Oxygen bar businesses seem to be thriving. Everyone we talk to is busy. So it should be of little surprise that we get inquiries about an oxygen bar franchise.
I am not personally against a franchised business. However, it is not necessarily the best model for an oxygen bar. Let me explain.
To begin with, a lot of people who call us really do not understand the implications of a franchise agreement. They want to get into this business and do not have any other frame of reference in regard to business models. So, they ask about a “franchise”.
What they really want is a turn-key solution. They are looking for a business in a box.
Others actually want a distributorship but again call it a franchise.
If you bought an oxygen bar franchise, someone would be expecting you to pay a franchise fee in addition to the cost of the equipment. It cost the company money to set up the franchise system and they want to get their investment back.
In addition, the franchise agreement generally has restrictive covenants that keep you paying fees or forcing you to buy supplies from one supplier.
I know, you think that an oxygen bar franchise will give you everything you need to start and create a profitable business. I have some bad news and good news for you.
First the bad news. The closest thing that I have seen to advertising help is one company that throws some posters in the box with your equipment. But the equipment is very expensive. Perhaps two to three times more than it should be. Instead of paying literally thousands more for your equipment you would be better off using your startup money running ads.
But there is good news. You don’t need a franchise agreement. Here is what you need. This will be true no matter where you get your equipment from.
1. You need a reliable oxygen bar that does not cost a fortune to buy. If you cannot buy a system that can support up to six users at once for less than $3,000, you are paying too much.
2. A long warranty. One company gives you up to three years on parts and labor on everything including the oxygen concentrator. It is not an accident that it is the same company we use for our equipment.
3. Honest advice. It is nice to have someone you can call up and run your ideas against and hear someone tell you exactly what they think. They are not worrying about losing an ongoing franchise fee. I have told people in the past, after hearing what they want to do, to not buy the equipment as they would certainly fail.
I don’t care what your product or service is. Unless you are selling umbrellas in a rain storm you need some marketing and advertising savvy. You can learn from mistakes but expensive mistakes will put you out of business.
After all, isn’t the point of all of this to own your own business and not rent another company’s name and reputation.
Also, in the oxygen bar business name and reputation will not bring in customers.
One of the oldest and most reputable companies is Airheads, Inc. They have been around for more than 15 years, do event for Fortune 100 companies and have even been featured on well-known television programs. But their name will not help you sell and event or get someone to use your services.
You will need to establish yourself on your own.
When the all is said and done you do not want all of your hard work to do nothing more than enhance the reputation of someone else’s company. Haven’t you been doing that most of your life?
I am sure that franchises have their place and people do establish profitable businesses with them. But the people who make the big money are those who create their own brand. That is a fact.
If you want to be in the oxygen bar business without a franchise system holding you down, give us a call. We are oxygen bar business advisors. We sell system and supplies and want you to succeed. That is how we make money. We don’t need a warehouse filled with used, almost new equipment.
Call us at 888-622-7662 with your ideas and questions. The advice is free and we love to talk about oxygen bars.
Advertising and Marketing Tips
You can be a great mechanic and have a complete set of tools. But if nobody knows about you, you will not make any money or have any customers.
If you are going to succeed in the oxygen bar business, advertising and marketing is something you will certainly need to learn. This is of course true regardless of the business you enter in to.
It is beyond the scope of this guide to teach you how to be an effective marketer. However, I want to at least get you started in the right direction with some practical and useful ways to generate business.
Unless you already have an existing business like a spa, wellness center, vape store, etc. chances are you are going to focus your efforts on the event business.
Renting your oxygen bar out for events is the fastest way to start generate income. Many of our customers are totally focused on the event end of the business and do very well, even part time.
In most instances you will have no competition from other oxygen bar owners. You just need to let people know what you do and why they might want to rent an oxygen bar from you.
