How to Start and Operate an Ebike Rental and Tour Business

Ebikes are gaining popularity as more people are looking for environmentally friendly ways to enjoy travel destinations without dealing with traffic or parking issues.

In this article you will learn how to start an ebike rental and tour business from the ground up: from deciding what type of bike you want to rent, to pricing your service, managing and maintaining your fleet of ebikes, hiring staff, and marketing your company.

Rental ebike with Open sign on front basket
 
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Starting and Operating an Ebike Rental and Tour Business

So, how do you go about starting an ebike rental and tour company? Well, if you're not quite sure where to start, here are the basics.

Ebike Rental and Tours is a business centered around renting ebikes for public use and offering bike tours as well as guided bike rides. The business can be started at any size--you can start with one or two ebikes and expand from there.

It's important to remember that success with an ebike rental and tour company will depend largely on efficient operations of your fleet of bikes.

To ensure this, you'll want to purchase ebikes that are durable, easy to maintain, and cost effective. Don't forget to inlcude extras that will make the bike more comfortable for your customers, such as phone holders, rear or front luggage racks, etc.

Where to source your Ebike fleet

In order to start an ebike rental and tour business, you need a fleet of ebikes. You can buy new ebikes from a manufacturer or dealer and should consider buying your ebikes from an established company that specializes in supplying to rental operators, an offers business to business pricing. 

Be aware that it can be difficult to establish new purchasing agreements with leading ebike manufacturers, and minimum order quantities can be prohibitive when you are just starting out.

If you are just getting started, you can even consider a small started fleet of ebikes from Amazon or another major online ebike retailer.

Be aware of import costs and duties if you are considering buying your ebike fleet from an international supplier.

Pricing Your Ebike Rental Service

In order to price your ebike rental service, you should first decide what type of bike you want to rent: urban, off road or hybrid. If you offer mostly off road trails, you will need an off road capable ebike. If you offer routes on paved trails and roads, then you can opt for urban or hybrid type ebikes.

You'll also need to decide how much you're charging per hour or day, as well as whether you want to charge by the hour, day, week, or month.

Charging by the day may be easier since it's less complicated; however, if your ebike is rented out multiple times in one day, then it's usually best to charge per hour or week so you can control the number of hours your bike will be used in one period time.

Managing your Ebike Rental Bookings

While it may be tempting to use a pen and paper or a spreadsheet to manage your ebike bookings, take it from me, it is not a good way to get started! There are software systems for managing your Ebike Bookings that are available for free, on a commission only basis or at very low cost per month.

You can use these software systems to track schedule and track your Ebike bookings and to manage your Ebike fleet. Furthermore, good booking software systems will help you accept and manage payments online or in your store, as well as handling refunds from customers.

Activity and rental reservation software has come a long way in the last few years and will save you countless hours, avoid overbooking and make book keeping a breeze. Don't get started with this!

Maintaining your Ebike Fleet

One of the most important aspects of an ebike rental and tour business is maintaining your ebikes. The best way to do this is through preventative maintenance.

One of the first steps in this process is to have a routine service visit with a qualified bike mechanic, usually every 1 to 2 months. This will help identify any small issues before they become major problems down the line. In addition, you should use tools like chain cleaners and lube to keep your ebikes running smoothly.

If you find that there are more serious issues with your ebikes, like brake or frame damage, you may need to replace the part altogether. This can be prohibitively expensive for some smaller businesses, but larger companies often have partnerships with bike suppliers who offer discounts on these parts.

It’s also important to remember that bikes must be properly stored when not in use as they are susceptible to damage from rain or snow accumulation if left outside unprotected.

Finding the Right Staff

You will need to make the decision on how you want to deal with staffing before you can open your doors. You can hire staff or use interns. If you do decide to hire full-time staff, try to find people that have customer service experience and enjoy working with people.

Creating the Best Cycling Tour Routes

The truth is, your ebike experience will only be as good as the weakest part of your offer, and regardless your location, people and ebikes you need to offer outstanding bike tour routes. So make sure your cycling routes are fun, safe and low traffic.

The first step is planning your bike route. Keep in mind the theme or major highlights you want to include in your bike tours and plan the route out accordingly. I have always worked on the level of challenge or distance and expected duration and then on major highlits and themes, such as coastal rides / forest rides / foodie rides / etc. 

If you already know the area well enough to create great cycling routes, then all you need is a mapping tool to create and share your routes with your customers. If you are moving in to a new area or if you don't know the best cycling routes, you can and should get on your bike and explore! You can also use some automatic route planning apps to help build an initial route - but ALWAYS ride the route yourself before offering it to your customers. Remember: it's all about the ride!

Marketing Your Ebike Rental Business

Before you can start generating revenue with your bike rental company, you need to market it. After all, if potential customers don't know about your company, they won't be able to rent from you.

The best way to do this is to create a website for your ebike rental business. This will give potential customers the opportunity to learn more about you and your offer without having to call or text (if they want). It's also a place where you can post pictures of bikes and other info about your company.

Advertising on social media sites like Facebook is also helpful for increasing awareness of your business. You should include links to your website in any posts that mention your business so that people can easily find out more information.

You should also consider partnering with local tourist agencies as they are likely already advertising around town as well as online. These partnerships are mutually beneficial because the agency gets new customers while you get an additional avenue for promoting yourself.

Conclusion

Ebikes have been around for a while, but they're now more popular than ever. You've probably seen them on the streets and bike paths, or maybe you've even considered buying one yourself. If you're considering starting your own Ebike rental business, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First and foremost, you'll need to find a reliable source for your Ebike fleet. Ebikes can be expensive, so getting a good deal is one of the most important things to look for when sourcing your fleet.

You'll also need to decide how much to charge for your rental service. That decision will depend on the specifics of your business model and location.

Next, you'll want to maintain your Ebikes and keep them in good, working order if you want to be successful in this business.

Last but not least, you'll need to find staff who are knowledgeable about bike repairs and who are also trustworthy enough to be left alone with your customers' bikes during the rental process.

If you want to start an Ebike rental and tour business, then these are just a few of the things that you'll need to think about.

Don't forget to share your thoughts, comments and tips for others below!

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