Micromobility is rapidly replacing the traditional means of commuting particularly in densely populated urban areas. Apart from avoiding congestion, people are also able to reduce cost of traveling and time consumption. A number of bike sharing business models have emerged as a result with dockless and stationed bikes being the most prominent ones.
The types of bike also vary as users can seek motorbike, bicycle, or scooters. Regardless of the underlying business model, the acquisition of efficient technology and execution of effective marketing strategies are essential to start bike sharing business.
The first part of this article shares the factors that make bike sharing a highly sustainable business. Later in the text, the appropriate technologies and marketing strategies associated with this business are discussed. Meanwhile, it also mentions modules and features of CabStartup platform.
Why is On-demand Bike Sharing Business Highly Effective?
There are numerous reasons causing sustainability of bike sharing. Following five are the most significant ones.
Cost of Bike Sharing Operations
Before the advent of bike sharing services, the urban dwellers faced of dilemma of choosing between public transit and taxi services. While former takes excessively greater time in most circumstances, the latter is considerably expensive.
Bike sharing provides a decent alternative particularly to cover distances less than five miles. It is highly popular among the residents living in a 5 mile radius of a bus or subway station. By utilizing a bike, they can cover the distance between their residents and nearest station notably quicker. Besides, they also save money otherwise spent on taxi services.
An extensive study exploring reasons for using bike share reveals that 73% of Washington DC residents acquire services to save time while 25% for saving costs. Another research from the UK demonstrates contrasting yet still encouraging results. It notes 66% residents saving costs while an impressive 78% for time saving.
Excessive Security Features
A decade back, bike sharing was widely perceived as impractical due to the inability of startups to offer security framework. The problem persists in some areas where modern bikes are unavailable. Baltimore Bike Share in the US, Gobee in France and Hong Kong, Wukong in China, and oBike in Singapore present some of the notable examples of Bike sharing services shutting down due to vandalism.
Fortunately, the significant enhancement in design and software has resulted in remarkable drop in stealing and vandalism incidents. For instance, the top bike share operators ensure that the GPS remains inside the frame of vehicle so that it cannot be detached and remains on at all times.
The manufacturers have also introduced bike whose bolts and nuts cannot be removed since the removal requires screw drivers of unique shape. They ensure that bell and headlight remains integrated and fixed within the frame.
Encouraging Bike Sharing Statistics
Statistics from around the world in general and the US in particular indicate that bike sharing industry is growing rapidly. Although each year saw an increase in the number of users, yet 2018 remained incredible after the arrival of e-scooters. Following information compiled by NACTO shows 240% annual increase in the number of trips in 2018.
Dockless bike share companies could not attract sufficient users in 2017. However, they also managed to attain a decent user-base in 2018. One noteworthy reason for these admirable statistics is the fact that bike share companies are incorporating mature technology. The results include a reduced cost of operations and more sustainable revenue generation sources.
Western Europe demonstrates even more encouraging results. The Netherlands was already the leader in utilization of bike sharing with a rate of 1.3 bicycles per person – most in the world. The next ten countries in this list are also Europeans sitting above Canada and the US.
Flexibility to Expand Business Model
It does not matter much whether you start with a dockless bike or a stationed one. Bike sharing business allows expansion of business model in the future provided the underlying dispatch platform is flexible enough. In fact, you may also add bike-taxi and three wheelers in future. However, the vehicles in these business models require gig workers to operate them as in on-demand taxi businesses.
Dockless bike share is the best bet if you want to keep the initial cost at minimum. This model saves cost otherwise spent on the installation and maintenance of stations. Moreover, it also prevents cost for service agents’ share.
What you need to ensure at the beginning is the efficiency of entire business process regardless of its scale. Investors are more interested in economic sustainability. Thus, they want you to gain a considerable user-base in the opening year.
Bike Sharing is Crucial in Urban Areas
Urban congestion predominantly emerging from excessive number of cars is one of the most challenging problems. Governments in all states of the US, Western Europe and beyond are convinced that bike sharing is crucial toward decreasing this congestion. Many national firms and welfare organizations are funding startups that aim at providing promising services.
