Throughout this country’s rich history, business owners have learned – sometimes the hard way – that to resist change or adaptation can be a death knell. Waiting to incorporate technology, automation, or service options could mean losing a competitive edge, or worse, something that even our farmers have had to adjust to. Customers and clients have come to expect specific options and levels of service, and meeting those expectations can be the difference in customer retention.
This was particularly obvious during the pandemic. Companies that were able to adapt quickly with things like mobile delivery services or curbside pickup were able to survive. Food trucks allowed people to gain some sense of normalcy by allowing them to safely, and literally, eat “out.” When customers pick up their curbside grocery order, they still want to drive in a meticulously detailed vehicle that only professionals like Doc Mobile Auto Detailing can provide.
Overall, mobile businesses, or business owners who adopted a mobile-based component to their business, fared well during a time when many businesses failed. In or out of a major event like a pandemic, starting a mobile business or adding a mobile service to your existing business can be a smart business move.
The more complex, the more upfront costs you’ll have
It goes without saying that a mobile notary service that you can run out of your sedan will have little or no upfront costs compared to a food truck, but it also may not be quite as lucrative. In some cases, your startup costs for a mobile business could be roughly the same as starting up a business in a fixed physical location, and not be recouped for a year or more. Your advantage in being mobile is that you can go to your customers instead of relying on them to walk through your doors. Many mobile businesses attend popular events to easily insert their business among the attendees.
Check with your city offices to determine what licenses or permits you will need to get for your particular mobile business type. If you sell food, be prepared for regular – and unannounced – health inspections, in addition to any based on complaints. In fact, you can expect that your mobile business will have to adhere to any state or local health or other regulations and laws that would normally apply to a fixed-location business. Your main additional cost will be diligent maintenance to ensure your “business on wheels” is always open for business. If you are using a specialty vehicle that your usual mechanic isn’t qualified to work on, ask them for a referral and develop that relationship early.
Finally, consider your naming strategy. If you have an existing non-mobile business and you are offering identical or very similar products or services, you may want to keep that same name recognition for your mobile business, but simply differentiate somewhat. For example, if your restaurant name is Magic Pizza Pies, you could name your mobile business Traveling Magic Pizza Pies, or Magic Carpet Pizza Pies to differentiate the ambulatory business model from your stationary location. You can create and register a business name as a DBA of your existing business, indicating that you are “doing business as” a component of your other business name.
The DBA strategy is helpful in other scenarios, as well. For example, if you have already named and incorporated your business but can’t find an identical domain name, you can create a DBA that is the same as the domain name you are using and develop your marketing materials with the DBA.
Heading down the right road
Starting a mobile business or adding a mobile arm to your existing business can be an interesting way to work, and a great way to increase or diversify your existing business revenue. It offers a very personal touch to your clients and customers, allowing you to engage with them directly where they live, work, and play. Invest some time in thinking about what you love to do and how that might translate into a mobile business. Or, if you want to learn a new skill, search for low-cost or even free instructional courses like the one offered through Doc Mobile Auto Detail.
The roads you drive on with your mobile business vehicle may not be paved with gold, but a mighty mobile business might just tip the scales in your favor when the unexpected happens.