Do you follow the Tour de France obsessively every year? Or perhaps you have a fleet of bikes ranging from city rides to off-road mountain bikes? If you’ve nodded at any of those, then cycling is definitely your passion.
Opening your own bike rental shop is a significant step, but there has never been a better time to think about it. As we are all aware of climate change and its impacts, people are dedicated to making a conscious decision to use different modes of transportation to reduce their carbon footprint. With designated bike lanes and traffic control, city infrastructure has also become more bike-friendly.
It will require a lot of time and dedication but with professional preparation, you will be well on your way to creating a prosperous bike business. In this post, we’ll walk you through all of the steps required to make your entrepreneurial ambition a reality.
Here’s everything you need to know about opening a bike store, from conducting market research to deciding on a legal structure and creating a business strategy.
1. Develop a plan for your bike rental business
A well-thought-out plan is vital for entrepreneurial success. It will assist you in mapping out the specifics of your organisation and uncovering some unknowns. You may wish to consider the concept – what makes you stand out from the competition? Also, any research opportunities that will help to drive your business forward that outlines success factors and how you will measure success. Plus, a clear vision statement that clearly defines where you’d like to see your business go. Here is a bike rental business plan example to help you get started.
2. Evaluating the costs
Consider your upfront costs and financial requirements to get started in the right direction and work toward a lucrative business model. You need to think about the cost of inventory management, shop rental, fleet and gear required, staff, repairs, insurance and professional services such as an accountant or web developer for the website.
3. Market research
Once you have a business plan and considered the costs, the next step in launching a bike shop, as with any new business, is to conduct market research. This allows you to assess the level of demand in the area where you want to open your shop and whether it will grow as a business. The goal here is to understand your future clients’ purchasing habits and expectations so you can get a good picture of how the bike industry is doing.
4. Competitor research
Determine the calibre of your competition and become acquainted with their strengths and limitations. You can avoid densely crowded areas with multiple stores unless you are satisfied your service is superior. However, being adjacent to one or two other businesses is not a disadvantage; you will save money on advertising and have greater access to prospective purchasers. Establishing a business near an already active site shows that there is a need for your product or service that you can capitalise on.
5. Consider the location of the bike shop
Your company’s success will be greatly influenced by its location. Being in a prominent location will ensure a consistent influx of consumers to your bike business. A city-centre position in and amid bustling retail streets or a space in a shopping centre offers excellent possibilities, as long as there is no direct competitor nearby.
6. Form your Bike Rental Business into a Legal Entity
Now that you’re well on your way to establishing a bike shop, you must give it legal standing. The legal status of your bike shop will define how your business functions, so take the time to ensure that the one you choose corresponds with the goal you’ve set for your bike shop.
The majority of businesses in the United Kingdom fit into one of three legal categories:
– Sole trader
– Limited company
It goes without saying that you will need space to sell your bikes, but you must also consider the equipment required to fill the space. The cost of everything from furniture to bike racks, a security system, a sales counter, and a cash machine should be noted down and added to your budget estimate.
8. Staffing and recruitment
Having dependable employees are critical to the efficient operation of your store. Depending on the size of your shop, you may decide to hire one or two salespeople as well as someone with bike repair knowledge. You’ll need people around you who can passionately respond to bike-related questions and share their enthusiasm for cycling with customers. When recruiting, establish the talents and characteristics you want in an employee, as well as the salary for each position, so you can include them in your financial estimate.
9. Develop a marketing plan
When it comes to attracting customers, creating a website and maintaining an active social media presence are also easy wins. You can also utilise your website to highlight your bike variety and repair service, as well as your opening hours, exact address, and phone number – so clients can contact you with particular requests and know how to get to your store.
Integrating a bike management platform that allows you to manage your whole rental operation in one place will dramatically improve the efficiency of your bike rental business. Bike Rental Manager is a great platform to streamline your business with built-in tools such as bike inventory, bookings, setting up events and selling bike tours. Sign up for a free trial here.
There is no perfect recipe for creating a successful bike rental business, but understanding where to begin and investing in the correct tools will help you get started.