Also read: Success Factors of Rideshare Business Model
The statistics demonstrating survey results indicate that users are also interested in micromobility for its ability to save time and cost. One credible survey confirms 61% people taking shared bikes while traveling to work to avoid congestion. Following image from NACTO visualizes the presence of bike sharing across the Mainland US.
While congestion is a major reason, it is not the only driving force of micromobility. Environmental concerns also provide a significant cause. The city administrations in most US states are aiming to reduce car ownership and encourage commuters to use means of share mobility.
How to Start a Bike Share Business
Launching a bike sharing startup requires extensive research and acquisition of the most appropriate technology. Following checklist enables you to implement this business model with significant efficacy.
Demographic and Geographic Segmentation
A range of reasons govern public’s decision to choose one mode of transport over another. The age groups, socioeconomic situations, geography, and law and order among others participate in this decision making process. Some of the specific factors include:
- Amount of traffic congestion in urban areas.
- Cost of traveling by taxi or personal vehicle.
- Time consumed while traveling by public transit.
- Crime rate to measure the probability of bike robbery.
- Population density or student density in cases of operating in colleges.
Demographic segmentation implies classifying regional population in terms of social norms, financial situations, and probable age groups among which bike sharing would be popular. Geographic segmentation involves circumstances which are specific to a region.
For instance, the quality of law and order, temperature variations, and amount of population concentrated in a square mile area. Knowing these parameters ahead of launch is vital to align business strategy with regional limitations and opportunities.
Behavioral and Psychographic Segmentation
The interests and motivational factors of potential users vary inside a geographical region too. However, there is no practical way to find the interests as long as your bike sharing business does not kick start. Thus, these segmentations are performed later unlike demographic and geographic ones.
You would require data analysis by collecting valid and current data from a range of reliable sources including forums, rating platforms, user feedback, and social media. While behavioral analysis reveal the current shortcomings in marketing and technologies, psychographic segmentation allows projecting future trends by considering current statistical patterns.
“To succeed in business you need to be original, but you also need to understand what your customers want.” (Richard Branson)
The Data Science Department at CabStartup performs a comprehensive data analysis for clients to determine success factors and blockers. Careful segmentation is crucial for building reputation of your bike sharing startup. Besides, you can introduce promotional campaigns that are most relevant to the targeted niches.
If you are planning to launch bike share services in an urban area of developing or a developed country, you are likely to face a competition. Although it would be challenging in one perspective, yet you need to perceive it as one of your advantages. Having similar businesses already operating in the same market allows you not to repeat the mistakes they did. It also enables you to find a range of revenue sources employed by existing players.
Working with the clients, CabStartup knows most of the frequently occurring challenges posed by their competitors. They would provide discounts through subsidies in the areas where you operate so that consumers stay loyal to them.
The experience of this industry also enabled us to learn that collaborations with businesses become a decent source of revenue. For instance, DoorDash collaborated with McDonald’s to attain a significant increase in the number of customers. Besides, it also gained profits by promoting advertisements from McDonald’s.
One of your best bets is to go ahead and shake hands with a competitor while keeping your business identity intact. This practice would turn a potential competition into an effort toward mutual growth.
Bike Sharing Technology Acquisition
The more you understand the customer, the better you would be able to decide about the kind of technology you would intend to access. Bike sharing app and associated technologies can have a range of features. These features in turn allow implementation of various business models including bike-taxi, dockless bikes, and stationed bikes among others.
Regardless of the underlying business model, some of the components are essential to every on-demand bike sharing software. CabStartup platform already includes each of these essential components shared below. You may choose to add more modules as per your business need.
Bike Sharing App Customization
CabStartup platform includes a comprehensive app which already includes the essential features required for bike sharing app. Each user has to have a separate profile to seek bike sharing services. Distinct profiles enable users as well as administrators to keep a track of each ride and payment records. Besides, profiles also enable you to block users or place limitations who do not comply with the rules.
- Two-tap booking implies the ability to book a ride as quickly as two clicks on one’s smartphone once the app is opened.
- Proximity search enables users to find the nearest bikes, scooters, and bicycles.
