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Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Once I have taken this training course, how much money do I really need to get started?

I would say about $600 minimum. Others have started for less; others, more.  I provide an itemized list of the necessities and where to purchase them at the best wholesale price ! ( I buy nothing retail!) You do not need to buy all the pieces of equipment the balloon industry promotes out there. Old timers techniques will teach you how to do things without all the machines they want you to buy!!! Save, save save....

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2. Why can't I learn the balloon business on my own just by buying those balloon videos?

You can, but at a price. Time and Money and in accurate techniques.... Balloon videos are great if you already have a foundation, a knowledge, of how everything works. . . and if you already know you are doing the technique correctly. They are really geared for the intermediate balloon artist to teach new techniques and “another” ways of doing things.  They don't teach you how to operate your whole business for a profit and they don't teach you the common pitfalls and mistakes you can make.  Experience passed down does that, and that saves you money, embarrassment, and time. AND, these classes teach techniques you do not see everyday. Your work is different from everyone else in the business! That is my point of this particular seminar.

You need to learn (by doing) hands on techniques AND practice with an instructor so you can do the basics correctly. If you think what you have learned on utube is right- you are wrong. It has been my experience that time spent learning it right instead of trial and error does two things. It saves time in the long run and your credibility/reputation is not damaged. I’ll give you an example. Making a helium balloon arch sounds simple. But to the untrained person, who just figured it out, their arch may have small gaps between the clusters, and on a column you  see the pole (that is only one of the many problems). Unfortunately if you are making a simple mistake there is no one popping out of the video showing you what you just did wrong.   If you are going to compete with the established guys in your yellow pages for the same business, your work has to look perfect and professional. If you were the only one in your “village” doing this, well then, it would not be a big deal since the customer would not know any better. If you want to make money, learn it right, know how to fix the problems and be professional. The money will come! If you can build a latex balloon column, take a photo of it for your professional portfolio (not scrap book!), disassemble every balloon and put it back in the bag looking brand new-- to use and sell at a later date-- then you know the first lesson of our class.  If not, you really don't know technique, how to utilize and to save money.

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3.What benefit is there in me taking this course with you instead of looking for resources on the net and trying to do it myself?

The benefit is to learn every facet of the business and where to buy your supplies at wholesale prices and do it right. The other is how to price and calculate so your business actually makes money- so it is not a hobby.  The cost of your tuition, lodging, airfare will be covered by the money you save purchasing wholesale product, not buying equipment you don't need when you can do it without-- the money you save in making the right decisions on setting up your business, not paying for stuff u don’t need, and the money you save in client satisfaction in doing the job perfectly.  This translates into more business.  I cannot stress this enough. In all parts of life, your best bet is finding something that works and copy it. Don't try and invent it yourself when some successful person already has. What you save in learning it right from someone with experience, is well worth the money spent on the front end. Not to mention your reputation of being able to do things the other companies in your area CANNOT!

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4. What happens if I get home after I take the classes and I forget how to do something?

Hopefully that will not happen because you will have an awesome training manual to rely on. And, because I make you  replicate everything we do, (hands on training)... it is a known fact that you will remember it.  But if that does happen, email/phone support from me is always available to you.  By the way, you do have to pass a basic skills test or you are not leaving the class!  And you also have your class support group, all previous LBD graduates as a resource as well as me! (closed group on FB)

There is  a professional balloon artist networking organization which is also a great support group and supplies you with great new ideas and answers to any kind of questions.  These people have been around for many, many years and are a wealth of information.  When you join this organization along with your membership you receive your own webpage on their server where you can promote your own business.  They have several templates and all you have to do is upload your information and your photos!  Quite Wonderful!

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5. Once I complete this course, will I know everything I need to start my business?

Absolutely! The only thing you have to find out how to do on your own is the laws of your state and the state sales tax. I can tell you where to find that information. Every state is different.  Many students are walking out the door with jobs ahead of them.

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6. Can I do this part time and keep my regular job?

If you want to do only part-time decorating, this is a simple task because most parties/events are evenings and weekends. You can make appointments with your clients after work to discuss their decoration needs. It can be a perfect home base business. You can see your tax accountant for specific write offs in your home if you want. You will, however, come to that fork in the road when you become so well known, you have to decide whether or not to make it a full time ambition. (Trust me ---it happens!)

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7. What about class size and how much time do we work during the week?

I try to keep the group very small.   The perfect class size is 8 students, but it can be as large as 10-12 students.  More than that is too much!

Time in class:

6 day seminar:  Classes will  start at 10 am on Sunday and 9 am Monday thru Friday.  They will all end between 5-6 pm.  Last day of class we end at 5pm.   When booking your  Friday flight, make sure you have 2 hours to get thru our airport before your departure time on a friday.  They really mean it!!! That 10 min drive from the hotel to the airport is now 30 min or more in Friday traffic remember!   If you must leave before the class is  over, you must let me know ahead of time!!!!.

