Is Starting a Motorcycle Rental Business a Good Idea? Hear it from Power Owners

Dec 3, 2023

Tags:ownerrental motorcyclelisting-tipsgetting-started

Picture of a 2016 Yamaha XSR900 parked in front of a grassy landscape with trees in the background

Making the decision to list your motorcycle or motorcycles on Riders Share or any bike rental platform isn’t always easy. You, of course, know how the in’s and out’s of your bike, how to ride it properly, its quirks, etc., but does that mean other riders do? Is starting a rental business a good idea? Is Riders Share worth it? 

We get it. You have a lot of questions. You might even have concerns or honestly have no idea where to start. We wrote some other blog content this month outlining other common questions people have about listing their bikes on Riders Share. For this blog, we wanted to speak directly to questions related to starting a motorcycle rental business while including direct testimonials from Power Owners on our platform. 

Before we begin. 

At Riders Share, we believe in the power of genuine experiences and real feedback. The testimonials we share are authentic and untouched, directly from the voices of our Power Owners, who are some of the top renters on our platform. They received no incentives for their honest opinions, because we value the integrity of their experiences.

We understand that starting a business is a journey filled with learning and growth. Unlike the exaggerated promises you might encounter elsewhere, we don't claim a flawless experience or guaranteed financial windfalls. Instead, we offer a realistic view of what it means to embark on this venture with us.

What sets us apart is not just the quality of our services but also the robust support and resources we provide to help you navigate the challenges of business ownership. We're committed to being there for you every step of the way with practical solutions and dedicated assistance. Think of us as your business partner- here to provide you with what you need to grow and expand. 

As you read the stories from our clients, know that they reflect the real journey of entrepreneurship - complete with its ups and downs. But more importantly, they also showcase our commitment to supporting and empowering our clients through every stage of their business adventure.

So… Is Listing My Motorcycle a Good Rental Business to Start?

Comments on getting over the hump of renting your bike:

[SD Moto]: Getting over the idea of first renting out your bike (especially if expensive) is nerve-wracking for any owner. A lot of people don't know how to ride. As an instructor, I see it all the time. It's also a statistic that the vast majority of motorcycle accidents are single-vehicle crashes, meaning no other vehicles involved / motorcyclists fault. 

[SD Moto]: Do NOT list any motorcycle that you can't bear the thought of being returned undamaged. It's not a matter of if but when. If it's your "baby" or something super customized, one-off, sentimental, collectible, etc., that you're attached to, then don't do it. Wear and tear will happen, and if it's something super minor, like minor paint scuffs or rock chips, you may not be able to receive any compensation.

[Tyler]: I don’t have much personal attachment to my bikes since I work on them full-time, so I had little concern about the rental program. I imagine most owners are worried about the bikes being damaged or stolen. [I’ve] experienced both, so it was in line with my expectations.

And… what if it gets damaged?

[SD Moto]: I first listed a couple of cheaper bikes I didn't really care about. After they [inevitably] got damaged, I crucially began to trust the claims process and that I would be covered if something happened....with some due diligence on my end (check-in/out process, providing a safe motorcycle). That gave me the confidence to list more expensive motorcycles to the point where I now have no reservations about being covered. Initially, when RS was getting off the ground, the claims process was a little shaky, but it's pretty streamlined and simple nowadays. So I think trusting the platform/insurance/claims process is really the name of the game and they have you covered.

[Danny]: Client renting my bike called to say it was broken down- Riders Share paid to have bike towed from West Virginia to Charlotte [North Carolina] (3-hour drive and about a $800 tow-bill). Riders Share took care of it. They even paid me for the rest of the rental as if it was complete and helped pay for 100% of the issues with the bike. 

Tips on being a great Power Owner on Riders Share

[SD Moto]: You need to be very available as a host for renters. Working from home is the ideal situation. Responding quickly and being readily available/reliable is key to more rentals. Renters often book for a 24-hour period thinking they will maximize their value, but intend to come/return earlier/later as they please. Since it's not a traditional rental with business hours, this can sometimes make things difficult. Communicating your expectations is key on both ends. I let my renters know that I am usually flexible with a couple of hours advance notice, but I am not home all day waiting for them. 

[Tyler]: Determine your goal and set yourself up for success. This is a business/hobby, but if you’re not setting up like a business, you’ll have some issues potentially. Bikes need to be thoroughly maintained since they commonly have little issues that can ruin a ride. Be prepared to spend time before during and after the rides to care for the vehicle. Some bikes are not great for renting if you’re worried about mileage, conditions, or have sentimental attachment. Also be prepared for all types of people with all types of attitudes. Keep things positive and you’ll have fun!

Prepare for your costs upfront:

[SD Moto] If you're thinking about listing your bike on the platform, make sure you properly account for your expenses and costs per mile. You need to have a very clear cost per mile, including tires, oil changes, spark plugs, valve checks/adjustments, air filters, chain/sprockets, chain maintenance, clutch replacement, brake pad replacement, etc., and other maintenance as well as the rare issue. 

If you're taking your bike to the dealer for everything like $250 oil changes, then you will absolutely be losing money. Doing the majority of most common maintenance is key, and it's truly not difficult. Further, if you're buying motorcycles for the sole purpose of renting, you need to consider the depreciation cost. Calculating both, you will quickly learn how expensive bikes can be and why mileage limits and per-mile charges are important. 

READ the FAQs 

[SD Moto]: - READ the terms, insurance FAQ, and all other relevant articles on the website to understand your coverage and responsibilities both as an owner and renter. It's pretty straightforward, easy to read, and fair.

