Rolling Along: July 2017
A MESSAGE FROM BRIAN & AL
Long days and warm weather mean one thing: ideal renting conditions! We hope that all of you around the country are keeping cool and staying productive during these summer months. For most of you, this is the busiest time of year, so this month’s focus is to provide you with extra tools and ideas to help increase profits and improve your location(s)! Remember, the busiest of days are your greatest opportunity.
In this month’s Operation Sectionwe feature a great article about time management and increasing efficiency. We also encourage you to think about adding new amenities to help you differentiate your business and bring in extra revenue. It’s important to take stock to see if you’re losing out on untapped revenue generators. In addition, we’ve included an article with helpful tips to prevent staff theft.
Our Maintenance Section is all about keeping your fleet polished and well-maintained. You’ll find a handy checklist to help you stay on track and organized. Last but not least, July’s Marketing Section is about increasing your exposure. We’re sharing a tried and true publication we’ve had success with and several marketing ideas that take minimal effort and yield maximum results.
As always, we’re here to help! The WFR Central Team is here to guide you through any of these tools, tips, and tricks should you need assistance or more information.
– Brian and Al
Pumpkin Patch Planning Update
Host a pumpkin patch in October and you’ll likely generate $25,000 or more in revenue the first year! We’d like to remind you of this tremendous opportunity that can strengthen your relationship with Parks and Recreation, drive more off-season business, and generate more revenue to your bottom line.
October is just around the corner, so if you’re interested in adding a Pumpkin Patch, initiate the conversation with your
Parks and Recreation department now. Be sure to check out the Pumpkin Patch Checklist and Pumpkin Patch Planner. For more information, contact Sheena at email@example.com.
As a business owner, it’s important to make the most of your time. Here are some straightforward methods to increase productivity and be efficient with your time as outlined in the very popular book Get Momentum, by Jason W. Womack.
1) Prevent long email chains by setting up a call
Prevent long email chains that go back and forth without any resolution by setting up a call instead. Talking often takes much less time than typing, cuts back on wait times, and often concludes in a resolution. (Tip, schedule calls during your commute time. Not only will it free up your schedule later, but it will also make the travel time pass by faster.)
2) Implement the 2-minute rule
Can you write a response to an email in 2 minutes or less? Instead of reading the message, clicking out of it, putting it off, and having to come back later, go ahead and tackle it to get it out of the way. It will save you time in the long run and cut back on the stress of a growing inbox.
3) Conquer your least favorite task first
There are always tasks we’re more excited to accomplish than others. But the more we procrastinate and put off the less-desirable ones, the harder they are to check off. It ends up wasting time in the long run and delaying the inevitable. Like eating your veggies before enjoying the rest of your meal, if you tackle your least favorite task first, you will end up having a less burdensome workday as a result.
4) Focus on 1 task at a time
Interruptions and multitasking can be detrimental to productivity. Instead of trying to pat your head and rub your stomach, focus on doing one task at a time. You’ll get things done much quicker and save some stress and frustration.
5) Always keep a to-do list
It seems so simple, yet it can make such a difference. By keeping a list of every task that needs to get done, you prevent important details from slipping through the cracks. Seeing everything at a glance also helps you set priorities and plan for to-do’s within your schedule.
As your business grows and changes, you will likely find yourself at times with too many items on your to-do list and not enough time. So it’s important to delegate tasks and outsource things to other people. Focus your time and energy on the big picture items, things that bring in revenue, and delegate the rest as you’re able.
7) Implement the OHIO method
OHIO stands for: Only Handle It Once. The premise of this method is that when paperwork (or emails) land on your desk, you only handle it once by immediately assigning it to its correct place, or responding, instead of re-shuffling back to your inbox.
YOU’RE NOT JUST LIMITED TO BIKE RENTALS
All businesses, especially seasonal businesses, experience revenue highs and lows depending on the time of year. We know for most of you, sales begin to slow when autumn begins to beckon. What is your plan to maximize your location(s) revenue while you have prime opportunities for sales? Perhaps while you’re engaged in this process, you’ll find a revenue generating amenity that will catapult your business to new, uncharted heights.
