A kayak rental company is a business that rents or leases kayaks and related accessories to customers. A kayak is a closed deck boat that has a seated position with legs stretched out, and a double-bladed paddle. Modern kayaks serve diverse purposes, ranging from slow and easy touring on placid waters, to racing and complex maneuvering in fast-moving whitewater, to fishing and long-distance ocean excursions.
The average kayak is around 10 feet long, but there’s a wide range of possible lengths. You may see them range anywhere from 6 feet to 16 feet long. Available statistics show that the number of kayaks sold in the United States peaked in 2006 at just over 393 thousand and has since declined sharply, reaching 225.8 thousand in 2013 – a decline of nearly 43 percent.
The retail market value of kayak sales was 122 million U.S. dollars in 2013, falling from 196 million in 2006. The kayak rental industry revenue has grown at an annualized 0.3% to $57.3 million. In 2017, there were about 492,420 registered kayaks and canoes in the U.S.
Steps on How to Start a Kayak Rental Business
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
If you are considering starting a kayak rental business, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your kayak rental business should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.
In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, information that will help you know what your potential market will be looking out for from a kayak rental business and also help you operate your kayak rental business with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.
a. Who is the Target Market for a Kayak Rental Business?
- Tourists and visitors
- Travel and tour agencies
- Everyone who lives and works in the city where you operate.
b. Is the Kayak Rental Business a Profitable Business?
Yes, the kayak rental business is profitable. The industry revenue grew at an annualized 0.3% to $57.3 million.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the kayak rental business because the kayak rental business is a subset of the rental services industry.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- Action Sport Rentals
- Bike and Kayak La Jolla
- Cape Cod’s Best Kayak
- Detroit Outpost
- Eddyline Kayaks
- Fresno Jet Ski & Boat Rentals
- Green River Adventures
- Oleta River Outdoor Center
- River Trail
- Monterey Bay Kayaks
- Kayak Chicago
- Cannon Water Adventures
- Half Moon Bay Kayak Company
- Key West Kayak
- Ultimate Watersports
- Micks Canoe & Kayak Rental
- Kayak Tahoe
- Narrow River Kayaks
- Adventure Paddle Tours
- Reagan’s Finger Lakes Canoe & Kayak Livery.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Kayak Rental Business?
Yes, there are county, and state regulations and laws for the kayak rental businesses. For example, in California, all canoes and kayaks, regardless of length, must carry one wearable Coast Guard-approved PFD per person. And children under 13 must wear it at all times.
Between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility, you must have legal lighting. No person 21 years of age or older shall operate any vessel, water skis, or similar device who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood.
No person under 21 years of age may operate a vessel, water ski, or similar device who has 0.01 percent or more alcohol in his or her blood by weight. Penalties may include a fine of up to $250 and participation in an alcohol education or community service program.
Please note that in California, every law enforcement officer of the state, city, county, harbor district, or other political subdivision of the state is empowered to enforce the state boating laws.
f. Is There a Franchise for Kayak Rental Business?
Yes, there are franchise opportunities for kayak rental business, they include;
- Get Up and Go Kayaking.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Kayak Rental?
- A Feasibility Report
- Business and Marketing Plans
- Business Licenses and Permits
- Kayaks and related accessories
- EIN (Employer Identification Number) / Federal Tax ID Number.
- A Corporate Bank Account
Choose a Memorable Business Name
When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a kayak rental business are;
Creative Kayak Rental Business Name ideas
- Rivers King© Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Presidential Fleet® Kayak Rental Company, LLC
- Water Crest© Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Leap Frog® Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Highlanders™ Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Palm Grove™ Kayak Rental Company, LLC.
- Trent Harold© Kayak Rental Company, LLC
- Prince Philips® Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Stars© Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Jeremie Jones© Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Your Choice® Kayak Rental Company, LLC
- Green Stream® Kayak Rental Company, LLC
- West Coast™ Kayak Rental Company, LLC
- Tyler Williams© Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Sopita KYLER® Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Bob Nelson™ Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Sam Madison™ Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Pro Rent© Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
- Julius Chamberlin® Kayak Rental Company, LLC
- Regal Base™ Kayak Rental Company, Inc.
Register Your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Kayak Rental Business?
When it comes to the business structure of a kayak rental, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Kayak Rental?
- General Business License
- Watercraft Licenses
- Zonal Permits
- Signage Permit
- Operational State Facility Inspections for your parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to start a Kayak Rental Business?
You don’t need any certifications to start a kayak rental business.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Kayak Rental Business?
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Building Approval (For your parking)
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Watercraft Licenses
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Document
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
If you are considering starting a kayak rental business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Kayak Rental Business?
A kayak rental will cost from $40,000 to $150,000 to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives. For example, recreational kayaks cost $100 to $1,200; day touring kayaks cost $1,000 to $2,000; and sea kayaks cost $2,000 to $5,000.
b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Kayak Rental Business?
- The total fee for registering a business in the United States of America – $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services total – $5,200.
- Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $80.
- Insurance coverage – $15,400.
- The cost of logistics software, accounting software, CRM software, and Payroll Software – $1,500
- The cost for leasing a facility (long-term lease agreement) – $45,600.
- The cost for facility remodeling and installations – $20,000.
- The cost for the purchase of kayaks: $75,000
- Other start-up expenses including stationery – $500
- Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
- Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
- The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,150
- The cost for the purchase of office furniture and gadgets – $8,000.
- The cost of launching an official website – $600
- The cost of the opening party – $5,000
- Miscellaneous – $5,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Kayak Rental Business?
