Jake Burton Carpenter was a US citizen, born in Vermont, who enjoyed snowboarding in the sport’s early years; the ’60s period. Back then, we used to have different snowboard designs, called ‘snurfer’ boards, made by connecting two skis together. Jake was not only passionate about snurfing but also shaped it. In 1977, he came up with a snurf board design that had bindings to secure feet. This design became widely popular as what we know today as snowboards, and Jake got global recognition as the inventor of modern snowboards.
In the same year, Jake launched his company, Burton Snowboards, which witnessed tremendous growth in the following years. Jake demonstrated his designs in various National Championships and expanded business operations to Europe, raising global awareness for the sport. In the 21st century, Burton Snowboards is still a leading player in the snowboard rental industry, generating an estimated $400 million in revenue per year.
One of the primary reasons behind Burton’s popularity is their unique value proposition. Snowboarding enthusiasts can simply rent or shop for snowboards and related equipment, and get them delivered to their doorsteps. Having a wide range of products for men, women, and kids, Burton’s primary target audience is entire families, tourists, and snowboard enthusiasts.
There are numerous other winter sports rental platforms like Burton operating in the market. Their primary products include rental skis, snowboards, and protective gear. Let’s understand everything you require to start your own online ski and snowboard rental business.
The entire winter sports industry is a massive economic driver with the US being the largest market for starting a ski and snowboard rental business. To get an actual idea about the scope of business in these industries, take a look at the following insights:
In the ‘2020s, customers appreciate digital businesses more than ever. For them, on-click booking through a rental website is more convenient than manually reaching out to offline businesses and checking availability for snowboards. This transformation is also required to stay relevant and connected with customers.
Likewise, by establishing a strong online presence with your rental website, your business can benefit in many ways.
A digitally enabled world requires businesses to provide online solutions and services. These can range from having the option to shop online to receiving quick and reliable tech support. For a ski and snowboard rental business, going digital primarily means having the capability to directly accept bookings and reservations online. Building a ski and snowboard rental website with a booking calendar functionally will allow you to accept online rental orders and manage them accordingly.
In the past two decades of digital businesses, you must have observed that all leading players are the first movers to transition online. One of the primary reasons that motivated them to develop their websites is that targeting wider markets becomes easy. There’s a large set of digital marketing tools available that businesses can use to target distant audiences and expand their operations to new markets.
When managing business manually, there are higher chances of errors, leading to customer dissatisfaction and sometimes even monetary loss. The first benefit of automation that a rental website brings is the elimination of manual errors and streamlined workflows. Meaning, your website can handle multiple operations while you can get extra time to spend with family or follow your passion.
Manual operations are more cost-inclusive than their digital solutions. For example, running a physical store requires you to hire a team to attend to customers, do inventory, do bookkeeping, and report to you. You will need to pay them hourly wages and incur the costs of utility bills, insurance, vacations, human resources, etc. In comparison, your rental website automates several operations and systematically reduces the overall operational costs.
In a non-commodity business, having a distinctive brand identity gives an edge over competitors. It simply makes your brand stand out from the crowd and helps establish trust. A business website is an essential component of brand identity as in the modern world, it is a strong way to communicate with your customers. It helps you tell your audience about your values and the things your business stands for. Thus, having a rental website is an essential component of your brand strategy.
Technology-based businesses have a high potential to scale, grow, and disrupt the market. For this reason, they are able to attract investors. In the beginning, you may be bootstrapped but as you scale and want to expand your business, you may need investment. For securing that investment, having a highly functional technology base can help. A rental website can help you prove the scalability of your ski and snowboard rental business to investors along with displaying your resilience.
Mostly, page builders and custom development come to a founder’s mind when thinking about web development. However, both these approaches are a bit irrelevant when building a rental website because of the following reasons:
In 2024, there is a more efficient way to develop a rental website that includes using a tried and tested readymade software. A readymade rental solution is inclusive of all essential features required to conduct online ski and snowboard rental operations. Moreover, as everything is available right out of the box, the overall development timeframe and Time-to-Market are bare minimum. Unlike custom development, you also don’t need to pay hourly development costs.
There are numerous ski rental software and snowboard rental software available in the market with each having its own benefits. However, only some rental software are revised with the modern market dynamics and can promise a highly convenient rental experience. To find out such competent ski and snowboard rental software, you can take care of a few things.
As per McKinsey, users expect software-based customer experiences to be on par with those provided by the leading players. This is where ease of use plays a major role. A user-intuitive interface is not only essential for customers on the front end but is also equally important for the back end managing business owners and admins. The key things that matter in the user interface of a rental software are how easy it is to navigate through and how simple are the workflows. Similarly, business owners should be easily able to navigate through multiple settings, such as viewing and editing listings, orders, webpages, and more.