Mentioned in June’s Rolling Along, Night Rides in select locations have been successful since inception. With a small investment of LED string lights, these stylish Surreys not only bring in revenue at a time when you would normally not expect customers, but also act as effective glowing billboards that increase exposure. Worried about labor? It only takes 1-2 rentals to cover the extra labor for the evening.
From birthday parties, corporate teambuilding, family reunions, field trips, kids camps and more, private events are an appealing and simple way to boost revenue. Your location(s) already have a fleet that’s able to handle the busiest of days, so you’re able to handle private events. Last year, WFR New York generated a whopping $51,000 in Group reservation revenue! And the San Diego territory generated $12,000 in group revenue, followed by Philadelphia at $8,000. Many of these events occurred on slower days and/or during slower hours of the day. Don’t walk away from this easy source of revenue. Have questions about logistics and pricing? Contact Heather@wheelfunrentals.com.
Bike Tours are a great upselling tool for many locations. Adding a self-guided tour opens the possibility to up-sell bikes from an hour rental to a half-day or full-day rental. Self-guided bike tours are popular with international travelers, Millennials, young professionals, and cyclists who specifically look for bike tour companies when they are visiting a new city. You’ll increase your customer conversion rate with a self-guided bike tour. It’s easy to get started!
Imagine seeing an extra $70,000 bank account. Sounds great – now imagine you could generate this revenue in two short weeks. New Orleans’ City Park achieved this monumental figure in 2016 when they hosted their Pumpkin Patch. There’s a lot that needs to happen logistically to make these events successful, but we’ve honed Pumpkin Patch Planning to a science with our Pumpkin Patch Checklist and Pumpkin Patch Planner.
With a little savvy thinking and strategic planning, you just may have your highest grossing season yet! As always, WFR Central is committed to supporting your franchise by providing new ideas, tips, and tried-and-true methods for you to grow your business!
Extended Hours of Operation
Flexible hours of operation maximize revenue. If you are open until sunset, it only takes a rental or two to achieve break-even; day in, day out, you’ll see this revenue adding up.
PREVENTING EMPLOYEE THEFT
We aim to hire the most hardworking, kind, and trustworthy employees. And while it’s never a good idea to form a relationship on suspicion and mistrust, you must remain vigilant against staff theft, because it can have a significant impact on your bottom line. The key to understanding employee theft is to identify the type of items thieves go after and the methods used to take them. Thankfully, we discuss several ways you can protect your business.
Most Common Method of Theft
The most popular form of theft is when employees make a sale without entering the rental into the POS. Once they finish the transaction, they pocket the cash. Another example we’ve seen is renting multiple products and only recording one of them on the contract, or charging for a Double Surrey but entering a Single Surrey into the POS.
One effective way to discourage this type of theft is to create a receipt paper trail. We encourage guests to receive a receipt for each transaction. We’ve found the best way to ensure every guest wants and receives a receipt is to display a decal that reads “If you do not receive an accurate receipt, your rental is free.” Keep in mind, you’ll lose more from employee theft than you will from a customer who gets a free rental for not receiving a receipt. It’s important to prominently display this decal near your point of sale. If you have a worn or missing decal, contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for a replacement.
In addition, you should follow these additional tips to help prevent staff theft at your location(s):
- Place quality control calls to randomly selected customers to ensure they were charged the appropriate amount. Not only is this practice great to ward off theft, but it’s also a good exercise in monitoring customer service levels. Download the PDF here to simplify this process.
- Have unannounced secret shoppers and/or observers whose objective is to critique service levels and confirm staff is doing everything they should be doing.
- Audit your location(s) daily and weekly sales records. It’s important to compare them to previous weeks and previous years for signs something amiss.
- Install security cameras. Employees will be less likely to steal if they know someone is always watching.
- Get to know your employees and build a trusting relationship.
- Make sure you go over the Employee Theft section in the WFR Training & Reference Manual with all new hires.
