Starting a hot dog vending cart business can be very fulfilling, both morally and financially. If you have been laid off of work and have a little bit of savings then consider buying a commercial grade hot dog vending cart, getting license from the health department in your town if needed, and find the busy location to set up and sell hot dogs and sodas.
If the dough into the hot dog vending business and are not prepared, then you could easily lose money. You need to do research as to the feasibility of running the hot dog cart in your community. There are many things to consider when starting a hot dog vending card business.
Fulltime or part time hot dog cart business
The vast majority of hot dog vendors do not work if the business fulltime. Oftentimes we envision hot dog vendors all across the country being similar to the hot dog vendors we see in New York City. This cannot be further from the truth. Most hot dog vendors either operate only part time, such as during lunch rush at a busy office complex or near a construction site, where they only set up their hot dog cart and special community events such as parades and festivals.
A weekend only based hot dog vending cart business will allow you to continue working your regular job well learning the business and making some extra money on the weekends. You probably will not get rich operating a hot dog vending cart, however if you work hard and learn the prime locations, and get access to set up in these locations, and provide excellent customer service and you can make some great money running a hot dog cart.
Buy a hot dog cart
Buying the hot dog cart is not an inexpensive purchase. A quality commercial grade hot dog cart will cost $1000 minimum. A top quality hot dog cart that has all of the features you will need and want in the future from a reputable manufacturer that will be approved by the health department can be easily cost you $2500 or more.
If you're going to buy a hot dog cart you need to buy the best one that you can afford. Buying the cheap hot dog cart can actually cost you money by the loss of business you could incur. You need to ensure that you are serious about wanting to work hard at running a hot dog cart and learning the business in an out. There's much more to running a hot dog cart than simply making hot dogs. If you're not 100% sure that you will actually follow through on your plan then you may not want to buy a hot dog cart as it will simply sit in your garage taking up space.
There are numerous hot dog cart manufacturers that you can purchase commercial grade hot dog carts from. Thoroughly researched multiple hot dog carts and hot dog cart manufacturers. Network with people who are currently running hot dog carts and seek advice from them as to what features they recommend and or wished they had on their particular hot dog cart.
Become a hot dog cart vendor
The best way to find out if a career as a hot dog cart vendor for you is to actually work as a hot dog cart vendor. By working for someone else, even part time, you will gain not only in understanding of what it takes to run a hot dog cart but also if this is a job that you would want to be doing fulltime or part time for yourself.
Hot dog cart licensing and health laws
Each community is different as to what they require as far as licensing. Most communities will also require a visit from a health inspector. If you will have a mobile hot dog cart that you will take two different venues in different communities then you'll need to research the legal requirements for both licensing and health inspections for each community that you intend to have your hot dog cart in.
Word of mouth advertising
The best way to run a successful and profitable hot dog vending car business is to have a steady location that is highly trafficked. If your setup near say, a busy office complex, then the vast majority of your business will be during the lunch hours. If you provide excellent customer service, are sociable with the customers, and provide a great product at a fair and reasonable price then your customers will not only return that you all will also bring their friends and refer their friends to eat your hot dog cart.
Life of a hot dog vendor
Oftentimes you will have to work in inclement weather. The umbrella covering your hot dog cart may keep some of the sun and rain off of you but you are reliant on the weather. If it is cold outside you will be cold. If it is extremely hot outside you'll be hot. A hot dog vendor will stand for most of his shift, at least during the busy lunch hours. If you do your research and find a good location you'll usually not be busy throughout the day, but you will be extremely busy during the peak lunch hours. Most of your income will be earned during the actual lunch hour, however you will still have a few people trickling in to purchase hot dogs and soda pops during the slow periods.
How much does a hot dog vendor earn
In short, a hot dog vendor does not make very much money. If you own your own hot dog cart and are in business for yourself, and have a great location then you have the chance to make pretty good money, especially if you get a lot of repeat business.
Some hot dog vendors are able to make between $50,000-$100,000 each year working only a few hours each day Monday through Friday. Generally the highest paying locations will be in your busy office complexes for a long-term major construction site. Each community is different and you need to do research to find the best location for your hot dog cart. If you have set hours and people can rely on you to be there during those hours selling hot dogs that you will get more business in the long run.