You can’t beat the energy and atmosphere of bringing your business to a bustling street, festival, local event, or farmers market. A mobile business is a fun and functional way to take an online business, or business that isn’t quite ready for a traditional space, out into the world. Food trucks are wildly popular, but you don’t have to be a foodie to start a wheelie business.
American Mobile Retail Association statistics say that 100% of mobile retail vehicles are bought used and retrofitted, and that 18% of entrepreneurs on wheels break even in less than a year. 75% of mobile businesses also have an ecommerce element, and 45% also have brick-and-mortar locations. Stacey Steffe, president of the trade organization for mobile retailers, says that on average, mobile entrepreneurs spend about $20,000 to get started, depending on how much rehabbing and DIY entrepreneurs are willing to do. This may sound like a lot, but this is a pittance compared to starting a traditional retail space.
Here are some ideas for businesses on wheels.
Fashion Truck / Mobile Boutique
Women’s fashion boutiques are the most popular non-food trucks. Businesses like Bootleg Airstream in Austin, TX, ARTichoke Apparel Bus in Cape Cod, MA, and Celebrities Mobile Boutique in Harlem, NY are just a few examples of successful mobile fashion business that have been on the road for many years.
Books and Music
Before there were food trucks, and before the mobile retail craze, booksellers were taking their titles to the streets (and sometimes canals) with creative mobile bookshops. Bookmobiles have been popular free public library offerings for years, too. Penguin Books has even entered the new millennium with its Penguin Book Truck.
And it’s more than just books. Third Man Rolling Record Store is a combination mobile music store and a pop-up performance venue.
Truck Trainers in Nashville, TN says there are no excuses when the gym comes to you. 360Gym has even emerged to make fitness trainers mobile ready with a custom portable gym that can be pulled on a trailer.
Creative Mobile Businesses
Just as a pop-up shop can be customized to any kind of business, any business you can imagine can also go on the road and deliver service straight to customers. Mobile florists, pet groomers, antiquarian retailers, salons, and more have joined the phenomenon.
What’s the most creative mobile business you’ve ever seen?