Reinhard Lorenz in the bouncy castle: One of the most popular bouncy castles is the Bavarian Knight's Castle, where lender Reinhard Lorenz also has great fun. © Peter Gebel
Hardly any event can do without them, Reinhard Lorenz has been awarding them for 15 years: it's all about bouncy castles.
Moosinning – Whether it's a parish festival, company party, family celebration or maypole parlour – the motto is increasing: Not without a bouncy castle! For bouncy castle rental companies like Reinhard Lorenz, now is the most labor-intensive time of the year, because the months of June and July are high season in the industry. During a visit to the site, the 59-year-old Moosinninger shows us his treasures and gives us a look behind the scenes.
Lorenz had not actually planned a career in the entertainment sector. He works shifts at the railway as a crane operator in the container sector and was supposed to organize a bouncy castle for his employer for a staff party more than 15 years ago. "I had to get really annoyed twice," says the otherwise rather jovial man. The first rental company delivered a dirty bouncy castle, the supplier simply forgot the appointment next year. "Then I'll just buy one myself," Lorenz decided and unceremoniously purchased a jungle bouncy castle, registered the rental as a small business - and off we went.
Through pure word of mouth, he quickly received inquiries from clubs such as the fire brigade, but also from companies, so that a few more bouncy castles were purchased. "But I don't buy a lump," emphasizes the now experienced distributor, who pays attention to good quality for image reasons. The prices for a castle range from 1000 euros for a cheap product from the Far East to 4000 euros for a "Mercedes", as Lorenz says.
He has been in the business for 15 years now and has rented a large hall on a farm due to lack of space, because he has expanded his repertoire enormously. On the high shelves are 18 bouncy castles, neatly rolled up like thick colorful packages, each on its own pallet. In between are two large plastic cows, which are often borrowed for milking competitions, as well as two bull riding facilities, a children's railway and various other entertainment equipment. The Moosinninger is particularly fond of his rarities such as a children's carousel from the 70s or an American Hau-den-Lukas with a Mickey Mouse head, but the crane operator sometimes drives all the way to Cologne to pick up the collector's item.
Fun and entertainment are assured here: Reinhard Lorenz stores 18 bouncy castles in his hall, as well as all kinds of amusement equipment from the children's carousel from the 70s to human foosball. © Peter Gebel
If you rent a bouncy castle from Lorenz, you can pick it up yourself. On the agreed date, a ready-packed trailer is ready, in which the rolled-up bouncy castle lies, plus a blower for inflation, a tarpaulin as a base, a pallet truck with ramp, and a lashing set consisting of four thick ground anchors and a rope. Also included are fall protection mats, which are placed in front of the built castle. For an extra charge, the castle is delivered and assembled, especially companies like to take advantage of this service, as Lorenz explains.
But even the self-assembly is completely unproblematic, because Lorenz gives a short briefing, then the assembly takes no more than 30 to 40 minutes. With the blower, the bouncy castle is filled in a few minutes, but it has to run continuously to compensate for the loss of air when jumping. The lender warns that it is very important to tie down the castle firmly with the ground anchors and the rope before commissioning, so that the castle does not fly away in the wind, because "the liability always lies with the tenant". He expressly draws their attention to the permanent duty of supervision.
Despite all precautions, there is still one factor of uncertainty in the rental business – the weather. "The rain is my operational risk," says Lorenz quite relaxed, but he always keeps an eye on the weather forecast. In case of rain, the reservation of the bouncy castle can be cancelled free of charge if it has not yet been used, according to the goodwill policy.
It only becomes labour-intensive for the lender when the castles are returned, because he does not store any without having rebuilt them. "I always check that everything is clean and dry before the castle is rolled up again," explains Lorenz. If the castle has become wet, rags and scrubbers are used to make it presentable again inside and out. The 59-year-old even crawls into the large outlet opening at the back of the castle to dry the moisture there as well, "otherwise there will be mildew stains and a musty smell".
"Heroine of all Germany": Aiwanger with words of praise for Gruber – some participants collapse
Demos on Saturday in Erding: Police and city expect traffic obstructions
Climate demonstration in Erding: "I don't stand for any party" - This is how Monika Gruber wants to differentiate herself from the AfD
Local history museum is literally overrun: 1500 visitors marvel at 450 classic cars in Thal
Erding: Get out of your own four walls with the rickshaw
For the tenant of a bouncy castle, the rental looks like quick money, but the work in the background is not so easy to recognize. The large castle with five by six meters costs 200 euros for 24 hours including the equipment for operation, for a smaller one (four by five meters) 160 euros have to be paid. "My prices have remained unchanged for more than ten years," explains Lorenz, who usually works alone, "seven days a week" in the summer. If necessary, his son Alexander will help him with the delivery.
He also has a good relationship with his competitors, and they help each other out in the event of bottlenecks, as Lorenz says. Costs such as hall rental, the 15 trailers, the forklift and the replacement or new purchase of the bouncy castles have an impact, because customers ask every year: "Is there anything new?". But then they often take the already well-known bouncy castle, one of the most popular is the Bavarian Knight's Castle, the expert states.
With good care, a castle will last four to five years, says Lorenz, who repairs minor damage himself. And so that his partner Anja doesn't just sit alone at home, the two have set up a small oasis of well-being next to the hall, with plants and a discarded railway container – "our hacienda," says the master of the bouncy castles and laughs.