I started off with the idea that no one would reserve a motorcycle on speculation - and then cancel it on a whim.
Then a couple of things happened - two brothers hired a couple of 1200GS's in mid season - for a month each. I cut them a good deal - unlimited mileage for 4000€ - and I got their forms. And did not take their deposits (30%) at that point.
Two months later, and 3 weeks before their hire, I got a message to say they would not be coming. I tried to process their cards - but these were disabled. I rang up the agent to see what had happened and it turned out that one of them had had a relapse from pancreatic cancer.
To cut a long story short - one of them decided to come in the end - but I had learned my lesson. Take the deposit ASAP. Customers will jerk you around.
Learning Point 1: If you cancel the rental company is liable to keep your deposit! They will have had at least one similar experience.
I also had a customer cancel and took his deposit. He rang me shortly afterward - saying he wanted to cancel. Giving a perfectly good reason (he had bought a bike). I pointed out that he was well within the point where his deposit was lost - and I would be keeping it.
He threatened me with contacting the UK Motorcycle Press and taking me to court. I pointed out I was within my legal rights - I had a reservation form he had signed. Fortunately I had another reservation before this got too out of hand.
In the spirit of keeping him sweet - I gave him an e-mail a few weeks later to see how he had got on. As it turns out he had hired a Honda Deauville and ridden down! So I had been lied to (again).
Learning Point 2: If you cancel the rental company is liable to keep your deposit! They will have had at least one similar experience and will assume they are being lied to.
Options on reservations - we did not take any - some companies do - normally you get 24 hours.