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How to Start a Jet Ski Rental Business

On the surface, knowing how to start a jet ski rental business seems rather uncomplicated. After all, you only need to have three basic things: a location close to water, equipment to rent, and knowledge of how to run jet skis. When you start digging deeper into this industry, however, you’ll find out that there are some unique challenges that will be faced in your quest to start this type of business.

If you love spending an afternoon out on the water with jet skis and want to provide that joy to others, then here is what you’re going to need to do.

1. Know what locations are available for water sports use.

Just because there is a body of water near your community doesn’t mean that people can actually use a jet ski on it. Lakes and rivers are not necessarily jet ski locations, even though the waters may be deep enough for the equipment to work. Many interior waterways are also considered to be protected areas where laws prevent the use of any water equipment. Research all laws, including environmental laws, before finalizing any tempting location.

2. You’re going to need to make a capital investment.

Jet skis are not cheap. A new jet ski is going to cost upwards of $10,000 if you’re looking to have a top model to have available for rent. You could save some money by purchasing used equipment at least initially, but used jet skis typically have larger ongoing costs because of the increased need for maintenance. Keep in mind that you’re going to need several jet skis that can run simultaneously in order to start really making some cash.

3. Insurance in the jet ski business is a two-way street.

The first thing you’ll want to look at is covering all of your equipment with a comprehensive insurance policy. If your jet skis aren’t working right, then you’re not making money. It’s also important to remember that accidents are going to happen from time to time when people are using a jet ski. Consider setting up a relationship with an insurance provider who will provide short-term rider policies that are optional so a customer won’t have to pay full damages for a wrecked jet ski.

4. You’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.

Some days are not going to be appropriate for certain types of jet skis. If you rent equipment out to someone when conditions are unsafe for that equipment, then you could be held responsible for their injuries and the damaged jet ski because you’re considered the industry expert, not the customer. That’s why you’ve got to recognize what days are suitable for a jet ski rental and which days the best option would be to close up the shop.

5. Knowledge is the key to success in this business.

In order to get insurance for your jet ski rental business, you are going to need to have some experience in this industry. Some insurance providers aren’t even going to insure your business if you don’t have at least 36 months of industry experience. To get that experience, you may need to consider getting a job at another jet ski rental agency so that you can learn the ins and outs of what it’s like to take care of the equipment and provide a safe water sports experience.

6. Mark the lines.

Part of your responsibility as a jet ski rental owner is to indicate to your customers where they can safely use the equipment. You may need to install markers out on the waterways so that there are visual indicators of where safe use is allowed and where it is not allowed. A jet ski at full power and speed can overturn a boat, plow through a dock, and blast through other physical barriers. If you don’t indicate to customers where these are and how to avoid them, you could be held responsible for damages.

Remember that jet skis are also considered to be a boat, so users are going to need to have access to life jackets if they are going to head out on the water.

7. Know the costs.

You have three primary costs that are often forgotten about when calculating the overall overhead costs of a jet ski rental business.

You’ve got to put your jet skis somewhere when they aren’t being used. Putting them behind a locked gate in a fenced facility could work, but land space near water ways can be expensive. Incorporate this cost into your initial capital expenses.

You can charge a fuel cost during the rental, but fuel prices fluctuate rapidly. One day you might be making money and then next losing it because of the cost of fuel.

Different jet skis have different reputations for durability. The brand of jet skis you purchase could increase or decrease these costs.

8. Be prepared to offer incentives.

Customers who are looking for a jet ski rental are typically going to call all available businesses within the area to get the best rate. That means you must be flexible enough to extend riding times or the overall rates to generate some extra business. Consider offering customers some specific percentage-based discounts for their ride, especially if they’re booking a group party, and you’ll have a better chance at getting a customer.

9. Secure all of your permits right now.

There are a number of permits that are generally required to get a rental business off the ground. Besides the regular business license, you will often need municipal and regional permits to operate. You will likely need a sales tax license. Many communities charge specific taxes on rentals that are above and beyond sales tax and you may need a specific permit to do this.

Knowing how to start a jet ski rental business can be knowledge that leads to incredible revenue opportunities. Use these tips to get your business started today.

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