Manual Bicyclerent


 Preface

..this manual is currently still under construction, as I am adding new features while it is already being used on live sites in real businesses successfully... 

What is this component & plugin(s) for?

If you are running a (multilingual) bicycle rental business, with a minimum rental period of one day this is for you:

You can automate online-sales with availability check and PayPal payment process including IPN payment tracking and make use of a modern Ajax-based front- and backend for a nice user experience.

You are able to assign your bikes  - for any dateranges - to other stations than their "root" and thus optimize your business in case you have to follow seasonal changes or need to accomodate for peaks at some of your bicycle pool's pick-up places. 

You can assign your bicycles to circles, from which they will be requested, in case you want your stations to cooperate in a very flexible manner. The closest bicycle will do the "trip" to serve the customer by using Google Maps services. You can enable or disable this feature completely and assign as many circles as you like.

This setup has been chosen to accomodate what in reality happens in bicycle rentals: You don't need neither want your customers to use different pick-up and drop-off stations. Usually a bicycle will be rented and returned at the same station. 
Nevertheless, it could happen that you have stations close enough to "help" in case the correct size and type (which is more important than with car rentals for example) are not available where the customer is looking for it in the first place.
Of course it is still up to you to allow for different drop-off places than the bookings' respective pick-up, (there is a comment field where your customers can ask for this), in that case you should make use of the component's option to prevent from booking a choosable amount of days before and after each booking request to allow for transportation and maintenance. 

So the system should help map the "reality" better into your database for the normal "holiday type" of bicycle rentals than a system which assigns bicycles only to one big pool rather than different base stations like this component and then allows for definable interdependent drop-offs and pick-ups. With this component, you will get rid of unnecessary transports but still be able to allow bookings flexibly and precisely defined if you need so to enhance the number of overall bookings.

The component's main features:

  • Ajax disponibility check, data display and booking process
  • 3 stage checkout without page reload.
  • Flexible opening hours per week-day, opening hours exceptions (if usually a user can't book for example Sundays as start or end day of a reservation because the station is closed on Sundays, one can open exceptionally between unlimited dateranges and thus allow bookings on Sundays for say a cycling event nearby.
  • Bookoffs - if a station goes on holiday it will not be bookable for that daterange.
  • Include terms & conditions & station description into reservation email (can be different for each station and per language). Tag Syntax to be replaced on the fly with the reservation data. PayPal Button in Reservation Email also via Tag Syntax.
  • PDF Invoices (unlimited templates) with Tag Syntax to be replaced with reservation data on the fly. Custom Invoice Number and Tax percentage per Invoice possible.
  • Frontend plugin to display ajax booking form with on-hover region, station & bicycle type description, opening hours on the start & end day of the booking, availability check and message system to guide customers through the booking process.
  • Affiliate tracking system with option to adapt pricing (in percent of original price of bicycle type) if booked via an affiliate link.
  • Option to use PayPal online payment during check-out including IPN script to track payments.
  • "Distance-option" for booking process - if chosen to use in this way, the booking plugin will also look for bikes in the next stations within a certain mileage that are befriended (managed via backend who's working together with whom, multiple circles with multiple stations and the same station in different circles possible) and not only in the very station the customer chose. This helps those rental companies who are working with kind of closely located stations and the possibility to transport bikes between their stations in terms of minimizing the necessary transports while maximizing rental count.
  • Flexible pricing options per bicycle type from fixed per day to different prices depending on duration of booking, moreover daily exception prices per type and station can be noted, so in case you have seasonal fluctuations the prices can be exactly set to your needs. Station and affiliate specific adaptation of prices (in % of original price) are also implemented.
  • Excel Export of database entries (real excel archives using phpexcel classes) as well as browser print option. 
  • Availability Calendar to easily spot your bicycles' occupation.
  • If you need a different primary key start value (id is int auto_increment) for bookings or bookers to adapt the booking numbers to your existing invoice system you can do so with an according function coming with this component.
  • discount vouchers - unlimited number of vouchers with valid daterange and max number of uses options, percent of original price or fixed amount 
  • Station Map Plugin showing your station(s) on a google Map
  • Operator Plugin showing an operator his reservations when logged into front end to book
  • Ships with 3 languages by default (Engllish, German, Spanish) for component and for the booking plugin I got 2 translations in so far (English, German)
  • List of next week's bookings automatically send to an arbitrary list of email adresses (set under options) if you can set up cronjobs on your server

The component has been created with the requirements of a real-life bicycle rental station in mind, and thus is adapted to do this job well. It is not intended to work for all kinds of other rentals alike. Instead, it should get your bicycle rentals up and working in short time, if you have one or more stations with an unlimited amount of regions, stations, bicycle types and sizes or if you simply want to rent at one station.

The component has been tested on php 5.3 with mysql 5.5. You should make sure, you are using an adequate, up-to-date system!

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