What really happens in a class? We work 9-5 in class and then some classmates  opt to go to dinner and talk after class.  Those people that night have my Undivided attention. Other nights we are watching balloon videos.  If someone is not getting a technique in class, we work on it that night.  There could be some homework at night as well.  Tell you family and friends you are NOT on vacation in Florida.  Each class is different and has different things going on at night- more time to learn.....

This is no light weight class!   And yes, you get a certificate! BTW, you will leave over qualified to pass the CBA. Help to pass the test  is always available- but my students don't need it.... EVERYONE of them has passed their CBA.  Also it is not mandatory to have a CBA. You graduate with a certificate: Certified Balloon Decor Designer. CBDD

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8. Where can I stay while training and what airport do I go to?

You need to fly into Tampa International Airport (TPA). We are actually 10 minutes away from the Tampa Airport.  No need for a car rental unless you want to add a few days to see the sights. Book an extra day for the beach, Busch Gardens (1/2 hour away) or a quick trip to Disney (1 1/2 hrs away).  See the Accommodations page for suggestions on where to stay. South West and Spirit has some great deals to Tampa. Host Hotel is the Holiday Inn Express- see info on Accommodations tab. Our $pecial price is $89/night with hot breakfast and $99 night for a suite. Sign up early in our balloon block...   813-885-3700 (Feb class seminars is $10 more a night due to High Season!- We are still saving $40 a night off regular hotel pricing.

You have to get yourself  to and from the airport to the Hotel. Approx 20? cab ride. Gas keeps changing so I don't know- 5-10 min away!

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9.  I see a lot of people selling balloon instruction- why is yours different?

Be very careful when picking someone to teach you and then mentor you whenever you need them after u take the training. This constant support and ongoing training is worth every penny of your tuition.   Make sure they have awards, and some substance behind their credentials- not made up. Do your homework-check out the info. Our seminars are first class. We meet in hotel conference rooms and do practice jobs at hotel locations that produce beautiful Portfolio pictures-not in a shop.  There are several mimics out there. I had 2 male students who took my class twice, talked to them every other day for 5 years- now they teach their version of this seminar. Do your homework - u get what u pay for.

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10. Do you have any restrictions?

Yes, two.  Anyone going into business in proximity to Tampa Florida, has to sign a non-compete agreement. That means you cannot open up a business within 1 hour driving time from my business in Tampa, Florida. The reason for this is I share all my business materials, marketing strategies, pictures, recipies, etc with you. Basically I am Duplicating my business.  I cannot have someone in the next town using my pictures in their portfolio or website to sell their business.  This only makes sense. If you sign the non-compete agreement and you do end up in my back yard, I can sue you, or as the lawyer said, take the money for the job you did and give it to me.  It is only right to make this disclaimer up front. If you ARE more than 1 hour and a half away, you do not need to sign anything. Therefore I do not teach people living in the towns close to me.  How silly of me to teach my competitors?! My lawyer says, THERE ARE NO LONGER ANY EXCEPTIONS!    S O R R Y

Also, I don’t speak any foreign languages. You need to have a decent command of the English language to be able to keep up with the class. (This is most important too for the other students in the class.) I have found that one person who cannot comprehend what I am saying slows down the learning process for the rest, and we do not get the whole course of study finished.

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11. I am excited!!! Tell me what I need to do to enroll in your classes.......

First: Qualify your need for starting a new business in your present area. Go to your yellow pages and see what your competition will be.   If you live in a metropolitan area where there are 4 pages, front and back, of balloon companies, then you might want to reconsider this profession OR consider moving elsewhere! I honestly don’t want to train someone and then find out the main reason that they didn’t succeed was because the market was already flooded. My training of students is limited to only a few classes a year. That is all the time I can give up right now to teach. I want to make sure the students I do teach will flourish and you are not wasting your time!

Second:  Fill out the Enrollment application and tell me when you want to take the class.  I will return your email and let you know if it is available.  Sometimes we find classes totally booked, but due to life’s curve balls, someone will have to change their scheduled date- and then there suddenly is an opening.  If you are interest in a "first available"- let me know.

Finally...... you have to send a check, money order, or pay by Paypal if you are going to use your credit card,  to hold your space.  This $200 deposit is non-refundable, but if you have to reschedule your class, you are free to do so up to 31 days before the scheduled class not lose your "non refundable seat deposit". You may reschedule 1 time with the same deposit. If you cancel less than this you will have to put down a new deposit to hold a seat again. NO EXCEPTIONS Please understand All Deposits are used toward the money for the rent of the building we are having the classes in-so the deposits are already spent 30 days prior- thus reason for non refundable $200.

