Join Balloon Planet - A Partnership FAQ

Jim and Prince, Summer of 2020, Seattle


Dear Balloon Professional,

Welcome to our site, and thank you for your interest in joining the Balloon Planet Network. Great partners have been the key to our success. If you consider yourself a Balloon Professional, we'd love to hear from you.

What follows is a long document, including our online application. Before you embark on reading, let's make sure a partnership is available in your area.

Please send an email message to join@balloonplanet.com and provide me with the name of the city you would like to serve as a Balloon Planet partner. It is important that your subject line read NEW PARTNER REQUEST.

We are currently recruiting candidates for partnership who will launch service on or after May 10, 2024. You will find a time line for this recruiting campaign at the end of section K.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Jim Parker, CBA, Director


This document was updated on April 8, 2024.


PARTNERSHIP FAQ

A. THE MISSION
B. MANAGEMENT & MARKETING
C. PARTNERSHIP QUALIFICATIONS

D. BENEFITS
E. ENROLLMENT COSTS
F. SALES
G. ADMIN MATTERS
H. OPERATIONS & PROCEDURES
I. There is no Section I
J. A FEW MORE DETAILS

K. APPLY FOR PARTNERSHIP — WITH TIME LINE


A. THE MISSION

A1. What is the mission of Balloon Planet?
Our mission is to build and maintain North America's premier balloon delivery and decorating network, while providing our partners with a new and profitable revenue stream. 

B. MANAGEMENT & MARKETING 

B1. Who owns and manages Balloon Planet?

BalloonPlanet.com is owned by The Red Balloon Company Inc, based in Seattle, Washington.

Owners: Jim Parker, John Gallant

Director: Jim Parker

Assistant Director: John Gallant

Accounting Manager: Cody Hargreaves

Headquarters: Seattle, WashingtonNumber of partners: 135 

B2. How does Balloon Planet work?

Balloon Planet is an internet-based network of independent balloon companies providing balloon delivery and decorating services in the cities where they reside. As part of their local delivery and decorating operations, these partners fulfill orders for Balloon Planet. A typical order is uploaded by a customer on the Balloon Planet website, then routed to the partner serving the city where the order needs to be delivered. Balloon Planet collects all revenues and redistributes earnings to partners.

B3. How does Balloon Planet market its services?

Balloon Planet marketing includes six channels.

Channel 1: PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising — online sponsored ads placed with Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing, and other search engines. We use a combination of text and image advertising.

Channel 2: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — SEO is the creation of website pages and page titles created specifically to increase the chances of BalloonPlanet.com appearing near the top position in organic search results.

Channel 3: Affiliate Marketing Program (limited to Balloon Planet partners)

Channel 4: Social Media Promotions

Channel 5: Email Marketing   

Channel 6: Collateral Effects — Each Balloon Planet delivery has the potential to impress onlookers and generate more business.

B4. Does Balloon Planet offer order-taking by phone?

Yes! Our staff is available to assist customers by phone during the following hours, Pacific Time. We are closed on most major holidays.

Mon-Fri — 5:00am to 5:00pm
Sat — 8am to 5pm
Sun — 5am to 2:00pm

Our toll-free number (866-966-8964) is available to customers in the USA and Canada. Callers from other countries can reach us at 206-966-8964.

B5. Is each Partner provided with their own branded Balloon Planet website?

Yes. You will have a branded website built for your company shortly after becoming a partner.

Click here to see an example of a Partner's branded BalloonPlanet.com website

B6. What co-marketing activities are offered with partnership?

a. Partners with a website receive additional commission income t
hrough the Balloon Planet Affiliate Program.
b. Partners are required to use Balloon Planet greeting cards with each Balloon Planet order.
c. Partners are encouraged, but not required, to use Balloon Planet stress-ball anchors (Printed 16in latex balloons which the partner fills with sand).


