How To Start A Successful Self-Guided Bike Rentals and Tours Business: A Tutorial For Beginners

A bike tour is a perfect escape for travelers of all sorts. From family vacations to solo journeys, there are plenty of reasons why biking is the way to go. A bike rental and tours business can be an excellent opportunity for you to pursue your passion, provide quality service, and enjoy an active lifestyle.

How To Start A Successful Self-Guided Bike Rentals and Tours Business

Here are some of the most important aspects of starting a successful self-guided bike rentals and tours business:

This article may contain affiliate links, please read our Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

What is a self-guided bike rental and tours business?

A self-guided bike rental and tours business is a business that rents bikes to customers who then bike on their own through the city using maps and routes provided.

Why start a bike rental and tours business?

There are many reasons to start a self-guided bike rental and tours business. In fact, the United States Travel Association reports that 26 million people went on a biking tour in 2016

Biking can be an excellent way to explore your surroundings. Many people enjoy biking for its physical and mental benefits, but it can also make a great date idea! There are plenty of great reasons to start a bike rental and tours business, but you'll need to do your research before diving in head first.

Are you ready to get started? Browse our guide below for some helpful tips to get you going!

Bike rentals and tours industry overview

A bike rental and tours business is unique in that it offers customers the opportunity to explore an area on their own, at their leisure. It is a similar concept to renting a car (except you're not driving).

The industry has seen an increase in recent years, with more people looking for ways to travel that are environmentally friendly. Bikes are cheaper than cars or motorcycles, so it's a great way for someone who is budget-conscious to explore their destination independently.

Rental bicycle fleet

Plus, there are many companies now offering bike rentals and tours as an alternative to bus tours or group bike rides. If you have always wanted to start your own tour business but have never had the chance, this can be a great choice for you!

With the introduction on ebikes, rental and tour companies can now reach an even broader customer base, as people who did not enjoy cycling on a regular bicycle can experience the fun and freedom of bike riding, with the strenuous exercise that it can entail.

Finding the right place for your business

A self-guided bike rentals and tours business doesn't have to be based out of your garage. But where to start? When choosing a location for your business, consider other small business owners in the area who may also be renting bikes.

You want to choose a place that's central to tourist attractions or parks—and not too close to bigger bike rental businesses, unless you can offer something they don't or can't offer.

If you have a unique service offer, like better bikes, better self guided navigation or some kind of complimentary treat that adds value to your experiences, you can and should consider operating closer to larger competitor.

When deciding on a location for your self-guided bike rentals and tours business, it's important to take into account what makes you unique as a company.

Starting your business with a plan for success

Starting your business with a plan for success will help you to focus on the key aspects that need to be in place before you actually start the business.

Business plan for a bike tour and rental business

 

Successful businesses know how to work out their plans beforehand, so they can go into it with confidence.

  • Research Your Market
  • Develop The Right Product Mix
  • Learn What You Need To Know About Customer Service
  • Know Your Competition
  • Do Your Research On Laws And Regulations
  • Figure Out Your Prices And Get A Handle On Expenses
  • Consider Outsourcing Services

Defining your brand's identity

An identity is a representation of your business. Your logo, website, social media profiles, and tagline are all part of your company's identity. They are what people recognize as being uniquely yours.

Brand strategy business plan

 

So how do you find your brand's identity? There are several aspects that need to be taken into consideration when defining your company's identity. Here are four key points to consider:

  1. The values of the business
  2. What makes your product or service different
  3. Who you want to attract
  4. Who you want to avoid

A values statement is an important part of defining one's brand. When creating a values statement, there are two things that should be included: the core values of the business and what drives it.

For example, if you're starting a bike rentals and tours company that seeks to provide its customers with great customer service, then customer service will be one of the company's core values.

It will also drive the business—providing quality customer service is at the heart of what this company does.

The second thing that should be revealed in a values statement is who you want to attract and who you want to avoid. This helps consumers understand what type of person will feel comfortable with your brand because

Understanding customer service

When it comes to customer service, you need to find a balance. You want to give your customers what they need and keep them satisfied without giving too much away.