Why do you love Riders Share as your Motorcycle Rental Platform?

[SD Moto]: I'm passionate about renting out motorcycles because I love being around motorcycles, and it allows me to have a bunch of bikes I get to play around with whenever I want. I also just genuinely enjoy doing my best and providing excellent service. Also, you get to be your own boss, and that works for me since I'm stubborn. 

I'm guessing motorcyclists, on average, tend to be more stubborn than the general population. As for the platform, it's easily the choice for hosts in this niche p2p motorcycle rental space. It's the easiest to use, has the most configurability, and the best customer service. The claims and reimbursement process (fuel, cleaning, parking tickets, tolls, etc.) is streamlined, fast and easy to use. And the platform is always improving and evolving.

[SD Moto]: The Riders Share team is such a pleasure to deal with. The company is quite small, which means that any issues are very close to upper management. Your concerns and feedback are often heard by those at the top, and since it's a lean machine, they are able to make changes relatively quickly. Customer service is truly excellent and great to deal with. Good people, great company. If you really have a situation that you believe is truly unfair, they are usually able to resolve it. As an aside, I don't list my bikes on [insert competitor, removed for blog purposes]. Having interacted with their horrid customer service several times, trying to list my bikes was enough for me to reconsider ever listing any of my bikes. Don't want to find out what happens when I have an insurance claim. Funny enough, I just heard about them not paying their hosts...glad I could avoid that.

[Tyler]: It’s been a busy few years with the rentals. I started with a few bikes and eventually had up to 10 available for rent. The years after Covid lockdowns, we’re very busy, and now it’s calmed down a lot, and visitors to Hawaii have reduced down a lot. It’s been fun meeting new people and facilitating the opportunity for people to ride in a new place. That’s the highlight for me is knowing that other people can [enjoy] seeing the island the way I love to. It’s fun to have people excited to ride and satisfying when they relay their positive experiences.

What’s your opinion on making money on Riders Share?

[SD Moto]: I think for the average person, this isn't exactly lucrative and isn't a "passive income" stream. I think for most, it should be considered as supplemental income. Depending on your location/market, purchasing extra bikes may or may not be financially wise. Regardless, occasionally renting them out can be a nice way to offset costs.

[Danny]: Not sure whether I’m making money on it… but it’s definitely offsetting my payment. Especially during the Spring and the Summer. 

Do you have a bike that’s collecting dust?

[SD Moto]: If you have motorcycles that sit for long periods of time, let's say greater than 3 months, it's actually a good thing for them to be ridden, literally. You can consider it as part of your maintenance. Same goes for all vehicles. Leaving any vehicle sitting for long periods of time is actually terrible. It's important to keep the fluids moving (oil, coolant), get fresh gas in the fuel tank, brush the rust off the brake rotors, etc. Gas with ethanol (E10 used in the U.S.) oxidizes quickly, and all fuels are hygroscopic (attract water), which causes rust and wreaks all kinds of havoc on fuel systems over time. If you have an old-school bike with carburetors, you can begin to have issues in as little as a month. When an engine gets up to operating temperature, it burns off condensation (water) in the oil. It's literally good for your bike to be ridden. 

There’s no way that every renter will have a perfect experience, right?

[SD Moto]: 80-90% of my renters are great. As with all things in life, there are people that cause issues and/or are unpleasant to deal with. And you have to be prepared to deal with them appropriately. Frankly, damaged bikes aren't even a problem and I've even made a friend out of it before. Damage happens, and it's totally okay. The problem to watch out for is when people lie or pretend like nothing happened. At best, it's unpleasant, and if you've done your due diligence, then at worst, you submit the proper documentation to Riders Share for a claim.

And well… there is this notable experience someone recently shared with us!

[Amir]: My last rental in December ended up with a minor crash during a tour of Malibu. It turned into a date. We're now a couple 🏍️

To wrap it up:

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Starting a motorcycle rental business is not just about passion; it's about practicality and strategy. While there are challenges, the rewards and benefits outweigh these concerns when you go into renting your bike with the right mindset and ensure you’ve set realistic expectations.

The Power of an Informed Decision

Our Power Owners' experiences reveal an honest truth: knowledge is power. Being well-informed about the potential risks and having a clear understanding of the Riders Share platform can make the difference between a successful rental experience and a disappointing one. By being prepared and understanding the responsibilities of ownership, you can navigate the motorcycle rental business landscape with confidence.

Financial Considerations

Financially, motorcycle rental can be a smart move. As many of our Power Owners have pointed out, it offers a way to offset costs associated with motorcycle ownership. While it may not be a path to passive income for everyone, it certainly can provide a steady stream of supplemental income.

The Joy of Sharing Your Passion

Looking beyond income, there’s an undeniable joy in sharing your love for motorcycles with others. Whether it’s helping someone explore new terrains or providing a ride for a memorable vacation, your motorcycle can bring happiness to others while it earns for you.

Join Our Community of Motorcycle Owners and List Your Bike Today

Picture of a blue red white 2014 Honda CPR500R ABS parked in front of a fence in a city in Hawaii

At Riders Share, we're not just about renting motorcycles; we're about creating a community. Every rental is an opportunity to connect with riders, share stories, and foster a sense of belonging among those who share a passion for the open road. Our motorcycle owners are more than just business owners; they’re vital members of our thriving community. 

If you’re ready to take the plunge, remember that Riders Share is here to support you every step of the way. From our streamlined claims process to our responsive customer service, we ensure that your journey listing your motorcycle for rent is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.