- Encrypted chat ensures that the conversation remains private between the two connecting parties.
- Real-time tracking is applicable in cases of bike-taxi to track the location of agents.
- The app provides fare estimation and, in many cases, shares the precise fare ahead of trip beginning.
- Customers can rate the ride and also receive push notifications wherever applicable.
- Trip history enables them to access record of any previous trip.
Moreover, you can customize the app according to your business requirements. CabStartup offers complete branding identity including logo, colors, icons, snips, promo codes for only $50.
Also read: Learn more: CabStartup Pricing
Dispatch Panel Customization
This cloud-based platform also includes admin and dispatch panels to ensure quality assurance and automating repetitive tasks. Dispatch panel serves you in the following ways.
- It ensures security of riders by tracking them wherever they go. The panel generates an alarm as soon as bike moves out of the designated area called geo-fence.
- The dispatch panel is capable of automatically dispatching a bike once an eligible user makes a request.
- Disputes often occur for a range of reasons. You can settle disputes with users by verifying records.
Bike sharing business requires more surveillance than bike-taxi services. Dispatch Panel provides you a significant competitive advantage in bike sharing market.
Admin Panel Customization
Since hundreds and later thousands of users would use your app to seek bike sharing services, the app would generate huge amount of data. You can use this data to develop meaningful insights using analytics tools. CabStartup offers comprehensive dashboards in its platform to share business insights. Apart from business analytics, Admin Panel also provides following administrative capabilities.
- If you offer bike-taxi services, you can approve, block, or temporarily suspend any gig worker.
- You can simply drag-and-drop to modify or entirely redefine geo-fence. Besides, you can also update fare calculation policy easily.
- A tool integrated in admin panel automatically calculates the commission of each stakeholder at the end of each ride.
- You may define access hierarchy within the organization to hide data from irrelevant employees.
- Admin panel enables you to comfortably compile and send promotional discounts and referral codes.
Top stationed and dockless bike sharing companies provide multiple payment choices to users. Apart from credit card, they can choose to pay via other online payment systems or, in some regions, through hard cash. CabStartup uses Braintree, a subsidiary of PayPal for payment besides credit card.
You can also choose to have a custom payment gateway. In essence, the users would be able to pay via a payment service branded under the name of your choice. The payment gateway name may also be the same as your bike sharing business name. CabStartup offers custom payment gateway integration with platform for $3000 only.
Backend and Cloud
CabStartup cloud-based platform enables you to comfortably scale up the business adding more regions and accommodating more users without performance shortfalls. The platform allows real-time update of data. For instance, the changes made to passenger app would reflect immediately reflect in admin and dispatch panels.
Cloud-platforms are better than on-premises servers because you have to pay for only as much space as you use. Moreover, the platform can seamlessly process hundreds of requests per second.
The backend of apps and both panels is powered with the most trusted and credible technologies. CabStartup experts use frameworks and tools that are extensively tested. Apart from this platform for car and bike sharing business models, CabStartup provides backend-as-a-service (BaaS) to multiple organizations.
Branding and Marketing
Final but a crucial set of steps on the path to start a bike share business is to perform branding and marketing. Branding is significant to associate unique identity with your business. Your business logo, color scheme, icons, and snippets tell your company apart from competitors.
You need to reach as many users as you can to make business sustainable. An extensive bike sharing marketing campaign including both digital and traditional strategies helps in doing this job.
When it comes to digital marketing, social media and top search engines are the crucial. You need to expand your digital presence by attracting more followers offering social media channels. For search engines, you can write blogs which redirect potential users to your app.
Are you up for this?
CabStartup has powered on-demand startups and assisted traditional businesses in 18 countries until now with most of the projects underway in Mainland US. We are pushing are boundaries into the seas as well by raising water taxi startups in Australia. Our professionals are not only assisting with platform and developing brands but also provide consultation services.
We love to work on new ideas and reinventing traditional ideas with new developments. Would you like to test our platform before subscribing it? Here is a free trial of entire platform for as many as two weeks. Moreover, there are no charges for first two drivers registered under any business. Start right now!