Business At A Glance
Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No
Carts and kiosks today are upscale–and highly lucrative–ventures. Thedifference between a cart and a kiosk is that a kiosk is larger,enclosed and has space for you to sit while you work.
You can purchaseyour own cart or kiosk and have it custom-built for your merchandise,or you can rent one from a mall. And you can sell just aboutanything–from sunglasses to sunflowers, hot dogs to dog figurines,perfumes, personalized coffee mugs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, chocolatechip cookies and cooked-to-order health foods.
You can operate yourshop at a wide variety of locations–in a mall, at sporting andentertainment events, at flea markets, on busy downtown streets, attourist promenades, or where workers convene for meals or snacks. Theadvantages to this business are that it’s much less expensive to getinto than a traditional retail location, you can start part time if youlike, the earning potential is excellent, and if business gets slow atone location you can pick up and move to another.
You’ll need thestamina to stick to your post for long hours (especially if you’ll beoutdoors), a good working knowledge of retail operations and a flairfor attention-grabbing displays. You should also have an extrovertedpersonality because a large part of cart and kiosk sales is interactingwith passersby–making eye contact and offering a smile and perhaps aninvitation to examine your wares or sample your treats.
Who your customers are will depend on your products and location, andthe best way to earn their business is by stocking a clean, trendy,eye-catching cart or kiosk; looking clean, enthusiastic and cheerfulyourself; and doing the market research to place yourself in the bestpossible location. Think about where you’ll find people who’ll wantyour goods, then case the site at different times over a two-weekperiod to get a feel for traffic flow and customer demographics.
You’ll need a resale license so you can purchase your productswholesale, and if you’ll be serving food, you’ll need a permit fromyour local health department. And if your cart or kiosk will followbehind your vehicle like a trailer, you’ll need a license for it.
Ifyou’ll set up shop in a mall or office building, you’ll need to getpermission from the mall or building manager. On a street corner, parkor event site, you’ll need an OK from city, county or eventauthorities.
Your minishop should be equipped with a cash register andadequate display or preparation space (if you’re making food) for yourproducts, plus any grills, refrigerators, freezers, steamers or ovensyou’ll require. You should also stock a stool to give your feet a rest;sales tickets and tags; and boxes, bags and papers for wrapping upmerchandise.