So you have chosen the type of vehicle. And of all the transportation means available you have decided that you’ll use cars for your sharing business. Congratulations! You have done the most challenging part. Congratulations! 🥳 😆 The next step is to create a business plan. As this too is not the easiest of tasks, we’ve created a guide for you highlighting the most important things to consider before starting hands-on.
There are a lot of different approaches to start from, but let's start with the one that opens up a wider perspective of your future playground. And this is all about the market assessment. So why not start with the demographic assessment that will later help you to define your target audience.
Demographic assessment is the understanding of your customer profile and finding out how many people meet those criteria in the area you are planning to operate. For example, if your customer profile is young people without their own cars, but for whom having one would make their life easier, you are in the right place. However, it could be that the same age group is not interested in using the car-sharing service because, for example, distances are too small or young people are working in the city nearby and coming home just for the weekend and have no need for a car. There might be different scenarios and each of them should be analyzed separately.
Look at competitors
If there are competitors in the area you’re interested in, this could be both a good as well as a not-so-good sign. It is also a good sign in terms of demand - it means that the service is required in the area in question. However, it could be that market is too small for several companies to operate in, so you should carefully research how many players the market can take.
In addition, consider obtaining all the information you can have about your competitors - their fleet size, how many rides each vehicle makes per day and per month, and their pricing strategy. Any credible source of information works. For example, consider looking into local media. Sometimes company representatives are talkative about their success and future plans so it could be useful for you to analyze the market. You can also use their service and, for example, analyze vehicle odometers from time to time to calculate the distance that a vehicle travels within a week.
There are also talkative customers, who might be willing to share their likes and dislikes about your competitor’s service with you. This could also be a very important source of the information about the business.
Wide range of possible future customers - B2C, B2B, P2P
At the beginning of this article, you might get the feeling that car sharing is about the business-to-consumer (B2C). But your customer could also be another business. For example with the help of your service companies can rent out their vehicles to corporates as well as to logistics, delivery, or even construction companies if the appropriate vehicle type is available. These are not very common solutions and car-sharing is used more often to offer vehicles to people, but some companies also operate very successfully in B2B settings.
However, there are several types of B2C car sharing. There is an option where are the owner of cars and you rent them out with the help of your platform. Car owners could also be other businesses that rent out cars to regular consumers while they are not using them. Another option is peer-to-peer (P2P) renting - people rent out vehicles to other people while they are not using them.
In all these cases, your car-sharing platform is going to be a tool that will help to make cars available. For you, the platform is going to be the most important driver of your revenues.
Regular or electric?
There are fans and supporters of both - regular as well as electric cars. However, personal opinions do not play a crucial role here. What really matters is financial reasoning:
- What is the price of the car? What's the difference in price between regular and electric cars?
- If you have to take a loan, does the bank somehow support one or another type of car?
- Can you get support from the state or the city council? For example, are there special fees for parking electric vehicles that could reduce your costs while the car awaits the next driver?
- What about taxes? Do reduced taxes apply if you use environmentally friendly vehicles?
Price and costs
When you make your choice, in the framework of your business plan you should also plan one step further and look at values like insurance and maintenance costs. A vehicle is one of the most important assets if you decide to have one, but also it generates most of your costs.
At this point, you should already focus on deciding what the price for your service will be. In addition to all nuances mentioned above, you should also take into account the prices that your competitors offer, as well as other costs - salaries for your employees, premises’ rental, etc. And, last but not least, what is your profit going to be and how will you earn money?
One more cost item that you should consider is marketing costs. However, this is a bit easier as these costs are relatively easy to predict and control. Bear in mind though that if you don't invest enough in attracting customers, you won't generate enough revenue. And marketing doesn't end with advertising campaigns. It’s important to create your brand and find your unique selling point - how are you going to be different? You can read more about marketing and other things to keep in mind in this blog post “How to launch a vehicle sharing business in 6 steps?”
The sharing business is complicated from a technological perspective as vehicles should be connected to the software that is connected to the platform used to operate the business. And the platform is also connected to the app used by customers. Everything should work smoothly together. At ATOM we are making life better for those who are willing to use ready-made solutions. However, there are companies that are thinking of creating technical solutions from scratch. This is possible, but you should really ask yourself is it worth it? In this blog post “A white label solution or building your own software - what to choose for your vehicle sharing business?” you can find out more.
