Bike retailer creates bike hire software

Dealer designs Bike Shop Manager after frustration with current systems
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A former bike retailer has created a new piece of software to help firms manage their bike rental businesses.

The software developer, Doug Stoddart, previously worked as a software developer and then ran a bike shop in France for six years. He has used both experiences to create ‘Bike Shop Manager’ which organises rental bookings taken in person or by phone as well as via the internet and email.

The software accounts for the maintenance of bikes, keeps track of each bikes usage, when it is due for a service and when it’s next reserved, etc. Bike Shop Manager runs on Google’s ‘cloud’, so there is no installation required, and is accessed through a browser – so bookings can be taken on the road as long as the user has internet access.

Stoddart explained how he came up with the idea: “For the first five years of running our bike-rental business we used, as I'm sure most managers do, a spreadsheet to manage all the bookings, and bike maintenance.

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“In 2009 I returned to IT, whilst remaining in the South of France. I took some current exams in the process, and did a couple of IT contracts, whilst employing someone to run the bikeshop. I realised that the spreadsheet system is error-prone, time consuming and not easy to share with multiple users. So I started to write the software in June 2010.”

Stoddart has begun to market the software to other businesses.

“The reaction has been excellent. Everyone is pleased to hear about the product and about 90 per cent of people want to take a look, at the very least. Most people are dissatisfied with their existing system, be it paper or spreadsheet based, for a variety of reasons.

“Lots of people are also very interested in taking bookings online, and some have been actively looking into how to achieve this.”

There’s more detail on the software at www.bikeshopmanager.com

Stoddart’s bike rental business, Village Velo, is based near to Montpelier.

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