In the last five years or so, car-sharing businesses have grown in number significantly as increasing numbers of savvy entrepreneurs notice the keen consumer demand for such services. If you’re interested in joining this area and taking advantage of a booming market, make sure you do so carefully, so you give yourself the best chance of success.
While the demand is certainly there, the fact is that there is now more competition than ever, too. Plus, things in business can always go wrong and end up causing you financial loss and heartache if you don’t proceed sensibly. It’s important to set your business up in a way that makes it easier to become profitable for the long term. Here are some tips to follow to help you create a successful car-sharing business in the future.
Learn What Other Businesses Are Doing
For starters, never open a venture unless you have done your research first. In particular, investigate your competitors. Learn what other car-sharing businesses in your area or niche are currently doing and how they go about this. What is it they offer when it comes to specific services and features? Find out information such as the prices charged by your competitors, where they operate, who exactly they’re targeting with their services (e.g. individuals or businesses, and what specific types of customers), the type of client support they provide, how they market themselves and more.
Find a Point of Difference
Once you’ve completed this research, find a point of difference for your new business. To achieve success, you have to offer something no one else does, so you stand out in the crowd and so people have a reason to choose your services over other ones.
When it comes to developing a unique selling proposition (USP), there are all sorts of ways you can be different. For example, perhaps you’ll target a different type of customer or sell your services in locations that aren’t currently being serviced. You might have different price points, stand out with the customer service you provide or the technology or additional features on offer, provide unique vehicles for people to drive or market your wares in an unusual way.
No matter what type of point of difference you decide on, make sure this unique element is something your target customers will actually be interested in and willing to pay for. You also need to find out if there will be a big enough market — if you go after a different niche, for instance, but it’s tiny, you may not be able to generate enough sales to break even, let alone make a profit.
Use the Right Kind of Tech
As you would imagine, car-sharing businesses rely heavily on the technology platform they use to connect users needing a vehicle with the owners of the cars being loaned. As a result, it’s vital to get this element of your venture correct up front.
When choosing a tech tool, look for something that will be easy for customers to use and which will keep all details up-to-date and accurate, too. Find something that will be scalable, growing with your business over time and that you can afford. You’ll want something that means people don’t have to be on-site to hand over car keys to users, either, so technology featuring keyless locking systems is a plus. In addition, software should include helpful tools like maintenance scheduling and GPS tracking.
To get the best technology for your needs, it’s wise to choose a product that has been created especially for car-sharing businesses. For instance, head to Ridecell.com to learn about the company’s platform. Specialists such as Ridecell create software designed to handle the exact functions involved in car-sharing services, which means there should be less need for expensive customization.
Have a Plan
Another important step is to compile a plan for how you will go about your business activities. A detailed business plan can take time to develop, but it will help you be sure you’ve thought about all the necessary elements of business and stay on track over the months and years.
Good business plans cover numerous operational areas. For instance, in your plan note exactly what type of services you’ll provide, how you’ll offer them and to whom, and they go through the prices you’ll charge and likely sales and profit projections. A plan should detail how you’ll market to clients, any legal or insurance matters you have to handle and the various responsibilities of different partners or investors in the company.