The second part of our blog investigating how to get started and run a kayak and canoe business looks at some of the financial and business issues that need to be addressed if the rental business has a chance of surviving. Income for the business is obviously through rental fees, be they hourly, daily or weekly. The options for the potential of increasing your business basically revolves around opening numerous depots in different locations. But there are a great many issues that need to be addressed before going down that route.
To run a successful kayak and canoe rental company you must love boating and be experienced in both kayaking and canoeing, as you will certainly have to instruct renters how to operate the craft. In America the American Canoe Association offer all types of educational classes in kayaking and canoeing. In Europe and other parts of the world similar organizations exist to take advantage of.
As well as being an experienced kayaker or canoeist you will also have to have intimate knowledge of the local waterways around your business. This can be done by joining a kayaking club and spending a good amount of time on the water. Customers will ask for recommendations where they should go, and you should be able to give them first hand advice. An additional personal skills requirement is to take advanced first aid and water safety courses, the Red Cross is a great place to go for these.
You will need plenty of money behind you opening a kayak and canoe rental business. Firstly, you will have to buy several crafts of different types and sizes, these boats can easily be as much as $1,000 each. Life jackets, paddles and helmets must also be purchased then a base to operate from near a waterway, it will have to be large enough to stow all the crafts and equipment overnight.
You will also have to pay for licenses, certification by local government and insurance including public liability, which does not come cheap. There could also be associated fees for launching boats on public waterways or private mooring places. If you are intending to rent out boats for long term rentals, then you will probably need an appropriate vehicle and trailer to transport the boats.
You may be able to keep your costs down a little at first by buying fewer craft and keeping them in a cheap storage area, perhaps a garage on your own property. Then take the boats to inexpensive launching places to rent them out. To do this you have to consider the message you are putting out to the market, that you are a budget operator and all that is associated with such a title.
In part three of our blog how to operate a kayak and canoe rental company we look at how to grow your fledgling business once you have started. This will address advertising and marketing and the important issue of how to keep customers coming back to you and passing positive comments to their families and friends.