This is a collaborative post by Rosana Beechum about van-based business ideas.
Who needs an office or storefront when you have a van? In fact, a van-based business allows you to take advantage of today’s culture of convenience while keeping your own costs to a minimum. It allows you to change locations as necessary and market your firm by driving around while remaining part of the community. And it’s also a great way to enjoy more independence and make money either as a side business or as a main source of income. Here are five great van based-business ideas you can start on a budget.
Van-Based Business Ideas on a Budget
With a little work, you can turn a van into a mobile shop. Then you can sell everything from clothes to antiques to books, assuming it can fit inside the van or even on storage outside of the vehicle. Then you can go to the places where customers gather, and you may be able to sell to them from the car park; it costs a lot less than launching and running a traditional storefront – provided you have permission (or in some cases a license) to sell in that location, of course.
Mobile bookstores are particularly easy to start. All you need is to find a stock of books by striking a deal with used book suppliers in your area. Or you could offer a book pickup service, refurbish the books, and resell them. You can then use social media to advertise it and announce where you’ll be stopping by. A mobile used book service is perfect for older people who can’t reach the local library or live in an area where there are no mobile libraries in operation.
A Service-Oriented Business
You can gain points with potential customers if you come to them, no matter what the service is. Plumbers, electricians, and other repair people have operated out of vans for years since it is necessary to carry all of their tools around. Maybe you could offer bike repairs or car repairs out of your van. Car wash and detailing services can operate out of a van as well. You could stand out for the range of waxes you offer or your ability to do interior steam cleaning.
Consultants and artists who often transport pounds of gear would benefit from a van, too. Musicians are the best-known example, but it can include photographers and artists. Barbershops, pet groomers and other service providers are increasingly opting for vans, as well, because they can go to events and serve people at the gathering or cater to those who don’t or simply can’t travel.
You could also use a van and start a pickup and recycling business. You could offer to pick up old refrigerators or big appliances free of charge or even charge a fee if your market allows it. Or you could specialize in specific auto parts and resell them. Car parts fetch a lot of money on the resale market and are easy to sell. You could also pick up used tires that still have some life in them, and either resell them locally or export.
Sales of Perishable Products
There are tons of different types of perishable products you could sell out of a van. A mobile flower business allows you to sell in different neighborhoods or sell at public events. You can sell your services for special events like weddings too. If you manage to grow the business, you’ll need to set up a fleet of vans to deliver products and make it easier to set up events.
Products Venues Cannot Offer
A niche market for mobile businesses are offering products and services venues cannot. For example, not every venue can offer alcohol. They may not have bars or choose not to hire bartenders. A mobile bar will need to get the necessary licenses in addition to alcohol, glassware, and other supplies. However, you could drive to office parties, private parties, and venues that don’t sell alcohol and supply it to customers. Note that you should only do this with permission of the venue operator.
Bulk delivery services are perfect for a van owner. Whether you’re taking Christmas wreaths, appliances or cloth nappies, you could drop off items that customers can’t fit in their cars or don’t want to lug home. Look for subscription services that generate repeat business, such as laundry deliveries.
Whatever type of van-based business you decide to launch, you’ll want to take out suitable insurance for both the vehicle and the contents. Fortunately, services like Quotezone allow you to compare van insurance quotes from dozens of insurance companies in a matter of minutes. This will allow you to save on van insurance, and you may find specialised insurance policies for your commercial vehicle, the tools, and inventory stored inside of it, and even roadside assistance if you’re stranded with a van full of perishable products.
If you own a van, it could open the door to starting all sorts of different businesses. Look for niches that have less competition while capitalizing on your skills or expertise.