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Meet Nathan Davis of Rad Bounce House-Party Rentals in Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nathan Davis.

Nathan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far
In 2015 I had left my heavy equipment job at a copper mine and taken a new position with a local city as a heavy equipment mechanic. At the mine, I had been used to working lots of overtime but when I left and came to the city I received an increase in pay and planned to not work quite as many long hours. I was looking to be at home more and spend more time with my family. My first few months at the city were great I was on the day shift and I was able to work some overtime but not too much, things were going good. After that going into 2016, I had gone to the graveyard shift. At first, that wasn’t bad either, however, I was also relocated to a different shop which worked out because it was newer and closer to my house. After working in the new shop and adjusting to the new shift, I found that there just were not as many opportunities to work overtime also most of the overtime offered was offered before our shift not after which was normally the time I would sleep. I started thinking well I have lots of time during the day since I work at night maybe I can start up a side business and be able to control my ability to take on the extra work when I want to. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do then one day, after talking to my wife, I decided I would like to start a party rental business. I had zero knowledge of the industry but I figured hey if I can take a machine apart and put it back together, I can do this. With no knowledge of how to proceed, I bought some used equipment and started piecing together everything.

During this time, I met a local business owner who had been in the industry for a while. We became friends and more importantly, he became a great resource and mentor for me. I learned a lot and started seeking out more knowledge about the industry. One thing I quickly learned was that the equipment, I started with was not the best quality. It was nice looking plus we kept it clean and in good working condition but there were much better quality products available. With in the first three months of being in business, we had learned a lot and we were able to grow not only were we able to replace the original equipment we had purchased but we were able to add some more items to our inventory. After six months in business, I started building a simple website I had no previous website building skills so I can’t say that my first attempt was great lol. We finished 2016 and made a decent income for a side business but at that point, it was still very much a side business. After that to start 2017, I took some more advice from my mentor and signed up with an online booking software. I started revamping my website and tried to make something that was more user-friendly and professional looking but this was a side business I still had a full-time job so I didn’t have the time to devote and learn about website development, SEO as these things can be very time-consuming. How ever little by little I learned new things and we continued to grow our business.

By the end of 2017 starting into 2018, my business was producing an income equal or better than my city job. This was very hard to balance time with my family, work, business and at some point, I had to sleep. I was tired of getting maybe three to four hours of sleep a day. and what I found out is that this business was not just a weekend side job. There was equipment cleaning, phones to answer, paperwork to do and preparations for the coming weekend. During this time, I was also tracking on a calendar every time I turned down a customer what the reason was. Did I not have enough equipment? Was I not able to make it because I was already busy and would need to hire an employee? Or was my regular job interfering with me being available to take on that customer? By this time we had more than doubled in size from the previous year, we had around 20 inflatables plus other items such as tables, concessions and more. In early 2018, I was having a friendly conversation with a supervisor after work one day and he asked me how my business was doing. We spoke and I told him how busy we had become and how well it was going and then he gave me a friendly reminder that I was still obligated to the city as my primary job. In the next few weeks, it became very clear to me that a change needed to happen and soon. I was tired both my job and my business would suffer if I continued as is. I evaluated my records of why I was turning down business I found that I had turned down a lot of business due to my regular job and I also found that if I was able to focus on my business while being well-rested that I would be able to take it to another level.

In April of 2018, I left my city job and made the switch to running my business full time. In 2018, with me making the switch to full time we were able to double our sales from 2017. Was it easy? No not at all it was lots more long hours, lots of learning and just never giving up when it got tough. In late 2018, I had been able to learn more about SEO and I was able to have my website rebuilt by a professional. All through 2019, we have continued to grow we have now hired several employees and we are constantly looking forward to the future. It has not been easy there have been ups and downs but we are committed to continuing to grow this company and to provide our customers clean top quality inflatables and party rental products.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Struggles along the way would include:
A
djusting our prices to keep up with the rising costs of equipment and business insurance while still trying to keep our prices affordable for our customers.
A
djusting our finances to include paying for our health insurance.
A
djusting from this being a side income to the main income.
We also had to learn that we can’t serve everyone we oftentimes receive calls asking for us to rent items at severely discounted rates because in our industry like many other service industries there are companies who are not licensed and insured there are companies who don’t clean and maintain their equipment and these companies are able to rent at rock bottom prices because they are cutting corners. some times it’s hard to turn away business but you have to learn the value of your time and your equipment many companies in this industry start-up and fail in the first two years and most of the time its because they fall into the trap of trying to serve everyone and get any dollar they can and forget that in order to survive they have to cover their costs and make an income. Also hiring employees brings on a whole new round of things now there is more costs, more insurance coverages, more taxes to be paid and more equipment to buy.

Another problem that we are facing going forward is that our current warehouse space is almost full and there is not much space available for use in our area to find a space that would be considered the next step up from what we have we would have to relocate further away from our main customer base which will soon present us with a difficult problem as we continue to try to grow our business there are spaces being built but they are all 2x-3x the size we need and of course over our budget.

Tell us more about the business.
We are a family-owned company and we take pride in providing clean top quality inflatables and party rental equipment to our customers. At Rad Bounce we value each and every one of our customers. We have worked with large companies such as Go Daddy and small family-owned businesses. We have worked with schools, churches and have put on small community events as well as larger city events. Our goal is to deliver the same quality service to each of our customers from a backyard birthday party to a large event each one is important to us.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I have been blessed with a great family who is in good health and supports me and I have been blessed with good friends and mentors who have been instrumental in our success.

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