“Service” in the 21st-century often means taking your show on the road. Many customers today expect to be able to get a haircut, spa services, pet grooming, computer repairs, and more without ever leaving their homes. This is good news for entrepreneurs who are looking to start — and grow — a small business without racking up a lot of expenses.
Here are five reasons to become a mobile entrepreneur:
1. Startup costs are low. With a mobile business, you don’t have to pay for the lease or purchase of a storefront, mass inventory, furnishings, or an office staff. However, you may need a specialized van and some equipment. Depending on the type of business you launch, setup costs can range from a few hundred dollars (think mobile notary public) to tens of thousands of dollars (think food trucks and carpet-cleaning operations).
2. The potential tax write-offs are big. A mobile business may enjoy some advantages at tax time. Every entrepreneur is allowed to claim 55.5 cents per mile for business related travel in their vehicle as an expense; if you run an on-the-go business, those miles can really add up. You’ll also be able to claim the standard depreciation on your business vehicle, and if it was placed into service in 2012, you may take the bonus depreciation and deduct up to half of its cost. In addition, if you’re based out of your home (vs. an office or retail space), you may deduct related home-office expenses.
3. The hours are flexible. When you run a bricks-and-mortar store, your customers expect its doors to open and close at a specific time every day. As a mobile business, you have more freedom to organize your days as you see fit. No one will notice if you start work early and then take the afternoon off to watch your daughter’s volleyball game.
4. Technology makes mobility easy. The latest technology affords you everything you need to operate smoothly from your vehicle. Mobile payment systems, such as GoPayment, allow you to collect instantly as you visit your clients. Need to Skype or teleconference on the road? The Tiki microphone by Blue cancels out road noise and will make you sound professional, even when you’re sitting in a parking lot. And a mobile hotspot can allow you to connect online from anywhere.
5. The possibilities seem endless. If you had told someone 10 years ago that you were opening a mobile tattoo parlor, they would have thought you were nuts. But today’s entrepreneurs are creating niche mobile markets and achieving great success. For instance, Hangover Heaven’s bus travels up and down the Las Vegas Strip offering remedies to those who overindulged the night before.
What type of business are you taking on the road? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the Comments field below.