Are you about starting a canoe and kayak rental company? If YES, here is a complete sample canoe and kayak rental business plan template & feasibility report you can use for FREE. Okay, so we have considered all the requirements for starting a canoe and kayak rental business.

We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample canoe and kayak rental business marketing plan template backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for canoe and kayak rental businesses. So let’s proceed to the business planning section.

Why Start a Canoe & Kayak Rental Business?

A lot of individuals enjoy being on the water, but most of them do not have the boat or means. But a canoe and kayak rental business can provide these individuals with canoes and kayaks to take out on nearby waterways. It provides them with the opportunity to take canoes out for as little as an hour or as long as a day or more.

This business is unique and can be lucrative when started and managed right. Anyone who enjoys canoeing and kayaking may be well-suited to open a canoe and kayak rental business. In this business the busiest parts of an owner’s day are when they’re giving boats out to customers and when customers are coming in.

Note that before customers head out on the water, they need to be given a canoe or kayak, paddle and life jacket, and shown how to paddle and use the boat safely. Customers may also want to ask the business owner about places to paddle to.

When customers come in, business owners need to check the equipment then put it away and make sure the customers enjoyed their time. Know that when not sending customers out or welcoming them back, business owners usually spend their time taking reservations, performing clerical work, and repairing damaged canoes and kayaks.

Canoe and Kayak Rental businesses near cities often service customers who like being on the water but don’t own their own boats. These canoe and kayak rental businesses usually offer shorter rentals, such as half-day and full-day rentals. While rental businesses in remote areas often offer longer rentals, including week-long rentals, and cater to canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts who are taking trips down rivers or across lakes.

This business is ideal as it is one of the best low-investment rental businesses that can be started. A canoe and kayak rental business can be started and managed in a few different operating formats. With the first, you can supply canoes or kayaks to marinas and waterfront hotels and split the rental revenues that are generated.

The second option is you can operate a canoe and kayak rental business from your own rented waterfront location. Or, the third option, you can run the business from home, advertising through print media to attract customers who can simply pick up the rental item from you, or you can deliver the rental equipment to the customer.

But irrespective of the means or format you choose to start, it advisable you do your research to avoid failing even before you start.

A Canoe and Kayak Rental Business Plan Sample

1. Industry Overview

During water sporting seasons, sales of kayaks tend to go up globally. With the growing popularity of indoor adventure sports, enthusiasts are able to participate in the sport although staying far away from relevant water bodies.

In this modern age, rising awareness about fitness & health has been rapidly surging among the public, encouraging them to take part in water sports such as kayaking and rafting. Industry experts believe that as these activities act as effective cardiovascular workout, numerous individuals across the globe are beginning to take active interest in the sport.

Improved balance & coordination, provision of endurance training, and strength build-up are key benefits of kayaking that are driving its popularity. Note that apart from the provision of health benefits, kayaking also gives individuals the opportunity to have a close interaction with nature, which in turn helps in reducing tension and stress. Report has it that the realization of the various benefits associated with kayaking has been attracting more people towards the sport, thereby driving sales of kayaks.

According to reports, the number of kayaks sold in the united states peaked in 2006 at just over 393, 000 and has since declined sharply, reaching 225, 800 in 2013 – a reduction of nearly 43 percent. Statistics has it that the retail market value of kayak sales was 122 million U.S. dollars in 2013, falling from 196 million in 2006. Yet the number of people participating in kayaking in the U.S. has increased year-on-year since 2006.

Kayaking is simply the use of a double-bladed paddle to propel a kayak – a boat in which the paddler faces forward with their legs in front – across a body of water. This boat it is said is at least 4,000 years old, kayaks were invented by indigenous peoples from Arctic regions for fishing. The original kayaks were made from animal skins, wood and whale bone.

But in this modern era, they are made from a variety of materials from carbon fibre to plastic; the average price of a kayak in the U.S. is 540 U.S. dollars. Have it in mind there are different types of kayaking, including recreational, sea/touring and white water kayaking.

White water kayaking is a more extreme form of kayaking in which the participant may paddle on anything from moving water to fast-moving and challenging white water. In 2012, 316 thousand young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years participated in white water kayaking in the U.S.

2. Executive Summary

Sea Life Rentals located in the city of Chicago, Illinois is a new canoe and kayak rental company in its formative stages. This company is being established to take advantage of a specific gap in the local canoe and kayak rental market.

