Things You Should Do When Buying a Hot Dog Cart
So you’ve finally decided to get into the hot dog cart business. Congratulations! Your life is about to change in ways that you’ll never come to expect. You see, among the food businesses, setting up and operating a hot dog cart is one of the least expensive.
Likewise, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually discover and experience that it’s also one of the most profitable. Most cart owners reported making more money selling dogs than while working full time for a Fortune 500 company.
But before you go out and buy or lease a hot dog cart, there are things you need to do first. Mind you, it’s vitally important that you take the time and effort to complete these steps. Otherwise, all the hard work you’re going to put into your start up cart business will go down the drain.
- Find out if you’re allowed to operate a hot dog cart business in your area. Bear in mind that some locations don’t allow these carts. Get in touch with the city or municipal office and talk with someone from the business licensing division.
- Find a good spot for your hot dog cart business. There should be plenty of pedestrian traffic. If you’re planning to set up on a public property, you should check with the local police department for any special site permits that you may need or any restrictions that you may face with regard to the location.
It’s often a good idea to establish some rapport with the local police since they could be one of your potential customers for your business. But if going out to get this information is too much trouble for you, you can try searching online. Most municipalities have websites where you can find the information you’ll need to get your business off the ground.
Aside from public areas, you can also try setting up your hot dog cart business on a private property. One advantage is you don’t have to deal with getting any special site permits. But this means you’ll have to pay rent. Just make sure that there are no established hot dog vendors in the vicinity.
Here’s a partial list of recommended places for your hot dog cart business.
– Downtown areas
– School games or events
– Supermarkets and hardware stores
– Yard sales
– Flea markets
– Court houses
– Voting polls
– Auto dealerships
– Construction sites, etc.
3. Like most food service businesses, you’ll need to get a permit from the local Board of Health. Some local boards require ServSafe® certification before they’ll issue you a permit.
In getting a permit from the local Board of Health, you’ll actually be dealing with the local health inspector. For a budding owner, the health inspector is a goldmine of information.
You can contact the health inspector and inform him / her that you’re planning to start a hot dog cart business in a particular area. Let the health inspector know that you’re getting your ServSafe® certification and ask him / her on the things you need to do to get a health permit. Depending on your approach, most health inspectors will be pretty straightforward in letting you know the things you need to do and the kind of equipment you’ll need to meet with local health codes.
4. Once you have all the details from the health inspector, you can start looking for a cart. You have several options:
- You can buy a brand new hot dog cart from an established supplier with all the bells and whistles.
- You can buy a used hot dog cart if you have a limited budget.
- You can lease a hot dog cart. There are several hot dog cart rental available online.
- You can buy a hot dog cart franchise.
Just make sure that the cart that you intend to get complies with the requirements of the local health code in your area.
5. Make sure that you’re covered against unforeseen risks. One of the realities of business is liability insurance. Find out how much your premium will cost you so that you can add the expense in your pricing.
6. Find reliable suppliers for your consumables. Once you have your business off the ground, your supplies need to be constantly replenished. You can save a bundle if you can get your supplies at discounted prices.
Lastly, make sure that your cart and its equipment are covered by parts and service warranties. The last thing you want to happen is for your hot dog cart or its equipment to break down and you’re unable to get the spare parts that you need to get it fixed.
So if you’re willing to put in all the hard work it takes to be successful, you’ll definitely succeed in the cart business. It’s really all up to you and how much effort you’re willing to put into it.
Are You Really Prepared to do a Hot Dog Cart Business?
When you’re starting out with your hot dog cart business, you might want a second hand cart. This is actually a pretty good business decision because they’re much cheaper compared if you were to buy a new one. But if you’re not careful with how you choose then it could spell disaster for your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest mistakes when choosing a used hot dog cart so you can make sure that you’re making the right move.
Most of the time, you can get a used hot dog cart from another hot dog business vendor who made an upgrade and you can also get one from the vending cart producers. Generally, they are very affordable and reconditioned to excellent condition so they can sell really quickly.
If you like to think too hard or love procrastinating on buying one, then most probably you’ll end up with two choices: you can buy yourself a brand new hot dog cart or you don’t buy anything at all.
You can find many websites (most of them in the classifieds) that will have advertisements on second hand carts like eBay and Craigslist. What you want to do is go to these websites and check out their detailed specs. But keep in mind that there are physical features that you must see.
If you didn’t do enough research on the hot dog cart that you’re checking out then don’t be surprised if you get a cart that’s not really good. So send a message to the seller and ask some questions about the unit and take your time to personally look at it.
Some of the things that you need to look at is the real condition of the cart. Are there any structural damages? Are there any defects that the seller needs to tell you? How about the health requirements and the time of the last inspection? These are some of the questions that you need to be asking them when you’re thinking of purchasing a used hot dog cart.
If you find out that the cart you wanted to buy didn’t satisfy you then there’s a big chance that you’re going to shell out more money to get all the needed requirements. Take note that you want to be cost effective because you’re just starting out your hot dog cart business.
Buying a used cart is something that you don’t want to rush. So make sure that you have enough patience so you won’t make any drastic decisions. So again, be diligent in your research, ask some questions and look around. Your hard work will all be worth your time because you’ll find the perfect cart for your business.
Starting a hot dog cart business is really a confusing process. You can get overwhelmed with a lot of stuff and without knowing where to start. Fortunately, you can cut the learning curve by following some very powerful techniques.