Mobile Bus Conversion are a result of the Pandemic where many unemployed and underemployed Americans have left their jobs and businesses and are considering starting a new business or resurrecting their old one at a new place of business. Countless others are about to be evicted from their current business locations or could face bankruptcy in the near future. Operating a successful business involves the sale of a needed product or service that would be of value to an established or potential customer. If the product or service is not “valuable” then the business is unlikely to succeed and poor sales would lead to its collapse. Apart from “value” the product or service also has to be within a reasonable price range. If the price of goods and services is exorbitant compared to its competition and other online options then potential customers will shop elsewhere. If the margins are too low then the business wouldn’t be able to sustain itself in the long run. The entrepreneur and their team would lose their investment over time because there wouldn’t be any unique advantage for customers. Products and services have to be appropriately priced to maintain a good balance between what a customer “thinks” is a fair price to pay and what the business needs for its sustainability.
There are several factors that lead to the determination of the perfect price range a product or service should be sold. This should include the cost of raw materials and/or equipment, labor, electricity bills, insurance, taxes, rent, etc. The more the expenses, the higher will be the cost of the product or service that is being sold by a particular shop to achieve an economic “break-even” or profit. These expenses are often called “Overhead Costs”, and a business has to transfer these costs to the consumer in order to sustain itself and be sustainable. The typical customer ends up paying for all the “extras” that the business is offering even if he or she does not need it. For example, whenever customers walk into a boutique to purchase some apparel, they end up paying a fraction of the amount the business owner pays as rent to the shop owner. If somehow the rent could be reduced or eliminated, then the apparels would sell at a much lower rate than ever before. This would in turn leave more money in the consumer’s pockets leading to happier customers.
The amount of rent a business owner pays to the shop owner depends on 3 factors i.e. location, location, and location. The more exposure and leg traffic a shop gets, the higher rent it commands. For example, a shop at the entrance of a shopping mall or terminal exit may exceed $50 per sq foot annually whereas a shop of the same size just a few blocks away can cost just $20 per sq foot. So for a 300 sq feet shop, a business owner may have to spend $15,000 per year for rent if it’s located in a prime, densely populated area, whereas they could pay just $6000 per year if the same shop were to be located a few blocks away in a less desirable area. Ultimately, this rent has to be paid by the consumers and every product in inventory has to be effectively priced to make sure the overhead costs are fully absorbed by purchases from customers and not by the business owners.
Planning is an important aspect of every startup enterprise and every entrepreneur should fully consider the numbers. The challenge comes when the town, city of state authorities come and close your shop due to a “Pandemic” scare which is becoming more and more frequent these days than ever before. First, it was Bird Flu (2005), then after a few years came Swine Flu (2009), and then in 2020 came the worst pandemic known to humans in recent history in the form of “CoronaVirus”. The Government declared various degrees of lockdown for several months and people have been advised to maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from each other. From a strictly business perspective, who can afford to pay rent and overhead in the thousands of dollars per month plus additional costs of doing business every month as discussed above if there is a substantial decline in business traffic and a more reluctant clientele to spend a diminishing amount of money? Regardless of the reason, the business owner has to cover the rent and other expenses every month out of their pocket even if there is a lockdown.
With this harsh reality in mind, it is time to get creative and innovative to keep the business afloat or let it sink to the abyss right in front of the owner’s eyes. Many smart entrepreneurs did the right thing at the right time. They closed their brick and mortar shops and purchased an affordable minibus for sale, for less than a new one and modified it into a mobile business shop offering services like a beauty salon, hair stylists, pet grooming cafe, etc. Instead of hoping for their clients to visit brick and mortar shops, they started visiting their clients at a time of their choosing too, serving just one client at a time. This is how they managed to successfully dodge the draconian lockdown restrictions imposed by the Authorities and keep their businesses afloat even during times of economic crisis and chaos. They even managed to retain their list of clients which they had acquired over the years by sheer hard work and offering quality services.