As a local service provider, you have an advantage over national companies. They often have to bring in a bar and a bartender from a considerable distance. Plus, they have a payroll and a greater overhead than you do. In many cases your expenses are limited to the cost of gas and whatever supplies you use. The rest is profit.
If you have given me an email address to read the guide you are now reading, you will hear more about our affiliate program in the future. This is where we will actually send business to you for a portion of the fee. We in effect become partners on the event. Our national advertising brings in more events than we could possibly work and need people like you with local equipment to work them. If you have not already done so. Go to the home page with the link at the top of this page and fill in the form.
There are a lot of places where you can run an effective ad. I recommend you start with local publications.
Church or Synagogue bulletins (use both if they are in your area) are a great place to start.
Local newspapers can get expensive depending on the circulation. Local can still mean an area with a million people in it. But if you are in a small town or have a local weekly for your town, it is another good place to advertise.
College newspapers take ads and can lead to ongoing work for you.
The key to ads is running them over time.
If you run a one-time ad for example in the Church bulletin or community weekly, it is hit or miss as to whether someone who is interested will see the ad.
However, if you run it for 6 weeks, people will start to remember it. When they have a party they will be thinking “hey, there is this guy who runs an ad for an oxygen bar rental in the paper. Now where is that ad?”
Other Referral Sources
Contact party and event planners. They are always looking for new and unusual entertainment. Keep in mind that the client belongs to them. They will contract with the client, mark up your prices and be your liaison for the event. You will contract with them and they are responsible for paying you. Make sure you get a deposit (usually 50%) before the event and try to collect the remainder on the day of the event.
Party rental stores are a good source for referrals. You can offer the owner of the store a percentage of the rental fee. Or, you can give them a “wholesale” rental fee list and let them mark it up as they see fit.
Check with local hotels and restaurants that offer venues for parties and events. Once again, the oxygen bar becomes an additional source of revenue for them. They do not have to do a thing other than push some paper around.
With enough lead sources, people will start to contact you. Initially ou might need to be somewhat flexible on pricing. Your goal is to do events and get exposure.
One enterprising bar owner has 5X7 color cards printed with a picture of the bar and a special deal for parties of 35 people or less that run no longer than 3 hours. He hands them out at all the events he can. Make sure you ask permission. This “Party Special” gets him a lot more work.
Charitable events can ultimately bring in paying customers. Offer to set up a bar at charitable events in your area. You can run the bar on a fee per session basis and give half the proceeds to the charity. Or offer it up in a charity auction. It will be an evening or an afternoon of your time and perhaps $30 worth of supplies. But you could take a tax deduction on the valued amount and you cannot beat the exposure you will get.
If it is getting near Super Bowl, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Graduation time, etc., be sure to advertise your services for the parties that are going on around these milestone dates.
County fairs, music festivals and events, health fairs and other local events can be a fantastic money maker. The booth rental is usually not that high and charging on a per session basis can net you a windfall over a weekend.
I could go on and on. But I think you have the general idea.
We do not have advertising slicks made up. I will leave that to you.
There are low cost services that will do a lot of this for you.
For example, you can check fiverr.com and search for newspaper ads. I found someone who will do the postcards with your ad on it for $5. There are some extra services they offer, but even with these services you will probably pay less than $30 for the whole job.
Elance, Craigslist, etc., are other places where you can find low cost help.
Miscellaneous Oxygen Bar Equipment
In addition to the concentrator and the aromarizer, there are a few other pieces of oxygen bar equipment you should be familiar with.
Nose Hoses – Nasal Cannulas
The preferred delivery of oxygen is through the nose.
Everyone who uses the system gets their own sterile nose hose or nasal cannula. If you are going to operate an oxygen bar you will need to have a good supply of these on hand. You do not want to be at an event or have a paying customer come in and have to turn them away because you don’t have 30 cents worth of supplies.
Many people ask about using a face mask.
If you use a face mask and now breathe in through your nose and mouth, you will be taking in a large volume of oxygen. An oxygen concentrator cannot supply this volume. Plus, it offers no additional benefit.