A good rule of thumb is that you should be willing to help your customers with whatever they need to make their experience better. If your product or service doesn't live up to expectations, explain why and offer an alternative solution.

Without providing outstanding customer service, you'll quickly lose customers and won't have anyone left to serve.

Bike shop welcome sign on a bicycle basket

As a small business owner, it's even more important for you to provide excellent customer service because people are quick to take their frustrations out on the person who is present as opposed to the company as a whole.

Even if the person working at the front desk isn't directly responsible for something that's gone wrong, they're still going to get blamed for it!

A tip: always be attentive and polite when dealing with customers. Make eye contact, say please and thank you, and do your best not to make any excuses. Even if there was nothing you could do about it in this situation, apologizing goes a long way!

Keeping customers' needs in mind.

What a business does is a reflection of their brand. You want to keep your customers in mind and ensure that you're providing them with the service they need.

One of the most important aspects of customer service is, of course, making sure they get what they ask for. For bike tours, this can mean renting out bikes with baskets or without depending on the preference of the customer.

Additionally, it's important to be flexible and accommodating with your customer's needs.

For example your bike tours might include some on foot exploration of local points of interest like museums, monuments or even breweries or wineries. They will be more likely to come back and rent from you again if you let them explore without judgement.

So keep your customers' needs in mind when designing your business model and consider how you can best cater to their interests!

Learn more about self guided tours for bike rental businesses

Self-guided tours are a great way to ensure a high-quality bike rental experience for your customers. They are also a great way to provide new customers a great experience when they are first renting a bike.

Self-guided tours give customers the freedom to explore your bike rental location at their own pace. They are also great for your employees and customers.

young ladies on a self guided bike tour

Self-guided tours allow employees to get a feel for the bike rental business while they are working, and they allow customers to explore the bike rental location at their own pace.

In order to have a successful self-guided tour, you must have a good understanding of how the tours work and be able to explain them to your customers.

You can also read my more detailed article on why your bicycle rental business needs to offer self guided bike tours now.

6 comments

  • I really appreciate your blog post! As a micro entrepreneur, I found that one of the most important aspects of starting a successful bike rental and tours business is the marketing. I can tell you’re very passionate about your business and you’ve done a great job of creating a clear, concise article about the bike rental business. Do you think you might include more specific details in a follow up series, stuff like where to source bike and accessories, booking reservation systems and the like? That would be so helpful!

    Lucy Stern
  • I really appreciate your blog post! As a micro entrepreneur, I found that one of the most important aspects of starting a successful bike rental and tours business is the marketing. I can tell you’re very passionate about your business and you’ve done a great job of creating a clear, concise article about the bike rental business. Do you think you might include more specific details in a follow up series, stuff like where to source bike and accessories, booking reservation systems and the like? That would be so helpful!

    Lucy Stern
  • REPLY FROM OWNER: Hi Mason, thanks for your comments. We used GPS trackers on our ebikes for two reasons: to help located them is case of theft (and as a deterrent) and so we can locate customers if the get lost or have a problem during their ride. This does mean additional costs but it buys a lot of peace of mind.

    Martin
  • Since the pandemic began we started working from home and after some brainstorming we thought this could be a good idea for a side hustle. Right now we’re working with a marketing company to start things the right way, with the right branding and social strategy for the whole business. What we’re finding a bit hard to figure out is the pricing point, we need to establish ourselves right from the get go. My main issue right now is how to secure those bikes. I’ve read a lot of horror studies regarding theft or downright destruction, how on earth can you fight those off?

    Mason
  • I know bike renting has really taken off where I live. Your article does a good job explaining how to set one up and why you need to set yourself apart from others. Personally, I don’t think the market can support more than two or three bike rental companies in my area (I live in a city with a population around 250,000) but if you could distinguish your company, you might be able to break in. You need to know the how and why of customer service as you mentioned as well as the laws and regulations (make sure you check on your liability too).

    Jacob Fuller

Leave a comment