How to start your business with the appropriate bike-sharing business plan?

“It is a rapidly growing global phenomenon: bikes of different breeds zipping through cities, being picked up and deposited at will. They belong to companies, not members of the public. The future of cycling could be sharing, not owning one,” wrote The Bike Europe, source of industry news, data, and analysis for the e-bike and bicycle industry’s decision-makers, at the start of this year. And the pandemic hasn't changed the situation significantly. 

According to a recent eight nation survey Oliver Wyman conducted with approximately 6,000 respondents, 44% of riders said they would be willing to increase their dependence on the service (shared vehicles and ride-hailing) in the future. 34% said they planned to use it as much as before the pandemic. 

Accordingly, there is a pretty big interest in starting a business based on a bike-sharing service. Every business should start with a detailed business plan. Here, we are going to explain how to create a business plan that it would be appropriate to implement in your business.

Mind the differences

If you are a newcomer or even if you have ride-sharing business experience, the first thing to remember before preparing a business plan - every vehicle sharing model is specific and has its own differences to keep in mind. 

In regard to bikes, it is important to remember that users are usually willing to take the bike from one docking station and return it to another. Sometimes, it is located on the other side of the city. So the service provider should calculate capacity, as well as vehicle availability in the most popular parts of the city during rush hours. That might be crucial. 

Know your customer

Before taking further steps and making any decision you must know your audience. So it is the right time to do market research. The first thing to do is to define the characteristics of your customer by identifying:

  1. Age - what is the age range of your customer more likely to use your services? What group of customer generations do they belong to? For example, people born in the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2000s are referred to as Generation Z. There are some characteristics that identify their behavioral patterns, so you already know what they might and might not like. 
  2. Gender - do you plan to communicate with men, women, or both sexes? There are differences.
  3. Marital status and family - it might influence how the person is moving through the city. For example, if she or he must take into account the plans of their partner while scheduling their everyday activities.
  4. Location - what are the most likely points which your potential customer is moving between in the city?
  5. Income - how likely they are willing to use bike-sharing? And how much they would be willing to pay for the service?
  6. Language - what language are you going to use to communicate with your audience? And what languages you should make available on your app.

Usually, several groups can be identified according to these characteristics. The next step is to find people that are representing each group, talk to them and test your hypothesis and assumptions towards them. 

You can also calculate quite precisely the size of your target market. You can find it out by calculating the TAM, SAM, and SOM. TAM is the total available market for the service, for example, the total amount of users. SAM is a serviceable available market in the area you have chosen to operate. SOM is a serviceable obtainable market - a portion of the available market that you are willing to serve.

Choose what suits you best

After you have defined your target market and potential audience, you may start to consider what works best for your customer. There are three options to choose your bike-sharing business from and to put into your bike-sharing business plan:

  1. dockless bike-sharing - bicycles are freely available to potential users and they are not located at docking stations. Vehicles can be unlocked using a mobile app and afterward returned to a particular bike rack or even left along the sidewalk. This model is more suitable for tourists and other short-term use cases. Usually, dockless sharing services offer single rides for a small fee, for example, $1 or monthly fees for continuous use. The biggest risk of this model is high operational costs, as well as a bigger risk for vandalism or damage to the bikes;
  2. station-based bike-sharing - bikes are into docking stations and users can unlock them to have a ride. In addition, users must return the bike to the same or another docking station. Providers of this model usually offer payment of a flat membership fee plus the fee for the amount of time spent on the road. This is a good choice for the business due to low operational costs for maintenance or relocation. However, dockless bikes are becoming more accessible so there is a risk that a potential user will choose the service with no strings attached rather than one where he has to follow certain rules in terms of the place to leave his bike; 
  3. corporate bike sharing - in this case, the service provider takes care of the maintenance and relocation of bikes, if needed, but bikes are owned by the corporation. Most likely, the owner will make bikes available to its employees or use them as a magnet for their business, for example, if the company additionally owns a hotel or entertainment park. This model is the best for any operator. The only and quite significant risk is that the corporate partner can decide to leave this business at any time.