C. PARTNERSHIP QUALIFICATIONS

C1. What are the qualifications for partnership?


a. During the past two years you must have operated balloon bouquet delivery service as a licensed business.   

b. Applicants are required to submit, by email, a decorating portfolio of at least 5 photos. These photos should show a variety of designs that confirm your ability to replicate and deliver the bouquets and decor which are sold on the website. You do not need to submit photos if you have a website or Instagram account that displays the required images.

c. If your company is US-based, you must maintain minimum liability insurance coverage of $500,000. This is not required of our Canadian partners.

d. You must provide a cell number that makes it possible to contact the owner or manager of your company after hours and on holidays.

e. You must operate with an internet connection at your business location, with an email account.

f. You must have one of the following — a website, an Instagram account, or a Facebook account.

g. You must agree to accept the current customer service policies and operating procedures established by Balloon Planet and posted in our online partner guides. You will have an opportunity to review these details prior to signing your partnership agreement.

h. You must operate with a delivery vehicle that has a capacity of 100 or more helium-filled 11in latex balloons.

i. At the time of submitting your application, you must have a reliable source of helium.

j. You must agree to keep your calendar open for service an average of 22 days each month during any consecutive 6-month period. This policy applies to all new partners enrolling after January 1, 2024.

k. For your first year of operation, your delivery charges must range from $29 to $39. The zip code for your home base must be served for $29. This policy applies to all new parters enrolling after January 1, 2024.  

l. You must maintain the required inventory that permits you to operate as a Zone 1 partner.

m. New partners enrolled in Zone 1 ARE REQUIRED to offer classic balloon decor posted in the decor section of the site. New partners are NOT REQUIRED to offer organic decor, Curley Poles, Balloon Kites, Bubble Lines, Pom Pom Topiaries. Some balloon columns include 36in toppers which Zone 1 partners are not required to stock. For this reason, customers must place orders for these columns at least 5 days in advance, providing the partner with sufficient time to special order what is needed.

Partners are NOT REQUIRED to be capable of buidling custom sculptures shown in our Balloon Decorating Gallery. 


D. BENEFITS

D1. What are the benefits of partnering with Balloon Planet?

The opportunity to increase your income without incurring additional marketing costs, without spending time on the phone to take orders, without processing payments, and without the risk of credit card fraud.

D2. What is the average value of a Balloon Planet order?

The current average order is $190 USD (sum of product and delivery without Processing Fee or sales tax).

D3. How much of each order's revenue goes to the partner?

Partners receive 74% of each order's product cost and delivery charge. 

D4. How much business do you estimate I will receive from being a partner?

Balloon Planet is not intended to be your main source of income. It is intended to supplement your current business.

We do not release sales and performance data. However, if you qualify for partnership, and a partnership position is available in the city/territory you want to represent, we will provide you with a sales forecast for your prospective territory based on data from other territories of similar size.

There are several variables that influence how many orders a partner receives, including the following.

a. The population of your territory — As a general rule, the greater the population, the greater the opportunity for orders.

b. The demographics of your territory — If you serve a small town with a large university, student deliveries can provide a steady stream of orders. If the median income is higher than normal, that can also increase the number of orders above what would normally be expected.

c. The number of days you are available for service — Balloon Planet does not require that partners make themselves available every day, but each open day increases the chances of additional orders. New partners enrolling after January 2023 are required to be open for service an average of 22 days per month.

d. Same-day service — 10% of our orders are same-day orders. Partners may opt-in or out of offering same-day service. Those that opt in may set ordering deadlines as desired for specific zip codes. A $15 USD surcharge is added to same-day orders.


E. ENROLLMENT COSTS

E1. Is there an enrollment fee?

There is a $150 non-refundable enrollment fee which covers the following:

a. Setting up your new Balloon Planet online account

b. A new partner phone orientation (60 minutes)

c. Starter Kit. The Kit will be shipped from the Seattle office and includes the following:

1) 50 Balloon Planet Greeting cards with key rings

2) 50 Plain Red and White 16in balloon sand weights with key rings (without sand)

3) 4 Teddy Bears (12-inch standing)

4) Press-on letter kit for balloon personalization

Payment of the enrollment will be made as a payroll deduction.