That's it! After all these decisions have been made, it seems like you could be ready to go! Finally, let's sum up how much time it takes from business plan to launch:
- ideas and draft of your go-to-market strategy - 1-2 weeks;
- market analysis by taking into account competitors as well as customers - 2 weeks;
- tech decisions on cars and IoT solutions - 1-3 weeks;
- preparing the budget - 1 week (+ at least 15 weeks if funding is required;
- operational plan - 2 weeks;
- hiring - 3 weeks;
- software - 2-4 weeks (in case of using white label solution);
- testing & soft launch - 1 week.
So the most optimistic scenario is that you will be ready to launch your car-sharing business in three to four months. Contact ATOM for additional information. We are here to help our clients succeed.
Click below to learn more or request a demo.
For shared mobility operators, fleet insurance should be one of the top priorities. No matter the size or composition of your fleet, having the right insurance can offer peace of mind by protecting your business from unforeseen situations
However, the insurance question can sometimes seem daunting – especially if you're new to the industry. In this article, we will explore the key things you need to know about insuring your shared micromobility fleet.
Why you need insurance
Operating a shared mobility fleet isn’t always smooth sailing. Accidents can happen – whether it's a minor fender-bender or something more severe. Insurance serves as your safety net, offering financial coverage for repairs, replacements, and even potential legal obligations after an incident.
Here are the main reasons why insurance should be one of the top priorities for shared mobility fleet operators:
Legal compliance: In many places, insurance for shared mobility fleets is a legal requirement. You probably want to comply with these regulations to avoid any potential fines, penalties – or even the suspension of your operations.
Financial security: Insurance also helps keep your business going financially, no matter what happens. Without insurance, accidents, vehicle damage, or theft can seriously impact your finances. Comprehensive insurance coverage can ensure that you're not left scrambling to cover any unexpected expenses.
Understanding shared micromobility insurance
When it comes to insuring micromobility fleets, part of the challenge stems from the fact that the market is relatively new. Some insurance underwriters avoid dealing directly with micromobility because it's seen as an unfamiliar market.
This is where brokers like Cachet and others specializing in micromobility insurance come in. They partner with various insurance underwriters to provide coverage for operators in this field.
When it comes to shared micromobility, insurance coverage generally has a twofold role: safeguarding assets and handling third-party engagement in the event of accidents.
Liability coverage: Securing third-party public liability insurance for shared mobility fleets is not just a matter of choice – in some places, it's mandated by law. This insurance serves to protect pedestrians and riders in the unfortunate event of accidents, providing financial coverage for injuries and damages that may arise. In other words, it's a safety net that offers peace of mind to operators.
When it comes to mandatory third-party liability insurance, the negotiations with the insurance company usually begin by figuring out what the local authorities require to give them a permit. After that, the insurance policy is adjusted to meet the specific demands outlined by these authorities.
Physical damage coverage: This covers the repair or replacement costs of vehicles if they are damaged due to accidents, collisions, vandalism, or theft. Depending on the policy, physical damage coverage may also extend to equipment like GPS devices, charging stations, and other hardware.
What decides your insurance premium payments?
The amount you'll pay in premiums depends on various factors that are specific to your business This includes your fleet's makeup, where and how you operate, and the level of coverage you're aiming for.
Fleet usage: The more a shared micromobility fleet is used, the more chances there are for things to go wrong. When a fleet is in high demand and used often, there's a greater likelihood that something might happen that requires insurance coverage.
Rider behavior: Insurance companies also consider the fleet's ability to predict and manage undesirable rider behavior. Reckless riding, improper parking, or violating traffic rules can significantly increase the risk of accidents and incidents. Operators that have better measures in place to anticipate and mitigate such behaviors can demonstrate a lower risk profile to insurance providers.
Value of the fleet: How much your vehicles are worth individually and as a fleet will affect how much you pay for insurance. If your vehicles are expensive, your insurance premiums will be higher because it would cost more to replace them if they get damaged or lost.
Size of the fleet: Operators can often negotiate more favorable insurance rates for proportionally larger fleets. As the number of vehicles increases, the overall expected risk is distributed and “diluted” as a result – which translates to lower premiums per vehicle.
However, some brokers like Cachet have embraced a broader approach, ensuring that smaller and medium-sized fleets can also benefit from insurance coverage.
Technology implementation: Shared mobility services that employ technologies like GPS tracking, telematics, and IoT devices can provide insurers with valuable data. This data can then help assess driver behavior and usage patterns, enabling insurers to offer more accurate and tailored premium rates. This also takes into account how simple it is for scooters to be stolen and how well the recovery processes function – which can also play a role in insurance expenses.
Where you operate: The location in which your fleet operates is another important factor. From the insurer’s perspective, different areas pose varied levels of risk. For example, urban mobility – which is associated with a higher risk of accidents – may incur higher premiums compared to vehicles used in rural areas.