To sum it all up, the dockless bike-sharing model is more convenient for users but involves higher risks for service providers. Station-based bike-sharing is less risky for the service provider, but not as convenient for the end-user. So while making the bike-sharing business plan, the choice should be made depending on the other market players and the risks you are willing to take. And if you have a corporate partner, who is willing to buy bikes and you have to operate the fleet - do it, but remember that you can be left alone at some point.

Calculate all costs

The most important part of the business plan is to find a balance between revenue and costs. If you haven't had a ride-sharing business previously, you would be wise to understand and consider all costs that you will have to cover with your revenue stream. Here are the most important positions you have to think of:

  1. vehicle purchase costs - it is recommended that you start with a small fleet and test your business model. However, you will need a first investment to purchase your fleet. And keep in mind that after some time vehicles should be changed, so consider including depreciation costs in your bike-sharing business plan;
  2. IT costs - vehicles are just part of the business. The other part is software and apps that allow people to rent a vehicle and you run your bike-sharing business. You can develop the software from scratch. However, there are already appropriate ready-made solutions in the market that have all the functions you might need. For example, ATOM has been operating on the global market since 2018 and has all the expertise you might need;  
  3. marketing costs - what is the budget you are ready to invest so that people are informed about your service? Consider all options, for example, social media, local media, your own media (web site, newsletter). Think of the bonuses that you can offer to the client, for example, free rides. However, keep in mind that every bonus reduces your profit margin. Average statistics for fast-growing companies indicate that they invest 10-20% of turnover on marketing;
  4. maintenance costs - proper service should be provided to expand the vehicle’s lifecycle as well as to provide clients with the perfect service. So you will need a team of people that can check vehicles every day all over the city;
  5. costs for the customer support - your customers will look for options on how to contact you if they have questions while starting to use or using the service. You have to have somebody or even a small team ready to answer them.
  6. other costs - you have to hire an accountant. You may require legal support. You will have to cover fees to be able to use the payment system. 

You should consider making a total investment of EUR 15,000-30,000 to launch a small test bike-sharing fleet (30-50 bikes). For a proper full-scale and successful launch with several hundreds of bikes, you will need a total investment of EUR 70,000-100,000. 

What is your bike-sharing business model?

Your business model is the way you will get revenues from your service. A lot of different business models exist in the bike-sharing market. When you think of yours, take a look at what your competitors are doing and think of ways how you can be more attractive to customers. In addition, you have to consider location and take seasonality into account. And one more thing - act fast! This can be crucial for your future success. ATOM allows you to launch your bike-sharing business within a few weeks. Learn more about ATOM's solution for shared mobility.

Interested in launching your own mobility platform?

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Everything you need to know before starting your car-sharing business
Everything you need to know before starting your car-sharing business

What is car-sharing & how does it work? What's the car-sharing business model? How to launch a car-sharing business? Find out here.

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Is it a good time to start a car-sharing business? Absolutely. 

The car-sharing market is booming – it's estimated to grow 20% every year and reach a $20 billion market value by 2032. That's nearly a sevenfold increase from 2022's $2.9 billion valuation. 

Despite app-based vehicle sharing being a relatively new entrant in the mobility ecosystem, it has exploded in popularity. People have been quick to pick up on its convenience and ease of use, especially in urban centers where maintaining a private vehicle grows increasingly costly and bothersome. 

This spells an opportunity for entrepreneurs keen to answer real mobility demand. 

But what is car-sharing and how does it work? What does the business model look like? And what are the first steps for getting started?
Find the answers below. 

What is car-sharing and how does it work?

Car-sharing is an app-based mobility service that allows individuals to rent vehicles on a short-term basis. With this service, users gain access to a fleet of vehicles which are typically stationed throughout a city, ensuring that there's always a car conveniently nearby.

The user's journey and benefits of car-sharing

Through an app on their smartphone, users can locate, book, and unlock the closest available vehicle, as well as pay for their journey automatically by adding payment details, thus providing a seamless experience and quick access to a car. Other common benefits for users include not having to worry about fuel or insurance, as those are included in the price. 

