How to start your Bicycle Rental Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

Bicycle Rental Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start a Bicycle Rental Business?
  • How much does it cost to start a Bicycle Rental Business?
  • How to find the best location to open a Bicycle Rental Business?
  • How can I make my Bicycle Rental Business profitable?


In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Bicycle Rental Business?

With a global market value of around USD 5.5 Billion and growing at a CAGR of 9.7%, Bicycle Rental is a business you need to start.


The Bicycle Rental Business is a service-based enterprise that provides rental bikes for a short period to individuals who want to use them for commuting, exploring, or leisure activities. 


This business model is popular in tourist areas, urban centers, and near recreational regions where customers can rent bicycles for a specified duration, ranging from a few hours to several days.


The rental rates for bicycles depend on factors such as the type of bike, the rental duration, and the location. The Bicycle Rental Business can be asset-light, requiring minimal investment in physical assets, or offer a range of bicycle models catering to specific customer needs.


This article will discuss the essential elements you need to know to start your Bicycle rental business and how to position yourself for growth in this competitive market.

Market Insight: In the UK, Bicycle Rental industry was valued at £300 million in 2020. While in the US, this market was valued at over $1.5 billion in 2020.

Bicycle Rental Business

Types of Dress Rental Business models

Different business models can be used in bicycle rental services in the U.S. and U.K. Here are a few examples:


  • Station-based model: 
    This model involves setting up rental stations in strategic locations where customers can rent and return bikes. Customers pay a fee for renting the bike, which can be hourly, daily, or weekly. Examples of companies that use this model include Citi Bike, which operates in New York City, and Santander Cycles in London.
  • Dockless model: 
    In this model, bicycles are made available for rent without requiring a fixed rental station. Customers can use a mobile app to locate nearby bicycles, unlock them, and ride them to their destination. This model is gaining popularity in many cities due to its convenience. Examples of companies that use this model include Lime and Bird.
  • Subscription-based model: 
    This model involves customers paying a monthly or yearly subscription fee to access rental bicycles. Customers can rent and return cycles anytime without incurring additional costs. Examples of companies that use this model include JUMP, which Uber owns, and Divvy Bikes in Chicago.
  • Touring model: 
    This model involves providing guided tours on rented bicycles. Customers pay a fee to participate in a time, which includes a rental bicycle and a tour guide. Examples of companies that use this model include Bike and Roll in Washington, D.C., and Fat Tire Tours in London.
  • Hybrid model: 
    This model combines two or more of the above models to offer customers a more flexible and personalized rental experience. For example, a company could provide both station-based and dockless rentals or a subscription-based model with the option to rent bicycles for guided tours.

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Bicycle Rental Business

Pros and Cons of a Bicycle Rental Business 

Pros of a Bicycle Rental Business include:

  • Increasing demand
  • Low startup cost
  • Flexibility in business model
  • Potential for high profits
  • Positive impact on the environment

Cons of a Bicycle Rental Business include:

  • Seasonal demand
  • Equipment maintenance costs
  • Limited operating hours
  • Theft and damage to equipment
  • Competition from established businesses.

Investment required for your Bicycle Rental Business

The required investment or one-time setup cost for a Bicycle Rental Business can vary depending on several factors, such as location, equipment, and marketing costs. 


Some estimated prices for a Bicycle Rental Business in point form with rate info in dollars:


  • Bicycles: $10,000 to $50,000
  • Safety Equipment (helmets, locks, lights): $2,000 to $5,000
  • Docking Stations and Technology: $5,000 to $20,000
  • Rental Software and Payment Systems: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Insurance and Legal Fees: $1,000 to $5,000
  • Marketing and Branding: $3,000 to $10,000
  • Staff Wages and Benefits: $10,000 to $20,000 (annual)


Overall, the total investment or one-time setup cost for a Bicycle Rental Business can range from $25,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the business’s scope and the equipment and technology required.

Busiest season for the business:

The busiest season for a bicycle rental business typically varies depending on the location. Still, generally, it tends to be during the warmer months when people are more likely to spend time outside. For example, in many parts of the world, the peak season might be from late spring through early fall, when the weather is mild and sunny. During this time, tourists and locals alike will likely be looking for outdoor activities and transportation alternatives, making bike rentals an attractive option. In some locations, the peak season might also correspond with significant events or festivals that draw large crowds, such as music festivals or sporting events.

Bicycle Rental Business

How much will you make as a Bicycle Rental Business?

The potential earnings for a Bicycle Rental Business can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the location, the number of bicycles rented out, the rental fees charged, and the operational costs. 


