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Retail Business

Carts and Kiosks

Don’t have a ton of startup capital? Consider a cart or kiosk business.

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Business At A Glance

Carts and Kiosks

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

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.

The Market

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.

Needed Equipment

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.

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Retail Business

Scaffolding Rentals

Take business to new heights with scaffolding rentals.

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Business At A Glance

Scaffolding Rentals

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Almost every building and home service tradeneeds to rent scaffolding at some point in the course of operatingtheir business.

To start this type of business you purchase new orsecondhand scaffolding, design a brochure and price list, anddistribute the brochure to local home service companies and contractorsin your community. Providing a free delivery and pickup service forscaffold rentals will get the telephone ringing and scaffold rentalorders coming in.

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Retail Business

Consignment Clothing Store

The low-cost way to start a clothing store–sell items on consignment.

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Business At A Glance

Consignment Clothing Store

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

The resale field is hot these days, with over 15,000 shops across thecountry and an industry association growth rate of 15 percent per year.So if you’ve got an eye for fashion, design and quality, and great buysmake your heart soar, then a consignment clothing shop or kids’consignment shop could be the business for you.

If you go thechildren’s route, you can specialize in toys or clothing, or both.You’ll take clean, well-cared-for garments or toys and display andmerchandise them for their owners, splitting the profits when you makea sale. Clothing consignors sell mostly women’s garments–along withaccessories like costume jewelry, belts and handbags–but men’sclothing is becoming increasingly popular as a resale item as well.

Because you’re taking the items on consignment, you don’t pay anythingfor your inventory until it’s sold, which makes this business ideal forthe startup entrepreneur. You price garments and other goodies, thenhave the owner pick them up if they don’t sell within a given period oftime. The advantages to this business are that it’s creative, yourstartup costs are small compared to most retail operations, and you getthe satisfaction of helping your customers get great buys for littlemoney.

The key to a successful consignment shop is an atmosphere that’sclean, fresh and fashionable, so you’ll need a flair for display andmerchandising. You should also have a good eye for current fashions andquality and the ability to properly price your merchandise so thatshoppers get the discount they expect and you and your consignees makea profit. To complement all this, you’ll need excellent people skills.

The Market

Your customers will be people interested in the type of merchandiseyou’ve got for sale–basically the same people who shop at regularretail outlets. The trick is to attract their attention and sell themon the benefits of shopping with you.

Besides routine advertisingmethods like local radio and newspaper ads, you can host fashion showsfor local women’s groups and hand out fliers in front of your shop. Ifyou’re located near a business district, you can also deliver yourfliers to offices in the area. And don’t forget ads–perhaps withget-acquainted coupons–in your local Pennysaver-type publication.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a shop and the display furnishings to put in it–glasscases for jewelry, clothes racks, hangers and tables or shelves. You’llalso need sales tickets and tags, shopping bags and a cash register. Acomputer with an inkjet printer and retail operation software will be abig help but aren’t necessary for starters if you can’t afford them.

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Retail Business

Janitorial Supplies

You can clean up by selling janitorial supplies.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Janitorial Supplies

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Every year companies, government agencies,organizations, educational institutions, and associations spendbillions of dollars on janitorial and sanitation supplies such ascleaners, paper products, disposal bags, and janitorial equipment.Starting a janitorial supply business to secure a piece of this verybig and financially lucrative pie is not difficult to do. Like manywholesale or middleperson businesses, the key to success is to get outand talk to potential customers.

This is a competitive industry andwaiting for business to come to you is simply waiting to go out ofbusiness. Deal with more than one manufacturer in order to negotiateand secure good pricing. Traditionally, profit margins in the industryare tight and usually products are sold for no more than 10 to 20percent over costs, so it is critical to build high volume repeatcustomer accounts.

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