Re-orders of these supplies can be made as needed using the on-line ordering feature on your Control Panel page. Charges for re-orders are deducted from your monthly statement. They are not made at the time of purchase.

There are no on-going fees. 

E2. What is the estimated cost of the inventory I am required to stock?

Balloon Planet has 3 levels of partnership, which we call Zones. Think of a Zone as a membership category, or inventory level. The difference between each Zone is the depth of inventory required, with Zone 1 having the least inventory. The current Zones are Zone 1, Zone 2, and Zone 3. New partners start out in Zone 1.

The inventory costs for Zone 1 will range from $1,500 to $3,000, determined by which balloons you currently stock and the quantity of new balloons you need to purchase. An inventory spreadsheet will be sent upon receipt of your application. This document will allow you to review the Zone 1 product line and calculate your costs.

E3. What non-balloon items will I need?

As an experienced balloon professional, you may already have most of the non-balloon items we require, listed below.

a. Gold and Silver foil pyramid weights in small and large sizes
b. Foil sheets for custom weights (Silver and Gold)
c. Latex 16in plain Red and White (Filled with sand by partner and used with or without Silver/Gold foil, as needed)
d. Helium and inflation nozzles
e. Ultra Hi-Float
f. Narrow curling ribbon in a wide range of colors
g. Gift bags for candy and Teddy Bears
h. Cello bags and twist tie bows for candy
i. Hereshey's Kisses in Silver foil
j. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (Jelly Belly brand is required)
k. Frames to support air-filled medium and large cluster arches
l. Lamp stanchions to support columns, available from IKEA and WALMART

E4. Where do I purchase inventory?

Balloon Planet works with two distributors — Loftus International and Rainbow Balloons. New partners may purchase inventory from distributors other than Loftus and Rainbow, however, both carry 100% of the Balloon Planet inventory with discounted pricing for our partners. Check directly with these suppliers to set up an account.

a. Loftus International, Salt Lake City www.loftus.com 800-453-4879

b. Rainbow Balloons, Woburn, MA (Boston area) www.rainbowballoons.com 800-200-8181

Both Loftus and Rainbow offer Balloon Planet discounts with orders accepted by phone or online.

There will be times when one of our preferred distributors will be temporarily out of an item. For this reason we encourage all partners to open accounts with both Loftus and Rainbow.

E5. Do inventory requirements ever change?

Yes. As manufacturers discontinue old products and introduce new ones, Balloon Planet must keep pace. Partners need to make inventory changes as requested in order to keep up with this process. A minimum thirty days notice is provided.

E6. Is there a buy-back program for unused inventory when an item is discontinued.

We do not offer a buy-back program for discontinued inventory. However, we do have Mystery Bouquets that allow partners to use discontinued inventory. The Mystery Bouquets program is an opt-in program for partners and are offered for birthdays, Halloween, and Christmas.

F. PRICING AND SALES

F1. Do the prices shown on the site apply to all cities, or does pricing vary between cities?

Pricing for products are displayed in US Dollars and are the same in all cities we serve in the USA and Canada, with the exception of ongoing special discount programs which some partners may participate in.

F2. Would you please clarify what decorating I am expected to offer?

All new partners are enrolled in Zone 1, and ARE required to offer classic balloon decor posted in the decor section of the site. Zone 1 partners ARE NOT required to offer organic decor, Curley Poles, Balloon Kites, Bubble Lines, Pom Pom Topiaries. Some balloon columns include 36in toppers which Zone 1 partners are not required to stock. For this reason, customers must place orders for these columns at least 5 days in advance, providing the partner sufficient time to special order what is needed.