MORAL OF THE STORY on Mobile Bus Conversion:
Most startup businesses start their operations from home. During this initial phase, they do not have to worry much about overhead costs because it’s a home-based business. But after some time as the business grows, owners often feel the need to get a bigger space. This is a tricky situation because it’s not necessary that the new shop is rented in the same neighborhood where you live. Chances are customers will have to travel several blocks to reach the new shop and many might even give up the idea of traveling because of competitors nearby. Every business transitioning from a home business to storefront business has to keep these facts in mind before leasing new space. There is an alternative solution that can potentially solve this problem forever. Instead of renting a shop, why not buy a used bus for sale and convert it into a mobile business shop? When the 15 passenger seats of a small shuttle bus for sale are removed, one gets an empty space of roughly 220 sq feet or 1500 cubic feet of empty space. This is the biggest space one can get on wheels compared to any other vehicle. The free space can be filled with basic equipment and furniture such as tables, chairs, mirrors, etc, and modified into a mobile shop on wheels. This shop can now travel to customers anywhere in the city rather than waiting for the customer to visit the business. Even if there is a pandemic “No Problem”, because customers can be attended in person one at a time thus preventing the spread of infections due to overcrowding. This is indeed one of the smartest ways of beating a pandemic or any other natural calamity like a hurricane which is becoming more and more frequent in recent years. When planning for expansion or disaster management, always consider the idea of going mobile first rather than hiring a stationary brick and mortar shop.
Below are some of the benefits and tips startups can use to make more money and get new clients when operating a mobile bus conversion:
How many customers can a clothing boutique handle at the corner of the street? What if they need more? A brick and mortar shop will bog them down to a specific location. They will have a limited audience. But with a mobile bus conversion, they can drive anywhere around the town. Once they find some hotspots, they can keep frequenting those places on specific days and time to find their desired customers. The unit can now find buyers from any neighborhood in the city. With a mobile branch, they can potentially reach out to thousands of more customers than merely a few hundred previously and are now prepared for road shows, tours and public displays that weren’t possible earlier.
2. Advertising and Marketing:
Believe it or not, just by opening a shop will neither get customers nor increase sales. Business owners need to proactively advertise their services and keep searching for new markets in order to make sales as well as to keep them increasing. Just by opening a shop and sitting on a chair with your legs crossed and waiting for customers to walk-in will never be sufficient. Paid advertising is one of the quickest ways to get the word around. Some of the examples of paid advertising are Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Yellow Pages, Newspaper Ads, Pamphlet distribution, Advertising on BillBoards, etc. There may be many more but these are just a few. However, there is a cost to pay and sometimes the prices can be too high that many businesses can’t afford. But when a business has its own dedicated vehicle or a mobile bus conversion based shop on wheels, they can wrap the vehicle with valuable business information, thus potentially converting the bus into an infomercial or an advertisement/billboard on wheels. So whenever, a business needs to target people on a particularly high-end street, they can drive around that neighborhood or simply park the vehicle in that area. This is laser targeted marketing with pinpoint accuracy. No other advertising campaign can deliver results as a bus wrapped with your business information. Other campaigns can lead to wastages because the ads will be shown to people who are just not interested or in areas that are not worth targeting. But with a shop on wheels, the mobile bus conversion itself becomes an advertising platform that can be transported and stationed anywhere across the street, neighborhood, and the city. As the bus rides through the narrow lanes and bylanes, it advertises the business to thousands of potential clients day-in and day-out. If done correctly, this strategy alone can generate millions of views for your business in a year that too for FREE because businesses don’t have to pay to advertise on their own vehicles. On the flip side, the other campaigns mentioned above would cost a fortune and are not efficient because a customer will have to open a magazine to see your ad but a bus can stand right in front of the consumer’s faces.
Wrapping can be expensive and a huge upfront cost especially on a big vehicle like a bus but when businesses have a budget to do it then they should “JUST DO IT”. It need not be fancy or extravagant but simply adding your contact information with the services offered will work wonders throughout the year.
