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Old 06-02-2009, 04:59 PM   #11
KSagal
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Being a police officer should give you access to at least pitch the proposal that you may have to work harder if you were not in a known profession... As a cop, you are likely to be able to pass any historical or criminal checks... That will give the University some ease of mind...

As far as partnering with the university, money is always an odd factor... I might suggest, that until you are established, you offer a different compensation. It is up to you, but any organization that size will have a constant flow of new employees, new staff, and their families... You may wish to offer coupons for free tours (or a coupon for a free tour with two purchased ones or something like that) so that the university can itself use your service for their incomming staff and families... They may see this as a service to their own, without getting money involved... (and of course, it takes less out of your pocket as well).

As far as Tom's suggestion that a University Campus is not a stand alone or sufficient site for a tour, I do not agree... OF course, he is better at segway tours than I am, and even though I do live in the Boston Area, I am more familiar with Yale since I grew up in the New Haven, CT area...

There are different tours by bus and trolly now, of that Yale campus, and I would suspect of the Harvard or MIT campuses as well... These colleges have a rich history, and a tremendous asset in historic buildings, as well as are often the center of many social and political happenings... Many have botanical, scientific and other displays as well...

So, while I do not have segway tour experience, I do know of tours by other means that do go on in some of these locations... Perhaps Tom is right in that they may not have enough tourists to form a pool alone, that I do not know, but as a site, I believe they have a great deal to offer...

As far as the tour on the T A&M campus, good luck. Work hard, offer a fun time, with some education thrown in, mix it all up with the segways, and you're in like Flinn!

Keep smiling, and share that segway smile!
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Last edited by KSagal; 06-02-2009 at 08:42 PM..
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AggiePhil View Post
I've actually been thinking about this a lot. Luckily, as a police officer, I think I have a fairly good idea just what the university could and could not do about Segway tours being offered on campus. Essentially, our traffic laws in Texas (which also apply on campus since it is a public institution) allow EPAMDs (Segways) to be operated on sidewalks, in bike lanes (which we have a lot of here), and sometimes even in the main roadway (main lane of traffic). With those laws on my side, I really can't think of much that the university could do short of something like a general Segway ban on campus. And I'm not sure they could even do that since Segways are classified as EPAMDs. Of course, I would want to conduct myself and my tours in a way that wouldn't come close to pressing my luck. I would want to speak with officials at the school first and tout my proposal as an attempt to be an ambassador for the university (all the while admittedly making a profit for myself). I'm going to try and talk to a couple friends that work for the University Police Department here in the coming days about any problems they might foresee or experiences they've had with Segway operation on the campus. I'll let y'all know what I learn.

I'm still curious about insurance costs though...
I would suggest you may need to rethink the point that Chris made. Remember, you aren't just gliding on campus, you are operating a profit-making (you hope) business on campus. Ask the manager of the cafeteria or one of the machine vendors what they're paying to do business on campus. I'm betting it won't be a small figure.

You may not have to pay a fee for the privilege, but if you don't get permission in advance, I see the potential for some unpleasant discussions with lawyers in your future.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:56 PM   #13
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Well if you'll read my last post, you'll see that I spoke with someone in the university's business office who said that [although he will check with one other office in the next few days,] his office doesn't have a problem with me doing the tours on campus and he appreciates me consulting the university first.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AggiePhil View Post
Well if you'll read my last post, you'll see that I spoke with someone in the university's business office who said that [although he will check with one other office in the next few days,] his office doesn't have a problem with me doing the tours on campus and he appreciates me consulting the university first.
great place to start, keep working until you have something in writing (doesn't have to be a formal contract yet - you will want something like that later on down the road), start putting a business plan together (there are self help books, local business organizations, business students, etc. that can help you with that part). I was involved in two start up businesses while I was in college and the first opened my eyes to the large amount of stuff that I did not know, the second showed me how much more work I ended up doing when I was the boss and not an employee.

In your favor - A&M has a large population that would make use of your tour business, it has lots of experienced tour guides (usually college students), it is large in area nad a Segway is almost a requirement for a tour that does not involve getting on and off buses.

The insurance question you have depends on what the university/town/county/state require for liability insurance (at a minimum) for a business (that also is putting people with minimal but minimally adequate training on Segways). you may try calling a few tour operators and asking what insurance carrier they use, then call the company and ask them about your specific area (if they need numbers tell them no more than a 10 to 1 ratio of tourists to guides, a mix of older and newer Segways - $2500-$6000 per unit, 30 minutes of instruction including watching the safety video and using a lesson plan, etc.).

Good luck . . . have fun . . . stay positive
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:32 AM   #15
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Thanks again everybody! Keep the suggestions coming!

One thing that I have been wondering about though... Is it forbidden to use the name "Segway" in the name of your business if it is not a "Segway-authorized tour"? In other words, could I call it something like "Aggie Segway Tours", eventhough I might not be a Segway-authorized company? Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:30 PM   #16
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Take onboard everything you are being advised, and don't for one second consider this venture unless all the powers that be at the University are 100% behind you. Tom at Florida Ever Glides pretty much invented the tour concept, and was a great help to myself (and I am sure many others) over a couple of years ago when I was in your situation. I run a tour at a "private" location here in the UK, which is Leeds Castle in Kent. The Castle is promoting our tours very heavily, indeed, today they sent a 28,000 email promotion for us to their customers. Make sure there is something in it for the University, even if you settle on a % of your takings. Remember it's a two way street, what can you do for them?
Good luck.
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:47 PM   #17
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Thanks Nick.

Probably the most important single item to consider when contemplating a new Segway tour business is demographics. Can the area support a tour price high enough to ever turn a profit? Especially in a recession, when people are generally cutting back on all expenses, including discretionary spending. If you price it too low, you will work your *** off (if your lucky) and still never turn a profit unless you have little to no expenses. And. you'll work hard and not smart. On the otherhand, if you price it too high for the area and it's economics, you wont get nearly enough customers to make the venture even viable.

It is highly recommended to pick an area that can easily support $65.00 per person + to be able to have a good return on your segway Tour investment. And don't just think it might. The more affluent the area the better the chance of success.

And, don't lose sight that for the money spent by your guests, you must always exceed their expectation of the tour. This is where most tours go wrong. Many segway tours are nothing more than a guided ride that emphasizes the Segway and not the tour.

What will make or break the business is your return or referral guests. Over time it should grow to about 30% of your business. And, this additional revenue is what makes your business able to grow and thrive during economic fluctuations...
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:44 PM   #18
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Are any of y'all that are Segway dealers willing to answer a few questions over the phone?
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:25 AM   #19
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Just to give you guys an update, I have located two possible locations for the business. I can't believe how expensive it is to rent retail space here! And I spoke to one Segway dealer who essentially said that you need at least $130,000 to become a Segway dealer. Which...is going to be impossible for me to do. I hate that because I think I could introduce a lot of potential buyers here to Segway (police departments, EMS services, college students, etc.). So anyway, I guess I'll have to resort to running a non-authorized tour company. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:06 AM   #20
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get more numbers (rental costs, payroll, insurance) so that you can create a business plan, you may be able to get investors
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