I'm currently in the process of starting up a draft-beer equipment rental business (for events and such) and I think I like the business model of renting things out. So I am thinking I could also start up a bicycle rental business because I'm into bikes and fixing them. I'm just looking for other perspectives and ideas before I get started.
I don't have a storefront, but I do have a good sized workspace (not at home). Customers could pick up the bikes or come test them, or I could deliver.
My city isn't a tourist destination, but there are large businesses here, people that have moved away that visit a lot, 3 universities, some bike paths and trails, etc.
I live right next to the biggest University and have sold several bikes to college kids through craigslist. I wouldn't necessarily target them, but it may be a big market.
Some things I'm wondering about are: -I'd like to offer used bikes since I can find them on CL for cheap and fix them up, and add to my fleet gradually. (I have no startup funds) As far as insuring the business (esp. re: liability if someone gets injured) would insurance companies want me to be using new bikes or it probably no big deal?
-Would serious cyclists want to rent an older bike? Or would they be dead set on renting a higher-end newer bike? (I would try to get a few pretty decent 1990s-2000s road bikes like aluminum Cannondales, Treks, or other for this market. If my price was lower than the bike shops, I'd think some people would be into it)
I would supply U-locks, helmets, lights, and probably a seat bag with a couple tools and a patch kit.
Any other ideas?