Step 6: Ideas for generating money

  • Sponsorship: Find a local sponsor to provide some money, perhaps a member of a local business improvement district, for example. 
  • Advertising: Is there a brand you could ask to give funding in return for promotion?
  • Crowdfunding: Run a public campaign to get donations for set up costs.
  • Community shares: Raise finance through community members paying for scheme shares 
  • Business ideas: To generate income you could expand the remit of your scheme or have a side business e.g. run cycling tours for tourists or maintenance courses yourself once trained
  • Setting membership fees for bike hire or loans
  • Selling your old bikes upon replacing them, or selling other assets and services related to your scheme

Membership fees:

  • Setting hire costs is tricky as there is an element of chicken and egg. You could ask people what they would be willing to pay for daily/weekly/monthly hires etc. during the feasibility and engagement stage of your project.
  • Promotional prices – you could advertise free rides when you first launch the scheme to build usage and awareness of your project.
  • Seasonal prices – as spring and summer months are usually more popular for cycling, you could balance out rates to reflect this and vary your hire costs across the year (separate summer and winter prices). Moray Car Club and Huntly Bike Share both do this.
  • Subscription based options – work out a system where people can have access to a bike at any time if they pay a regular monthly fee.
  • Tourist prices – if you live in an area with a high number of tourists, you could have a separate rate for tourists to enable a lower rate for local residents.
  • Free or low-cost hire options – if you aspire to have these options then you will need to think about how to cover their costs with other income or revenue. Some grants enable subsidies for access to bikes such as the Energy Saving Trust’s e-bike grant, though only for a period of one year.
  • Working it out – you can find out what others pay to get an idea of costs but remember that your objectives may be different.
  • Research your local bike shop hire costs – it is useful to foster a positive relationship with your local bicycle retailers, so they do not see you as competition. They may be a useful ally if, for example, they are able to offer you low outsourced maintenance costs.
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