (for example, I would not allow them to accompany me to work if I was hosting a Birthday Party), I love that opening an indoor playground has given us a way to work and be together throughout most of our days.
2. The Diversity of Skills You Can Incorporate
Another thing that drew me to indoor playground ownership was the opportunity to tap into my multiple skillsets. I love that I utilize both the business skills I developed through earning my Master’s Degree in Economics as well as the creativity that being a parent has brought me.
One day I will be hand-making favors for a birthday party, then the next I will be creating and analyzing our financial reports, then the next I may be hosting a focus group with a group of customers and learning how to better serve them.
Not only does it feel good to flex different parts of my brain, but it brings such satisfaction to me to see all of the things I can create or bring to life through my own unique experience and perspective as a business owner.
3. Knowing that Two Days Will NEVER the Same
All of these different skills and activities brings me to the NEXT thing I love about owning an indoor playground: two days are never alike. If you crave routine and consistency, opening a play cafe MAY not be for you, because I have yet to live 2 days in the last 3 years that have felt the same.
While many of my tasks and duties are the same day-to-day or week-to-week, they never feel mundane. For example, every Wednesday I begin planning our parties for the following weekend. I send out party questionnaires, checklists, and packets of information to the families who have booked with us. While I do this every week, it is always a different family, a different theme, a NEW celebration.
No two parties have ever been the same, even if they select the same time, package, and theme. Each family brings their own flavor to our events and the special touches they provide make each unique. Every new customer who walks through the door has their own story, their own quirks, and brings new and fresh energy into our cafe.
4. Getting The Chance to Form Relationships in My Community
Prior to opening our indoor playground, I thought I was fairly active in my community. I brought my son to playgroup, enrolled in local classes, and had joined several local parenting groups on Facebook. However, opening our play cafe built a brand new avenue for establishing relationships.
I suddenly was getting to know and become friends with other local business leaders, I was involved in the planning and execution of local events, and I was able to make donations to charities and non-profits that I normally would not have known how to support.
Being introverted, I often shy away from networking events or get-togethers, but I have never regretted attending any of them. It is so wonderful to meet and hear from other likeminded people walking the same path as you, and I have undoubtedly been given dozens of opportunities just from my involvement and participation in my local business landscape.
I have also been lucky enough to form close friendships with both our team members and customers, and I couldn’t imagine a life without any of them! Seeing customers form their own friendships, meet for playdates, and have a clean and safe place to connect with others has always brought so much joy to me as well.
5. The Perks!
Yep, there are TONS of perks that come along with opening an indoor playground. Not only do I get a (pretty much!) free, fresh cup of coffee every morning, but my children will never be without a place to play and meet new friends. We attend classes and events that we otherwise may not have been able to, and I am able to plan these programs around our needs and schedules!
I can also choose when I work and plan my own schedule around the needs of my own family, which always seem to be shifting and evolving. I LOVE the process of choosing the new toys we buy and equipment we purchase, and my children will ALWAYS be the first to enjoy them.
Plus, we never need to search for a birthday venue! I am currently in the process of planning the SIXTH party for my own children that we’ve hosted at our indoor playground, and each party has been completely unique. I love looking back at the different themes we’ve crafted, the entertainers we’ve chosen, and the memories we’ve made those days as a family. And the BEST part is that I know someday my sons will look back on the memories and be proud of our accomplishments as a family that allowed them to have those celebrations as well.
I hope you carefully noted that while opening an indoor playground has brought our family a reliable source of income, we did NOT choose this business model solely for financial gain, and I do NOT recommend this business if you are looking for a “get-rich-quick” type of operation.
Our business has enriched our lives in far more meaningful and lasting ways and I am so thankful we ventured on this path and did NOT give up when we were met with obstacles. I feel so lucky to have spent so much time with my children when they were young and I look forward to the day when they can reflect on their childhood and how involved they were in this project!
Don’t forget to download our FREE online guide: Opening an Indoor Playground from Daydream to Opening Day!