A well-maintained rental fleet is a critical component to success. Do any of your cycles have torn handlebar grips, worn Surrey steering boots, or loose crank arms? We know the Maintenance Manual outlines all of the areas to focus on for preventative maintenance, but sometimes things get overlooked. To assist managers and mechanics we developed a simple Inspection Log. The goal here is to help the managers &/or mechanics pay attention to all of the important details. Ask your mechanic to fill out this Fleet Inspection Log every week or two, to help assure those little details don’t go unnoticed.
featured location of the month
WASHINGTON: TIM SHARMAN & CORWIN LOGSDON
What is your goal for this year?
Impeccable customer service. We have staff out in front of our signs waiting for customers to approach to answer questions and draw them in. We require that they walk with the customers over to the bikes to look at and answer any questions, which almost always leads to a rental.
How do you get more customers when business is slow?
We send our staff out to ride bikes around and hand out flyers. We also keep the “50% off sign” out in front of the kiosk until it gets busy. Then we pull it in.!
How do you keep staff motivated?
We have employee of the month where they get $50 cash. Also, on days we make $3,000 or above, we buy pizza for the staff (which they love) and it gives them a charge to keep working and keeps their stomachs full.
What elements do you have in place to ensure your staff provide excellent customer service and properly maintained rental product?
We have our managers shadow and listen in on staff to make sure the narrative delivered to the customers is the same. The managers provide positive encouragement and always set the example with their actions.
Anything else you’d like to share about your location(s)? Something you think other franchisees might benefit from trying.
We have implemented walkie talkies at both our locations on busy days which has increased our flow times. Also, customers really like our “return license” tags which allow them to go to the open window in the kiosk and bypass the rental lines. Lastly, we are adding a small item to our rental fleet (bluetooth speakers) in response to numerous customer requests.
PRINT AD OPPORTUNITY
Have you advertised with the TravelHost Magazine yet? It’s a popular guide with strong distribution that shows tourists and locals where to dine, shop, explore, relax and have fun! There is likely distribution in your area. It’s a great place to invest in a print ad.
5 QUICK & EASY MARKETING TO-DO’S
1) Become a Contact for Reporters
Subscribe to HARO (help a reporter out) and see if any of the pitches relate to Wheel Fun, travel, tourism, or recreation. Pitch your locations. Get featured all around the web. We love free publicity!
2) Invite Bloggers to Ride Your Product
Invite bloggers to visit your location(s) and review their experience. Many bloggers will do this for free in exchange for free rentals. You’ll be surprised at the amount of traffic and interest you might get when you get reviewed by a popular blogger. Use simple query keywords in Google or Pinterest, such as “city +bike + review” or “blog + city” or “mom blog + city” to find local bloggers. Send a quick email to them inviting them to ride for free. Bloggers also love doing giveaways because it’s a great way to treat their audience right. Consider having a blogger do a review AND a giveaway of your product.
3) Get Listed in Local Directories
Request your Wheel Fun locations be listed in relevant local directories that your target audience might potentially use. Simply find printed directories that are distributed locally, and send an email to the contact in the directory requesting your Wheel Fun locations be added to the next print run.
4) Put up a Flutter Flag or Two
Flutter flags are an easy way to create movement and color to attract the eyes of passersby. If you don’t already have a flutter flag up near your fleet, order one today by emailing email@example.com. (You get the flag at cost and pay the vendor directly).
5) Cross Promote your Locations
Print coupons for all your staffed locations encouraging customers to return but promoting your other location nearby. Staple one to each customer receipt thanking them for their patronage and encouraging them to go visit your other nearby location at a discount.
- Maintenance tip – Now that the weather is hot, tires will lose up to 10-15 lbs. of pressure per week, so it is more important than ever to check the air pressure in all of your tires at least weekly.
- Do you have a laminator? Laminators are an inexpensive, easy way to protect hours of operation signs, employee notices, etc. at your rental locations.
- Make certain you have the “If you don’t get an accurate receipt, your rental is free” decal posted prominently in each location. Let us know if you need more of these.