How to Start a Successful Paddle Board Rental Business

Why starting a paddle board rental business is a great idea

Today, standup paddle boarding (SUP) is more popular than ever and is projected to continue its growth throughout the next couple of years. What does this mean? Well, its quite simple — starting a paddle board rental company is a fantastic opportunity to create a healthy, happy and successful business in 2017.

SUP rental business

So… how do we know more and more people are paddle boarding? Other than SUP sales sky rocketing over the past few years, below you can see the tremendous rise of people searching ‘standup paddle boarding’ on Google from 2004-2016. Google Trends charts don’t lie. If you’re not sold on starting a paddle board rental business just yet, keep reading because it gets better.

Google Trends SUP

Source: www.google.com/trends

Paddle board business models

The first step in starting any business is choosing a business model. There are two main business models you can chose from – mobile and retail.

1. Mobile

A mobile business is the easier to start because it is the cheapest. This model requires no overhead that would come with renting a retail store. It also allows you to run your paddle board business from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a supply of paddleboards and a vehicle to transport them with. Customers call you, and you meet them at the water with the paddleboards they want to rent. Not too shabby!

2. Retail

A fixed business involves running a business in a space that you’ve either rented or purchased. You will need a permit from the local government to operate your business. Your business’s location should be near local to a body of water (ocean, lake, river or hotel), preferably close enough for your renters to walk and paddle. Similar to the mobile model, you will need a selection of paddleboards.

Paddle board retail shop

Paddle board rental equipment you will need

Once you have figured out the business model that best suits your budget and goals, it’s time to purchase some paddle board inventory.

It would benefit your rental business to have an eclectic selection of paddle boards so your customers have an array of options to choose from. Remember, your renters will not only be beginners, but also experienced paddlers.

Paddle board rental business

Attracting customers to your business

With all the easy tasks set aside, it’s time for the hardest part – getting people to know your business exists. You will need to strategize how you’re going to attract customers to your business. Through your marketing efforts, you need to prove to everyone that your rental business is the best in town (price wise, customer friendly and atmosphere). The best way to build trust with your potential buyers is to establish an online presence for your business.

There are several Marketing softwares that will help boost and organize your business’s digital marketing efforts:

Digital marketing infographic

Website

In this technological age, a clean, user friendly and SEO-friendly website is key to building trust with potential buyers. If your website looks and feels more legit than your competitors, you will achieve more customers. The better your SEO is, the easier customers will be able to find you online.

Creating a website from scratch is a thing of the past. There are multiple company’s online that provide website building services for a small cost (typically an annual or monthly fee).

Best website builders

Building business website

Social Media

Believe it or not, social media is one of the best ways to attract customers to your business. For a paddle board rental business, there are a few social media channels you should be active on.

Social media channels you should be on (ranked most important to least)

Content is king when it comes to attracting new people to your business. Beautiful photos, informative blog pieces, visually-pleasing video, infographics and downloadable eBooks are all examples of content to promote on your social media channels. The more followers you have on your social accounts, the more people will trust your business (especially if you have more followers than your competitors).

Social media monthly users infographic

Yelp & Google + Reviews

Thousands of people turn to Yelp and Google + every day to make spending decisions. If your business has poor reviews, (or very few!) customers are going to purchase from your competitors. That is a known fact. Receiving over 80% of 4 to 5 star reviews is highly beneficial to your business’s success.

You can claim your business for free on Yelp and Google +, which allows you to upload photos, create deals and respond to reviews. This way, someone can see the great journeys people have had while renting your boards, and if somebody has an experience that is not so great, you can keep your business in a positive light by redeeming yourself with a comment.

Business review infographic

Partnerships (cross-promoting)

To increase your marketing capabilities, it’s important to form partnerships with other businesses (not your competitors) to help expose your business to new faces.  A partnership could entail:

  • Joint marketing emails
  • Social media posts
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Promotions and giveaways (collaborations)

You can even combine services with another company. For example, you can provide the paddleboards while your partner company can provide the life jackets for your renters.

Paddle board rental business partnership

Business legal precautions (liability)

Instructors – It is important to staff your paddle board rental business with knowledgeable instructors to help teach renters the basics and transport them to the water safely.

Insurance – The most important legal precaution to take before starting your rental company is to set up insurance. A rental business has more liabilities than any other business, but the good news is that because paddle boarding is a relatively safe sport, insurance is relatively cheaper than rentals for more extreme sports.

You will need insurance that covers all of your equipment. On top of that, because your entire business is built upon renters using your equipment, they are your biggest risk. One big hospital bill can bring your entire business down so it is important to have insurance to cover that as well.

Paddle boarding safety

At ISLE Surf and SUP, we not only sell boards directly to customers, but we have aided many people in starting small rental and touring companies. We do offer a two board promotion where you can save $100 when you purchase two boards.

 

 

Posted in Industry
Doug Robichaud - Marketing Coordinator at ISLE Surf and SUP. Originally from New England, secondarily from Encinitas, CA. I enjoy surfing, shooting film photos and driving my Volvo wagon on the weekends.

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