There’s no doubt about it: rental demand in the US is on the rise.
With the American Rental Association (ARA) forecasting a 2017 revenue growth rate equal to the 6.7% jump in 2016, chances are your bike shop could be gearing up for a big year. But like most 21st century industries, seizing new opportunities means staying abreast of IT developments, and quality rental software is a perpetually moving target.
“Rental companies looking to improve their systems and processes have quite a shopping list of needs,” says John Moore, site editor of Tech Target. “In general, companies are looking for automated inventory control, scheduling customer rentals, managing billing, and keeping tabs on equipment maintenance.”
So how do you decide which software best meets your organization’s needs? To help answer this, Spinlister turned to leading national bike shops, working closely with them throughout the past year to develop Spinlister Pro. During our conversations, we were able to narrow down a list of key features essential to any successful rental software package. Take a look.
1.) ONLINE BOOKING
If your rental software doesn’t provide a seamless online booking experience for your customers, it’s time to move on. With everything that shop owners have to deal with on a daily basis, from deliveries to marketing to customer service, trying to scribble liability terms on a sheet of paper for a $40 bike rental can end up costing more money than it’s worth.
“When you’re trying to sell people a bunch of bike parts and accessories and setting someone up with a rental bike at the same time, it’s really difficult. With Spinlister [Pro], they can reserve a ride online, come in, get a quick rundown, and then just head out.” Simple.
2.) INCREASED VISIBILITY
If you’re like most bike shops, your ad range is probably limited to a 10 mile radius of your store. That’s where the right rental software can come through in spades. With a robust online presence, your shop can benefit from local and international exposure, reaching inbound travelers and neighborhood cyclists alike.
Spinlister Pro offers an instant connection to cyclists in over 100 countries around the world. Combined with formidable SEO and individual Community Highlight articles to help promote your business, you’ll be exposed to a constantly growing reservoir or potential customers every day.
3.) INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
This is easily the most important facet of any rental system. With a rotating fleet of equipment coming and going on a daily basis, you’ll need a software platform that can keep track of your inventory effortlessly and in real time.
“In general, a desire to improve inventory visibility appears to be a common driver in the rental space,” says John Moore. “A rental firm needs to carefully track what it has on hand and when items are due for return, so it can schedule new rentals.”
With Spinlister Pro, your scheduling and availability are updated automatically. Reservations are easily managed from a single intuitive dashboard, with an industry-leading private messaging platform in place to let you and your renters stay connected throughout the ride. This means instant control and communication with your fleet at all times.
4.) DETAILED REPORTING
Detailed reporting isn’t just necessary to help balance your books; it gives you the data-backed evidence to make informed decisions. Choosing the right rental software for your business, then, means identifying a reporting system that keeps working long after a particular rental has ended.
With Spinlister Pro, your transaction reports are sortable, searchable, downloadable, and updated in real time. On top of that, you have the ability to customize both your admin and reporting system. This gives you access to the information that’s most helpful and relevant to your shop’s success.
5.) FLEET PROTECTION
While numbers 1-4 deal with the specific software needs of bike rental companies, we couldn’t help but throw in an extra benefit exclusive to Spinlister Pro. We know that bicycles are at the core of your business, and we’re also keenly aware of the increased risk of damage and theft that goes hand in hand with renting out your fleet.
That’s why Spinlister has taken the extra step of offering a $10,000 guarantee on every bike your shop rents. It’s complementary protection extended to all Spinlister Pro members, giving you one less thing to worry about during your day at the shop. After all, we’re not just software developers; we’re cyclists, too.