Once you have in your deposit, (*See new info under Student Info tab on how to “secure” your seat from anyone taking it.) the research begins and you will be working on all the info you need to acquire to start up your new business.  This may take you several days and a ton of phone calls, but you will be coming to class with all the info I need to help you set up your business.  (And you thought I was kidding when I said you would walk out the door doing balloons!) Students with fully paid tuition receive their training manual. Early Bird paid tuition before 90 of class date get to save $200!!!

 *If you pay your full tuition,  receive your training manual, and then do not come to the designated training session, you DO NOT get any tuition reimbursement.  You may come to a different session but there are no refunds once you receive your training manual.

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12. What can I expect to learn from your classes?

A short cut to success! 

There is much to be said for been there and done that and now I know better how to do it. To be able to cut 2 or 3 years off of getting your business going and growing is a Godsend. A seasoned veteran with 33 years of teaching experience to show the best and fastest ways of doing things will propel you way ahead of all the others. Accumulating all the resources of 30 years, knowing the short cuts, and how to save money is worth its weight in gold. The training cost FAR outweighs the money you will save by not making the mistakes, buying equipment you don’t need, doing it quicker, buying it cheaper, and enabling your business to grow rapidly. (I only wish this were available to me when I started out.) Again, In ANY BUSINESS VENTURE if you can copy the pattern of someone else's success, that only makes sense. Don’t do it all yourself if there is already a proven way out there. Learn their basic operation and then put you own flair to it to make it your own.

A large part of student registrations are from people already “doing” balloons. They are failing to make any money after 2 years

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13. After this training, is there any need for further balloon classes?

You bet there is!!! This business changes all the time and new ideas are out there for the taking. Plan on attending at least one balloon convention a year to learn more new balloon ideas. (Conventions usually cost me about $1500+ for four days--that is the class fee, airfare and hotel and food)  You will find networking with other balloon companies around the country is also wonderful thing. Even after 33 years I still go to conventions.

But even better than that is my private 2 day seminar in Vegas with the Best of the Best national instructors just for LBD graduates.  We pick what new things we want to learn and get the edge on the competition. Best part is it is a non profit convention which is only about learning- no one trying to sell you anything. Cost is $199.  Seats are limited to 70 grads and all the $ goes directly to the instructors! Advance Balloon Decor Convention.com  just for us!!

 

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14.What do I need to bring with me?

Comfortable clothes that fit our climate, a well-rested body, a desire to learn, and sense of humor! It has been also suggested to bring your vitamins! Since this is non-stop, it is a good idea not to “frenzy yourself out” before coming and that you do not arrive here tired. Although your training manual is quite concise and you do not have to write everything down.

A good camera to take pictures is also necessary. ( If you do not have one, phones have been used as well. Have an extra sim card if you need one) With the cameras, the wider the lens, the better for taking pictures of entire room balloon decor.  Most phones will suffice!

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15. Give me some idea of what the classes are like?

In the beginning we will be going over basics on starting your business and the mechanics of accomplishing this. Then we will move on to learning about helium, balloons, and all the hands-on training. (making balloon sculptures, large dance floor decor, etc) Then on to the tricks of advertising, making your own portfolio and logos, and a whole lot more. EXCEPT for entering competitions at conventions- I teach you everything I can do.  My grad students tell me I make mini me's out of them and that I do not charge enough for the course. The class outline  lists SOME of the topics but not everything in the training manual is listed on this outline.  It is quite in-depth.

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16. When is the next available class?

See Home page for the list of scheduled classes. Because I teach only 3-4 seminars a year, these classes fill up months before the start date.  Students have now gotten smart and pay their full tuition and received their training manual.... Or pay half of their tuition that then guarantees them their seat.  Most seats are purchased no less than 45 days before the start of class so I can get the manuals to you so you can read.  Pre reading is a MUST- saves the class time.  All payments need to be in by 31 days before start of class please.

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17. How do I make payment for the course?

The old fashion way of a check, snail mail works--- as well as Master Card and Visa ONLY thru Paypal.  Students from foreign countries who cannot use Paypal can use Western Union (zip code 32163)

You can use Pay Pal  to put a deposit of $200 which is non-refundable.  If you have to change your date,  give a minimum 45 days notice, then you can apply your deposit to anther class and you don't lose your deposit.   Balance is to be paid before class using Paypal credit card, check OR money order. When you pay your balance you receive your training materials. There are no refunds once you receive your training manual after 30 days or have opened all your training materials.

Additional Comment on Class costs: Many of the search engines have the same info they spotted on this website when it was first put up in 2003.  Due to increased costs of the hall we rent for the seminar, additional days added to original classs and an enlarged agenda, the cost of tuition has gone up since 03.  Unfortunately Yahoo and others have not sent new spiders to pick up the new information.  Therefore should you could see the search description old page saying this class is $600 or $800.... there is nothing I can do to have them change this old information! Sorry! It is not the same seminar!!!

What you get in this new class is more than twice the original---due to the graduating students asking for more.  They have shaped this seminar into what it is today (and they wanted).

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