Mobile Business Ideas: In today’s culture of on-demand convenience and economic uncertainty, many new entrepreneurs are eschewing brick-and-mortar stores and looking for mobile business ideas. A more flexible and cost-effective way to start a business.
And while many companies are happy to operate exclusively online, plenty of other businesses think florists, bookstores, coffee shops, and clothing boutiques still want a place to sell products or services in person and be part of a community.
That’s the appeal of mobile businesses which operate out of trucks, trailers, vans, and buses. Not only do these businesses come straight to the customer (or crowd of customers), but they leave a memorable impression and cost way less to launch and operate than a traditional storefront!
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How much does it Cost to Start a Mobile Business?
According to an American Mobile Retail Association survey, the average cost to start a mobile retail business is $18,999, which includes buying and retrofitting a used vehicle and registering a new company. Other yearly fees include inventory, insurance, fuel, and POS (point of sale) systems to accept payments.
So, to be clear, starting a mobile business on wheels is not cheap. But by operating on the road, you can avoid costs like rent, staffing, large displays, and traditional advertising. You also have the flexibility to set your hours and test different ideas and locations as you grow.
Top 31 Mobile Business Ideas for every Discipline
Let’s dive into some profitable and trending mobile business ideas from every discipline and industry.
1. Refill Station
With the #zerowaste movement taking its stride, more and more people need plastic-free refills on their detergent, soap, cleaner, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. Having a refill station on wheels is the best way to serve the zero waste mission and meet people where they are. It even gives you the freedom to expand into new neighborhoods effortlessly!
2. Vintage/ Thrift Clothing Shop
Thrift shopping is another sustainable business initiative to help people ditch fast fashion for unique, pre-loved clothing. If you have an eye for style and a strong thrift game, why not help people and clothing find their perfect fit?
3. Makeup Artist
During the wedding and holiday seasons, people in any significant city are looking for a quick and beautiful look to revive them between work and an evening event. I know I have! Providing a mobile makeup solution is a great way to help individuals stay fresh while they navigate various events on a time crunch.
4. Personal Chef
A step beyond catering, a personal chef helps people create an event around learning a new cuisine or providing a delicious meal for a special occasion. If you’ve got sublime cooking skills, it could be time to put them to use!
5. Freshly Baked Goods
It’s hard to resist the smell of freshly baked goods in the morning. To serve people who didn’t have time for breakfast or need a pick-me-up, having an array of treats ready to go at any metro or train station is the key to a thriving mobile baked goods business.
6. Paddleboard Rental
Any body of water is bound to attract people with an affinity for watersports. You could do a solid business by providing hourly fun in the water with a wide array of inflatable paddleboards. However, paddleboards can be expensive, which would be a seasonal business in most states. There are also safety measures to consider!
7. Nail Spa
To accommodate people who need to get their nails done between work and events, having a mobile nail spa is a life-saver. Pins remain easily forgotten in everyday life, so why not make them convenient for people to get polished? The upfront costs are relatively small and involve learning the trade.
8. Mobile Hairstylist
Beauty on the go is essential most times, but predominantly through the wedding season and the holidays. It is an incredible option for a small business venture if you already have the skillset or want to work towards it.
9. Mobile Event Decorator
From holidays to backyard BBQs and baby showers, people usually can’t be bothered to buy and set up the decor– and then clean up after. So you’ll need a knack for event planning and some storage for various decorations for different occasions. Plus, a rockin’ good Instagram account to show off your work!
10. Cleaning Service
From Airbnb turnovers to post-party cleanup, having a mobile cleaning business is in demand and profitable in urban areas. If you’re like me and find cleaning therapeutic, this could be your entrepreneurial opportunity. You could even take it further and enter the sustainability niche by using only safe chemicals and low waste methods.
As the above examples show, mobile business opportunities can run the gamut from selling books, flowers, and other goods, to offering services like pet grooming, composting, and bartending. In other words, they go far beyond food trucks.
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