How to charge for bike rental cancellations?
March 13, 2012 9:48 AM Subscribe
What's a fair way to deal with bike rental cancellations and/or security deposits for a small company just getting into this?
posted by kpht to sports, hobbies, & recreation (9 answers total)
So my husband and I have a small mobile bike shop in our small (beach) city, and we started doing rentals for this season - insurance and bikes are all set and ready to go. Since we don't have a storefront, our model is that you can reserve via phone or online, and we drop the bikes off at your motel, rental cabin, or house or wherever in our tourist area (Cape Ann, MA.)
But our first rental? Cancelled on us today. They said they had a family emergency, not a big deal, it happens. However, I didn't get a credit card in advance. Lesson learned. They booked only a few hours prior and there were no other requests for that time, we aren't out money. We weren't expecting rentals this early in the season.
We've got most of the big stuff worked out, but not small things like above.
What, askmefites, do you think would be a fair cancellation charge for less than 24 hours notice? I was thinking $10 per bike to hold a reservation over the phone since we are delivering, and that's forfeited if there's a cancellation. Then, when they sign the release and pay (via our square card), the $10 gets deducted from the rental cost. Is that too little? I want to be fair, but I don't want to be taken advantage of, either. We have a very small fleet and a small income.
The other question I had was how to handle security deposits. Unfortunately, we only use SquareUp, so there's no option for authorization only. We can either not charge any security deposit and just take down the same credit card information that they use for the bike rental (rental is paid for when we drop the bike off to them in the morning), or charge them a set amount and refund it at the end of the day, but I can imagine consumers may be wary of the latter option.
I'd love to hear your opinions on how best to do this to make customers happy, and make us happy, too. If you've rented lately, how did other places do it? Were you satisfied?