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Let me guess, you bought your pedal boat or kayak thinking that you would on the water at least once a week. Right?
That’s what my wife and I thought. It’s so hot during the summer and there are so few things to do that we figured we’d be fishing or splashing around at least that often.
When we bought a pedal boat to add to our boat shed, however, we suddenly had full schedules and all sorts of things that needed to be done. Having a new pedal boat or kayak sitting in your shed for a year does not provide happiness.
Luckily you don’t have to write off the cost and list it on Craigslist with the description everyone uses: “Used only a couple of times. We just don’t use it often enough to justify keeping it.”
Well, what if I told you that, not only can you keep your boat, but you can actually make money from it! (and get it out of the garage once in a while).
Renting out your personal kayak or pedal boat is a great way to make some extra income.
Where To Advertise Your Small Boat
If you want to make money by renting out your kayak or pedal boat, you’re going to have to get the word out.
Finding customers is the hardest part of any business and that proves true here. Luckily there are several platforms that already have a steady flow of traffic that you can tap into.
GetMyBoat: While it’s mainly meant for larger boats (ski boats, yachts, etc.) GetMyBoat allows people to rent personally owned kayaks, pedal boats, canoes, paddleboards, etc.
Yoodlize: Yoodlize is an app that allows you to rent not just pedal boats but everything under the sun. You can stick your kayak (or camera, drill, camp chairs, etc.) on there for whatever price per day/hour you want.
If you aren’t getting enough rental action on the above sites you can try classified ads or selling platforms like craigslist.
One ninja tip that a friend shared with me is to post a “For Rent” sign at a place where your likely renters will see it. For example, there’s a gas station in my town called “The One-Stop” where every fisherman, boater, outdoorsman, etc. stops on the way through. How they know that’s their spot, I don’t know.
But, they have a bulletin board where people can post community flyers and items for sale (although most people just put up pictures of their trophy fish). Taking a picture of a fishing kayak or pedal boat and sticking it there would probably get me a couple of calls per week! (especially if I took a picture of me holding a lunker on it…)
If you’re not having luck getting the word out, you can always stick your kayak or boat out on your front lawn with a “For Rent” sign on it. While this will only pay off if you’ve got some significant foot traffic (or live by a pond/beach/etc.) you might get something out of it.
How Much To Rent Out Your Pedal Boat or Kayak For:
The obvious answer here is, it depends on what you have. However, there is a baseline that, if you go over, people are unwilling to pay.
In general, you can rent out your personal kayak or pedal boat for around $30/day. Most sellers off multi-day discounts but charge extra for transport the boats, renting life jackets, etc.
My neighbor rents out his Pelican Angler DLX pedal boat and has adopted the following pricing model:
- $35 Daily (3-day minimum)
- $150 Weekly
- $15 for Additional Days
- $5 Life Vest/Jacket
Now if you have a high-end item you can obviously rent it out for much more. For example, in doing a search for pedal boat rentals near me I found a pedal boat that was totally outfitted for fishing. It had a fish finder, anchor, trolling motor, etc. What’s more, it was close to a great fishing lake and the guy was willing to drop it off for you. The price? $55 an hour with a 4-hour minimum.
The is obviously far less demand for a Walmart pedal boat that someone could go buy for $3-400. As with everything, if you have a selling point you can demand a higher price.
My friend is a big and heavy guy so he ended up buying a big man kayak. Because he included this (and his experience) in his listing he is able to market to people who need a plus-size kayak that will support 400lbs or more.
A real life rental example:
If you’re looking at getting a pedal boat or kayak (or any small craft) for the express purpose of renting it out, it can be a very profitable side gig.
For example, the cheapest pedal boat you get is this one for just under $600. If you rent it out at the above pricing model and get only two customers per month, it will pay for itself in just under three months.
The boating season where I live is about 7 months long so you could, in theory, bring in almost another $1,000 after the boat paid for itself. Now imagine if you could get more than two customers per month!
How To Protect Your Investment
If you decided not to use a service or app to rent out your boat, it’s up to you to make sure that your investment (and your butt) are protected.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are some things you should keep in mind:
- Get a copy of their ID. For obvious reasons, you’ll want to know exactly who you’re doing business with. This also allows you to show
- Get a deposit! Whatever amount you decide on, make sure it’s motivating for the renter.
- Make them sign a liability waiver/rental contract. Make sure the people renting your boat know that it’s not your fault if they get hurt or cause problems while using your equipment.
- Make life jackets available. As part of the liability waiver, make them commit to wearing life jackets. If they have their own, you can rent them some for $5 a piece.
- Have a plan in case you need to pursue legal action. As part of the rental contract that they sign, have them agree to pay for damages, replace destroyed property, etc.
- While pedal boats are safe, give them some pointers and tell them some good spots to go.
Never take shortcuts while getting your rental agreement written out and then signed when you have a customer. Even if you know the person it’s better safe than sorry!
Starting A Kayak or Pedal Boat Rental Business
There is a huge difference between renting out your personal kayak or pedal boat and starting a rental business.
The tax implications, licensing, land/water rights, etc. all come into play in a way that turns this from a side hustle into a full-scale business venture.
However, there are companies such as DirectBoats where you can buy kayaks or pedal boats in bulk. Many commercial pedal boat companies that pander to tourists charge $20-$30 an hour. With a fleet of 10 boats rented out full-time, you could (in theory) net over $700,000 per year!
While I have friends that rent out their kayaks, pedal boats, and canoes, it’s not something that I’ve gotten into yet.
Even though I know it would be profitable, I just can’t let people touch my precious baby. Maybe after my new boat has a few more bumps and scratches I’ll consider letting something else take her out. For a price.
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