Running a Business on Wheels: How More Entrepreneurs Are Finding Success Owning a Mobile Business

“Many four-wheel operations go beyond the movable feast. In cities throughout the U.S., florists, barbers and apparel retailers are opting for commercial trucks instead of brick-and-mortar storefronts.”

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An increasing number of entrepreneurs are deciding to open their shops on wheels. Not only food trucks, but also pet groomers, fashion boutiques, and other small businesses are coming to you, rather than you having to go to them. What’s the attraction? With studies showing that over 50 percent of all startups failing within the first 5 years, more entrepreneurs are choosing to lower their operational costs and reduce their risk while embracing the perks of a mobile business environment.

There are many advantages of owning a mobile business:

Low overhead costs. Why pay the cost of leasing an expensive retail or office space when you can work out of your car or truck. Many businesses don’t require a brick-and-mortar location. Not only food trucks, but also other small businesses with little inventory, such as locksmiths, florists or shoe repair shops can easily be operated out of a truck or van. Other small businesses with seasonal or unpredictable business cycles have little incentive to set up roots in an expensive long term lease.

Flexibility and fluid work environment. A business that has the flexibility to move from place to place, going where their customers are located, eliminates the risk of being stuck in a location that doesn’t attract customers. Moreover, many small businesses have achieved success by introducing their products or services at small, low cost venues such as farmers markets and street fairs.

Delivery service is already in place. With a mobile phone and the touch of an app, many businesses are offering instant service at your doorstep. Dry cleaning and laundry services, such as Rinse, are popular in densely populated urban areas such as New York City and San Francisco.

Free Advertising. Mobile businesses can use their entire vehicle as an advertising platform. Driving around the city in a mobile vehicle is like having a mobile billboard – advertising is prominently displayed to passing customers throughout the day to the entire community.

Mobile businesses are affordable to buy. There are many mobile businesses for sale right now that already include equipment, inventory, an established customer base and digital presence. Buying an existing mobile business has a lower risk of failure and eliminates many of the initial startup costs. Plus, many sellers are willing to offer their own financing. You can view many mobile businesses for sale on BizBuySell.

With as little as a smart phone and WIFI connection, mobile businesses can be operated from almost anywhere. They are a growing attraction among many millennials, who are accustomed to working in nontraditional environments, such as remote locations or shared co-ops.

Yet, before you invest in a mobile business, be prepared. There are a few challenges you may face when getting started:

Business permits and contracts. Most mobile businesses need specific permits and licenses to sell in public spaces, operate certain equipment or park in certain areas. Find out which permits will transfer and which you will need before opening to the public. If the business had established contracts with local schools or parks, find out the terms of the contracts and whether or not they will carry over to the new owner.

Additional storage space needed. Does the business require additional space to store inventory or prepare food? Many mobile food businesses require an off-site non-residential location for storing food, while others require a satellite facility. Find out if these costs are included in the asking price.

Mobile vehicle maintenance costs. Before you buy, make sure the vehicle is inspected thoroughly. Your local auto club usually offers professional vehicle inspection services for members. Check the vehicles history for any major accidents or outstanding tickets. Find out how much it cost to operate and maintain the vehicle, including any needed repairs and insurance costs.

An established customer base. One of the biggest advantages of buying an existing business is its existing loyal customers. Ask the owner about the customers, where they are located and how they are attracted. Is there a specific neighborhood that brings in most of the business? Or, does the mobile business rely upon a loyal group of Facebook followers.

Once you own a mobile business, there are many ways you can creatively grow it and make it your own. Being your own boss with a business on wheels is what many would consider the epitome of the American dream.