Cities often encourage the use of shared mobility since it helps decongest streets, free up parking, and minimize the environmental impact of private vehicles on the city. Accordingly, public-private partnerships are common, conferring further benefits for users of this type of shared mobility: free parking, free use of bus lanes, and more. 

How does car-sharing work: the business perspective

On the business side of things, the operator is responsible for ensuring that maintenance and logistical tasks for their fleet are taken care of. 

This includes regular maintenance tasks, such as vehicle check-ups, repairs, fuel fill-ups, and cleaning. Also, if you have a free-floating model (where users can leave their cars anywhere), the operator should regularly relocate cars to optimal locations for continued user convenience and reliability.

Beyond deploying and maintaining their fleet, operators also oversee the smooth functioning of their mobility app, as well as take care of user verification, namely, ensuring that the people signing up are who they say they are and have valid driver licenses. Of course, like any other business, customer support and other responsibilities tied to running the operation are a given.

The car-sharing business model

So far, we have listed a lot of expenses – maintenance, management, insurance, IT. Add to this salaries, operational overheads, and buying or renting the fleet itself. How do businesses recoup all these expenses and turn a profit? 

Note: Since car-sharing businesses operate at scale, they should aim to negotiate lower rates with service providers.

Car-sharing businesses make use of several revenue sources. First and foremost, customers are charged for the time/distance use of the car. Additionally, branding and cross-promotion partnerships (e.g. advertising on the car or the app) are often used to secure additional revenue. It may also be sensible to create membership or loyalty programs to ensure recurring revenue, by offering subscribers added benefits, such as access to premium cars or longer reservation times. 

The aim is to have your cars on the road as much as possible, so enterprises typically focus on maximizing vehicle usage and revenue per vehicle. Finding success is about finding balance in a constantly changing landscape – having too few cars may lead to overbooking and dissatisfaction with lack of availability, whereas having too many will lead to inefficient use of resources. 

How to start a car-sharing business

As with any business, launching a car-sharing project requires research, investment, development, and strategy. Let's take a look at each in turn. 

1. Market research

When exploring opportunities for starting a car-sharing business, numerous factors must be considered.

Audience and demand 

Understanding the demographics, preferences, and behaviors of your potential users is crucial. As is determining the level of demand. Some questions you should answer include:

  • Who is my target audience – urban commuters, occasional travelers?
  • What are their demographics? How should you communicate with them?
  • What segment offers the most promise – B2C, B2B?

Competition

Identifying who's already operating in your area and why (or why not) can help you get a better grasp of what works and what doesn't. Some questions you should answer include:

  • Who are my competitors – other car/ride-sharing businesses, public transportation?
  • How can I differentiate my business from others?
  • Has any previous similar business failed in this area – why? 

Legal and logistical considerations

Determining whether there are any legal/practical barriers to launching your operations is a smart thing to do before you invest too much time and money into your project. Consider:

  • What are the legal requirements for operating this type of business in your area?
  • How will you handle insurance and liability issues for your fleet?
  • How and where will you run your day-to-day operations? If you're thinking about going electric – does the area have the necessary infrastructure?

While answering these questions isn't necessarily a prerequisite for launching your business, dealing with them early on can save you a lot of headaches down the road. 

2. Investment

How much capital do you need to launch a car-sharing business? 

It depends most on whether you're planning to rent or buy vehicles for your fleet. While renting is more accessible in the short term, it will take a sizable bite out of your profit. Owning your vehicles is typically the preferred option, as this offers price stability, long-term cost efficiency, freedom of operations, and other benefits. 

To get a ballpark estimate for the starting investment, you should add up the total price of cars (EUR 12,000-20,000 per vehicle), insurance, car-sharing software procurement and maintenance, as well as expected operational overhead for getting started. It may also be wise to put aside some funds for unexpected expenses such as repairs.

3. Development and launch strategy

Securing the vehicles and necessary permits can take a while, and you should account for this. During this time, you should put your plans into practice. Establish maintenance protocols and logistical plans for efficient fleet management. Implement user verification processes and responsive customer support for a secure and positive user experience. 

