Home Forums Snowie Bus Does a truck make more sense than retail space?

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  • #11760
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Doing the math, the obvious is you don’t have to spend $70-$90k on a truck, but monthly you would probably spend just as much on gas as you would on retail space rent, if not more on gas. Considering that the maintenance and insurance would probably be higher as well with a truck, doe the mobility really make up for it?

    Looking to get into the business and would love to hear what other’s thoughts are on the shave ice truck vs the other forms of selling. My feeling is the success of the truck is a lot about looks, where the store would be more about quality. Am I wrong to assume that? I plan on offering block ice even in a truck, but I still think my fate is more tied to how cool my truck is if I go that route.

    #11833
    Aaron Rupp
    Keymaster

    Floyd,

    You make some great observations and points. A Shaved Ice Truck like the Snowie Bus gives you a steeper entry. You do have some advantages with it as you have mentioned. In the case of our Bus, it is extremely mobile, it is extra eye-catching, it can be a foot in to events that you could not get before just out of it being so unique, etc. When I say extremely mobile, it is interesting when you have multiple stands, how often you will default to the bus because it is self contained and done. It really is not that much more work to take a kiosk to an event, but if you had all of your stands sitting there and someone asked you to do a quick event, my guess is you would default to the bus.

    The Bus also allows you to tackle different markets that you cannot with a stand. Even if you have a kiosk, you cannot really drive around like an ice cream truck and do business that way. It would actually be possible, but the state and the health department will not let you do it. In the same breath, there are many markets that you cannot do business with using the bus, requiring a cart or kiosk instead. For instance, I mostly do arenas, and there is no way they are going to let you drive a bus into an arena, so carts are a perfect option for that market.

    Expenses are hard to gauge and compare because you could have a location that has extremely high rent, or you could run your bus in an area that requires excess driving. These scenarios could go to the complete opposite side of the spectrum as well.

    When you are always mobile, you will usually make a greater profit in a shorter amount of time, but that does not mean that is always consistent. For instance, if you had an event that made you $3000, well that is a good event, but if that is the only thing you do all year, that doesn’t do much for your livelihood. Whereas, at a permanent location you should have constant, residual income that can make good money consistently. We always tell people, that with an average rent, which is right around $400/mo you should be making at least $350 per day or you should consider moving. If you were making at least that, it would take you 8 1/2 days to make the same money you did at your event. Your event also took a percent or a fee to be there. that could be anywhere from $150 – $900. Remember though, you did that $3000 in one day. If you are able to schedule yourself pretty solid then that could end up being incredible money for you.

    Although we have more people than ever starting their shaved ice business using the Bus, I will still say that the majority of our customers will purchase a building, set it up and collect that more gradual consistent income. The next year, they will either purchase another building and setup another location, or they will purchase a kiosk or bus to travel and do events, schools, etc. They should have paid their building off within the first summer, so they can use that money to help pay down their new equipment also.

    In a nutshell, that is a question that can only really be answered by you. That is why we make so many different types of stands and shaved ice equipment, because there is always a unique market for it. Really, you need to decide what kind of market you want to chase and be in and go with that. I hope this helps, please follow it up with additional questions if I did not answer you completely.

    You also brought up quality. Really, your permanent location isn’t so much about quality as it is about choice. The quality of your shaved ice should be the same whether you are mobile or not. In a stationary location you want to be able to give your customers more options to bring them back. For instance, you will offer multiple toppings, add-ons, and 80 flavors, whereas at an event, you will usually only offer 6-10 flavors. This moves the crowd nicely, and still gives them variety. You can still offer those other options in a mobile scenario, but they tend to slow your line. At a stationary location, you want a line.

    As you can tell, I could keep going back and forth on this all day. The truth is that most people do both. There are advantages to both. You just need to decide where you want to start.

    Hope this helps,

    – Aaron

    #116995
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    Inactive

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