But here’s an approximate idea of the potential earnings for a Bicycle Rental Business:


Assuming a rental fee of $20 per day per bicycle and renting out ten bicycles per day for 25 days per month, the monthly revenue would be $5,000. After accounting for the operational costs such as rent, utilities, maintenance, and salaries, the net profit could be around 20% to 40% of the revenue, which would be $1,000 to $2,000 monthly.


However, the actual earnings can vary greatly depending on the location, competition, and demand for bicycle rentals. Therefore, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and develop a solid business plan before starting a Bicycle Rental Business to determine the potential earnings and profitability.

Market Insight: One of the biggest Bicycle Rental Businesses in the world, Lime, had an annual revenue of around $466 million.

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Bicycle Rental Business

Types of Bicycle you can rent!

The types of bicycles that can be rented in a bike rental business may vary, but some common options include:

  • Traditional city or commuter bicycles: 
    These are designed for use in urban areas, with features like fenders, racks, and lights. They are usually comfortable to ride and easy to handle.
  • Electric bicycles (e-bikes): 
    These are bicycles with an electric motor that can assist the rider’s pedaling. They are becoming increasingly popular, allowing riders to cover longer distances or hilly terrain with less effort.
  • Road bicycles: 
    These are designed for speed and efficiency on paved roads. They are lightweight and have narrow tires and a low handlebar position.
  • Mountain bicycles: 
    These are designed for off-road use, with features like suspension and knobby tires. They are suitable for rough terrain and trails.
  • Tandem bicycles: 
    These are designed for two riders, with two seats and two sets of pedals. They are often used for leisurely rides or for people with different abilities to ride together.
  • Folding bicycles: 
    These can be easily folded up and carried, making them convenient for commuting or traveling.
  • Kids’ bicycles: 
    These are designed for children, with smaller frames and wheels, and often with training wheels to help young riders learn to balance.
Bicycle Rental Business

Equipments needed to start a Bicycle Rental Business

Here’s a checklist of essential equipment needed to start a Bicycle Rental Business:


  • Bicycles: 
    This is the most essential equipment for a Bicycle Rental Business. You must purchase a fleet of different sizes and types of bicycles to cater to a wide range of customers.
  • Helmets: 
    Providing helmets to customers is a safety measure and can also be a selling point for the business.
  • Locks: 
    It is important to provide locks to customers to secure their bicycles when they are parked.
  • Maintenance tools: 
    Basic maintenance tools such as tire pumps, wrenches, and screwdrivers are necessary to keep the bicycles in good working condition.
  • Trailers or trucks: 
    If you plan to deliver the bicycles to customers or transport them to different locations, you may need to invest in trailers or trucks.
  • Computerized rental system: 
    An automated rental system can help streamline the rental process, track rentals, and generate reports.
  • Signage: 
    Signage is essential for advertising the business and directing customers to the rental location.
  • Safety accessories: 
    In addition to helmets, it’s a good idea to provide safety accessories such as lights and reflectors to ensure the safety of the riders.
  • Storage racks: 
    Storage racks are needed to organize and store the bicycles when they are not in use.
  • Office equipment: 
    Office equipment such as a computer, printer, and phone are necessary to manage the business’s administrative tasks.


These are the essential equipment needed to start a Bicycle Rental Business. Depending on the size and scope of the business, additional equipment and accessories may be required

List of common services offered by a Bicycle Rental business in USA and UK:

1. Hourly bike rental: $10-15 (USA) / £7-12 (UK)
2. Daily bike rental: $30-50 (USA) / £20-35 (UK)
3. Weekly bike rental: $100-150 (USA) / £70-105 (UK)
4. Guided bike tours: $50-100 per person (USA) / £35-70 per person (UK)
5. Bike delivery and pickup: $20-50 (USA) / £15-35 (UK)
6. Bike maintenance services: $30-100 (USA) / £20-70 (UK) per service
7. Bike sales: $300-1000 (USA) / £200-700 (UK) per bike
8. Accessories rentals: $5-15 (USA) / £3-10 (UK) per accessory (helmet, lock, etc.)

Bicycle Rental Business

Product list and Services for a Bicycle Rental Business!

