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Much More Than A Man With A Van

Once upon a time, starting a mobile business was limited to being a man – or woman – with a van so that you could assist with a removal challenge. It could be a family moving home, a business changing location, an office turnaround or expanding into the world of haulage to help people a) get that Chesterfield sofa they just sold to the buyer or b) that grand piano they inherited across-country to their second home. Sure, there is some scope within the world of being a man with a van, but it was still pretty limited.

Fast forward to the present day, however, and the options are almost endless. It’s as if opportunities are sprouting out of every corner of possibility, and for good reason too.

First things first, you have the millennial-influence. People are no longer enthused by the idea of being stuck in one location for a large chunk of years, which is why starting a mobile business is such an attractive proposition. They want to see more of the world, even if it’s just their little world – their province, state, region, city or anything, and this is their way to achieve this dream.

The other major movement that has seen the world of mobile businesses go boom (in a good way) is, well, the demand for it is there. People live more hectic lives than ever before. Fact. They don’t have the time to go and do this or that, which is why they are willing to pay a pretty penny for a service that comes to them; that works around them and their time-lacking lives. It’s the Netflix-effect. People no longer have time to go to the video store, which is where the need for entertainment straight to their television came from.

But that’s not all. Another reason so many entrepreneurs are enjoying the mobile revolution is to do with profits. Not only is the demand and allure there, so are the low startup costs and high-profit margins, especially if you know how to be money-savvy with the rest of your business management needs. Essentially, having a mobile business can put you on the highway to success-ville.

So, if all this sounds interesting to you, if you have the bug to find out more and see what other mobile thought leaders are doing, we’ve pulled together a list of ideas that may get that light bulb to flicker on and set you on a new path.  

  1. Flavoursome Food Trucks

It might be an obvious one to start on, but there’s a reason for that: food trucks work wonders. It’s as if the stars aligned for this niche market to explode onto every street corner and beachside spot. You have the rise of Instagram that made snapping foods cool; the more exciting the foods the more likes people get. You have the time-sensitive thing again, with people needing to pick something up quickly, without wanting to sacrifice their desires for delicious foods. That said, there is a secret ingredient in the recipe for success here: mastering your niche. It is catering to a specific food. Burritos, grilled cheese, tacos, lobster dishes, halloumi, tofu dishes and anything else you can think of. Of course, you might want to broaden out slightly and just tackle an entire ethnicity, such as Mexican, Italian, Japanese, The Deep South, or a speciality like veganism or desserts, that sort of thing. If you really want to be inspired, then check out this list of the best food trucks in the US and see what they’re doing.

  1. Auto Detailing Got Big

If a house is the biggest purchase someone will make in their lives, then their car is next in line. Brand new or bought second hand, it’s a big investment and that’s why people try and take such good care of their motors. They want to keep then clean and healthy. To put it simply: car owners take a huge amount of pride in their motors, and rightly so. The bad news is: they don’t always have the time to stop by a car wash or valet, and they might not have Sunday mornings free to get the bucket and sponge out themselves. That’s where a mobile auto detailing business steps in. It fills a need. Armed with all the right equipment, you can wash, clean and polish your customer’s cars while they are out living their busy lives. You might go to their driveway while they are at work, or you might meet them at their kid’s soccer game and do your thing while they cheer, or anything else of that ilk. That’s what makes this an easy sell; you’re offering a huge time-saving service for busy people, and at their convenience too. That’s your USP.


  1. Personal Trainer Solution

It wasn’t that long ago that people weren’t too concerned about their health and fitness. But all this has been flipped on its head. People are now more determined to get fit and healthy than ever before, which is why gyms are getting oversubscribed and avocados are often getting caught in a shortage. However, not everyone has the time to head to the gym for 90 minutes three or four times a week. Most don’t even have time to go once a week. Between full-time jobs, children, that fear of missing out they can’t shake and everything else, people are struggling to find time to get out of the house and into their local gym. The solution: you and your mobile personal trainer business. There’s no need for a van or a truck or anything like that. You just need your fitness gear (resistance bands, weights, mats, ropes) and the workout plan you’ve tailored to your client and, voila, you can take their fitness desires to them. If you’re not a qualified PT already, then that is the first step you need to take. If you are, however, then the startup costs are going to be as small as dieticians slice of cake, while your profits will be astronomically high because there will be no need to hire a gym space. It’s a win-win.

  1. From Van To Fleet

We were going to try and make it through this ideas list without mentioning a removal service because, as we said, it’s the most obvious one. But we couldn’t help it. Get it right and there is so much scope for expansion, and that has to be worth writing home about. For some, owning a van and some healthy biceps is enough. However, be a little business-savvy and you could go from a man with a van to the owner of a moving company. There are just so many ticks to enjoy because, apart from a vehicle, there isn’t any specialist equipment needed, just a parking spot for when you’re not working. You might want to specialise in home removal services, office relocations, haulage, pickups, junk removal, vehicle transport or anything, so long as you a truck to manage your needs, you’re set up for success. It might even be that you look through a new truck inventory and find a way to specialise in more than one. That’s the great thing about this option. It only takes a little bit of success and you can start reinvesting your profits into more vehicles and extra helpers and you’ve gone from ‘a man with a van’ to a smart business person. Like we said, the startup costs are low, the demand is high and the markup is attractive. It’s why so many success stories have burst out of this industry.

  1. Catering Is A Craze

There is so much that makes catering a great mobile business for anyone that considers themselves an exceptional cook and takes pride in the presentation of food; the kind that will make an event extra special; the kind that will become the subject of Instagram-lovers everywhere. Everyone that hosts an event – fundraising, dinner parties, weddings, anything – knows that the food is a massive part of it, which is why catering is such a popular option. You are offering a service for those pressed for time and require you to deliver as promised in a way that meets their needs. As a result, a high-premium can be set. Here’s the best part about, though: it only takes a couple successful catering jobs for word of mouth to spread, especially if you set up Instagram and Facebook pages, and a website too. Once you’ve tasted some success and your business has started growing, you can start considering other expansion options. You could build a team to manage multiple functions at once, invest in a refrigerated truck, and even start a pop-up restaurant. There are so many ways to grow off the back of mobile catering.  

Of course, no matter which road you go down, make sure you adhere to the laws and permits and correct insurances, and make sure you read up on all things startup and how to boost your chances of success. It might be mobile, but it is still a business – don’t forget that.