A bike rental business is one of the low-capital investment businesses you can set up in any town or country. Many people love to use bicycles, whether for exercise, visiting the countryside, or practice. The clientele also varies and covers a wider audience that includes tourists, residents, students and fitness enthusiasts, among others. Most people think starting a bike rental business requires several customer-ready bikes. While having many options is essential, you do not need 20 bikes for a start. As you will soon find out, one rickshaw is enough to launch your bike rental startup. Here are a few insights to help you along the way.
Start with a comprehensive business plan
Every business requires a comprehensive plan that sheds light on all the critical aspects and processes. Without a business plan, it is almost impossible to achieve any success. The plan identifies various elements including the business name, location, target customer, competition, market analysis, demand, supply chain, cash flow projections and several other factors critical to your success. As such, it is highly recommendable to create a business plan for your bike rental business. The business plan will also help you set goals and provide you with strategies to achieve them. You can find general business plan templates or engage the services of a professional to ensure that each factor is considered.
Register the business and make it a legal entity
You will need to register your bike rental business to operate legally. This is required by the government of almost all countries and customers prefer credible licensed companies. This means you have to come up with a business name, slogan, logo and administration framework. It is also recommended to make your bike rental business into a legal entity such as an LLC, DBA or corporation. A legal entity is vital as it protects you from being personal liability in case your business is sued. You may also need the services of a registered agent, which is critical for you to maintain compatibility with existing regulations.
Register for state taxes
After registering the business and forming a legal entity around it, you will need to register for state and federal taxes. This is crucial to finalize before opening your bike rental business. Registering for taxes requires you to apply for an EIN, which is free and easy. It also means you need to open a bank account to set up your business finances. Make sure you open both banking and credit accounts. By separating your personal and commercial bank accounts, you will protect your assets in case the company is sued.
Create a website and market your business
This seems like an obvious thing in the modern digital world. However, it still needs to approach it with caution and insights. The internet presents endless opportunities to market your business to both local and global customers. You can start building your website at any time, but it is recommendable to have it functional by the time you open the business. A website allows you to present your business and brand how you deem fit. You can customize it with inspiring content and articles, high-resolution images, links to your business social profiles and more. Your site provides a home for online customers seeking to interact with your business and offers. It is critical to brand building, marketing and leads generation. You can also use it for follow-ups and customer engagement.
Acquire all the licenses and permits
Registering a business is only one part. You still need to obtain various business permits and licenses before the opening day of your bike rental. You should look up the necessary licenses, although your registered agent can help you determine all the necessary permits required to set up a bike rental business in your area. Failing to get the necessary permits can attract fines or even force you to close the business, so it is crucial to ensure you have every license needed, proudly displayed somewhere in your business premises. Since local regulations may apply, you should check with the town clerk or local business associations.
Set up your business finances
Running a business requires transparent and efficient accounting systems that can help you keep track of your finances. You need a way to record your expenses, operating costs, credits, sales, profit, taxes, savings and more. Keeping accurate financial information about your income and financial performance of the business will simplify the process of filing annual taxes. It is also critical to your business' future and allows you to identify ways of saving more.
Liability waivers and certificate of occupancy
To decrease legal liabilities, it is advisable to provide consent agreements to your customers. You will also need to obtain a certificate of occupancy (CO), which is required by all businesses that operate from a storefront. If you plan to lease the location for your business, make sure the landlord has a CO. You will also need a new CO to carry out major refurbishment of the business premises.
Bike and rickshaw rental services are difficult to charge, especially since several factors influence the price. It is advisable to review competition and determine what services they offer and how they package and price them. However, do not use competitor prices before calculating your business costs. It is critical to calculate your break-even, cash flow projections and profitability and adjust pricing to ensure your business isn't running at a loss.
There are several other things to know before starting a bike rental business. Things like business insurance and brand-defining are all critical when conducting any storefront business. It is also vital to find ways to promote your business and keep customers coming back to your shop. Opening your door to customers is the first step. You will also need to outperform the competition by providing high-quality services and bikes for your customers. It doesn't matter if you only have one rickshaw, you can still partner with other businesses to ensure all your customer needs are met. Several businesses can provide bikes and rickshaws to rental companies, provided you have a legitimate business. You can also qualify for a business loan.