Starting an ebike rental business is not super complicated, and I went from "idea" to "first customer" in about 4 months. But that was a very busy 4 months, I can promise you that.
My wife and I first got the idea when we were on vacation Clearwater, Florida, and we had a chance to rent some ebikes ourselves. It was an amazing experience, and we really loved the idea of traveling long distances without without the need for a car.
Also, we are both recently retired, and the idea of starting a small business has been in the back of our minds for some time. We knew that there were franchises out there, where you could "buy a business", but the ones we looked at required over $100,000 just to get started.
We even looked at Pedego as a business model, since they do not require you to become a franchisee. Instead, you sign a licensing agreement with them, but even that can cost at least $75,000 to start.
Well, when we got home from vacation, we googled "ebike rental business guide" and one of the first results was the Guide that Really Good eBikes had put together. The Guide was pretty easy to follow, and it helped us understand the steps in the process very clearly.
But there were a few details that we didn't fully get right away (online marketing for example), so we called Really Good eBikes to see if we could talk with someone about the Guide.
Well, none other than Steve the owner answered the phone, and our first call with him lasted for well over an hour. It was quite something really - he did not try to sell us any bikes or get some kind of referral from us; his only concern was that all of our questions were answered fully.
He also made sure to get us super motivated, to set up a daily action plan, like he really wanted us to succeed with our business idea.
We talked with Steve a few more times before opening our little ebike rental business, but mainly because if felt like he was part of our team. And yes, we did end up buying our bikes from him (4 to start), for which we got an excellent price.
And now, when our customers finish their ride and ask about buying a new ebike for themselves (which happens about 85% of the time) we send them to Really Good eBikes to make the purchase, and we get a commission in return.
So without further ado, here are 5 things to know when starting your own ebike rental company:
Your mindset, or how you look at your business plan, is the most important component. You need to have a mental image of what your business will look like when it's fully operational, and you need to believe in your idea. You need to visualize it everyday and take action everyday.
Use regular bike rental companies as models for your own business. Look at how they advertise, get a copy of their liability release form, talk with their owners about how they run their businesses.
Get to know the hotels and restaurants in your area, give them flyers for your business, and motivate them to send their customers your way (and you will do likewise). Direct referrals in the ebike rental business are huge.
View your business as a tour or attraction, not a bike rental. You want to offer your customers an experience. Consider guided tours, with stops for snacks. Develop a pricing structure that is competitive with other attractions in your area, so that customers can do meaningful comparisons.
Get to know your customers, especially their bicycle and ebike riding habits at home. If they do not have an ebike, your goal is to sell them one over the course of their time with you. And believe me, this is an easy sell.
Bottom Line: If you want to start a small business, stay active, and have tons of fun while making a side income, the ebike rental business could be perfect for you.