You are not required to be capable of buidling custom sculptures shown in our Balloon Decorating Gallery. 

G. ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

G1. How are taxes handled?

Balloon Planet collects sales tax on retail orders in those states/provinces requiring this action. Balloon Planet files appropriate documents and remits collected taxes to each state/province. You will be asked to send a W9 form during your enrollment.

G2. When are partners paid?

Payments are issued on the 15th of every month for all orders delivered in the previous month. This can become confusing if an order arrives in one month and is delivered during a subsequent month. To clarify — you are paid for orders based on when they are delivered, not when they post to your account. The website takes care of all the accounting work, providing you with a clear picture of each month's incoming orders and a separate statement listing each month's delivered orders.

Payments are made by direct deposit. You will be asked to send a blank voided check during enrollment. Depending on your bank, it can take 3-4 business days for direct deposits to post to your account.

G3. Am I paid if an order was paid for with a stolen credit card?

Yes, assuming you made the delivery on time and followed required operating procedures.

G4. When will I see my monthly statement?

Monthly statements are posted in your account at the end of the statement month. It normally takes several days to update statements with special accounting adjustments. By the 10th of the month the net income amount showing on your statement will be the amount for which your direct deposit will be issued.

To repeat, only those orders delivered during the month will appear on that month's statement.

G5. What is the Processing Fee charged to most orders? 

Most orders include a Processing Fee which contributes to the costs of online marketing, credit card processing fees, and credit card fraud. The Processing Fee is currently $9.95. It may increase or decrease at any time without notice. It is added to the base delivery charge during a customer's ordering process. Balloon Planet retains 100% of the Processing Fee.

The Processing Fee is visible as a separate line item when viewed in a partner's account. From the customer side, the two charges are merged and appear as one line item titled DELIVERY CHARGE.


H. OPERATIONS & PROCEDURES


H1. How do customers place orders?

Orders can be placed by phone or online. Orders placed by phone are uploaded to the website by our staff.

H2. What is the deadline for a customer to place an order?

Every partner controls their schedule with online account controls, making it possible to create any desired deadline for incoming orders. New partners receive an indoctrination to these controls prior to the launch of service.

H3. How far in advance can a customer place an order?

Orders can be placed up to 60 days in advance.

H4. What delivery times are offered to customers?

Standard Time Frames

There are multiple standard time delivery windows (6-hour windows) that can be enabled by the partner through their online account tools. A minimum of one standard delivery window must be enabled.

Special Delivery Time Frames

There are optional special delivery time delivery windows (1 to 5-hour windows) that can be enabled by the partner through their online account tools.

H5. How do I receive my orders?

You will receive an email and text message notice when an order is submitted. A copy of the order will accompany the email. In addition, a copy of the order will appear in your online account.

H6. What is my online BP account?

All partners are provided with an account on the main Balloon Planet website. Access to this account is password protected. Only you and our operations staff have access to your account.

All of your orders and statements are posted within your online account. In addition, the following links can be accessed from your account home page:

- Calendar access for scheduling days on and off
- Controls for offering customers special delivery time slots, with or without surcharges
- Inventory Catalog for your Zone of partnership
- Territory zip code controls (delivery charges and order deadlines)
- Resolution Guide
- Operations Manual

H7. How do I confirm receipt of an order?

Once you receive notice of an order, we request that you confirm receipt electronically as soon as possible. This is done by simply clicking on a link provided within the email notice. If we do not receive your confirmation we will call you to make sure you have received the order.

H8. Do I need to confirm that the delivery has been made?

Yes. Partners are required to confirm that a delivery has been made as soon as possible following delivery, via the internet.

H9. Do I need to get a signature when a delivery is made, and are there any other details that need to be recorded?

You are required to record the time of delivery and the name of the person accepting the delivery. If the order is delivered to a third party, you will need to record the name of the accepting party and take a photograph of the order being delivered. Ensure that the first and last name of the person who accepts the order are both clearly recorded. This information must be recorded in the order notes of the specific order number. The photograph should be retained for 30 days in case it is needed to settle a customer dispute.

