Part three of our blog in how to run a kayak and canoe rental business looks at the marketing issues and growing the business from start up. There are many ways a small fledgling business can grow and not all through expensive advertising, things such as word of mouth and social media are free, perhaps a website would be advisable and regular postings on Facebook and the like.
Promoting Your Business
The kayak and canoe community are a close-knit bunch and recommendations together with good word of mouth are essential in finding new and retaining old customers. Online marketing is rapidly becoming the best form of marketing for the cheapest price, regular blogging about your business and associated topics is a great way for people to share information about you. Also creating a website for your business is important, a vast majority of tourists now research areas that they intend to visit online, and if you are not present they will not know you exist.
Keep Customers Coming Back
As well as looking for new clients, firstly keep the ones you currently have. Tailor make your business to the area that your business exists, that will guarantee that local customers will be satisfied and will not look for alternative renting companies. For instance, if you are based on a large lake you may want to look at sturdier and larger boats that are made especially for touring. These crafts have lots of space so you can stow tents and touring luggage for a longer trip.
A rental business for kayaks and canoes can be run by one person but it is not advisable as the service you will give your customer will suffer. Many similar businesses hire part-time staff for the busy periods to help customers with equipment etc. Another option is to offer corporate tours with a guide, for this sort of service you will need to hire an experienced guide who knows the waterways.
Depending where your business is operating certain local and government licenses may be required that allow you to operate a kayak and canoe rental business. You will also need to register for all the appropriate taxes such as sales taxes, VAT taxes etc.
Insurance & Liability Waiver
Insurance is a must, in fact most local governments will not allow you to operate without the appropriate insurances. Another vital part of running this sort of business is liability waiver. Going boating can be a high-risk occupation, so you need to disassociate yourself with any liability. A simple release of liability form should suffice where the customers takes all the responsibility for what happens to them and dissolves the rental company of any legal action should things not go to plan.
In the next edition of how to run a kayak and canoe rental business we look at the expenses and possible incomes that are associated with running the company. You should have detailed all these sorts of items in your business plan before starting up but to make certain you have addressed them correctly we look at them in more detail.