There may be times when business owners may know certain high-profile people who have the need and ability to pay for the product or service being offered but don’t know how to break the ice and start a meaningful conversation with these people. They don’t know how to start a fruitful conversation and engage with these strangers. Moreover, not having these people on their client list can be one of the Greatest disservice owners could be doing to their business. A bus wrapped with business information can be a fantastic tool to attract the attention of these high profile clients. For example, if a mobile beauty salon finds out that Mrs.X living on 123 street has the potential to pay for their beauty services, they can then shadow her to find out the exact time she steps in and out of her building every day. Every time she walks out or into the building, they can have their bus ride just in front of her eyes. After doing this act for a couple of times, Mrs. X will be familiar and acquainted with the business the bus is advertising. Owners can then employ several tactics to get Mrs. X walking straight into the bus, for example a one-time offer of a $1 makeup. Research has found that it’s easier to sell to a customer who has already been sold in the past than acquiring a new customer. Now, since Mrs. X has already availed the $1 service, she will be happy to pay for the higher-end services next time provided she has a good customer experience in the shop. Imagine having a list of 1,000 laser targeted clients with this single strategy.
It’s often said that FB is the cheapest platform to advertise a startup business. But many entrepreneurs don’t know how to create a Facebook Business Page, forget about creating a profitable advertising campaign. The truth about FB is that advertising to strangers can be super expensive and this would surprise many startups. The key to success is to engage with people first and create a large following that is genuinely interested in the startup. Once the audience has been established, then the business can start advertising their services to these people at a rate that is fairly cheap. Their “Boost Post” campaign can play a very important role in reaching out to people in target locations. However, this campaign can be expensive too. It would be better to create short videos of 1 or 2 minutes in length about the mobile business and then create a video ad campaign. Since video ad campaigns are cheap all over the internet, businesses can reach out to the maximum number of people for the lowest amount of dollars. Once they have thousands of people getting interested in the business, then they can save this audience and start advertising accordingly.
What’s left after eliminating the cost of rent and advertising? It’s purely the price of the product and a nominal profit margin that a customer ends up paying. Owners can even educate their customers as to why they should purchase items from mobile bus conversion shops by giving them live examples. Many customers will be surprised to find items priced at just $10 or less compared to hundreds of dollars elsewhere.
Make a list of all the hotspots where the consumers are located and make it a point to be there at that time of the day. Once people get familiarised, they will come in by the hordes.
The strategies mentioned above are not limited to startups, they can be copied by well established and existing businesses too who are looking for ways to either expand the size of their shops or number of customers. Why not have a mobile branch too, apart from the existing brick and mortar shop? Owners will be glad to see their mobile shops open even when the physical shop is closed due to an emergency. However, owning a mobile shop is not about waiting for the zombies to arrive. It’s a new paradigm, a new strategy of finding new customers and reaching out to them rather than waiting for them to visit the shop. It’s all about taking the inventory to the people. Some of the industries that can benefit from having mobile shops or branches are Fashion Shops, Food Carts, Florists, Therapy Specialists, Medical Testing Labs, RV Campers, Animal Rescue, Clothing Stores, Discount Stores, Mobile Grocery Stores, Laundry Services, Lingerie Boutiques, Ice Cream Shops, Mobile Markets, Barber Shops, Book Stores, Champagne Bars, Restaurants, HairStylists, Pet Groomers, and potentially many other businesses who believe they can benefit from this new trend in startup and entrepreneurship.
How can Major Vehicle Exchange help startup and small businesses?
We are a used shuttle bus dealership established in 1985 and sold vehicles to clients across North America. We neither wrap nor offer advertising services but our expertise lay in fully reconditioning a used bus to a point where it is certified by DOT specialists as “Ready to hit the road”. Our used buses for sale are of premium quality and priced affordably to fit the budgets of every business. When you buy a bus from us, you can rest assured it works, looks feels like new, and will not break down unexpectedly or throw up catastrophic repair costs. For more information visit our website www.GetAnyBus.com and call the owner Mr. Charles Kaufman at 516-333-7483 today!