H10. What determines who receives an order if two or more partners deliver to the same zip code?

The website uses the following criteria to distribute orders to parnters:

a. Product availability — Selects those partners which stock the requested products
b. Service availability — Selects partners who are open for service on the selected date
c. Lowest delivery charge — Selects the partner with the lowest delivery charge
d. If all partners serving the zip code stock the requested inventory, are available for service, and charge the same delivery charge, the site will distribute orders equally between the partners.

There is one exception to this priority system. If a customer begins the purchase on a particular partner's website, the order will stay with that partner if they stock the requested inventory and are available for service, even if that partner's delivery charge is higher than that of other partners serving the same zip code.

H11. What is the policy regarding product substitutions?

The number one complaint of customers making online purchases is not receiving what they were promised. Unlike the floral industry, Balloon Planet does not make substitutions without customer approval. If you find yourself short of inventory for an upcoming order, your options are as follows:

a. Place an expedited order with a local supplier or one of our preferred distributors.
b. Contact Balloon Planet Seattle to see if we can overnight what you need.
c. Contact the customer for approval to substitute.

H12. What is the prescribed preparation process for Balloon Planet orders?

a. All latex balloons must be hand-tied. Clips are not acceptable.
b. Ribbon colors must match the balloon color as closely as possible, unless the product description directs you to use different colors.
c. Ribbon lengths must be at least 8 feet long before being tied to the balloon.
d. Ribbons must be attached to a weight using a knot that is capable of being untied. Ribbons should not be trimmed short after being tied to the weight.
e. The BalloonPlanet.com greeting card should be attached to the weight.
f. A business card promoting the partner's company may be attached to the Balloon Planet greeting card.
g. If a gift item is included, it must be packaged in a gift box or a gift bag provided by the partner. In addition, candy should always be enclosed in a cellophane bag.
h. Partners should use a non-latex weight for hospital deliveries.

H13. How can a partner black-out delivery dates?

Service for any date can be blocked using the online calendar in your account.


H14. What are special procedures for hospitals, schools, and residential deliveries?

a. With school deliveries, prior to inflation, partners are required to confirm that the school will accept a balloon delivery.

b. We do not deliver latex balloon orders to hospitals. If you receive such an order please contact BP support for assistance.

c. With all hospital orders, prior to inflation, partners are required to first call the hospital and confirm that the patient has not been discharged and that the patient can receive balloons. Many intensive care units will not permit balloon deliveries.

d. With all other orders, including those going to businesses, partners are required to call the recipient to confirm that someone will be available to accept the delivery. This call can also be made the day prior to delivery. Same-day orders should be called as soon as possible on the delivery date. If you are unable to get an answer by early afternoon, please advise the customer. It is acceptable to make the delivery after the designated deadline if such an arrangement has been made with the recipient. If you are unable to deliver the order on the assigned date because you have been unable to make contact with the recipient, contact
BP support for assistance.

H15. What is the $300 Rule?

The $300 Rule has two parts.

a. Any order over $300 requires that the delivering partner contact the customer and reconfirm details. This call should be made within 24 hours of receipt. Once made, a note should be added to the order confirmating that the call was made.

b. Any order over $300 must be photographed at the delivery site, showing the balloons and enough of the building so that the building can be identified. Two photos may be necessary. This includes orders to hospitals, hotels, schools, businesses and residences.

H16. What is the Photo Rule?

The Photo Rule has two parts.

a. Any order delivered to a 3rd party must be photographed upon delivery showing the balloons and enough of the building so that it can be identified. Two photos may be necessary. This includes orders to hospitals, hotels, schools, businesses and residences.

b. Any order over $300 must be photographed at the delivery site, showing the balloons and enough of the building so that the building can be identified. Two photos may be necessary. This includes orders to hospitals, hotels, schools, businesses and residences.