We believe that this gap exists in high quality, reasonably priced canoe and kayak rentals in one of the most populous cities in the United States, indicating that a new entrant rental company could be expected to gain a significant portion of the current canoe and kayak rental market.

Our aim at Sea Life Rentals is to provide safe, reliable and fun canoe and kayak rental services to water enthusiasts in Chicago. Chicago is an international hub for tourism, finance, commerce, sports, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.

O’Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, and the region also has the largest number of U.S. highways and railroad freight. Chicago has one of the world’s largest and most diversified and balanced economies, not being dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.

Our business city was rated as the second most visited city in the United States with 55 million domestic and international visitors, not far behind the 62 million visitors to New York City in 2017. It provides us with the market we need and also the competition to propel our innovative ideas into reality.

We at Sea Life Rentals plan to develop a brand that speaks volume and we plan to let our clients know who we are over the airwaves and in print. We plan to kick off our message using Windy City Live in the ABC7 studio Chicago as well as hosting parties for certain rental association decision makers and the media.

We also plan a pre-opening marketing budget of $96,000. Note that as we profit, we will spend about 3% of our gross revenue on advertisement and marketing. We will also distribute survey cards to assess what we are doing right and identify what we are doing wrong. We strongly believe that the use of well-designed canoes and kayaks that target new markets in the city, and aggressive media exposure will allow us to grow over the next five years into a major player in the region.

Our goal at Sea Life Rentals is to establish a reputation of quality, fun and safety that will make us the leader in the Chicago rental market. Although there are risks associated with starting a new venture, we at Sea Life Rentals believe that the success of our project hinges on the strength of acceptance of our new canoes and kayaks. After year one, we expect a lot of competition as new canoe and kayak rental businesses band together against us.

3. Our Products and Services

Sea Life Rentals will provide canoe and kayak rental services throughout Chicago and other neighbouring cities. We will provide different shapes and kinds of canoes and kayaks for water enthusiasts who want to spend time at sea or in any of the water bodies in Chicago.

Our services will range from hourly rentals to 7 days max rentals. We plan to install GPS trackers in all our canoes and kayaks for the safety of our boats and our clients. To make us different from other companies that operate here, we at Sea Life Rentals plan to aggressively advertise our services and strive to provide the best service.

To achieve this, we plan to present surveys to our customers after every hire and we will evaluate our services at our weekly meetings to expand what we are doing right, and correct what we are doing wrong. Each night, our canoes and kayaks will be cleaned and serviced; before renting begins, we will inspect ourselves to make sure that we are presentable to our customers.

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision at Sea Life Rentals is to lead other rental companies and make our standards their ambition, with a combination of clean canoes and kayaks, friendly and informative and workforce along with outstanding customer service.
  • Our mission at Sea Life Rentals is to provide safe, professional, reasonably priced rental services to our customers. Our plan is to fill a niche in the Chicago rental market that is unmet at this time. We will operate and maintain the best fleet of canoes and kayaks and we will never reduce on safety or customer service.

Our Business Structure

Sea Life Rentals will be formed as a Limited Liability Company based in Chicago, Illinois. It will be owned by its founder Simon Danica and principle investors. He will serve as the company’s president. He has extensive experience in the Chicago rental industry, working for Perception Kayaks and conducting rentals and advertisements.

Simon Danica is known for recognizing opportunities and developing staff members to take advantage of those situations. Simon Danica will assemble a staff of experienced rental professionals to oversee operations and market our services.

  • President
  • Garage Manager
  • Human Resources and Admin Manager
  • Sales and Marketing Manager
  • Accountants/Cashiers
  • Maintenance and Secretarial staffs
  • Cleaners

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities


  • Boosts management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counselling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results
  • In charge of fixing prices and signing business deals
  • In charge of providing direction for the business
  • Establishes, communicates, and implements the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
  • Charged with signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
  • Evaluates the success of the organization

Admin and HR Manager

  • In charge of overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
  • Tasked with maintaining office supplies by checking stocks; placing and expediting orders; evaluating new products.
  • Defining job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carrying out induction of new team members
  • In charge of training, evaluation and assessment of employees
  • In charge of arranging travel, meetings and appointments
  • Oversee the smooth running of the daily office cum business activities

Garage Manager

  • In charge of managing the daily activities in the canoe and kayak garage
  • Ensures that proper records of canoes and kayaks are kept
  • Ensures that the garage facility is in tip top shape and canoes and kayaks are properly arranged and easy to locate

