On the Move: Running a Mobile Business

Not everyone decides to run a business from one place. A mobile business can be an exciting thing to run, whether you choose where to go or your customers ask you to go to them. It can also be pretty difficult to handle running a business that doesn’t have a proper home. If you’re based out of a truck, or you’re always setting up stalls and pop-up locations, it can be difficult to build a customer base. There are some key issues you need to consider if you want to run a mobile business, so plan your venture well before you make any big moves.

Running a mobile business ice cream truck

Reliable and On-brand Transport

If your business is going to move around, you need a vehicle (or even more than one) that’s going to get you where you need to be. Sometimes, your vehicle will just need to carry your equipment. It doesn’t matter what it looks like inside. But other businesses will need a special setup, whether it’s a mobile kitchen or even a beauty salon space in the back of a truck. When choosing a vehicle, it’s essential to think about reliability and efficiency. However, taking your branding into consideration is important too. For example, if you run a gelato truck, a cool Italian style could work for you.

Choosing the Best Locations

Deciding where to go isn’t always easy. Some mobile businesses might work on an appointment or call-out business, going wherever their customers need them to go. Even they need to define their business’s service area, though. Other businesses will go where they can get the most business. This could depend on which trade shows or events are most suitable, where there’s an available pop-up space, or just where there are most customers to be found. It could be something you plan months in advance or that you need to think about the day before. You need to know your industry and your market to work out the best places to go.

Focus on Effective Payment Solutions

When your business moves around, taking payments can become a little tricky. People can easily pay in cash, of course, but many people don’t carry cash anymore. If people are expecting to pay by card, it’s awkward when you have to tell them you can’t take them. Even worse, it could lose you business. But an effective payment system allowing you to take cards is expensive, right? Fortunately, it’s now much more cost-effective to buy a POS system for your small business. You might even be able to get the equipment and software for free and only pay for payment processing. You can control everything from a tablet if you want to, which makes it much more mobile.

Get the Paperwork Right

Whatever your business, make sure you get the official stuff right. For example, if you’re running a food truck business, you’ll need to comply with any health codes or relevant rules for preparing and selling food. It’s important to get your taxes to right, to insure your business in all the right ways, and to make sure you’re registered properly. If you’re just getting your business off the ground, you don’t want to be stopped in your tracks by someone telling you that you’ve done something wrong. You might then need to waste valuable time correcting it or, worse, shut down completely.

Mobile food business

Getting Noticed

Promoting your business when you’re always on the move can be pretty tough. It’s hard to build a reliable customer base if you can rarely be found in one place. Some mobile businesses will find it easier, especially those who rely on customers making appointments. Food trucks can often find success by visiting the same places regularly. Online promotion is often one of the best ways to get noticed. However, when setting up your physical location, you also need to be creative to bring in foot traffic.

How Can You Build Your Brand?

Building your brand when you move around is difficult, but you can incorporate the fact that you’re mobile into your branding. Many food trucks and other mobile businesses have apps that allow their fans to track them and find out where they are on any given day. Because you’re unlikely to be in one place very often, you need to rely on things other than location to build your brand. You can work on providing great service and a fantastic product to help promote word of mouth promotion.

You need to put a lot of work into running a mobile business, but you can make it work. You just need to be aware of some of the special issues.


Lynne Huysamen

Mommy to a pigeon pair, blogger and online marketer. Lover of chocolate, good books and buckets of coffee.

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