How To Launch A Small Boat Rental Startup

Boat rental has emerged as a lucrative business opportunity with the booming growth of the experience economy. Travel is back with a bang, and people want to go beyond the conventional vacation activities. If you are a boat owner, you can start with a side hustle and grow it into a full-fledged business sooner than later.

You only need a small investment in boat design, a good concept, and the right knowledge to profitably establish a startup and run it.

Here are some viable steps to launch a small boat rental startup from scratch.

Research your market

If you own a vessel, you will probably have a water body in your area. But you must still check the market before launching your rental business. For example, you can target tourists if your location has good tourism potential or chase local clients for an area known for fishing. Identifying your target audience enables you to implement the right design and marketing strategies for your venture. Also, check your competitors to provide unique offerings to get ahead of them.

Obtain requisite permits

Boat rental businesses must obtain licenses and permits to operate in a specific location.  Most entrepreneurs overlook permits due to a sheer lack of awareness or complacence. But missing out can land you in a problem with compliance issues and penalties. Check the local laws and get the requisite permits to get your business off the mark. It is equally crucial to maintain them with ongoing renewals.

Invest in your boat

Launching a business with a pre-owned boat is a great idea, but you cannot expect to start with a forlorn-looking vessel. Invest in an aesthetic makeover with a fresh coat of paint, new boat flooring, and accessories. Consider adding safety features, emergency equipment, and maintenance tools to make the cruise smooth and safe for your clients. You can command a good rental value with a small investment. It takes customer experience a notch higher and builds your reputation in the long run.

Find trusted employees

Starting a small boat rental business is easy, but you need a team to sustain it and propel its growth as you buy more boats. Find trusted employees you can rely on to ensure a great experience for the renters. Choose people with relevant skills and experience, but pay attention to their attitude as well. Like any other hospitality business, your employees must be presentable, courteous, and polite. Training your staff is another aspect you cannot overlook.

Spread the word

Whether you run a single-boat rental or a whole fleet of vessels, you must spread the word to keep the business churning. Think beyond plastering posters and banners around the town because the marketing game has changed. You must invest in an online presence, at least with a Google listing to start with. A simple website can give you more credibility, and you can create a DIY one. Social media platforms and referrals are other viable strategies for startups.

Launching a boat rental business with a pre-owned vessel is a good idea, but it requires strategic planning. Follow these tips to get a good start and achieve your growth goals.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan