As a bike rental business owner, you know that your business is impacted by the seasons. The busy seasons of spring and summer provide huge amounts of opportunities, while those quieter off season months can be a cause for stress.
In this blog, we explore a few of the features and workflows in our bike rental software that will help you capitalise on the opportunities available 365 days of the year.
Reskill & upskill ahead of peak season
The first step in having a successful bike rental season, starts with having well-trained members of your team. Training your staff in how to use the Bike Rental Manager systems well in advance during the off season, will allow you to approach the peak season calmly and ensure your processes run smoothly. This will give your staff confidence and create a positive atmosphere. Confident staff will positively impact your customers as you begin to receive enquiries. Setting you up for a successful cycle season.
Bike Rental Manager ‘s online learning resources have everything you and your team need to learn about the Bike Rental Manager tools.
The dedicated learning portal covers everything you need including:
The guides offer step by step instructions and use imagery to make the processes easy to learn. Providing a great reference point for refreshing knowledge.
Start Taking Pre-bookings Before You Even Build Your Bikes
Once your staff are trained in the Bike Rental Manager system, you can begin taking pre-bookings. Taking pre-bookings comes with a wide range of business benefits.
Creating a simple way for customers to confidently book in advance creates a positive impression. This can impact your sales for this season as well as having an impact on future sales through returning customers.
You better organise your time and resources, making them as efficient as possible. The pre-booking process means you can prioritise which bikes to build first and help mitigate those early rushes at the start of the season. Now, your team is ready for any walk-in appointments or online bookings during the season.
Bike Rental Manager’s powerful inventory management tools allows you to see and take control of your bikes. The status of your equipment is easy to track through each phase, and is represented by a status symbol as part of the wider item lifecycle. Giving you complete visibility, making planning nice and simple.
Combine Online and Bike Rental Walk-in Bookings
To maximise the opportunities during the ‘On’ season window, you’ll want to take walk-in customers alongside your online bookings. Making sure you never over-sell on any given product line for any given date/time can be quite challenging.
The last thing you want is customers who book online, turning up and not having a bike. Nor would you want customers to turn up on the day and be left waiting around because you don’t know what in your inventory is available. So, what is the solution?
Traditionally, you would use the ‘set them aside’ method, using an order book to assign bikes to customers and physically setting them aside. This process is time consuming and requires physical space to store the set aside bike. The Bike Rental Manager systems offer two modern alternatives. Blending online bookings with walk ins that will save you time and space.
The first is still a process of setting them aside, but is done digitally on the system. By assigning a bike to a specific customer on the Bike Rental Manager software, that bike becomes unavailable for anyone else. Everyone has clarity about what is available or not, simply by looking at the system. The Bike Rental Manager system can allocate these bikes automatically, based on customer requirements or the process can remain manual.
The second process is a ‘just in time’ model. This model happens in real-time and means you treat walk-ins and pre-bookings the same. Specific bikes are not allocated to a customer until the customer is actually in front of you, ready to go. This method provides a scalable, seamless way to integrate both order types, but does require trust in the Bike Rental Manager systems.
Analyse The Rental Season
Once the season begins to close it is important to analyse how your store has performed. You’ll want to explore the areas that made your season successful. Think about when your busiest months were or what were your most popular bikes. By analysing this data, you can begin the process of planning for the next season.
Bike Rental Manager has very powerful reporting tools that you can use to fine-tune and hone your inventory. You can
- Analyse your rental season by month
- Analyse by product
- Produce impactful graphs
- Split by Rentals & Revenue per month and per asset.
Each night Bike Rental Manager collates the data from all of your stores and aggregates them into monthly totals. This gives you complete visibility and detailed insights into your business. You now have the opportunity to make data-supported choices and purchases by buying more products that make you money. Lose those donkeys!
Keep Up With Bike Maintenance
Ensuring your bikes remain usable and in good working order is another crucial element to consider. Regular maintenance and services has many benefits
- More uses out of your bikes improving cost effectiveness
- More bikes available during the season increasing volume of sales
- Cut down your costs through a reduced need to purchase new bikes
- Help you get the most money from them when you sell your older models.
Bike Rental Manager’s maintenance tool allows you to keep track of bike servicing at every stage. The maintenance dashboard allows you to track the important areas for your bikes servicing. Bike Rental Manager can provide you with useful information.
Our tool tracks exactly how many times a bike has been used since its previous service, as well as when that last service was. The maintenance dashboard also allows you to
- Gather feedback from the rider once it is returned to you
- Manually or automatically keep track of the full service history for any bike.
- Create schedules for your mechanics so they know what bikes need working on and when
- Perform pre-ride maintenance checks, which are a crucial part of the process.
Out With The Old….
Another important consideration for your business during the non-peak season is selling off your older inventory. Selling off the bikes that are at the end of their rental lifecycle, allows you to generate money to invest back into your business and creates space for newer models.
A successful rental operation will aim to sell bikes at the same price they bought them for, having extracted a season or two from them in rental value.
Bike Rental Manager can help with the process of selling these bikes. Within the inventory dashboard, you are able to set an item for sale. By doing this you are informing your staff that this item can be sold, and at what price. Doing so won’t affect the other statuses used within the inventory section. You can continue to use your asset as a rental, up until the point where it is sold.
…In With The New (and shiny)
Now that you have set your older stock to be sold, you should begin the process of identifying and buying new inventory for the coming season. Using the analytical tools mentioned above, you’ll be in a great position to focus on your popular bikes. This will allow you to make strategic purchases your customers will love and help you maximise those bookings!
Once you have purchased these new items, the next step is adding them to your rental items inventory. The process of adding items to your inventory in the Bike Rental Manager tool is simple, with five fields for you to complete.
- Category (Mountain, Road or Gravel)
- Product Family (generally the model of the product),
- Product Line (Sizing can go here so S,M or L for Mountain bikes as an example)
- Price Group (usually the same as the category)
Once you have added your information, you are good to go. Your customers can now find the perfect bike from you. The cycle to your season begins again…hopefully with some pre-bookings.
Hopefully we have given you some insight into how Bike Rental Manager can help your business get the most out of the whole year. If you would like to learn more about the system or discuss implementing Bike Rental Manager into your business, then contact us today!
About Bike Rental Manager
The Founder of Bike Rental Manager, Doug owned a bike rental store in France. He created this software specifically to help him operate that business. Our growing team consists of bike enthusiasts and bike store owners. All of this means that a thorough understanding of the bike rental industry is built into the DNA of our company.
Many of our customers have told us that they use Bike Rental Manager to enable sustained growth of their business. You can read our successes on our testimonials page, where we have supported businesses such as Kent Cycle Hire, France Bike Rentals and Rutland Cycling.
When you subscribe to Bike Rental Manager, you are not only getting great software, but you are also tapping into a wealth of experience on how to run a bike rental operation in the most efficient way.