In areas that have a solid tourism industry, a bicycle rental business can be a profitable venture. Keep in mind that this type of business is very seasonal in nature and that your business may be adversely impacted by weather patterns and many other factors. Costs for starting up a bike rental shop are relatively low and generally you will not need to hire many employees to get your business off the ground and running.
Find a location close to tourist attractions. Bike rental places can typically be found near beaches, as well as other tourist destinations within a town. Because this is a seasonal business, renting a location may be more cost-effective than buying a property. Look for a building that can hold several bikes and has good access to the outside.
Purchase enough bikes for your business. If your local area has a booming tourist industry, you may need to purchase 20 or more bikes to ensure that you have enough available for interested riders. In smaller areas, 10 or fewer bikes may be sufficient. If you are not sure how many you will need, start small and be prepared to add more as necessary after the first few weeks.
Purchase business and liability insurance. Because the potential for injury is very high for bikers, you will need to have business and liability insurance to protect your bike shop. Even if you post no-liability signs and have your customer sign no-liability waivers, which you should, you still need to have insurance for extra protection.
Get a business/vendor license with your city and state. Contact your state's business licensing division and apply for a business license. You will also need to apply for a city license in some areas, particularly since you are acting as a vendor to the public. Make sure that you meet all of your city and state licensing requirements before you open your bike rental business.
Promote your bike rentals. Once you have everything in place, you can begin promoting your bike rentals. Hang prominent signs around your business and other locations (ask proprietors if you can first.) Advertise in local tourist publications and with your local media. You can also promote your bike rental service online and with your local tourism board.