I Want to Operate a Party Bike, But Where Do I Begin?

Posted: April 21, 2011 in The Party Bike
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http://www.thepartybike.com

You have seen the ads. You agree a Party Bike would make a great business. Now what? Where do you even begin? Who should you talk to and what do you need to do?

Relax. It is not as intimidating as you might think. Because of the economy and the price of gasoline, people are looking more local for ways to enjoy their free time. They are more conscientious of their dollars being spent within their own community. The idea of experiencing something unique and unusual, yet fun and exciting, within their own city, is becoming more and more appealing to people.

In addition, those people who are traveling to other communities are looking for that same “unique and unusual” experience at a reasonable price. Let’s face it, how many people do you know who have pedaled a bar from pub to pub? Our goal is to see that number grow!!

So now that you have decided to become a Party Bike Operator, your first step is to contact Atek Customs to discuss the various options and ideas available on the Party Bike. What is the “look” you are after? Do you want bright and colorful, or are you going more for a muted “wood” look? What are you going to name your Party Bike business? Is there a particular theme you are interested in? Where in the country are you planning to operate the bike? Will you need water misters to cool off your clients?

Unlike other manufacturers, Atek Customs manufactures the Party Bike with a very wide range of colors as a standard feature. We want our bikes to look unique to you, not a clone of all our other Party Bikes. It is your bike and should reflect you, your business and your personal vision.

Speaking of vision, what is your vision? Now is a good time to really think about the name of your business. Your business name and the look of the bike go hand in hand. Factors which will influence your vision include the clientele you will serve. Do you intend to primarily target a college town population? Or are you targeting tourists in a large city? Are beach goers your likely customers or are they more from the craft brewery community? If you are located near a popular convention center, do you plan to partner with that convention center as an amenity to its conventioneers? Take a good look around your area and evaluate just what market is available to you and who your target audience will be.

One of the early steps in developing your Party Bike Operator’s business plan is to consult with your attorney and your financial adviser. You will need to decide on a business structure, such as sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc. You will also have to develop tax strategies and legal protections. While this may not be an exciting part of your business development, it is nonetheless a very critical part. As such, this step must be done and done right.

If you are considering the use of alcohol onboard your bike, it is wise to initially contact your liquor control board to get all the legalities worked out. In addition to the liquor control board, you will need to contact your local municipality, governing councils and police departments to determine what permits will be required and what limitations you will encounter. Most municipalities will welcome you with open arms, while others may limit the area in which you can operate. Either way, it is highly recommended that you contact these governing authorities very early in the process as their support could make or break your business.

These steps will assist you in deciding if alcohol is even feasible or legal. Once you have determined whether to allow alcohol, you will need to investigate liability insurance. This can be a difficult step and you will need the assistance of a very well qualified insurance agent to find the right insurer. It is not impossible, though, as many bike operators around the county have obtained insurance. We recommend David Fisher at Century Insurance Group in Bend, Oregon. Mr. Fisher specializes in Party Bike insurance.

Another important step in your business development is obviously the financial end. How do you plan to finance your business? You will need to budget for items such as the purchase of the Party Bike, for professional services, website development, salaries, operating expenses and advertising. You will need to think about what and how you want to charge. Do you have the money available or do you need to take out a loan? Can you operate the business by yourself or will you need partners to help finance and/or operate the bike? Do you have another job that you will need to continue with until the business gets going? What is your operating season? Depending on where you are, your busy season may be during the summer, therefore you will need to account for the slower months. There are many financial factors and decisions which need to be considered before you actually begin your business.

Another financial step is to set up a business banking account. Be sure that you keep your Party Bike operation and your personal finances separate. Your local banker can also help you with small business loans and other financing if needed.

Now that you have thought through and resolved many of the above issues, it is time to order your very own personalized Party Bike from Atek Customs. Because each bike is handmade to your specifications, you will need to allow approximately eight to ten weeks for its construction. You will also need to decide on delivery options. Your bike can be picked up at our shop; it can be personally delivered or it can be commercially shipped. If you need to transport your bike around your area, you will need to either purchase a tow dolly or trailer, or order a custom matching one with your Party Bike. These options each have associated costs which you will need to budget for.

While your Party Bike is being built by Atek Customs, you will want to develop your website, start up a business Facebook and possibly open a twitter account. You will want to investigate the other advertising options available to you and contact your local media outlets. Other advertising options may include Google ads, links from popular local websites, and Facebook contacts. Traditional advertising and press releases in newspapers, television and trade publications are also a great way to get your name out there. Merchandise marketing such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs, bumper stickers, etc. may be helpful to you.

You can investigate possible route options and optimum stopping destinations. One factor which will influence your route and stops will be whether or not you get local sponsors. These sponsors can help provide needed capital investments in exchange for advertising signage on the bike, designated stops along the route, storage facilities and fun giveaway prizes for your customers. For example, if there is a popular local bar on your route, you might want to offer a guaranteed stop in front of their business in exchange for sponsorship dollars. Or you may decide to provide signage if a company offers you a storage facility near your chosen route.

Participation in grand openings, product releases, trade shows and local fairs will also provide opportunities to market your business. For example, if a large trade show for recreational vehicles is scheduled, contact the trade show operator and offer to provide onsite transportation for the fair goers for a reasonable flat fee paid for by the trade show operator. You will be providing fun and unique transportation around the fairgrounds for no charge to the fair goers while providing the trade show with advertising and a great customer draw. Another option for your business is local festivals and celebrations. You can sell to the promoters and provide transportation for them also.

But don’t look only for ways to make money. It will be critical that you become an active member of your community, and as such, you will want to find ways to give back to them. Special discount nights for military, fire and police department employees and other groups are important. Free rides during a community celebration are an option. Fund raising events where all proceeds are donated to a particular cause should be included in your business plan.

Start advertising and taking reservations as soon as possible. In no time you will have your new personalized Party Bike and you will be on your way! Doing something that is fun, exciting and unique makes going to work a pleasure instead of a chore. And being your own boss, seeing the profits go into your pocket instead of someone else’s, is very rewarding.  Before you know it, you might just need a second Party Bike!!

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