 

J. A FEW MORE DETAILS

J1. I see many bouquets on the website which include inventory that I am not required to carry. Why is that?

When customers initially visit the Balloon Planet website they are able to see all bouquets which we offer system-wide, including some which may not be offered in your city. However, once the customer enters the postal code for the delivery location where they need service, the website will reset and post only the inventory and pricing for products available in that zip code.

J2. Is the area I serve exclusively served by my company?

Probably not. As a rule, multiple partners will serve a city, with no single company representing any area exclusively.

J3. What are my guidelines for being available for service?

a. Effective January 2023, all new partners are required to be open an average of 22 days per month.

b. Using your online BP calendar, new parnters enrolling after January 2023 are free to control the days that service is offered, keeping in mind that you must be open for service at least 22 days per month.

c. For orders submitted at least one day in advance, partners must offer one or more of the following delivery time slots:

8am-2pm
9am-3pm
10am-4pm

d. Partners have the option to offer additional special delivery time slots that are shorter, for a surcharge to the customer. 

e. Partners are required to accept and deliver any order that arrives into their account as a result of their service calendar indicating service on the requested delivery date is available.

J4. Am I required to accept same day orders?

No, only if you are programmed to offer same day orders. You may control whether or not your account accepts same-day orders, and you may control the deadline for same-day orders if you elect to offer same-day service.

J5. Can I refuse an order?

Not as a rule. Contact BP support for assistance if you are unable to deliver an order.

J6. How do I determine the size of my territory?

Territory size is determined when you apply for partnership, but generally includes all zip codes no more than 12 miles from your base of operations.

J7. How much can I charge for delivery?

For your first year of operation, your delivery charges must be $29 or $39. At least 5 zip codes must be served for $29. This policy applies to all new parters enrolling after January 2023.

J8. Is partnership in BalloonPlanet.com automatically transferred to the new owner if I sell my company?

Not necessarily. Such transfers are at the discretion of Balloon Planet.

J9. Under what conditions can my partnership be terminated?

The following conditions may lead to termination of partnership.

a. Repeated missed or unexcused late deliveries.
b. Failure to maintain adequate stock of delivery products.
c. Not using prescribed procedures.
d. Unprofessional behavior.
e. Use of information from the membership roster for personal or commercial gain, or providing this information to any other organization.
f. Copyright infringement.
g. Failure to maintain adequate communication systems, resulting in a loss of satisfactory communications with BalloonPlanet.com.
h. Repeated failure to respond to communications from Balloon Planet.
i. Using social media or any other communication tool to post hostile and inflammatory remarks related to Balloon Planet policies and procedures, staff, or partners.


Click here to view our complete Customer Service Guide


K. APPLY FOR PARTNERSHIP

K1. How do I apply for partnership?

Use the application link just below this message. It reads APPLY NOW FOR PARTNERSHIP.


K2. If accepted into the program, how soon can I expect to become an active partner?

We are currently recruiting candidates for partnership who will launch service on April 1, 2024. The following time-line applies.


ENROLLMENT TIME LINE

Step 1 — Applicant completes and submits the online application.

Step 2 — Application is reviewed by Balloon Planet. Allow 30 days for initial approval. At this point the applicant is provided with projected sales information.

Step 3 — If application is approved, a Partnership Agreement will be submitted electronically to the applicant for signing.

Step 4 — Applicant submits signed Partnership Agreement.

Step 5 — A phone orientation is scheduled and completed.

Step 6 — The applicant orders all required inventory for Zone 1.

Step 7 — Applicant reports that all inventory is in stock.

Step 8 — Starter kit is shipped to new partner.

Step 9 — Applicant is ready to begin service.

 
3. Is the partnership contract binding for any length of time?

The partnership contract is open-ended and partners may resign at any time and for any reason, with a 30-day written notice, without further financial obligation.


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