Mobile Boutique Vehicle Wrap

When considering the costs of setting up a shopping center retail location, you will soon discover it can be daunting for first-time entrepreneurs. You may also consider an commerce site. This may have lower overhead, but then you will miss out on meeting you customers face-to-face and watching them experience your products first-hand.

According to the American Mobile Retail Association, a trade organization for mobile retailers, there are hundreds of mobile boutiques across the U.S.

The average cost to start a mobile retail business is about $20,000, depending on the amount of rehabbing and do-it-yourself entrepreneurs are able to do. Granted this may seen a substantial investment, but is often a fraction of the costs required to renovate a traditional brisk and mortar retail space.

Mobile retail also offers flexibility. Flexibility in product lines and flexibility in connecting with customers. From designer shoes sold out of an Airstream trailer in Austin, Texas, to knitting supplies stocked in a converted Little Debbie snack truck in Southern California, we have gathered a sample of the many creative ways entrepreneurs are using the open road (and nearby parking lots) to sell their wares and services.

When starting your mobile retail business, many questions will come to mind, especially when venturing into an unconventional mobile retail business. The single most important consideration is attracting attention and that is the  mobile retail vehicle wrap itself. The logo, the color, the vehicle wrap design itself.

Mobile Retail Vehicle Wraps

STEP 1: Starting a Mobile Boutique with a Mobile Retail Vehicle Wrap

How will you be able operate your Mobile Retail Stores on Wheels in your city? Is this listed under the current laws? Is this included in licenses and/or permits that you may need to obtain? You will want to contact your city for this information.

You may also review your municipal codes yourself (do this for each city you want to sell in). Municipal codes, all necessary permits, and rules and regulations vary depending on your city and state. Find and read your local municipal codes for the city you want to do business in. These can be found by visiting your city’s website, or simply by visiting the local office.

STEP 2: Once you know how you may operate…
You will want to file for your business: sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, S-Corp, etc. The IRS website provides a breakdown of the different ways you may file your business, as well as information on obtaining your EIN

You must obtain a business license in your city. A peddlers or vendors permit may be additional and will allow you to sell on public streets. Not all cities allow retail trucks on public streets and may not offer this type of permit.

You may also need to obtain a sellers permit through your state. You may obtain your sellers permit at the Small Business Association website.

STEP 3: Write a Business Plan!
Once you have filed your business and obtained all necessary licenses and/or permits, you should write a Fashion Truck Business Plan. This can be intimidating.

Here is an article by Entrepreneur Magazine explains the importance of writing a business plan.

You can also visit the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website and read their in great articles about different business plan topics

Some local economic development centers may be willing to assist you in writing your business plan, and their services can sometime be free.

STEP 4: Funding Your Mobile Boutique Trucks
After completing your business plan, you may need to obtain financial assistance. You can apply for a traditional business loan, take out a line of credit, do a crowdfunding campaign, or find an investor. A local economic development center will have leads for funding as well.

STEP 5: Create a Logo, Website and Social Media Profiles
Once you have procured funding, you are ready to get started! It’s time to create your logo, get a website and social media accounts. Print business cards and have flyers to advertise your business. You will want to have a presence on social media sites facebook, twitter and instagram.

STEP 6: Purchase the Truck and Flip It!
Now you’re ready to find a Mobile Retail Trucks for Sale or trailer for sale, or maybe you already have it. Time to turn that truck or trailer into a store on wheels. Look on Pinterest for inspiration and search for a Mobile Salon Vehicles for Sale. You can look at Pinterest for your interior ideas as well. Search keywords “fashion truck” or “mobile boutique” or “mobile shop.” You can hire a contractor or fabricator to do the build out for you. The cost varies according to the materials you purchase and the hourly labor rate, but according to a 2013 national survey by the AMRA, the average cost is between $5,000-$10,000. This video on our youtube channel explains in depth:

STEP 7: Decorate the exterior
There are 2 options to decorating the exterior of the truck:
1) Vinyl decals start around $1,800. Recommended if you’re looking for a clean, minimal look.
2) Mobile boutique vehicle wrap starts around $3,500. Recommended if you are looking for lots of colors and graphics.

Your truck is your FREE advertisement; include all important company information such as website, social media handles, phone number and any other information you want people to know.

STEP 8: Purchase the Inventory
If you are new to buying wholesale, we suggest you visit tradeshows to learn about the different brands available to you. You will need to have a sellers permit from your state in order to attend. This website has a list of the top 250 tradeshows for all industries:

Grand Opening!
Time to reveal the mobile retail business by hosting a grand opening event! Send out a press release to local press outlets (TV, radio, newspaper, bloggers) with details. Promote it on your website and social media. Post the event to websites like eventbrite, yelp, and facebook. If you need help writing a press release, we have a template you can follow.

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