A face mask is generally used by a fire rescue unit when they have bottles of oxygen under pressure and you have suffered something like smoke inhalation. It is sometimes used for people who want to supplement an exercise routine with oxygen. But again, they are using a large 10 liter (or larger) concentrator for just one person
We have seen other, what I would call gimmicky, breathing devices on the market.
One of them places a bar under your nose or to the side of your nose. The delivery of oxygen is too inefficient with these methods. You will get the aroma but the effect of the oxygen is almost completely dissipated.
You can use your own nasal cannula more than once. However, when operating a bar you must dispose of the used hoses. You cannot, to my knowledge, sterilize them.
Look at it this way. They cost about 32 cents each. You are getting around ten dollars a session. Do you really need to reuse them?
The nose hoses come in a variety of colors with a one size fits all design.
Oxygen Bar Stands
When first starting out, you can save a little money by using a table or counter top.
A small 6 person system does not take up much space. The aromarizer can be placed on a counter, table or bar top. It is only about 30 inches wide. However you want a bit more space so people do not have to stand sideways. If you expect to get 4 or 5 people using it at a time, make sure you have room for them to access the bar.
I have seen operators get a large piece of black velvet cloth from a fabric store and drape it over a card table. It actually looked fairly nice.
But, for a relatively small investment, you can buy a bar stand that lights up in different colors and has a number of different color effects. This can make all the difference in the world. It can separate you from anyone else and gives the air of professionalism to your setup. It also justifies charging more for your services. You do not look like someone who works out of their garage. Not to mention a more satisfied client.
I am sure there are other stands out there but I just want to briefly describe the two stand options we offer.
The SmartBar is an affordable stand with vivid, eye-catching lights that can be controlled from a remote control unit. It can be purchased with plain white panel that can be branded with your or your client’s logo or message. This bar really stands out.
Watch this short video to see what I mean. The video takes about 10 seconds before you can see the bar – sorry.
Some of you will want to do larger events, trade shows, and corporate parties. You can use the SmartBar and most people will love it. But, I can tell you that when we talk to an event planner they almost always want our big bar. It has tremendous presence and they are willing to pay a lot more for it.
I can tell you that when you do an event with what we call the Dream Machine bar, people will be impressed.
This is a seven (7) foot, three panel lighted bar. This is a big unit that comes with its own shipping cases. Although, it is on wheels and we “walk” it in to most events.
The front panels can be custom branded and represents another source of revenue for you. Once a client pays for branding, you can hold on to the panels and use them again. This is how you build repeat corporate business. You charge for the branding only once.
Again, you do not need to have a bar like this. You can add it at any time. But if your location or business model permits it, then I would suggest you give it serious consideration.
All oxygen bars have an Aromarizer. They can vary slightly in design but they all operate exactly the same way.
The Aromarizer, sometimes called an Infuser, is the device that imparts the aroma in the form of an essential oil to the oxygen. Here is a picture of a six station unit.
Before I describe how this works, I want to call your attention a few important points.
This unit has the capability of providing oxygen bar services to six (6) individuals at one time. While that might not seem remarkable to you now, when you start to price other devices that support six users you will realize what a bargain this is.
The unit was designed with simplicity and a long service life in mind. It is attractive, durable and affordable. It allows you to enter into the oxygen bar business for far less money than any other competing product.
There are six individual aromarizer bottles and each of the bottles can have a different aroma or scent. Of course you can replicate the same aroma in more than one bottle if you wish.
It is one user per bottle. If someone wants a different aroma they simply disconnect from one and connect to another. We could have provided a switch for this. But that creates a point of failure that you cannot afford to have in the middle of an event.
While I recommend looking at our video of how an oxygen bar works, I will briefly describe the process again.