Sales and Marketing Manager

  • Takes care of external research and coordinate all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
  • Models demographic information and analyse the volumes of transactional data generated by customer purchases
  • Identifies, prioritizes, and reaches out to new partners, and business opportunities et al
  • Identifies development opportunities; follows up on development leads and contacts
  • Documents all customer contact and information
  • Represents the company in strategic meetings
  • Helps to increase sales and growth for the company


  • In charge of preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports
  • In charge of financial forecasting and risks analysis
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting
  • Tasked with developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Tasked with administering payrolls
  • Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for the organization
  • Serves as internal auditor for the organization

Maintenance and secretarial staffs

  • Makes sure that all contacts with clients (e-mail, walk-In centre, SMS or phone) provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
  • Through interaction with customers on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
  • Manages administrative duties assigned by the human resources and admin manager in an effective and timely manner
  • Consistently stays abreast of any new information on canoes and kayaks, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to customers when they make enquiries.


  • Tasked with cleaning and washing all the canoes and kayaks in the garage at all times
  • Ensures that toiletries and supplies don’t run out of stock
  • Cleans both the interior and exterior of the garage facility
  • Handles any other duty as assigned by the garage manager

6. SWOT Analysis

One of our key objectives at Sea Life Rentals is to achieve revenues of about $2 million by our first full year of rental services, exceeding $7 million by our third year, also to expand into newer markets in our business location. We also want to achieve net operating profits of 60-70 percent within the first 12 months of rental services and operations.

This is a huge dream for a company in its formative stage but we are certain of our ability to achieve these milestones. We have analysed our market and we know the best approach and markets to reach out to. We went as far as hiring the services of Excellent Brain Consultancy and the Major Talents Communications to help us with our SWOT Analysis. Below is the summary of the said SWOT Analysis;

  • Strength

According to our SWOT analysis, our strength lies in our plan to hire only experienced and highly professional management team that combines vision; realism; financial ability; solid knowledge of the Chicago rental market; familiarity with, and belief in the utilization of the latest computer informational technologies; and a total commitment to the overall mission and goals of Sea Life Rentals.

  • Weakness

According to our SWOT analysis, our weakness will be the time it will take us at Sea Life Rentals to get our clients to trust in our products and services, to believe in our company and preach the good news to their friends and family.

  • Opportunities

In North America, participation rates in the paddle sports such as kayaking has showcased a tremendous surge. Governments in the region are promoting adventure tourism through establishment of championships, in a bid to propel popularity of such sports.

For instance, The Pan Am Championships are an imperative kayaking championship held annually in the region. North America will therefore remain the leading market for kayaks, in terms of revenues as well as sales expansion.

  • Threat

The threat facing us is the amount of Competition in this market. From our detailed analysis, it was obvious that this industry is very competitive, but our quest at Sea Life Rentals is to fill some gaps in the industry and to do this in a very efficient and innovative way.


  • Market Trend

According to our research, sports variety stores and modern trade channels offer popular brands of kayak, which has made them attractive shopping destinations. These sales channels enable a closer evaluation of the products, meanwhile providing the required intelligence and support to customers.

Report has it that the presence of expert customer service personnel has further propelled popularity of these sales channels in the global kayak market. Sports variety stores and modern trade are set to account for the largest revenue shares of the market during the forecast period. We also found out that pervasiveness in high demand for recreational kayak will remain intact in the upcoming years.

Recreational kayak will continue to be sought-after among various products available in the market, as these are suitable for paddlers with all abilities in the light of their characteristics such as ease of paddling & comfort, stability, and user-friendly design. According to statistics, the global kayak market is relatively more competitive across established western markets.

Growing competition along with technological upgrades that have been and are being made in kayaks is likely to have a positive influence on market expansion. In a bid to acquire a competitive advantage, distinguishing product & service offerings is now a must for prominent players in the market. Although new market entrants are focusing on product innovation, established players are competing against one another in terms of brand, quality, and cost.

8. Our Target Market

Our target markets at Sea Life Rentals are water enthusiasts who want a unique experience at a reasonable price. These will include people who live and come to the city for the day, leisure travellers, honeymooners, budget-conscious travellers, business travellers, families, students and seniors.

