I don’t know if it’s worldwide or just here in the U.K. who have recently seen the BIG hike in helium prices? I am hearing price increases of up to 30%. Whether you have recently seen a price increase or not there is no denying that helium is a REAL cost to our businesses. Today I thought I would share some cost busting tips to minimise the impact on your profits!
1. Shop around For Helium
It’s definitely true that prices vary from wholesaler to wholesaler. I get my helium supplies from a wholesaler 230 miles away from me!. I simply ring up to arrange it and collect at my local BOC depot less than 10 minutes down the road! It’s absolutely worthwhile picking up the phone and ringing round for prices.
2. Keep on top of Helium rentals (Updated for helium shortage)
Many of us like to keep a spare tank of helium during busy times but it’s essential to keep on top of rentals. Try to use one canister at a time so that you can get them returned ASAP once empty. Helium rentals soon add up throughout the year if you don’t!
Note: During the helium shortage its essential that you hold on to rentals. At the time of updating this (June 2019) BOC have implemented a like for like purchase policy as part of helium rationing. This means you cannot get another canister unless you return one at the same time and it has to be the same type and size canister. Therefore its important not to return empty canisters unless you intend to get a full one to replace it.
3. Check your Helium Cylinder valves for leaks
When was the last time you inspected your inflation equipment. Even a slight leak can cost you money! Check your valves for splits and leaks and replace when they are wearing out.
4. Always turn Helium cylinders off when not in use
Leaky valves or slight pressure on the valve can inadvertently cause helium to escape. This is especially true of the the bubble valve on the 10ft extension, if it is left on an angle on the work surface the button can be slightly depressed causing helium to be expelled. Avoid helium wastage by turning the cylinders off whenever not in use. (This is also important from a safety perspective if inflating within a small and confined space as helium is dangerous when inhaled).
5. Pre inflate helium hungry designs
3ft latex takes so much helium!. Don’t inflate larger latex with helium without checking the integrity of the latex by air inflating first. It’s a huge amount to lose to get 3/4’s of the way through the inflation to see a hole appear. Jumbo foils like air walkers can also be carefully air inflated first and then deflated with a drinking straw. A splitting seam or a small hole appearing as you have nearly finishing inflating is not only annoying but expensive from a helium perspective.
6. Helium Inflation technique
Make sure you get a good seal when inflating to prevent air escaping. This is especially true with bubbles and when putting balloons inside each other and a poor technique can cause helium to flow back or escape. With foil balloons a stuck valve can cause back flow and helium loss. Rub the length of the valve to encourage it to open during inflation or use a balloon stick or hand air pump to gently open the valve before continuing to inflate with helium.
7. Always Use sizers for latex, bubbles and aquas.
It’s so so important to use sizers for inflating latex. Not only from a design perspective but also from the aspect of protecting your profit. Bubble or aqua inflation can vary hugely every time you inflate due to their stretchy nature and you can be losing money by over inflating. Measure and line up the backs of 2 chairs to uniformly inflate bubbles or aquas and prevent them eating into your profit.
8. Mix helium with air in larger designs
Larger designs can be safely mixed with air. For latex you can always use hifloat to maximise float time and still be more cost effective than 100% helium. It’s not just latex either! I regularly part inflate 36” hearts and air walkers and some super-shapes with air from my hand pump before finishing with helium to reduce the cost and they still float for days! You should not however mix helium and air if you are putting smaller balloons inside bigger balloons – it will affect float ability and smaller air filled balloons will pop due to helium crossing the latex membrane.
9. Air filled design alternatives
It’s time to get creative and come up with amazing air filled designs that your customers will LOVE and let you increase your profits by not having to use helium!
10. Make sure you are pricing correctly.
Now this is the BIG one for me! It is absolutely essential that you learn to price correctly. Your business cannot grow and allow you to stand in your vision if you don’t price correctly. Scrolling through my social media feed I see so many companies grossly undercharging their worth. As an industry of talented and creative individuals it’s essential that we charge our worth to allow this industry to grow and bloom!
In the Facebook groups I see so many people asking how much would you charge for this or that as people are unsure of where to start with pricing their designs . The standard reply on the majority of questions is you really need to learn to price based on your own costs in your business , and whilst on the face of it it may seem a harsh response, it is true that world wide and even from one wholesaler to another costs can vary so much. But in an industry where RRP is impossible for inflated designs how do you price on the go? Sure there are industry standard calculators and job cost sheets but they are not always that practical when pricing on the go! So what are you to do?
I have created a quick mini masterclass to show you how I price on the go!
With 3 quick and easy steps I make sure I make the profit I need in my business whilst covering all of my costs and overheads and I want to share it with you.
FREE Masterclass – 3 simple steps to Quickly and Easily Calculating your Prices.
If there is one thing you do this year to grow your business please let it be you learn to price correctly and charge your worth! Click on the image above to access the masterclass!
I hope you have found these cost busting tips useful! If you have any more please do share so we can all learn from each other 🙂
Until next time…