The oxygen concentrator is connected to a port on the back aromarizer through a plastic tube. It is then distributed through internal plumbing to each of the six bottles. You will notice a dial under each bottle that controls the flow of oxygen.
If a bottle’s valve is open the oxygen will flow into the bottle through a tube, into a small cylindrical device called a check valve. The check valve insures that the oxygen flows in one direction and keeps water out of the system. The other end of the check valve goes into the input side of the bottle.
Let me say that all again but try to make it even clearer.
Oxygen comes out of the concentrator and into the aromarizer. There is a bunch of tubes inside the aromarizer that is connected to each bottle. You can turn the flow on and off with a valve on the back of the unit.
If you open up the valve the oxygen continues up towards the top of the bottle. But before it enter the bottle it must pass through a small device called a check valve. If this was not there water could go back into the concentrator which is not a good thing.
The bottom of each bottle is filled with about two inches or so of water. Any water that you can drink can be used. Then about ten (10) drops of an essential oil is placed in the water to provide the aroma.
The oxygen flows into the bottle and into the water. If the valve is open you will see the water bubbling. It is forced out the other port on the bottle into a tube which connects to a nasal cannula (nose hose) that you breathe through.
The entire process begins with a device called an oxygen concentrator.
The concentrator draws in air from the room around it, uses a filtering process to strip away nitrogen, and delivers almost pure oxygen (95-96%).
There are no tanks with oxygen in them. Oxygen is never stored, it is created on the fly. This is a very important fact. You might have to deal with event planners, hotel managers, legal and insurance people that just cannot comprehend this.
We try to explain that the machine used to generate the oxygen is the same machine that someone’s grandmother has to help her breathe.
The second fact you might have to convince people of is that oxygen does not burn. If it did, the air would be on fire wouldn’t it? Oxygen supports combustion but by itself does not burn and does not explode. You would be amazed as to how many otherwise intelligent (?) people need to be convinced of this.
Concentrators are rated by the amount of oxygen as measured in liters, that they can deliver in one minute. Most are rated at either 5 liters or 10 liters per minute. A liter is just a little bit less than a quart in volume.
The output or flow of the concentrator will dictate how many people can use the oxygen bar at one time. You want to have about 2.5 liters per minute per person.
The system we use can usually handle 2 to 3 people from a 5 liter concentrator and 5 to 6 people with a 10 liter concentrator without significantly lowering the percentage of oxygen.
If you are doing the math and think this does not make sense, I need to mention that we can “crank” up a concentrator to put out more than its rated volume.
If you start out with a 5 liter unit, you can add an additional 5 liter concentrator later on and combine their output. But, if you anticipate a future need for more capacity, it will be a lot cheaper to upgrade to a 10 liter unit when you initially buy your system.
If you stayed awake during my one minute video on how and oxygen bar works, you realize that there are no moving parts and very little to go wrong. The only actual machinery is the oxygen concentrator. That is why we use a well-known international manufacturer and provide a three (3) year warranty on the device. I could be wrong but I don’t know of any other company that offers this extended warranty. We pay extra for it, but feel it is important.
With that said, these machines are very reliable and run for years. After all, they were made to keep people alive and breathing.
The filters inside of the concentrator can be replaced and are relatively inexpensive. If you have used your unit enough to need a replacement set you should consider it a good thing. It means that you are doing a lot of business and making a lot of money.
As far as operating the units, there are just a few precautions.
1. You must make sure that there is always fresh air that can be drawn into the unit. So don’t enclose it in a box or closet.
2. The dial on the unit can be adjusted for output and you can get more than 5 liters out of a 5 liter unit. However, the oxygen concentration might go down a little. Still, it should be enough for the desired effect. When you do this, the machine might beep for a short while when turned on. This is a built in safety feature. But don’t worry, the beeping will stop.
3. Finally, when connected, you must always provide a path for the oxygen to flow through . This means at least one of your Aromarizer bottles must be open to permit this flow. Not doing so will damage the unit and void your warranty.