Our most important customers will be the people who visit Chicago for sightseeing, rest and relaxation, on their honeymoon or are here for a convention or other special interest. We plan to develop special pricing to encourage tourists to patronize our services. Because we support our service people, we will offer discounts to active duty and retired military personnel during Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day holidays.

  • Our Competitive Advantage

Our competitive advantages at Sea Life Rentals are the intelligent, progressive, and aggressive marketing that identifies our company as a different kind of player, with a higher level of professionalism and operational standard. We at Sea Life Rentals plan to concentrate on safety, with highly trained, dedicated, and professional personnel, caring for our customers and their needs.

We have also set up a system that will help us conduct careful market research, and discover new untapped markets in the city that may be of interest to our customers. We also plan to make use of information technology to reduce staffing and other operational cost; expand our potential market base; readily capture sales opportunities; and enhance customer convenience and satisfaction.


  • Sources of Income

Sea Life Rentals will generate income from providing canoe and kayak rental services throughout Chicago and other neighbouring cities. We will provide different shapes and kinds of canoes and kayaks for water enthusiasts who want to spend time at sea or in any of the water bodies in Chicago. Our services will range from hourly rentals to 7 days max rentals. Our source of income includes:

  • Rental charges from recreational kayaks
  • Rental charges from White Water kayaks
  • Rental charges from fishing boats
  • Rental charges from sea kayaks
  • Rental charges from racing kayaks

10. Sales Forecast

Our sales forecast is based on Sea Life Rentals capturing 2% share of the over 55 million visitors that visit Chicago along with the approximately 3 million people that live in the metro area. It simply means that we will have to service over a million customers during the 2018-2023 year. This figure is based on renting an average of 96 canoes and kayaks per day divided between our 137 canoes and kayaks during the summer months.

During the summer months in Chicago, with the amount of advertising and aggressive marketing that we plan to do, we will be able to meet the goals that we have set for ourselves. We believe that our location is the best there is in the whole state of Illinois, and our workforce and the services we will be rendering will make all these possible. Our sales forecast is outlined below;

  • First Year: $3,082,000
  • Second Year: $5,973,000
  • Third Year: $7,318,000
  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

We at Sea Life Rentals plan to reach our customers through traditional marketing communication methods. We noted from our rigorous analysis that our target market customers, and tourists in general, are internet savvy, so before traveling to Chicago, a lot of them tend to make online reservations or purchases via that medium.

Also the Internet tends to serve as an effective means of communication and distribution of information about our services. We plan on giving our clients brochures and other literature that they may share with their family and friends, but we will also look at cable television, radio and other inexpensive media to get our message out. We believe that marketing effort at Sea Life Rentals will employ a mix of vehicles to convey our message.

  • Print media — local newspapers, free weeklies
  • Broadcast media — local programming and special interest shows
  • Hotel guides — concierge relations, Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade, Chicago Convention and Tourism Corporation brochures
  • — Yellow Pages, charity events

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

Note that the overall concept and design of Sea Life Rentals sets the stage for its promotion. We strongly believe that marketing and promotion will stress the unique canoes and kayaks we at Sea Life Rentals provide and the customer approach to service we buttress.

Strong public relations combined with well-placed, well-designed, distinctive advertising appealing directly to people who are our prospective customers will help get the word out. Below are the few channels we plan to leverage;

  • Trade shows: We will attend and participate in several trade shows to keep up with changes in the industry.
  • Print advertising and article publishing: We will also print our advertising program which will include advertisements in local newspapers and journals.
  • Use of unique colour and uniform : We also plan to have a distinctive colour that can only be attributed to our rental business alone.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

Much of our pricing at Sea Life Rentals is determined by our competition. The price of canoe and kayak renting in Chicago ranges from $20 to $40. By setting our price at the level of $30, we will appeal to the budget conscious traveller as well as those that price is not an option.

With a potential market of over 55 million people per year, we are basing our first year figures on servicing over a million or 2% of the potential visitors. We do not plan to just keep our prices way below what is obtainable in the industry; we also plan to offer special services that will have a unique price. We have also set plans to offer discount services once in a while and also to reward our loyal customers.

  • Payment Options

Having done our research and studies, we plan to bring payment options that are unique and will make the payment for the service we offer very easy for our customers.

