Properly set up and managed, a motorcycle rental business can be a highly profitable venture. Many people want to enjoy a ride on a fast two-wheeler, but don’t want the hassle of owning and maintaining their own motorcycle. This is a market you can serve. Then there are ardent motorcyclists from far away who happen to be visiting the city you will be operating in, and who, too, might want a ride if they can get it. This is yet another market you can serve. Here’s how to get started in such a motorcycle rental business.

How to Start a Motorcycle Rental Business

Acquire in-depth knowledge of motorcycle maintenance and repair. This might seem too obvious to state and superfluous if you are a long-time motorcycle user. But the truth of the matter is that you will be in the motorcycle business as a provider this time, and you need to know all the ins and outs of the business if you are to be successful. This includes knowing (or at least having a good idea) about things you would previously have just left to the mechanic. With the wealth of information the Internet has brought to your fingertips, getting in-depth information on motorcycles, complete with the finest nuances should not be really hard—if you have the drive.

Develop a business plan. The process of developing a business plan will bring you face to face with various facets of the business you would have otherwise ignored. At the very least, the figures and facts you will have to consider in making such a business plan will put into great detail the reality of just how much you will have to put into the business and what you can reasonably expect in return from it. The business plan should also serve as your blueprint when you get to rolling out the business.

Obtain financing for the business. This might involve approaching a financier like your bank or another financier with the business plan you developed in step 2, and having them lend you the money you need to set up your operation. Even if you provide the financing for the business yourself, however, you still need to view yourself as a lender to the business, and make an objective decision—based on the figures and facts in the business plan you developed in step 2—as to whether it is something you would finance.

Purchase the motorcycles. The type of motorcycles you go for will depend on how much money you have to put into the venture, how you want to operate the business (as per the business plan from step 2) and so on. Shop far and wide though, and ensure that the machine you put your money into is the best you can possibly get for the price. As it turns out, motorcycle prices can vary greatly, even between two vendors in the same city. And while you're at it, ensure that you go for a machine that your clients are likely to be impressed with (this is a business where looks count) and a machine that you can find spare parts for easily—because one thing you will have to contend with as a motorcycle renter is relatively frequent breakdowns.

Acquire other business (support) equipment. In addition to the motorcycles themselves, you will also have to acquire other equipment you need for the business, including helmets that you provide to the riders (if these are not sold with the motorcycles) as well as basic garage equipment for the maintenance of the motorcycles. You will also have to get office equipment for the facility from which you will be running the motorcycle rental business.

Develop a viable operations system. This should address operating hours for the business, a maintenance schedule for the motorcycles (to which you should religiously adhere), as well as risk management and insurance measures given that the risk of someone renting a motorcycle and then stealing it is very real. You need to think about legal, insurance and liability issues in order to protect your business from the variety of risks that could impact any business. It is important to become familiar with state and local regulations, as well as the agreements that customers sign when they rent that would waive you from any liability.