Monday, November 1, 2010

Serving Hot Dogs in cold weather...brrrrr.

For many the cold weather has arrived while those in the deep south are still enjoying 84 degree days slinging dogs and making money.

Many Northern doggers have retired or are retiring soon for the winter. Having made sufficient income this past summer they will now enjoy a work free winter. But this is not the case for all. Some did not get started in the business until recently and others being brand new doggers had not found that perfect location yet and may have not honed all the skills desired as of yet.

Regardless, some of us have no choice, we must work this winter, but don't be discouraged. Cold weather can make for undesirable working conditions, but it can also lead to great cash flow. You will find many events and activities that will welcome a hot dog vendor to satisfy the hungry crowds. Cold weather will mean less competition. Downtown Denver Colorado with it's cold winds blowing through the corridor that is host to many shops and clubs is bombarded with hot dog vendors during those warm summer days, but through the winter they are few and far between. One vendor that can be relied upon for a satisfying Elk or Pheasant dog with a squirt of cream cheese on top is Biker Jim of Biker Jim's Dogs. He rolls down his sleeves each winter and turns up the burners on his open cart each winter. He doesn't fear the cold and he continues growing his income each winter while others huddle in the warmth of their homes.

Most vendors will not work during blizzards and storms for obvious reasons and consider these days as welcome days off from work. When the temps drop below 32 even I will head indoors. A vendor in Illinois doesn't let sub freezing temps detour him, he has added portable propane heaters to his 3 cart locations. Last year I visited one of his locations. Blowing winds and temps around 17 degrees he served hot dogs to the waiting masses for 6 hours. His sells exceeded $3,000 during that 6 hours and although it was bitterly cold, the cash made allows him to choose the best days to work while sitting at home during the other days.

If you are just considering the business and trying to decide whether to wait until this spring and the warmer weather to arrive, I don't blame you. But don't sell yourself short, there are many opportunities for those willing to brave the cold weather and serve hot dogs this winter. It is not the best time of year to start, but it certainly can be hugely rewarding.

If you are on the fence, do your homework, find out what locations would be available during the winter months, what events or activities are planned in your town or city that would welcome your cart. Jim Ball only works on Saturdays during the winter. The local car dealer opens up a service bay for him to set up his cart and pays him a flat $500 each Saturday to serve dogs to the customers. This only brings Jim about $300 a week in net income, but it allows him time to hunt and as he calls it, hibernate for much of the winter.

A couple in Canada purchased a portable carport and have torpedo heater running as they brave the winter months. The carport makes for inexpensive shelter and makes doubles as a great billboard for passing cars.

A customer in Michigan sets his cart up in his garage and on two days a week delivers hot dogs with your choice of toppings to your place of work. Making multiple runs to different areas of Detroit he delivers to office complexes where employees get "the best hot dog in the world", instead of having to order pizza or purchase a cold sandwich from the in office vendor.

If you are ambitious or simply have no choice, there are many ways to create an income during the winter months as a hot dog vendor.

I wish you well and please feel free to contact me with questions or ideas to share.

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