Scooters are becoming increasingly popular as more people desire eco-friendly methods of transportation. Scooters are also energy-efficient. Vespanomics.com explains that scooters can get up to 70 miles per gallon, significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The fact sheet speculates that if Americans rode scooters for just 10% of their mileage, emissions would be reduced by 324 million pounds per day. To become part of this growing industry, consider becoming a scooter dealer.
Choose your brand. Because of the huge variety in scooters, many dealers specialize in only a few brands. Motor-scooters-guide.com lists the following common brands of scooters: Genuine Scooter Company, Piaggio, Lambretta, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Kymco, Aprilia, Bajaj, Diamo, Cobra and Vento. Research each of these brands to determine the correct fit for your business model. Like cars, these brands range in price and quality. Vespas, for example, are highly regarded in the scooter industry for their sleek, classic design and longevity. These scooters also come with a higher price tag. Motorcycle.com shows the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of a 2009 Vespa LX150 is $4,399. At the other end of the price line, Chinese-built scooters cost far less than high-end scooters like Buddys and Vespas, but are known to have numerous mechanical problems.
Get all applicable licenses to run a scooter dealership, in addition to providing proof of service. These requirements will vary state to state, so inquire at the Department of Motor Vehicles division. Check on the minimum order requirement from scooter companies. Most manufacturers require a minimum order of scooters, likely 10, which they will ship to you. Some manufacturers, like Piaggio, require pre-approval to sell their scooters. Additionally, inquire into the warranties offered on each scooter. Many manufacturers will provide all parts and possibly reimburse service performed on scooters within a designated timeframe.
Know your customer base. Scooter riders are not just college students: US News and World Report indicates in 2003, the average age of a scooter rider has risen to 46 in comparison to 26 in 1990. Target the older audience by keeping store colors to more subdued tones of green, gray, blue and red. No flashy colors are needed to entice younger customers.
Choose methods of financing. Though scooters may be less expensive than cars, customers may still ask for financing options. Work with lenders to determine financing methods and provide detailed financing information to customers. Explain the common interest rates attached and monthly payments expected.
Hire staff. Your scooters will most likely offer warranties, which will require mechanics. Thoroughly check the credentials of your mechanics before hiring them. Like cars, all scooters are not created equal: ensure your mechanic is knowledgeable in the types of scooters sold.
Your sales representatives should also have thorough knowledge of scooters. Many potential customers may have detailed questions that require specific know-how, like “how does a Vespa LX150 engine differ from a PX200?” Your sales reps need to explain price discrepancies between scooters, as few may understand why some scooters are costlier than others. Be ready to justify the brand and reputation of your scooter.
Consider offering ancillary products. Many scooter dealers earn additional profit by offering helmets, special paint jobs, decals, windshields and other scooter products. Like motorcycle riders, scooter riding is a growing subculture, which means that many customers may be willing to pay extra for customization of their vehicle.
Keep abreast of scooter trends. Read publications like “Scoot!” and “ScooterWorld” to better understand your customer base. Keeping up on trends will put you as a business owner in a position to offer trendy products and services.