There is a cloud of mystery around pricing and how the numbers all work out so I thought I would shed some light on how it all works.
Obviously the cost depends on how intricate a display is but for an overall reference a balloon garland will cost around $17-$25 per foot. This number comes from the cost of the balloons, string, balloon dot glue, hooks & safety pins (to hang the balloon garland). The cost of materials alone can be close to $40 or even more if there are quite a few specialty balloons. After the materials there is the time investment that goes into building the garland. Most balloon garland take about 2-3 hours to put together. This is the part that most people don't think about. The time spent to create the beautiful displays cost money. But honestly, that is why you are paying a professional,for the experience and the time they spend to create what you are looking for. The first hour of the creation process is blowing up the balloons and creating the base structure for the garland. After that the garland needs to be attached to either the backdrop or wall that will be its final display place. Once it is in its final location then the rest of the garland can be created. This is all the balloons that make the garland stand out and look oh so impressive! These are put on once the garland is in place to make sure that everything is placed in a way that makes it look the most eye catching and WOW! This second part of the process can take an hour or more because it is a lot of placing a balloon and then stepping back to take a look and then back and forward back and forward.
Another category that can add up quick is disposable materials such as paper decor, goody bag materials, custom signs, or custom decorations. Anything that must be created specifically for your event that can not be used for another event is a cost that is passed onto you, the client. This can either be because the item has a custom name or because it was a one time use item (i.e. balloons). Those items cannot be used again and were special for your party. This is a good thing to keep in mind when planning a party or looking to have a party planned for you. The more items you need specific to your party are the things that add up quickly when it comes to $.
Something to consider: there is a benefit from using a professional when it comes to disposable goods. If you were to buy all the materials yourself it would cost more. For example, if you wanted to make a balloon garland that has 3 different color balloons. Balloons generally come in packs of 100 but you don't need 100 of each color balloon so you would be paying for a surplus of supplies. When you hire a professional they generally already have the balloons or will use them again so you are only charged and pay for what you need.
Hopefully this sheds a little light on why the $price can seem a little high. And hopefully you learned a few tips for the future on how to keep costs down but still get that WOW factor.