As described above, rental websites are different from regular eCommerce websites. As they have a different workflow that includes distinct backend operations, such as processing rental dates, tracking overdue returns, and managing rental security, your ski and snowboard rental software requires a dedicated rent-centric set of features. Some of the features that you should look for in your software are:
Although numerous rental software are already available in the market, due to time constraints, it is not possible for them to provide features to cover every new use case or facilitate every new rental business idea. As a result, it is highly possible to find a few features that you require missing in all rental solutions. The only solution to this problem is to opt for a customizable rental software. This way, you can get the software provider to custom develop the code for all missing functionalities and help you accurately materialize your business idea.
With time, your business will grow. When that happens, you will be dealing with hundreds or probably thousands of new customers and transactions every month. Unfortunately, not every rental software is scalable enough to support this growth. As a result, you may need to reinvest in some other software. Thus, the best precaution against the scalability issue is investing in a highly scalable solution. To ensure this, make sure there are no restrictions on the number of listings, transactions, and users.
Also, it is a common practice in the market to provide software solutions whose only top-tier versions are scalable. This is especially true with SaaS solutions. Meaning, while you can get started with a base package, to accommodate growth, the software will require you to upgrade to premium packages, increasing your overall investment in rental software. It is best advised to ignore such solutions.
Selecting a software base for any business takes multiple decisions. Not to mention, the time and money that you invest separately. After so much effort, it only makes sense for the software solution to provide long-term value. However, this is not always the case. There are many ski and snowboard rental software available in the market that do provide value in the short term, but soon become unusable due to missing features, heavy upgrade costs, and low scalability. On top of it, SaaS solutions also have recurring costs that make it impossible to reach a break-even point for your software investment.
Thus, to find out the actual value of your software, calculate its total ownership costs for a minimum period of at least 5 years. Include any upgradation costs and scalability costs that will be directly paid to the software provider. Also, making sure that your software has all the required features in the first place to start your business is an effective method to ensure the long-term value of the software.
Here’s how you can develop a ski and snowboard rental website by using a readymade rental software.
The domain name with which users will recognize your brand, needs to be highly impressive. It can be indicative of your rental service, for example, ‘rental.burton.com’. Such a domain name not only helps customers remember your store but also links you with the rental service and makes you more memorable for renting out skis and snowboards.
A few more rental domain name examples:
*All these domain names are already registered trademarks of Yo!Rent-powered rental stores and solely shared for reference purposes.
Note: When selecting a SaaS-based rental software, many business owners make the mistake of selecting the free subdomain generated by the software. That subdomain remains a property of the SaaS company, thus, automatically binding you with the software. This causes migration or scalability problems at a later stage. A simple solution to this problem is to get your own domain that you can use for years.
A readymade rental software is the modern alternative to custom development and page builders that we discussed earlier. What makes rental software highly suitable for conducting online ski and snowboard rental operations is that they have been developed after taking into account the several use cases of a rental business. Right from accepting online orders and managing rental security to keeping track of overdue returns and inventory, everything can be managed easily with a rental software.
Most importantly, you don’t even need to have any technical knowledge in order to use the rental software nor have to build your website from scratch.
After installing the rental software, do some primary configuration such as setting up your business logo, contact information, and bank details. You can also start listing your products on the website which will be displayed on the product pages, homepage categories, and at various other sections of the website. Listing products may take some time depending on the size of your inventory. For this reason, it is wiser to list your primary products first.
With the help of the features readily available in the software, you can start renting out skiing and snowboarding equipment. In the beginning, you can promote your business amongst your family and friends and also use social media ads to generate leads. Attending snowboarding meetups and joining online groups can also help you promote your business.
Some additional tips to help you successfully run an online ski and snowboard rental business are:
Based on the aforementioned information, we need a rental software that is highly scalable, customizable, easy to use, and comes with dedicated features to help you launch a robust ski and snowboard rental website. As per our recommendation, Yo!Rent rental software precisely meets this criteria.
Yo!Rent is a self-hosted rental software that comes with a lifetime usage license. It has been built by industry experts who are familiar with the various use cases and challenges of the rental industry and thus, is able to streamline numerous rental operations for business owners. Additionally, the fully customizable nature of Yo!Rent gives you the flexibility to add any new features or integrate your favorite business tools in the software.
As Yo!Rent supports unlimited listings, transactions, and user profiles, it can accommodate business growth right from the startup level to the enterprise level. With Yo!Rent’s 20+ payment gateways and multi-lingual support, it is also easy to expand your business operations to new markets and regions. Lastly, to ensure uninterrupted business operations, Yo!Rent comes with one year of free technical support.
Skiing and snowboarding are the two most popular and forever winter sports with everlasting demand. This means that there will always be innovation in the industry, followed by fierce market competition. Many new players will enter the industry with their unique value proposition and even challenge the current leading players. One way to be quick on this route is to capitalize on digitalization and launch online rental stores. The value proposition of your ski and snowboard rental store should be carefully set after closely analyzing the market trends. For any assistance in marketing and management, you can use your rental software’s built-in features and modules.
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