Step 5: Ideas for saving money

How can you keep costs low when setting up and running your scheme? There are ways to do this which often relate back to your original objectives with no need for high income. For example, if you are a volunteer led scheme with four bikes which people borrow as and when, with little need for a lot of income, then you are probably already saving money. If you want to get lots of users and you have aspirations for the scheme to be a viable transport option in certain instances (with overheads to pay), you may be interested in how to minimise costs. Here are some ideas for all types of schemes:


  • Volunteer led (check back to step 1). Having volunteers or scheme champions can reduce the burden of some tasks associated with running a scheme. For example, a volunteer could be trained in cycle leader courses and oversee introductory rides for new users.
  • Could the role of running the scheme be shared with an existing role, such as a hospitality centre or local caravan park etc?
  • Getting funding for a one-year paid development officer post to establish processes for running a low-capacity scheme in the future.


  • Many schemes exist across Scotland, so the potential to collaborate and buy items in bulk or work together to reduce costs related to management for example, could be explored.
  • If you can generate interest from local groups, partnerships, organisations or business districts, you could attract smaller start up contributions from lots of parties.


  • You could sell your bikes to local community members or other projects after a certain period of use.
  • You could refurbish old bikes instead of purchasing new ones – making sure health and safety standards are still met.
  • You could buy second hand shared bikes if fit for purpose (bike share operator Spin gave their bikes to a community organisation in America)
  • You could consider what existing assets you may have that can be used to develop the scheme – e.g., perhaps you already have a storage solution (community hall or shipping container).
  • You could utilise low-tech solutions such as free software options for managing bookings.
  • CoMoUK can put you in touch with traders who can offer discount prices on bikes. Email for more details.

Funding grants to fill gaps

You will probably need bits of grant money during the development of your scheme– for either specific parts of the projects or capital costs. This can be useful for getting yourself set up, or tiding you over and filling funding gaps when required. Page 6 from our guidance provides some of these funding options. It is hard to find funding that covers income or salaries, but keep up to date with the links provided to see what becomes available.

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