Ready to get your sports rental business going? Whether you’ve got your eye on a kayak and surfboard rental business on the sunny coast or a mountain-view shop full of skis and snowboards, this ten-step plan will help you get there.
Step #1 Write a Business Plan
A business plan helps you start out your road to business success. When you create a business plan, you’re essentially mapping out what you plan to do and how you plan to do it.
The business plan for your sports rental business will have three main considerations:
- Your Business Concept: Information about the outdoor industry in general, sports equipment rental business data, and an overview on how you plan to succeed.
- Your Marketplace: An analysis of your competition and information about your potential customers.
- Financial Information: Projections about your start-up costs, projected cash flow, a break-even analysis (when you expect to turn a profit) and other financial information.
Your business plan will guide you toward your ultimate destination: opening your own sports rental business.
Step #2 Choose a Location
One of the most important decisions you can make for your sports rental business is where to set up shop. In other words, location matters. It’s not enough to open an equipment rental shop in a town with high outdoor/ sporting interest. The specific location will have a big impact on the success of your shop, as well.
Tourism may represent a considerable part your business volume. You’ll want to be sure that the tourists can find you, and that may mean setting up shop in a visible area...which may mean higher rent.
Sure, you may find lower rents in a less desirable part of town. But the income level, crime rates, and number of competitors in an area can all impact your business. Be sure to carefully consider where you want your shop location to be.
Step #3 Finance Your Business
There are many different avenues you can explore to finance your sports equipment rental business. From self-financing from your own savings to lines of credit and loans, there’s a solution to your financing needs.
If you’re going to need financing, be sure your business plan financials are accurate. That’s why your business plan is always the first step of this process.
Step #4 Determine Your Legal Structure
The way you structure your business can have a big impact on your taxes, liability, and even your personal assets. Learn how to choose the right business structure for your rental business, and determine if you need to be a sole proprietor, partnership, or LLC.
Step #5 Choose and Register Your Business Name
Picking the perfect name for your business is often harder than it may seem. What will that name look like in a website URL or online search results? Is it hard to spell or pronounce? And most importantly, is your preferred name available or already being used?
Once you’ve selected a name for your rental business, and verified that it’s available (check to see if the URL is available and that the name isn’t being trademarked), you will want to register and claim that name for yourself.
- Purchase your website address/ URL.
- Claim your social media profiles.
- File a DBA (Doing Business As) with your state.
- Consider filing a trademark to protect your business name.
Step #6 Register for Federal, State, and Local Taxes
If you’re doing business in the United States, you will want to register for a Federal Tax Identification number, otherwise known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Think of your EIN as a social security number for your business, and you may need it to open a business bank account or apply for a business license. You will certainly need it to file taxes for your sports rental business.
Your state may also have it’s own tax requirements. Check out this SBA guide to help you determine your state regulations to register and open a business.
Step #7 Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Depending on your location and business type, there are a number of permits and licenses you will need. If you will be making retail sales in your sports rental business, for example, you may need a Seller’s permit from your state.
You may also need a business license issued by your city and a Doing Business As (DBA) statement filed with your county.
You can use this tool to help you determine the licenses and permits you will have to obtain in your location.
Step #8: Obtain Business Insurance
Business insurance protects your assets from unexpected surprises, such as a fire in your building, which could threaten your rental equipment, or the cost of medical bills in the event a customer is injured while using a kayak, bike, or skis they rented from you.
If you have employees, you are likely required by state law to carry workers’ comp insurance to provide for medical care and lost wages if they are hurt on the job.
Choose the right insurance for your outdoor sports rental business and you can protect your assets from the unexpected accidents and events that could threaten your business success.
Step #9 Understand Employer Responsibilities
Operating a thriving equipment rental business is more than a one-woman/ man job. There’s a pretty good chance you will be hiring employees to help you run your business, particularly if you will also offer lessons, classes, and skills camps, as well.
Before you hire your first employee, be sure you understand regulatory requirement such as employment and labor laws.
Step #10 Market Your Business
Ready to drum up some business? Today’s marketing tactics include digital efforts such as putting up a website, utilizing social media, listing your business in online directories, and using paid advertisements on Google, Bing, Facebook and more, to specifically target your intended audience.
You can build a business based on your passion for the great outdoors with a sports rental business. All it takes is the right amount of courage, tenacity, and one solid plan.