fete bunting

Brisbane Queensland Northern Territory

Amusement Ride Hire

Fairground attractions provide fun and excitement for all ages, and add to the carnival atmosphere. From high-thrill rides like the Round Up and Miami Trip, to the family-friendly Super Slide and Tea Cups, to the ever-popular inflatable bouncers; there a wide range of attractions available for hire to suit all types of events.

Quality Vs Price

Once a list of preferred dates is available for your fete, book the rides as early as possible. The best equipment usually goes first, particularly on busy days as many operators have regular annual bookings in the peak Fete/Fair periods.

The quality and appearance of the rides, is a good indication of the quality of the company that supplies them, and the better the company, the more reliable and safe their attractions will be. Look for an operator with modern equipment that incorporates the latest designs and safety requirements.

Don't select an amusement operator based on price alone, as in most things in life - "you only get what you pay for". The best amusement operators won't be the cheapest or the ones who offer the most "giveaways". By dealing with a reputable firm, you have peace of mind of knowing your children are riding attractions that are professional serviced, well maintained, reliable, and most of all - safe!

Many amusement operators will come knocking on your door (with contract in hand), soon after an enquiry has been made. A special deal will be offered, available only if a booking is confirmed there and then. This is a typical marketing ploy used by companies who provide a poor service. They will do their very best to prevent you from having the time to properly consider and compare other quotes. Ask all prospective operators for a list of events they are attending and see them in action. There's no better way of ensuring you are getting what you are promised, and what the committee is paying for!

What type of rides do we book?

When determining the type of amusement rides required, consider the ages of the children that will be attending, 80% of whom will come from the school itself. As most state/primary schools finish at year 6, children to 11 years of age will form a high portion of your attendance, plus younger and older siblings and their friends.

Attendance does vary depending on surrounding demographics. Suburbs in developing areas seem to have a high percentage of younger children, as does inner city suburbs. Older suburbs tend to have more mature families, with the children being more of primary age. College Fairs have a higher proportion of secondary aged children. When deciding on the type of rides, ensure:

  • The attractions are well presented and professionally supervised
  • There is a wide variety of attractions on offer
  • The equipment features high throughput, which keeps queues to a minimum
  • All ages are well catered for, especially the primary children who form the bulk of your market
  • The attractions are family-friendly, so that parents can ride with their children

We should never over-look the toddlers as they are a significant minority. Not only is this group a growing presence at each Fete, the parents of young families are very enthusiastic and keen to participate as volunteers. Change the rides around from year to year. Children love the opportunity to experience new and exciting attractions. Variety maximises interest, excitement & attendance!

If your school is small is size, book all rides through the one amusement company, and consider selecting a date that is not during the busy Spring Fair season. Ride operators will offer better deals during the quiet months, and you have less chance of being "dropped" should a larger, more profitable school wish to hire the same equipment on the same day.

Attractions for Ride Pass events

You will never beat a queue, though you can keep it moving!

At most corporate functions such as Company Picnics & Christmas Parties, there may be a ratio of 10 children present for every ride. In this case, queuing is no real issue, as children can virtually move from one attraction to another. Low capacity/low throughput interactive equipment such as the Rock Climbing Wall, Bungee Run, & Mechanical Surfboard are perfectly suited to these events.

School Fetes are a different story. At any one time, there may be 500 children queuing on 10 attractions. To keep the queues turning over at a reasonable rate, rides with high capacity & throughput becomes vital.


Why don't teenagers buy Ride Passes?

In general, once a student reaches early teens, their days of buying a Day Pass and spending 4-5 hours in ride queues are long gone. Teenagers do attend fetes, though usually spend their day hanging out with friends, sampling the food & drinks, perhaps going on the odd ride or two via single tickets. Why? It's simple, the bulk of attractions found at most school fetes are way too "tame" for the average teenager. Children love the Super Slide, Cha Cha and Dodgems, whereas a teenager's need for speed can only be found at large Theme Parks with Roller Coasters and other extravagent scream machines.

If your Committee is aiming to cater for the older children/teenagers, then consider other forms of entertainment, such as:

  • Battle of the Bands
  • Interactive Games Area (Bungee Run, Mechanical Surfboard etc)
  • Coffee Lounge (with suitable music) run by and organised by the teenagers themselves

Financials - Hire or Commission basis?

Carnival rides can be booked on either a Flat Rate Hire or 80/20 Profit Share basis. On Flat Rate Hire, the school pays a set fee for each attraction hired, then retains all income from the sale of ride tickets and passes on the day. Your profit is Total Sales less Total Ride Hire. The total hire fee will be due, irrespective of takings and weather. Amusement Operators will supply a full Price List with all associated costs.

Alternately, the Amusement Operator may be prepared to operate on an 80/20 Profit Share basis. Attractions are supplied at no cost to the school, with Total Ride Sales shared on an 80 (operator) / 20 (School) basis at the end of the event. As the fete committee has no financial obligations with 80/20 Profit Share, this is the safest format to work with. Great for schools who have few figures available from previous fetes, or those who do not want the stress and worry of wet weather.

If the school is blessed with fine weather on the day of the fete, you may find Flat Rate hire to be more profitable than 80/20 Profit Share. If the crowd is down slightly on the day due to wet conditions, the Profit made on Flat Rate hire is usually no greater than the 20% that would have been earned on Profit Share. With inclement weather such as showers, rain, wind or extreme heat; substantial losses may be made on the hire of amusement rides.

Every year, many Fete Committees go through the trauma of paying the total hire fee for amusement rides under the Flat Rate Hire option, only to see the entire fete washed out. This can be a financial disaster, as the hire cost of rides at an average sized fete can be well over $8,000.00!

Most amusement operators prefer Flat Rate hire, as they are guaranteed their money on the day. Certain incentives may be offered by the operators such as bulk discounts. Consider the potential risks & benefits of the two options, then make your decision from there. Unfortunately, carnival rides cannot be initially booked on a Flat Rate Hire basis, then switched to Profit Share a few days before the event when the weather forecast appears gloomy or Ride Pass sales are slow.

Wet weather insurance is available for the Booking of amusements, however viability in terms of upfront costs and the time involved in making the application, is very marginal.

What should we spend on the fairground attractions?

School fetes are all about fund-raising, yet loses on the hire of amusement rides regularly occurs, when Fete Committee's over-estimate Ride Ticket/Pass sales. Without previous Fete figure's to make an accurate estimation, it's quite easy to over-book the amusements.

Ride turnover generally depends on the size of the school i.e the larger the number of children enrolled at the school, the higher the overall Fete takings and the more the rides earn. Other factors that influence sales include demographics, the amount of support within the school community, whether the school is public or private, the extent of advertising and promotion, and the number of other features (stalls, food, entertainment etc) present on the day.

Occasionally, a school will be quite happy to break even on the amusements. In other words, TOTAL SALES = TOTAL HIRE FEE. The argument being, the ride queues will be shorter; everyone will have a great day, so they stay longer...spend more on the stalls, food etc and come back for more next year.

On the other hand, not having enough rides and attractions can be disastrous! Ride queues end up way too long and people complain, which sends negative vibes throughout the entire event.

Generally speaking, most schools budget to spend around 70% of the estimated amusement sales (passes and tickets) on the hire of carnival rides. In this way, the school is earning more than a 20% share of sales under the Profit Share format, yet there is a sufficient number of amusements to keep queues to a reasonable length.

The Fete Committee must weigh up the pros and cons of Flat-Rate hire Vs Profit Share, then make their decision. Is the additional 10% of ride income worth the extra risk and stress of Flat-Rate hire?