  • Payment by via bank transfer
  • Payment via POS machine
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via mobile money
  • Payment with cash

To offer all these payment channels, we have partnered with a renowned bank in the country and we hope to make use of that relationship. Our bank account numbers will be made available on our website and promotional materials so that it will be easier for clients to make payments.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

Most of our planned start-up costs are apportioned for the provision of sufficient cash reserve to assure timely payment of operating costs for the company in the first three months. We also need adequate funds to cater for the costs associated with recruiting, training, and paying operational crews.

We also need funds for marketing, advertising, and public relations, including the cost of setting up a website capable of offering rental information and making online sales and reservations. We have analyzed the market and below are the key areas we plan to spend or startup capital on:

  • The Total Fee for Registering the Business in Chicago – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $3,000
  • Marketing promotion budget for Sea Life Rentals – $500,000
  • Cost for hiring Business Consultant – $20,000
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $254,000
  • Cost of accounting software, tracker software apps, CRM software and Payroll Software – $6,000
  • Cost for leasing standard office facility with large space for parking our canoes and kayaks- $250,000.
  • Cost for facility remodelling the facility- $70,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery – $1000
  • Phone and utility deposits – $3,500
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, fuelling, maintenance, payments of bills et al) – $250,000
  • The cost for Start-up inventory – $1,000,000
  • Cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Credit card machine, POS, tables and chairs et al): $4,000.
  • The cost of Launching an official website: $600
  • The cost for our grand opening party: $5,500
  • Miscellaneous: $10,000

From our detailed analysis above, we will need an estimated $2,500,000 to start Sea Life Rentals.

Generating Funding/Startup capital

We at Sea Life Rentals are currently seeking $2.5 million to fund our business and its initial operations. This funding will cover the purchase of canoes and kayaks, marketing, software, and hardware, or rather to make it easier for the above financial protection. Sea Life Rentals is owned by its founder Simon Danica and principle investors. These are the areas we intend generating our startup capital;

  • Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings and sale of his stocks
  • Generate part of the startup capital from friends and other extended family members
  • Generate funding from angel investors

Note: We have been able to raise $1,000,000 from the personal savings and family soft loans of Mr Simon Danica. We are hoping to raise the remaining funds from investors who would want to invest in a lucrative venture like Sea Life Rentals.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

Our plan at Sea Life Rentals is to gear operations, and present a professional, serious, growth-oriented image from the outset, that will set the stage for mirroring growth rates projected for the first years of operation. Note that as an element important to achieving our other key objectives at Sea Life Rentals, we plan to develop strategic alliances through the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Board of Trade, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Corporation and other Chicago associations and tourism groups.

Also upon successful operation for two years, we will begin to develop plans to open new offices and rental services in other cities in Illinois. Our commitment is to maximize the pleasure of our customers so that their time with us will be one of the most memorable parts of their water adventure.

As we grow and profit, we at Sea Life Rentals intends to spend from 5% to 10% of gross revenues on advertising thereby raising our business image in the regional rental service and operations market. Just like we stated above, we will aggressively sell the benefits of doing business with us by implementing the following action items:

In our first months of operations we will:

  • Start with a major advertisement campaign to let the whole Chicago know there is a new rental business in town.
  • We will host a party for the concierges of all the major hotels in Chicago and present them with an incentives offer for referrals to Sea Life Rentals.
  • We will join the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Convention and Tourism Corporation and Chicago Board of Trade and co-host a meet and greet party for the local business, media and government officials and invite decision makers from the area.
  • We will buy inexpensive media time throughout the year on local radio, in the print media, on television and cable television outlets to promote our rental service.

In the future we will:

  • Develop special rental offers such as ‘Lovers Only’ rentals on Valentine Day.
  • Develop Veterans rental specials.
  • Host a once a year group racing kayaking contest.
  • Add to our product line picture-taking, so that before customers go on our canoes or kayaks, we will take pictures of the group and have a framed portrait waiting for their return, as well as the ability to send the picture via e-mail to anywhere in the world.

Check List/Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check: Completed
  • Business Incorporation: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Conducting feasibility studies: Completed
  • Leasing, renovating and equipping our facility: Completed
  • Generating part of the starup capital from the founder: Completed
  • Applications for Loan from our Bankers: In Progress
  • Writing of Business Plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents: In Progress
  • Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
  • Printing of Promotional Materials: Completed
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of software applications, furniture, office equipment, electronic appliances and facility facelift: In progress
  • Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business (Business PR): In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement: In Progress
  • Establishing business relationship with banks, financial lending institutions, vendors and key players in the industry: In Progress