As to the IT infrastructure, you can save a lot of resources by choosing a white-label IT solution to power your app and dramatically accelerate your time-to-market. Platforms like ATOM Mobility can equip your business with the app you need – all you have to do is customize it

Speaking of customization, don't forget about branding. Create a compelling brand identity and plan for targeted launch and marketing campaigns to generate awareness the moment your business is ready for its first customers. 

Your car-sharing business journey starts here

Now you know how to start a business in this industry – entering this thriving market demands a blend of user-centric strategies and astute business decisions. But the key to success is reliable partners that can guide you in the right direction. 

Get in touch with ATOM Mobility to discover how you can power your new enterprise the smart way.

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32 shared mobility stats from 2023 you should know in 2024
32 shared mobility stats from 2023 you should know in 2024

From the rise of ride-hailing services to the increasing popularity of shared vehicles, the industry's landscape is evolving rapidly. This article presents 32 key statistics from 2023 that provide valuable insights into the current state and future prospects of the shared mobility sector, offering a comprehensive overview for industry stakeholders and observers.

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The shared mobility industry has experienced significant growth and transformation in 2023, with various segments such as ride-sharing, vehicle rental, and micro-mobility witnessing substantial changes.

From the rise of ride-hailing services to the increasing popularity of shared vehicles, the industry's landscape is evolving rapidly. This article presents 32 key statistics from 2023 that provide valuable insights into the current state and future prospects of the shared mobility sector, offering a comprehensive overview for industry stakeholders and observers.

General – Shared mobility industry

The global shared mobility market is expanding rapidly, projecting a substantial increase in revenues and ridership. By 2030, it is poised to double its share of urban transport journeys from 2023. Additionally, the number of individuals earning from shared mobility services is forecasted to rise notably. 

In Europe, shared vehicle services demonstrate considerable growth, with an increase in multi-mobility users. At the same time, European cities are the strictest shared micromobility regulators, limiting the number of operators and implementing various rules.

Global

  1. The shared mobility market worldwide revenue was projected to reach US$1.43T in 2023. Statista
  1. Shared mobility is expected to make up 7% of all urban transport journeys globally by 2030, up from 3% in 2023. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. The global shared mobility market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 41.65% from 2023 until 2030. Shared Mobility Market Analysis Report
  1. More than nine million people were estimated to earn an income from shared mobility services in 2023, and the number is forecasted to grow to 16M by 2030. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. In the shared vehicles market, the number of users is expected to amount to 5.09B users by 2027. Statista
  1. The average revenue per user (ARPU) was expected to amount to US$180.90 in 2023. Statista
  1. In global comparison, most revenue from shared mobility is generated in China (US$358B in 2023). Statista
  1. Africa has the strongest income growth from shared mobility services: jobs are expected to increase by 113% from 2023 to 2030. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. Ride-hailing drivers typically earn above the minimum wage in Europe (+37% in Berlin and +91% in Tallinn) and above the wages for jobs with comparable skill levels in Africa (up to +130% in South Africa and Nigeria). Shared Mobility's Global Impact

Europe & UK

  1. There is a significant growth in the use of shared vehicle services, with a 221% increase recorded. Free Now report
  1. The number of multi-mobility users has also grown by 27%. Free Now report
  1. Comparing Q3 2022 and Q3 2023, shared mobility ridership is up 1%, and fleets are down 2%, meaning Total Vehicle Distance (TVD) slightly improved across the board. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Out of 32 European authorities that regulate shared micromobility operations, more than two-thirds have implemented rules on geofencing (26), parking (25), removal or repositioning of vehicles (25), fleet size limits (24), and fleet rebalancing and redistribution (22). POLIS report on How European Cities are regulating Shared Micromobility
  1. Around half of the European authorities limit the number of operators, demand insurance, set speed limits, specify conditions for vehicles and their maintenance, and have instructions for the end of operations. POLIS report on How European Cities are regulating Shared Micromobility 
  1. Juniper Research has ranked Berlin as the leading smart city in Europe in 2023 thanks to its mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) app Jelbi, which incorporates public and private transport. Other cities in the European top five are London, Barcelona, Rome and Madrid. Cities Today

Cars

Shared car ridership has increased significantly, with notable upward trends in Q3 2023. The global ride-hailing market is also projected to witness substantial growth, with increased user numbers and an uptick in popularity over taxis in the United States. In Europe, German cities, led by Berlin, continue to dominate in total shared car ridership. 