Level of coverage: The level of coverage you choose directly affects how much you pay in premiums. Opting for higher coverage limits means you get more comprehensive protection, but obviously, it also means your insurance costs go up.
Choosing the ideal insurance for your fleet
Every shared mobility fleet and business is different, so your insurance needs will depend on things like the type and size of your fleet, where you operate, how much risk you're comfortable with, and of course – how much you are willing to pay.
For example, do you require coverage for specific risks, like vandalism, or perhaps your fleet is composed of premium vehicles that are more expensive? To make it more relatable, let's dive into a practical case of a shared micromobility operator's experience with insurance.
How Hoog found the right insurance with Cachet
The concept behind Hoog Mobility is to revolutionize transportation in smaller Estonian towns. They recognized the need for efficient and eco-friendly local travel and brought a shared mobility solution often seen in big cities but missing in smaller communities: electric scooters.
Cash-strapped mobility startups often worry about potential damage or vandalism happening to their shared vehicles. This concern is shared by traditional insurance companies too. As a result, these insurers might hesitate to provide coverage for shared scooters, and if they do – it's usually at a higher cost.
Faced with this challenge, Hoog initially operated without insurance due to the steep expenses. But that changed when Cachet provided them with a customized insurance solution that perfectly suited the company's needs. Hoog also realized that the initial worry about vandalism wasn't as much of an issue as they thought. But still – having insurance for their fleet turned out to be a sound financial decision that gave them peace of mind.
Don't underestimate insurance – it's just as crucial as having a top-notch fleet and solid software. Insurance is best approached proactively – discovering you've cut corners after an unforeseen event will cost you significantly more.
Getting insurance for shared micromobility might be a bit trickier since it's still a new concept, but we've seen that even smaller fleets can make it work – it's just a matter of finding a suitable partner who understands your needs.
At the end of the day, insurance isn't merely about meeting legal requirements – it showcases your dedication to safety, responsible operations, and the well-being of everyone involved in your mobility business.
Shared mobility is gaining momentum – offering prospects for reducing traffic, cleaning up city air, and providing users with more flexible transportation options. However, despite its potential, shared mobility often seems to take a backseat to traditional public transportation and private vehicles in the eyes of local authorities and infrastructure planners.
Experts see shared mobility as a game-changing revolution in transportation. It surpasses the earlier revolution of the 20th century when personal cars became widely affordable and accessible. Now, with the rise of shared mobility and environmental concerns, the old notion of "one car per person" is becoming outdated.
In light of this, authorities worldwide should proactively prepare for a future where shared mobility plays an increasingly significant role. In this blog post, we'll explore different ways authorities and legislators can encourage shared mobility – and why it's totally worth it.
The positive impact of shared mobility
Shared mobility has the potential to fix some of the problems we face with transportation today, benefiting users, cities, and the environment. Here are the key benefits of shared mobility:
- Reduced congestion: Shared mobility can alleviate traffic congestion, leading to smoother traffic flow and shorter commute times.
- Environmental sustainability: Shared mobility can reduce the number of vehicles on the road, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. This helps combat air pollution and mitigate the environmental impact of transportation.
- Improved transport accessibility and flexibility: Shared mobility services make transportation more accessible, especially for those without private vehicles or limited mobility options. They also offer convenient alternatives to traditional transportation methods.
Considering the urgent need to combat climate change, shared mobility holds a significant promise as a greener transportation option. The European Union's Green Deal aims to achieve a 90% reduction in transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Shared mobility – coupled with increased adoption of electric vehicles and a broader shift in transportation behaviors – will likely play an important role in achieving this goal.
However, for shared mobility to truly flourish and revolutionize transportation, it needs a supportive environment backed by legislative frameworks and infrastructure planning. So, let's take a closer look at how authorities can foster wider adoption of shared mobility.
1. Favorable regulations with an eye on the future
In the past, shared mobility solutions and business models have faced challenges in gaining acceptance from regulators. A prime example is the initial response of local authorities to Uber’s novel services at the time – ordering them to cease their operations immediately.
Shared mobility services can disrupt traditional transportation models – which may not be welcomed by everyone. However, the undeniable popularity of these services, exemplified by the rapid success of Uber, demonstrates the high customer demand.
Instead of battling against it, authorities might want to shift their focus to creating a supportive legislative framework, recognizing the significant benefits shared mobility can bring. It means regulations that prioritize safety, fair competition, consumer protection, and quality standards – creating an environment where shared mobility can thrive and provide reliable services to customers.