Here’s a list of the main products and services to offer for a Bicycle Rental Business:


  • Bicycle rentals: 
    The business’s main product is renting out bicycles to customers for a set period.
  • Safety equipment rentals: 
    Besides bicycles, customers may require safety equipment such as helmets, lights, and reflectors, which the business can rent out.
  • Guided tours: 
    The business can offer guided tours to customers who want to explore the area on a bicycle but need to become more familiar with the routes or local attractions.
  • Delivery and pick-up services: 
    The business can offer delivery and pick-up services for customers who cannot transport bicycles.
  • Sales of used bicycles:
    The business can sell used bicycles that have been retired from the rental fleet.
  • Maintenance and repair services: 
    The business can offer maintenance and repair services for customers who have rented bicycles or for residents who need bicycle repairs.
  • Group rentals: 
    The business can offer group rental services for events such as corporate team-building activities, family reunions, and weddings.
  • Seasonal rental packages: 
    The business can offer seasonal packages for customers who want to rent bicycles for an extended period, such as for the summer season or a specific event.
  • Sales of bicycle accessories: 
    The business can sell bicycle accessories such as locks, lights, baskets, and water bottles.
  • Gift cards:
    The business can sell gift cards for bicycle rentals or other services.


Note: Top products and services that a Bicycle Rental Business can offer. Depending on the market demand and the business owner’s preferences, additional services or products may be provided.

Trends and Challenges in a Bicycle Rental Business

Trends in the Bicycle Rental Business

1. Growing popularity of bike-sharing services in urban areas.
2. Increased adoption of electric bicycles.
3. Expansion into new markets and cities globally.

Challenges in the Bicycle Rental Business

1. Managing maintenance and repairs for large fleets of bicycles.
2. Ensuring availability and distribution of bikes across a city or region.
3. Addressing concerns around safety and security for riders.

Bicycle Rental Business

Licences needed for a Bicycle Rental Business

The regulations and requirements for a Bicycle Rental Business may vary slightly depending on the state or city in the USA and the country in the UK. 

Some examples of licenses and permits that may be required in the USA and UK:


  • Business License: 
    A general business license is required to operate any business in most states.

  • Sales Tax Permit: 
    A sales tax permit may be required to collect and remit sales tax on the rental fees charged.

  • Insurance: 
    Liability insurance and other types of insurance may be required to protect the business from potential claims and losses.

  • Park or Beach Permit: 
    In some cities, a special permit may be required to operate a rental business in a park or beach area.

  • Peddler’s License: 
    Some cities may require a peddler’s license to operate a Bicycle Rental Business.


  • Business Registration: 
    All businesses must be registered with Companies House in the UK.

  • Public Liability Insurance: 
    Liability insurance is required to protect the business from potential claims and losses.

  • Permits for use of public space: 
    Local authorities may require a permit to operate a rental business in a public area.

  • VAT Registration: 
    A Value Added Tax (VAT) registration may be required if the business turnover exceeds the VAT threshold.

  • Roadworthiness Certificate: 
    All bicycles rented out must be inspected and certified as roadworthy before being rented out.

Note: Researching and complying with all the local laws and regulations before starting a Bicycle Rental Business in the USA or UK is essential.

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Bicycle Rental Business

Shall I go for a Bicycle Rental Franchise?

Buying an existing Bicycle Rental Franchise of a recognized brand is a good idea; however, it is expensive also.

On the other hand, the franchisor will benefit you will all the existing brand image, customer loyalty, advertising, market research & strategies.

In addition, you will get guidance from the franchisor about training the workforce & ambiance of the premises. 

Some of the top Bicycle Rental Franchises in the UK and USA:


  • Santander Cycles
  • Nextbike
  • Beryl

  • Lime
  • JUMP
  • Motivate (now part of Lyft)


In conclusion, starting a Bicycle Rental Business in the UK and the US can be rewarding and profitable. However, conducting thorough market research, creating a solid business plan, and securing the necessary funding is crucial. 

It is crucial to find the right location, choose the right equipment and suppliers, and create a unique and inviting atmosphere for customers. 

Following these steps, you can set your Bicycle Rental Business up for success and build a business that customers will love for years.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Lime | Founders’ Story – YT Channel ‘Lime’

Inside The Cycle Hire Depot – YT Channel ‘Londonist Ltd’

A. Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a permit or license to operate a bicycle rental business. Check with your local government or business regulatory agency for specific requirements.

A. The number of bicycles you purchase will depend on the size of your business and the demand in your area. It’s important to strike a balance between having enough bicycles to meet demand, but not so many that you have unused inventory sitting around.

A. Consider the demographics of your target market and the terrain in your area when selecting the types of bicycles to offer. Commuter bikes, e-bikes, and mountain bikes are all popular options.

A. Utilize social media, flyers, and local events to promote your business. You can also partner with local hotels or tourist attractions to offer special promotions or discounts.

A. You’ll need to have a system in place for regular maintenance and repairs to keep your bicycles in good condition. This may involve hiring a mechanic or outsourcing repairs to a local bike shop.

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