A lot of new operators can find it overwhelming and difficult to locate the information necessary when starting a scooter share. Here, we answer all of the main questions related to starting a scooter rental business and provide recommendations with respect to types of hardware to look into and launch considerations.
Based on a survey of over 7,000 people in the US conducted by populus.ai, over 70% had a positive opinion of electric scooters.
In America, bike shares typically show significantly more adoption by men than women. There is a near equal distribution of interest in scooters between genders. Slightly more women than men (72% vs. 67%) had a positive perception of scooters.
Based on income level, those households earning $75,000 USD or less per year are the most likely to feel positively about scooters. Areas with earners of $200,000 USD or more per year were the least likely to have a positive perception about scooters.
Highest adoption was seen by those who earn between $20,000–$50,000 USD per year
Takeaway: Urban environments with a high density of middle-class individuals are good locations to launch a fleet.
Your system should have:
A coverage area of at least 10km2
10–16 parking areas per km2
Parking areas should be no more than 250m between each other
10–30 scooters per 1,000 residents within coverage area
Consider the local infrastructure when launching a fleet. Environments with predominately cobblestone roads will not lend themselves to a comfortable ride given the low clearance and small wheels of the electric scooter.
Takeaway: Aim for a city center with high levels of traffic congestion. Areas around public transit stops are also good locations.
A must-have feature for a scooter is either an internal Internet of Things (IoT) device or the ability to mount an external one.
“Nice-to-have” features include swappable batteries, extended range (how far they can go), and the manufacturer’s ability to provide custom branding.
There are many new companies launching their own brand of differentiated scooters. Some include larger wheels, seats and extended battery life. Before committing to a brand, buy a couple samples and test them vigorously.
Takeaway: Try before you buy.
Many of the large scooter-share companies are making landgrabs to dominate the market. Nonetheless, given the popularity of scooters, there is still a lot of room for the independent operator to launch their own system.
Some operators consider seasonality when determining their launch date; however, it is important for you to launch quickly so customers can learn about your brand.
Takeaway: Speed to market is crucial, so don’t wait.
Anecdotal evidence and number crunching suggest that scooter-share fleets become profitable at a jaw-dropping pace. The commonly disseminated number within the industry is that the breakeven point occurs after approximately 12 weeks.
Startup costs to consider:
Cost of Scooters
Cost of Internet of Things (IoT) device
Cost of Software Development
Cost of Software hosting, maintenance, and upgrades
Cost of Operational Staff
Takeaway: As a rough estimate, assume you will need $125,000 USD per 100 scooters in your fleet.