How to start and run a rental service of sports equipment
By Iselin Bostrøm
As consumers, we expect the same level of customer service when renting something as when we purchase it. Providing a good rental service can be challenging, but the benefits of satisfied customers and increased profits make it worth the effort. In this article, we share some tips on how to succeed in the sports rental industry, including ideas for what to wear while renting items such as bicycles and water sports equipment.
There has been a recent trend towards trying out new outdoor activities, particularly water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddling. City cycling and electric scooters are also popular in urban areas. Many parents have found themselves purchasing sports equipment for their children that ends up sitting in a shed until the next time it is used or ends up being resold. There is a growing focus on sustainable consumption and consumers are beginning to recognize the value of renting equipment rather than constantly buying new.
If you are considering starting a sports equipment rental business, now may be the perfect time to get started. If you already run a sports equipment rental service, you may have experienced the high demand from customers during peak seasons and the importance of efficiently managing operations. In this article, we have compiled some of our best practices for successful sports equipment rentals in the hopes of helping others succeed in this industry.
Website for renting sports equipment
Customers often begin their journey to find a rental service by searching online using terms such as “bicycle rental in …,” “kayak rental in …,” “electric bicycle rental in …,” or “SUP rental in …”. They may also be influenced by social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest, where they see recommendations from family, friends, and even influencers.
If you are starting a rental service, it is important to have a website that is easy to find through search engines and makes it simple for customers to book what they want to rent. The primary purpose of your website should be to generate sales and create a seamless customer journey. Some businesses make the mistake of focusing too much on providing information about their service, rather than on driving sales through a convenient booking solution. Your rental website should have a user-friendly booking system to make it easy for customers to reserve the items they want to rent.
Clear and user-friendly booking
Consumers today expect a smooth and easy booking process, largely due to their experience with online shopping. If it is difficult or time-consuming to rent your products, you risk losing customers to a competitor. When running a rental business, it is essential to have a calendar system that clearly shows customers when your products are available for rent.
Manually managing bookings can be a time-consuming task. Many businesses still use manual methods such as receiving orders by phone or email, using Excel sheets and post-it notes, or creating their own calendar systems. However, these methods can be time-consuming and require a lot of effort. With today’s digital rental booking systems, you can streamline the process and save time.
Pricing for rentals is complex
From our experience in the rental industry, we know that pricing can be complex and it can be difficult to find a system that meets all the needs of a rental business. Setting the right price for a rental product requires careful consideration. Do you want to charge by the day, week, month, or year? Do you want to offer discounts or coupons? Does your business have more customers on weekends or weekdays?
For example, city bikes and electric scooters may have higher demand during rush hour as they are often used for commuting, while mountain bikes and kayaks may have higher demand on weekends and holidays when people have more free time. Some rental companies choose to vary their prices based on demand and need, which can be a good strategy for attracting customers during slower periods. At the same time, you can increase your profits by charging higher prices when demand is high.
Full control over payments, terms and availability
To avoid common mistakes made by many rental companies when starting out, don’t waste time on manual tools like excel sheets and notepads that don’t communicate with other parts of your business.
Having all your systems integrated helps create an efficient rental business. It is essential to integrate with your accounting system to streamline the process from customer orders to receipt issuance. Doing this digitally reduces the number of manual tasks and frees up time.
It is also important to have rental terms and conditions in place that customers must agree to before booking a product. This helps protect your business and the condition of the rented equipment. Deposits and insurance may also be necessary for some rental companies, particularly those who rent out expensive equipment, as they provide extra security and protect the condition of the product.
Save time with efficient administration
An efficient administration can save a lot of time and hassle in managing a rental business. It is important to keep track of all your furniture and products, as it can be easy to lose track when you have many different items being rented out constantly. A digital and customized system can make this task easier, particularly if it allows you to enter information about maintenance and repairs.
If you don’t have a smart system for managing bookings, you risk double booking, which can lead to unhappy customers and negative reviews. To avoid double bookings, it is essential to have control over the availability of products, what is in stock, and what is rented to customers. A digital calendar that is integrated with your website can provide a complete overview and help you run a more efficient operation.
Which system should you go for?
There are many options to consider when creating a website for your rental business. Some solutions, like WordPress, are primarily designed for online shopping and may not be the best fit for a rental company. Sharefox rental system is specifically designed for the rental industry and includes everything you need for a website, booking system, pricing engine, payment solutions, and an easy-to-use administration system for managing orders.
An all-in-one solution for renting bicycles, water sports and other sports equipment
Our customers who rent out bicycles, SUPs, and kayaks have experienced several benefits from using Sharefox, including:
- An engaging booking website that leads to more bookings
- Happier customers who can easily see availability, book, and order products at their convenience
- A more user-friendly customer journey
- An efficient ordering process that saves time previously spent following up with customers via phone and email
- Improved oversight of services and products
- Full control over each order and availability
- Reduced administrative work and follow-up tasks
What are you going to do now?
When you are ready… Here are 4 ways we can help you expand your rental business!
- Do you want to grow your business today? Try Sharefox rental system for free – or book a demo and get a personal expert to analyze your company’s situation, come up with solutions on how you can streamline your methods and create a more profitable company.
- To learn more about the Sharefox rental system, read about trends and news for free, visit our blog or visit our resources section in the main menu. Here you can download guides and e-books that we also share with our customers.
- If you want to work with the circular economy and Saas and want to be part of the Sharefox team or find out why we are one of the fastest growing rental platforms in the rental industry, see our job postings here.
- If you have a good friend or know someone who would have found this article interesting, then feel free to share it with them via email, Linkedin or Facebook .