Deciding how many rental ice skates you will need to meet demand, especially during peak times, is difficult to forecast. A few key factors come into play when trying to figure this out. First is, what is the maximum number of skaters you can have on the ice at one time. This is important to know to make sure your inventory can handle the volume of skaters. Knowing the dimensions of your rink will come into play here. Second is, figuring out how many skaters you have per week. This will ensure you are turning a profit over time. Lastly, what is the demographic of people skating at your rink. This will help you know what sizes are most important to carry more of and how often you will need to replace your skates. Knowing this system will help you be more efficient and profitable.
Maximum Number of Skaters on the Ice
Knowing the maximum number of skaters you can have on the ice at one time is one of the most important aspect when figuring out how many rental skates you need to carry. Peak season is only 4 months out of the year for most rinks. That gives you 33% of the year to maximize revenue, so you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities. If you have a standard NHL sized sheet of ice (200’x85’), that’s 17,000sqft; you should be able to comfortably fit 300 skaters on the ice at one time. This gives each skater 57sqft of space around them. You don’t want to jam pack your sheet of ice because then that takes away from the experience for each skater. They want to have some space around them to glide around and not be overrun by too many people on the ice. However, while not being overbearing, this allows you to maximize your influx of skaters. Your customer turnover will improve as well as your rental skate sales.
To make sure you don’t run out of rental skates the rule of thumb is to carry 100-200 more pair of rental skates than the max number of skaters you can have on the ice at one time. That would equate to around 160% of the max number of skaters. For example: in a standard NHL size rink which fits 300 skaters, it would be best to carry around 480-500 pair of rental skates in inventory. This will ensure you can provide the correct sizes at time of need and not overuse the rental skates.
If you have a smaller rink size, typically these will be seasonal pop-up rinks, your max number of skaters will be less. If your rink is 100’x43’ (4,300sqft), you should be able to fit 150 skaters on the ice. In this scenario you can get away with having 130% of the max number of skaters in rental skates. This would equate to 200 pair of rental skates to cover this volume.
Some sheets of ice are even smaller than that. If you have a rink size of 50’x22’ (1,100sqft), you will be able to comfortable fit around 50 skaters on the ice at one time. With this volume it will be safe to carry 70 pair of rental skates.
Number of Skaters per Week
Knowing the number of skaters you have per week during peak season is important to know so you can figure out what to price your rental skates at in order to turn a profit. Generally, there are two types of rinks, a rink in the middle of a city where they do not have an issue filling their sheet of ice with skaters and a rink in a rural area where they may lack volume of skaters and have difficulty in filling their sheet of ice. Both scenarios have potential to turn a profit if done correctly. Forecasting and knowing when to buy and how much to buy is the key.
If you have a rink in the city and your main concern is controlling how many skaters you have on the ice due to over demand in skaters, this is a good problem to have. You will be able to price your skates at a lower cost than rinks in rural areas. However, be careful. Your skates will get a lot more wear and tear than rental skates at a rural rink, so you need to turn a profit quicker because you will need to replace your rental skates more often.
If you run a rink in a rural area you will need to price your skate at a higher price to make up for lack of skater demand. It’s okay if it takes a bit longer to turn a profit on rental skates because your skates won’t get worn out so quickly. You won’t need to replace your rental skates as often.
Profitability is the overall goal of running a rink and making sure you have enough rental skates. Pricing them correctly is very important to making this happen.
The demographic at your rink is important to analyze. You will be able to order your size allocation more efficiently as well as know which style rental skate you will get most use of. If there are more children than adult skaters, you know to order more smaller sizes. Also, you will know to order more figure skates than hockey skates because figure skates are most common for novice skaters. If you live in a hockey town and most of your skaters are teenage/adult hockey players, you will need more large sized hockey rental skates. There are many types of rental skates, don’t make the mistake of ordering random rentals to get it over with. Make sure you get the skates your customers will enjoy the most.
Lastly, knowing your demographic will also give you an idea of when you will need to reorder rental skates. If advanced skaters are using the rental skates to play and intense game of hockey, the skates will need to be replaced sooner because there is a lot more pressure on the skates through tight turns and sharp stops. When kids are just learning to skate on the rental skates, they won’t need to be replaced as often because kids are much lighter than adults and won’t be doing sharp turns or stops.