  1. Shared car ridership has grown by 22% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. The car-sharing market size was worth USD 2.9B in 2022 and is estimated to showcase around 20% CAGR from 2023 to 2032. Global Market Insights
  1. The biggest increase of car ridership in Europe in 2023 happened in Riga, thanks to the emergence of Bolt Drive. Antwerp saw the 2nd most growth due to the introduction of Miles Mobility Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. German cities continue to dominate the rankings for total ridership per city. In Berlin, there are 30% more shared cars on the streets than in 2022. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. The ride-hailing market worldwide is projected to grow by 6.97% (2023-2028), resulting in a market volume of US$215.70B in 2028. Statista
  1. Ride-hailing services were anticipated to hit a record number of users in 2023, with an additional 6.6M users in the US, representing a 10.1% increase and finally recouping its pandemic-era losses. Insider Intelligence
  1. In the United States, ride-hailing is reported to be used more frequently than taxis, with around a fifth of respondents being occasional users of ride-sharing services. Statista

Electric scooters and mopeds

Electric scooter (e-scooter) ridership has declined, although it remains the predominant shared mobility choice, constituting 42% of total ridership. Moped ridership in Europe has similarly decreased, influenced by exits of key market players. 

E-scooters have emerged as an environmentally friendly alternative, with 10% of rides directly replacing car journeys. Citizen referendums in Paris and evolving regulations in Amsterdam reflect the dynamic landscape of the electric scooter and moped market.

  1. E-scooter ridership has fallen by 14% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023. That said, scooters are still the most popular shared mobility transport mode, with 42% total ridership. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Moped ridership in Europe has fallen by 28% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023 due to the departure of some players in key markets. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Electric scooter usage patterns show 10% of rides directly replace car journeys. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. Thus, e-scooters have contributed to a reduction of up to 120M car-kilometers traveled, helping to reduce car-related emissions by an estimated 30,000 tons of CO2e. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. On 2 April 2023, Paris held a referendum on shared e-scooters, and 90% of voters gave their vote against renewing the contract of three shared micromobility companies to operate around 5,000 e-scooters each. CNBC
  1. In Amsterdam, moped ridership has grown by 22% despite new regulations on helmets being brought into effect. Q2 2023 European Shared Mobility Index

Bikes

The global bike-sharing market shows significant growth. In Europe, station-based bikes have increased in popularity. Dockless bikes experienced an impressive surge as well, following the 2023 scooter ban in Paris. Overall, bike fleets and ridership are expanding across major European cities, contributing to a robust Trips/Vehicle/Day (TVD) ratio.

  1. The global bike-sharing market is projected to reach US$12.68 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.71% from 2023 to 2027. Statista
  1. Station-based bike ridership in Europe has grown by 11% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023. Station-based bikes are the second most popular shared mobility transport mode, with 30% total ridership. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. After the 2023 scooter ban in Paris, dockless bikes have boomed 144%. Dockless bike ridership more than doubled YoY in September (x2.5) and October 2023 (x2.3).  Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Fleets and ridership are growing across Europe, especially in cities like Paris, London,Copenhagen and Antwerp. The combined TVD of dockless and station-based bikes is a very healthy 2.9. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index

Rolling into 2024

The shared mobility market continues to expand. With ride-sharing and micro-mobility playing pivotal roles, the future of shared mobility appears promising. The insights gathered from these statistics are crucial for understanding the shared mobility market's trajectory and its implications for the broader transportation ecosystem.

Let's make 2024 a year of shared mobility!

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