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Local Startups: Roam! scooter rentals

By November 2, 20093 Comments4 min read

Roam Rides So I recenty decided to start interviewing companies in South Florida or south (all of latin america, etc). The first guys to respond to my offer was a neat little web based company here in South Beach: Roam. Roam is a scooter rental service at its core, and a vehicle rental service in general (skateboards, bikes, etc).

So Ryan from Roam kindly replied to my boring questions, and here they are.

1. What prompted you to start your company?

We have always been kind of obsessed with mid-century culture and in particular iconic brands of that era (Airstream, Vespa, Herman Miller, Russel Wright). These types of brands represent a level of design and quality in everyday products that is really difficult to find today. We also know how much fun it can be to explore a destination using alternative transportation. Getting outside of the confines of a car brings you closer to your environment and really heightens your experience.

So, with a specific interest in Vespas and a desire to promote alternative modes of transportation we launched Roam.

2. What problem/pain point/issue does your company solve?
Currently, the scooter rental market is dull and unreliable. It is difficult to find a quality product to rent with a reliable reservations, services and pricing model attached to it. We use a real time online reservations system which guarantees availability of your product when you want it, it is delivered to you and picked up on demand and there is never a fuel surcharge. We are able to deliver a higher quality product with a set of customer friendly services at a rate that meets and in most cases beats current market pricing.

3. How does being in your city affect your business?
Being in a city is great for our business. The products we offer (Vespa Scooters, Beach Cruiser Bicycles and Longboard/Skateboards) are all city friendly modes of transportation. They are perfect for navigating traffic, low or no fuel costs and you are never at a loss for parking. In addition, being in a city affords an existing network of communication that makes it easier for us to market and promote. It also provides us with a resource pool (technical, marketing, design) that would be difficult to find outside of a major city.

4. Who are your main competitors?
Our primary competitors are the storefront scooter and bicycle rental businesses currently in operation in South Florida. In addition, we compete with the car rental industry, many people don’t consider alternative transportation as they plan their visit.

5. How would you describe your Business/Product/Service, in l0 words or less?
We rent real fun.

6. What is your business model?
We have a hybrid business model, we go to market and conduct our business virtually yet deliver a tangible product and service. All of our transactions are conducted via our website or at the customer location using Motion Tablets and mobile broadband access. Not having the usual costs associated with a retail/storefront operation allows us to offer a much better product and unheard of services at the same or better price than our competitors.

7. Who are your target customers?
Visitors to Miami, generally staying at nicer hotels, who are looking for a way to get around that isn’t a car or a cab. Our target customers usually stay at hotels with concierges who really like the reliability and delivery aspects of our business. Many of our customers find us because they are looking specifically for a Vespa.

8. What makes you different from your competitors?
We are currently the only company offering Vespas for daily and half day rentals, the other businesses in the area rent much lower quality scooters. We guarantee that our scooters are well maintained, emissions monitored (you will not see our scooters belching blue smoke into the atmosphere) and we promise not to ruin the style of your ride with “Rent Me” stickers and phone numbers plastered everywhere.

In addition to the quality of the product, we are the only company with a real-time online reservations system. When you book your rental you can count on the fact that it is yours, there is no hoping the local shop has what you are looking for in stock when you want it. There is never a fuel surcharge at Roam, we deliver you a full tank of gas and do not require to fill upon return-we take care of that for you. We are also the only company that delivers every scooter, bicycle and skateboard directly to you-when you want it. Of course we pick them up as well.

I am not sure if you can rent a skateboard anywhere else in the area, but that is a very unique service that we are gaining a lot of traction with. One more thing, I am sure we are the only company out there that includes a free kite rental with your scooter, just because.