- The size of the kayak rental business (number of kayaks to start the business with)
- The choice of location
- The required licenses and permits
- The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the kayak rental business
- The cost of furnishing and equipping the kayak rental business
- The cost of the insurance policy covers
- The cost of registering the business
- Cost of recruiting and training your staff
- The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
- The cost of the grand opening of the kayak rental business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?
It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your kayak rental business, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your own parking facility and administrative office.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Kayak Rental Business?
- Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
- Salaries of employees
- Maintenance and repairs
- Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of Your Staff?
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $68,000 Per Year
- Admin and HR Manager – $48,000 Per Year
- Fleet Manager $48,000 Per Year
- Accountant $38,000 Per Year
- Instructors and Lifeguards – $36,800 Per Year
- Customer Service Officer (Call Center Executives) – $26,100 Per Year
- Kayak Detailers -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Kayak Rental Business?
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
- Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Regal Base™ Kayak Rental Company, Inc. is a registered and licensed kayak rental company that will be based in Lake Tahoe, a freshwater lake on the California-Nevada border. We offer single kayak, double kayak, and paddleboard tours, lessons, and rentals at Timber Cove Marina, Emerald Bay, Nevada Beach, Pope Beach, and Baldwin Beach in Lake Tahoe.
Regal Base™ Kayak Rental Company, Inc. has been able to secure all relevant licenses and permits to operate throughout the United States. We will ensure that we abide by the rules and regulations guiding the kayak rental services industry.
b. Products and Service
- We offer single kayak, double kayak, and paddleboard rentals
- We offer single kayak, double kayak, and paddleboard tours, and lessons
- We offer kayak-related accessories.
c. Mission Statement
Regal Base™ Kayak Rental Company, Inc. is in the kayak rental industry with a singular mission to make available some of the latest and safest kayaks to customers at every given time.
Our Vision is to be listed as the top 5 kayak rental companies in the United States of America.
d. Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of a kayak rental are to make available different types and sizes of kayaks and accessories for use by people and organizations.
e. Organizational Structure
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
- Admin and HR Manager
- Fleet Manager
- Instructors and Lifeguards
- Customer Service Officer (Call Center Executives)
- Kayak Detailers
a. SWOT Analysis
- Excellent operational history
- Availability of latest and safe kayaks
- Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
- Experience and trained professional instructors and lifeguards.
- Excellent customer testimonials.
- Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
- We will need a loan to build our storage facility and to purchase the latest kayaks and related accessories
- The owner is currently running the business solo
- Lack of economies of scale.
- Increase in the number of tourists and visitors to our location
- Build upon existing clientele
- Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
- Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
- The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
- Competition in the area could increase
- Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
- The transport department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses.
b. How Do Kayak Rental Companies Make Money?
Kayak rental businesses make money by renting and leasing kayaks and related accessories.
c. Payment Options
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via check
- Payment via mobile money transfer
- Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Introduce your kayak rental business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, households, and key stakeholders in and around your city and state
- Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, train stations et al.
- Use friends and family to spread the word about your business
- Post information about your company and the services you offer on bulletin boards in places like schools, libraries, and local coffee shops et al
- Place a small or classified advertisement in the newspaper, or local publication about your company and the services you offer
- Leverage on referral networks such as agencies that will attract clients who would need your customized services
- Advertise your business in relevant magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio stations.
- Engage in a direct marketing approach
- Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied customers
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry to market your services.
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?
Kayak rentals are generally very cost-effective to rent, in most cases, recreational kayaks are priced on average: Per-hour averages are around $10-$15. Half-day rentals range from $30-50.
b. How Much Profit Do Kayak Rental Business Owners Make a Year?
The profit a kayak rental business owner is expected to make a year is not fixed, but on average, they can make over $120,000 in profit in a year.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- The capacity of the kayak rental business (number of kayaks owned)
- The location the kayak rental business is covering
- The management style of the kayak rental business
- The business approach of the kayak rental business
- The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the kayak rental business.
- The number of years the kayak rental business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Kayak Rental Product/Service?
The profit margin of a kayak rental is not fixed. It could range from 25 percent to 55 percent depending on the distance covered and other factors.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Below is the sales forecast for a kayak rental it is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;
- First Fiscal Year: $240,000
- Second Fiscal Year: $360,000
- Third Fiscal Year: $480,000
Set Up your Shop
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Kayak Rental Business?
- The demography of the location
- The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location and availability of lakes
- The number of kayak rental businesses in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Kayak Rental Business?
- Los Angeles, California
- Long Beach, Washington
- Newport, Rhode Island
- Chicago, Illinois
- Clearwater, Florida
- Portland, Maine
- Orange Beach, Alabama
- Ocracoke, North Carolina
- Block Island, Rhode Island
- Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Kayak Rental Business?
- Kayak tracker
- Booking software
- Dash Cam
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard kayak rental business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, fleet manager, accountant, instructors and lifeguard, kayak detailers and customer service officer (call center executives).
Launch the Business Proper
In recent times, no kayak rental business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.
With the proper launching of the kayak rental business, you will inform people in your city that your kayak rental business is open for business.
a. What Makes a Kayak Rental Successful?
- Choose a good location and the latest kayaks to launch the business
- Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
- Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
- Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your kayak rental business
- Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your kayak rental business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Kayak Rental Business?
- The business is open for the day’s work
- The kayaks are washed, cleaned, and ready for rental
- Customer’s requests to rent and lease kayaks are attended to
- Schedule maintenance of the kayaks is carried out
- Marketing/website upkeep
- Supply ordering
- Administrative duties
- The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Kayak Rental Business?
- Business management skills
- Customer services skills
- Interpersonal skill
- Logistics and material handling skills
- Good kayaking skills
- Bargaining skill
- Work experience in the kayak rental services industry
- Experience in managing people
- Experience in business administration
- Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.