If freedom is your main incentive for starting up your own venture but you’re unsure what path to choose, then a coffee cart business may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Here are eight reasons why:
Starting a coffee cart business is as budget-friendly as you want it to be. All you need to set it up and running is a specially designed cart fitted with a professional coffee machine and other necessary equipment such as a sink with an automated water supply and a power source.
You can get a second hand one for a little as $1000 but it will most definitely require some further investments. A new one will cost you up to $7000 - a good price for what is basically a fully-fitted and ready to go coffee shop on wheels.
All in all, a coffee cart business is a great alternative to a brick and mortar coffee shop since you have much lower set-up costs, no rent, utilities or personnel costs and, best of all, you’re mobile and flexible.
While some products pertaining to the food and beverages industry are seasonal, coffee isn’t one of them.
Quite the opposite, in fact: as long as there will be people on the move, there will also be a demand for coffee and coffee-based drinks.And with most of us spending 70% of our working days out of home, there’s no sign of this changing any time soon.
Look around you and you’ll see that rushed commutters, blue collars on a break or friends meeting for a quick catch-up treat themselves daily to their favorite pick-me-up, often a hot espresso, a creamy latte or a refreshing frappuccino. This happens every day, all around the world, in big cities as well as smaller towns.
The first question that pops into anyone’s mind when considering a business relates to profit. So what type of income could a coffee cart owner expect to make? The answer is never fixed, as it depends on the hours put in, the volume of sales, costs incurred and the pricing point.
However, what really turns the small initial investment into a profitable business is the profit margin, which can be anywhere between 60% to 80%.
Keep in mind that the higher the quality of your products (coffee and toppings), the lower the margin; yet, this can be easily offset by the sales volume alone since a good product always attracts loyal customers and word-of-mouth recommendations.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the greatest things about being an entrepreneur is freedom - the ability to make your own schedule and work as many hours as you see necessary. This is something no job can provide you with, no matter how rewarding or enjoyable.
Not a morning person? No problem, you can cater to the lunch crowd or simply hire someone else to pick up the morning shift. Not a fan of Mondays? Same principle applies.
Whatever your hours or your working days, rest assured you can make it work, provided you put in the effort it takes.
Opening a brick and mortar coffee shop is, by comparison, expensive and, if the location turns out to be anything but good, you’ll find yourself stuck with a failing business.
With a coffee cart, this problem is completely avoidable. Bad location? You’re free to move to a more conducive one. Too much neighbouring competition? Free to explore and find your own place to dominate. As long as you’ve got those wheels attached to your cart, you can adapt to any situation and make the best of it.
Contrary to popular belief, a vending cart isn’t just for street selling. You can take it anywhere you want, be it indoor or outdoor locations. Fairs and festivals, sporting events and concerts, private parties and family celebrations - there’s a whole world of opportunities out there waiting for you to find them. All you need is inspiration and good people skills which, after all, are the makings of a good barista anyway.
To be clear, now has never been a better time to start your coffee cart business. Thanks to the growing trend of specialty coffee, people are becoming more knowledgeable and more appreciative of good quality coffee-based drinks. This also means the market base has grown and it continues to grow every year, leading to new opportunities and promising sales forecasts.
Pivoting is a popular term in the start-up world, meaning the ability to shift from plan A to plan B when things don’t go exactly as expected.
Through pivoting, businesses can grow beyond their initial goals by re-imagining their purpose and assets and by reconsidering their angle.
And while it’s somewhat difficult for a big business to pivot overnight, for a small business such as a coffee cart the process is only as challenging as your imagination and drive.
For example, you can give your business a new direction by specializing on certain types of coffee or by only catering to private events.
The world is your oyster, after all!
As long as you’re determined and optimistic, your coffee cart dream has every chance of becoming a profitable reality.
Of course, there will be times when running it is stressful, and there will be times when things could go better– but never forget why you launched your coffee business in the first place.
Chances are that you wanted to escape the rat race, and do something you were passionate about. Remember to have fun, enjoy yourself, and let your passion for coffee come out in the work you do.
So, what are you waiting for?