Shared mobility is constantly evolving, which means that regulations need to be flexible and adaptable to keep up with emerging technologies and new challenges. For example, as autonomous vehicles become a possibility, authorities will need to establish guidelines for their safe integration into existing transportation networks.
2. A collaborative approach
Collaboration between local authorities and businesses can be a decisive factor in creating a favorable environment for shared mobility. By working together, they can tackle common challenges, share data, and develop integrated transportation solutions.
Public-private partnerships can also involve incentives like tax breaks or subsidies to encourage the adoption of shared mobility. For example, offering tax breaks to companies that implement ride-sharing programs for their employees can encourage the use of shared transportation options instead of individual cars. Similarly, providing subsidies for shared mobility providers can help offset the initial costs of implementing and expanding their services.
Sharing data between shared mobility platforms and transport authorities is another way to benefit from this cooperation. The platforms have valuable information on accidents, trip patterns, and driver availability. Sharing this data with local authorities can help improve the transportation network, enhance travel apps, and identify underserved areas.
3. Building infrastructure to support the future of transportation
To meet evolving transportation needs, authorities should invest in infrastructure that supports innovative modes of transportation like electric vehicles and shared mobility services. By considering the needs of shared mobility users, infrastructure planners can make it a much more attractive transportation option.
Here are the key infrastructure needs for shared mobility:
Integration with existing infrastructure: To offer users smooth and effective transportation choices, shared mobility must seamlessly integrate with current transport systems like public transit. It should enable users to plan multi-modal journeys and switch between different modes of transport without hassle. For example, users should be able to seamlessly transition from a shared bike or scooter to a bus or train.
Charging stations: Keeping shared electric vehicles performing at their best relies on maintaining their charge. This requires establishing a network of strategically positioned charging stations throughout urban areas. If we're aiming for more people to use electric vehicles, we need to make charging them easy and accessible.
Dedicated parking: Shared mobility services need designated parking areas for their vehicles, such as bike racks and car-sharing parking spots. Well-organized parking infrastructure can reduce street clutter and make it easier for others to grab a shared mobility vehicle.
Information infrastructure support: Running shared mobility services smoothly, including handling bookings, payments, and logistics, depends greatly on a reliable information infrastructure foundation. With the advent of advanced networks like 6G, users will increasingly rely on this infrastructure to stay connected and make the most of these services.
The shared mobility landscape in France
Paris's recent ban on free-floating e-scooters has put France in the spotlight. To take a closer look at the shared mobility environment in France, we turned to Manon Lavergne, CEO of Viluso, a shared micromobility operator. We asked for her insights on the state of micromobility in the country.
Since the Mobility Orientation Law in 2019, the French government has been working to make shared transport easier to access everywhere. At COP 26 in 2021, France undertook to cut its CO2 emissions by 55%.
According to Manon, personal vehicle ownership in urban settings is losing favor among many French citizens, and Paris stands out as a shared micromobility epicenter. The city pioneered self-service shared mobility networks like Vélib' (2007), Autolib' (2011), and Cityscoot's shared electric scooters (2016).
However, in April 2023, Paris residents voted to ban free-floating e-scooters in the city. The reasons behind this decision included riders competing for space with pedestrians on sidewalks and complaints about e-scooters cluttering the pavements when parked.
Captur's case study on e-scooter parking habits in Paris revealed that the majority of users encountered no problems when parking scooters in designated bays. However, outside of the designated areas, users had to compete with other vehicles, resulting in poorer parking choices.
This example again emphasizes the need for proper infrastructure to support shared mobility. Lots of cities around the world were mainly designed with private cars in mind – which can create challenges for accommodating shared mobility solutions.
Anne Hidalgo, Paris' Mayor, campaigned with a strong green agenda and has introduced various changes to tackle pollution and traffic jams. Her vision includes a "15-minute city" where people can access work, shopping, healthcare, education, and leisure within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes.
Yet, the chaotic state of free-floating e-scooters in Paris resulted in their ban. This scenario raises a question for other global cities: How can shared mobility be encouraged without disrupting other transportation choices and pedestrian movement?
According to Manon, the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, which will draw many visitors, will provide valuable insight into the city's transportation system – including the viability of shared mobility.
Shared mobility is here to stay – so start planning today
By adopting a supportive approach, authorities worldwide can play a crucial role in enabling the full potential of shared mobility. While it may require a shift in mindset, the potential gains of reduced congestion, environmental sustainability, and improved transportation options make it a worthwhile consideration.
We know that shared mobility is here to stay and will only expand in the coming years. By taking a more proactive stance, authorities will be in a better position to integrate and maximize the full benefits of shared mobility.