Motorcycle rentals

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by SigepKat, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. SigepKat

    SigepKat n00b

    Jun 11, 2009
    I'm attempting to expand my fleet of motorcycles (currently up to 1) and am thinking about starting a motorcycle rental business. I'm in San Antonio (on the west side) so I'm right at the beginning of the Texas hill country where there's a lot of good riding. Now, I realize everyone on here (probably) has a motorcycle or two already, but my thought is to offer the "product" to folks that don't want to slab it all the way to the middle of Texas for some good riding. I live out in the country w/a 1200 sq ft shop and I own a trailer, so all the infrastructure I can think of, I already own. Meaning this side business would have to make enough to cover payments on the bike, insurance (a gaping hole in my current plan) and wear and tear on the bikes (maintenance, etc.) Does this sound feasible? Motorcycle rentals seems to run in the $150/day range, so a few days rental a month would pay the bills...Since it's relevant, what I'm looking at is having an FJR and a Super Tenere for starters...More if things go well...Any thoughts are appreciated.

  2. Fleksta

    Fleksta Been here awhile

    Apr 16, 2010
    Canaan, NH
    daveinva likes this.
  3. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

    Jul 9, 2007
    the 'Ha
    I don't think they've really done all their homework. From their site:

    "Make sure the bike's steering wheel is always locked when you are not riding it."
    PanamaJacob and William Wolfen like this.
  4. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

    Dec 31, 2006
    You may find insurance kills your plan. I know up here it’s done in a couple of rental places.
    Maybe try it at first with bikes that don’t require payments. That way if it goes sideways you sell your inventory for much less of a loss. I’d track down a few low mile DL 650s for a venture like this, at least to start.
    The_Precious_Juice likes this.
  5. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

    Dec 31, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    Check out Twisted Road. Kind of like AirBNB for bikes. It solves a lot of the insurance and transaction challenges. Might be a good way to get your feet wet.
    daveinva and The_Precious_Juice like this.
  6. PanamaJacob


    Jun 2, 2018
    Las Vegas, Denver, Panama, Morocco
    When I rented bikes in the past they usually come with $1000 deductible so perhaps you can not get killed by insurance bill altogether. I think you will find out liability is going to be a HUGE deal. The moment someone blows out a tire and claims it's your fault you end up in court forever. Same deal with service - are you/ do you know a certified mechanic? If not that's a can of worms too.
    The_Precious_Juice likes this.

    DSTEVENS Been here awhile

    Aug 30, 2012
    FM 335,336,337.
    I rented from the dealership in Kerrville back in the day. I also rented from Joe Harrison Honda, and one of the Harley dealers in SA. I forget which one. Funny that none of them rent any more. I found out from my parts department freind that it was too costly due to liability and damage. One story was an FJR came back with one factory bag missing. Renter argued it was NOT on bike when it left. I enjoyed renting different bikes. I rented everything i could for a few years. That is a great way to pick a new bike. I bought a new vstrom after renting one. Even rented a Buell.
    Best wishes. D.
  8. racer

    racer Long timer

    May 5, 2004
    I wouldn't rent an FJR to anyone, too much power invites hooligans. You'll be money ahead investing in housing and renting that out.
    The_Precious_Juice likes this.
  9. The_Precious_Juice

    The_Precious_Juice The Virginian

    Jun 2, 2013
    University of Montana
    So will the core market will be cagers or folks who fly in?
    Can you meet them at the airport with the MC?

    I would go with something no bigger than a DL650 totally paid off. The average renter would be really mature walking in the door.

    Keep your eye on the Royal Enfield Himalayan. They are good for short riders. They are all shipped out of Dallas after a 100 point saftey check.
    And the new 650cc twins they have coming out this Spring.
    Maybe you can work out a deal with Royal Enfield North America. They need to work on their branding and advertising. Renters will ride them and go back home and buy them.

    Try and have a really good website! It goes a long way!
  10. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Sep 6, 2011
    Jabcon2 and The_Precious_Juice like this.
  11. el Pete

    el Pete toda su base

    Mar 3, 2009
    colinas del norte, california sur
    Sounds like a great way to ruin a nice hobby. For me the potential risks outweigh the reward.
    The_Precious_Juice likes this.
  12. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

    Oct 6, 2011
    Washington, D.C.
    As others have noted, there are emerging online services that provide ride-sharing solutions to motorcycle rentals that are probably a far easier way to make money renting out bikes-- they've done a lot of the hard work already. I don't know how profitable it is for the bike owner, i.e. their take for overhead may eat too much into what you would make if you rented on your own, but I doubt it. To do this on your own, you'd have to LOVE your work, to put up with the inevitable challenges-- and even then, being a small business owner is an exercise in unprofitable masochism in all but the most delightful of situations.

    As an aside, one of my favorite amusing sub-genres of 2018 motorcycle forum commenting is the onslaught of riders who react to every bike-sharing news story or post as the most insane idea ever, as if the *very existence* of these companies and their apps implies that some stranger (always a brand-new squid!) is going to walk into THEIR garage and steal THEIR farkled precious pride and joy, only to inevitably shatter THEIR motorcycle into a million pieces after the renter's highway stunting goes horribly wrong, and of course the company will *never* reimburse the owner despite the mile of legal paperwork contractually obligating them to fix or replace your bike if it's damaged by a renter. Ummm, guys, nobody is paying $100 a day to stunt your KLRs, but if they did, I'm sure that Riders Share/Twisted Road/etc. is going to fix up your $5 milk crate, good as new!

    If you don't want to rent your bike, don't rent your bike. If you're like me, and have found yourself with more than one old bike sitting around going unridden, that's just money going unmade. I love all my bikes, don't get me wrong, but I don't always love all my bikes *equally*, and I'm more than happy to share the love of riding with other wonderful riders who want to enjoy a better option than being stuck with the defacto Eaglerider Harley, or who never get an opportunity to try that kind of bike because dealers never offer test rides, or, or, or.