As a supplier of helium for retail stores across North America, we’re often asked how to go about buying helium. So, we’ve put together this handy guide to help answer those questions.
Whether you’re starting a balloon program or tank rental service in your store, or you’re a veteran buyer in need of a helium supplier for your corporation, buying or sourcing helium for retail stores can seem like a daunting task at first glance.
We are going to make it easy for you.
There are a few different factors to consider when purchasing helium for retail stores. This handy infographic works as a quick guide to sum up this article, but make sure to read below the graphic where we break down each section further.
Helium for retail stores: A buyer’s guide — Step 1: Identify your business
• Are you a single retail location?
• Are you a small-to-medium chain of retail stores (2+ locations)?
• Are you a national/international retail chain?
Helium for retail stores: A buyer’s guide — Step 2: What do you need helium for?
• Are you creating a balloon program?
• Are you starting a helium tank rental service?
I’m creating a balloon program
Your tanks will be delivered on a regular, reliable schedule to each of your locations and will always be full. Since you’re buying the helium and renting the tanks it’s delivered in, the distributor will take back any empty tanks after dropping off the filled ones. A good helium supplier will maintain a regular schedule and procedure, so that your store managers and employees can focus on their work and not on fulfilling helium tank orders.
A dedicated account representative or team of representatives will work hand-in-hand with you, your store managers, and the distribution team to stay on top of orders, refills, quantities, billing, and handle any other questions or other needs.
I’m starting a helium tank rental service
If you’re planning on renting out helium tanks, you’ll need to purchase the tanks outright. Typically, a good mix of different size and style tanks are purchased to serve the varying needs of your customers. A customer may only require a small amount of helium, in which case you would want to rent out, for example, a small aluminum helium tank.
If your customer needs to inflate more and/or larger balloons, a larger helium tank will be more suitable.
The aluminum tanks are smaller and more portable (14 – 40 lbs.) than the large steel helium cylinders and come with convenient carrying handles. The larger volume steel cylinders are appropriate for retail chains, large stores, and high volume locations. These tanks usually require hand trucks and chains to move due to their large size and weight (100+ pounds), but you may come to find that it is good to keep one or a few in your store in the event that a customer requires considerably more helium.
If you keep an inventory of tanks in various sizes, you can help guide your customer to the right helium cylinder based on how many balloons that customer needs to fill.
(When purchasing your cylinders, keep in mind that it is up to you to remember to have them refilled with helium when they’re getting low. A helium regulator with built-in gauge lets you know how full or low your tank is.)
Helium for retail stores: A buyer’s guide — Step 3: How many tanks will you need per month?
If you already use helium and know how many tanks you go through each month, you already have a handle on your need. However, if you’re just starting your helium program and you are looking for a quote, it’s best to be prepared with this information in order to get accurate pricing.
First consider the size of your business:
If you’re a single store, you could most likely do well renting one to two large helium cylinders that are picked up and swapped out each month. Most small businesses and single location retail stores tend to favor this option. If you’re afraid that you may run out, you can always order an extra tank to have on-hand just in case, or you can up your rental order after getting a better idea of how much you will go through each month.
If your business is larger, you will likely want to do more tanks per store each month. This is where having a helpful and responsive helium supplier really becomes one of those huge benefits that you can’t always determine through a regular old helium quote. A great helium supplier will work with you to figure out your needs and then develop a custom solution that has your best interests in mind.
So if you’re unsure how much helium you’ll need each month to start, it can be helpful to refer to this chart, which compares each size and style helium tank and identifies how many balloons each can fill.
Once you have an estimate of your monthly tank need…
Helium for retail stores: A buyer’s guide — Step 4: How many stores are in your chain?
This information is also needed in order to obtain the most accurate helium quote. You will just multiply how many tanks you need at each store per month by the number of stores. Simple, right?
TANKS NEEDED PER STORE PER MONTH x LOCATIONS = TOTAL NUMBER OF TANKS PER MONTH
This equation provides a reliable initial estimate. Individual store managers can then identify if they need more or fewer tanks each month based on the volume of business at each location and the future orders can then be tweaked and modified to accommodate. A good helium supplier can work with those store managers to help identify that number.
Helium for retail stores: A buyer’s guide — Step 5: Where are your stores located?
Believe it or not, your store location could have an impact on not only the cost of helium delivery, but the availability of helium in your area. If your store is located in a major metropolitan area or surrounding suburb, this may not be of any concern.
However, if your location is in a geography that is more remote or more difficult to get to, or helium is scarce in that area, it could be THE determining factor in choosing a helium supplier.
At Zephyr, we pride ourselves on having established a distribution network covering every geography in the United States. We can literally deliver helium anywhere. But that’s not necessarily the case with all major helium distributors. So whether you get your quote with us or somewhere else, make sure that in addition to the price that you’re seeking, you’re also sure that all of your locations can be reached!
A reputable helium supplier should be up front with you in their answer and possibly even provide alternative options.
So there you have it. When you go into securing your quote for helium for retail stores, be ready with the answers to these questions and you’ll not only get the most accurate quote possible, you’ll have all of your work done for when it comes time to buy:
• How big is your business?
• What do you need helium for?
• How many tanks do you need per month?
• How many stores/locations do you have?
• Where are you located?
Have any questions we haven’t answered? Feel free to contact us any time at 877-275-9374, or post your question on our Facebook page!