Thanks To Robert Thomason
Robert is no stranger to the vending business but he is fairly new to hot dog vending. Fortunately those skills learned from years of vending carried over and have given him a huge head start. Right out of the gates Robert booked a gig at a local bar where the popular Uncle Kraker performed that night. Later that evening he was offered to travel with the band and serve hot dogs. Unfortunately he had to decline, because divorce is too stink'n expensive. I kid. Robert has a wonderful family and did what was best for his family and declined the offer. Still though, what a fantastic offer. Robert has much to offer anyone looking to get started and has already been helping his fellow vendors and submitted this article for the benefit of us all.
Are you fishing at the right spots???
I love to fish but one thing my daddy taught me, long ago, as a little boy, is to look for the right fishing spots. If we fished a spot and we were not catching enough or anything we moved to a different spot. If not it was not nearly as fun.
I think some hot doggers might not of had a daddy that taught them these golden rules of fishing or business. I see carts all the time for sale on Craiglist, Ebay, etc and wonder what happened to those people. I can tell you that in the few short months I have been slinging dogs that I cant think of another business with a quicker ROI, stronger profit margins, portable, and universal in acceptance of a product sold. So my guess is 99% of them failed to find good locations. I am willing to bet they didn’t make enough money and got tired of dragging out the cart, setting it up, selling few hot dogs, and then have to clean for an hour or so. Then get up and do it all over again for similar results the next day. Because if they were making good money why would they sell? If they were at the right location they would be making the kind of money to not sell their cart. I didn’t sell my boat because I didn’t catch a fish that day, I tried a different spot or even a different lake the next time.
I had a guy on one of the forums tell me a $400.00 day spot at hot dogging would be like finding a unicorn. I asked him how long he had been at his current spot and how much was he making. He said he averaged $200 a day and been there a year. I asked had he scouted other locations and he said “a little”. Well, if you are not willing to look for a better spot then how are you going to find one.
If you have done your research you already know the spots that usually produce results. However, that doesn’t mean that it works in every town and every city the same way. Just because a junk yard in Tampa Florida brings in three hundred dollars a day in sales don’t mean the same results will happen at a junk yard in NC.
My point is it may take you two, three, five or more times trying different locations to find one that produces the numbers you want. Even a “honey hole” of a spot can have bad days so don’t think it is a bad spot all together. Give it a little bit and then make adjustments as needed. Also think about your product, price point, and overall presentation. Again, just like fishing the bait is what catches the fish along with being in the right spots. If you don't have the correct bait then you may want to change it. If you are not sure about the correct bait then ask questions to find out. Post pics of your setup, your menu and how you operate in general. Be prepared for honest feedback and be willing to take constructive criticism. I see people post pics of a setup that is not well kept, not professional looking etc, and know for a fact that it's probably affecting sales. You need to be carrying the best quality ingredients you can buy and charge accordingly. Also once you find something that works DO NOT change it. If you decide to go with Frenches mustard then don't switch because you find something on sale next time. I saw a guy the other week with Walmart brand Ketchup, canned chili, and other no name generic products on his cart. I am willing to bet he does not have people that rave about his hot dogs and seek him out when the are in his area.
I have been lucky and was able to find locations right from the start that produce $200 to $400 a day. My first week selling hot dogs (four days of selling) produced just over $1000 in sales. Do I have some bad days? Yes, but overall the spots I have, produce on a constant basis. I do still look for other potential locations all the time. The other night I drove an hour away to scout out a location and give them a business card. I called a town the other day to get information about their restrictions. This doesn’t mean I am switching locations right now but I want a backup plan. I scout locations all the time, going fishing or hot dogging there is no difference.
Good luck and stick with it. Find you a location or three that produces the money you are wanting and enjoy life. Why would any one want to work “for the man” when you can make great money working for yourself. Working “for the man” makes it too difficult for me to go fishing when I want. J
Happy fishing and hot dogging. -end
Talk about awesome! Thanks again Robert, what great tips and I love the analogy. A great place to go and get genuine praise or critiques is a private facebook group that is run by Mobile Food Vendors Association – www.MyMFVA.org
If you have a story to share, advice to give or want to be listed on the 1 on 1 training page, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org