The Ultimate Guide on How to Start a Mobile Business

Mobile businesses are booming. It was not so long ago when working on wheels was reserved for food trucks and repair services. Now, working on wheels has transformed into a boutique experience– from hip hair salons to bookmobiles to mobile gyms, the possibilities are endless! 

Running a mobile business can come with benefits like flexible schedules, low startup costs, and the added comfort of mobility. However, mobile businesses also come with their share of costs and risks like any other business endeavor. The key to a successful business is planning. For a seamless experience, here is the ultimate guide to starting a mobile business. 

Planning & Marketing 

Before grabbing a vehicle and hitting the road, one should prepare a business plan first. When preparing a business plan, take a hard look at the market and analyze how your business can fit in. Ask yourself what your product is and how will you market it? 

Once you’ve finished your market analysis, decide on the name of your business. When coming up with a business name, ask yourself these questions: How does it sound? Does it have a nice ring to it? How will it look on your vehicle? Does it indicate what you are selling? One can check Google Domains to see if the name is available, as well as how much does the domain cost for purchase.  

Start-Up Costs

Second, analyze costs. With finances, there are three categories: start-up costs, ongoing costs, and unexpected costs. 

Although mobile businesses offer smaller expenses, start-up costs still exist. Start-up costs include registering your company, purchasing licenses/ permits, etc. Purchasing a vehicle may be your largest expense, costing between $10,000- $30,000 if pre-owned, or from $100,000- $200,000 if custom-made. 

Additional costs include vehicle outfitting, website/ app design, and acquiring a point-of-sale system. A point-of-sale system allows business customers to pay with credit or debit cards; consider Payanywhere’s Smart Terminal, this is a great mobile card reader able to execute real-time transactions, print receipts, etc. 

Ongoing & Unexpected Costs

Ongoing costs refer to insurance policies, inventory, staff pay, fuel, parking, and promotion. Mobile businesses have the advantage of packing their belongings and meeting their target audience closer to home— this can help with marketing and promoting your business. That being said, consider pushing effort in promoting your business via social media, your vehicle’s “wrap,” etc. 

Finally, one should consider unexpected costs. Unexpected costs are unavoidable. Examples include vehicle repair and bad weather. Every minute your vehicle is stuck in the auto shop is another minute you’re losing business. To prevent this, put away some money each month to save for repair costs. As for bad weather, take advantage of these days to push your business via social media, etc. 

Vehicles & Licenses

One can’t call their business a “mobile business” until a vehicle is involved. Choosing your vehicle is among one of your most important investments. There exist trucks, buses, trailers, and carts. Whether you plan to lease your vehicle, purchase pre-owned, or buy a new truck altogether, make sure the vehicle is appealing and functional. 

Finally, get your mobile business licensed. Although licenses vary per region, most mobile businesses require a total of six licenses: a state business license, a local business license, a seller’s permit, a fire certificate, a health department permit, and an industry-specific license. Look up your state’s qualifications and proceed as instructed.

Once your business is prepared and approved, start hiring, turn on the ignition, and get to work!

Photo by James Frid from Pexels

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