Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's hard and I ain't making no money...

My worst day ever, on the side of a busy hi-way I did $162 in 4.5 hours, including set up. Location is crucial and this is why I moved from that location and found the factory. As I added more carts I found that auto parts stores, discount stores and industrial parks did great. Some of these didn't pay off every day, so I figured out which days were good and worked the carts on those days.

I eventually figured out the best days, the best times of the month for different locations. I now have customers that run carts here in some of those same locations.

I have a customer at a courthouse in a neighboring county who has 3 carts, 2 of which are run full time and he consistently serves over 100 people a day per cart.

Sure, I get calls from customers and non-customer vendors who are struggling finding that perfect location or a combination of 2 or 3 perfect locations, but with WORK and diligence it can be done.

My sister struggled for 3 months finding a spot, she now has a location earning her far more than her college education did. She states over $4000/mo. net income.

In Nashville, I have an "illegal alien" customer from Mexico, that works a bar 3 nights a week, she now has 3 carts from me, but one she sent to New Mexico for a family member. She does over $700 a night. Horrible hours and works with some drunken often obnoxious customers, but she found a great location.

In my blog, I recently wrote of a guy that was lucky enough to get in front of a Wal-mart full time. He hasn't divulged his income but told me it is more than he's ever made. His drawback is long hours.

Bottom line: There are those making huge incomes and even more that make an "honest living". Those that are dedicated and work even when the numbers are not as they would like, they will build a clientele, they will find alternate locations or even private jobs to do to supplement their incomes.

If this business was easy then everyone would do it, from day one I have always emphasized how hard it can be. But for me the rewards outweighed the work: More free time, my own schedule and free lunch every day.

As with anything you can find people whom "poor mouth" their job or profession. There are doctors on the verge of bankruptcy, I know a lawyer that will tell you that it is horrible and that he's lucky to make $100K a year, but there are those doctors and lawyers happy after finding their niche and have excelled.

I have found 2 things to be accurate almost always in the vending business:

1: Getting vendors together is like herding feral (wild) cats.
2: Vendors will often "poor mouth" their income to discourage potential competition.

I have a friend that has soda machines in local businesses, he has always said when asked how well he's doing; "man, it's tough, if its not broke down, they are figuring out a way to steal the money from them. I'd be surprised if I make any money at all." YET EVERY YEAR HE PLACES MORE MACHINES AND RECENTLY PURCHASED 12 LIVE BAIT MACHINES AT $5K EACH. 

...sounds like times are tough on him. I give him a hard time about his "poor mouthing" and he continues to attempt to maintain an aire of poverty.

Of course I'm biased, it has and is working for me, the hot dog vending business works.  It is work, yet its the best trade I've ever made, time versus the dollar.  Hot dogs saved my life and I will forever be grateful!  

If you are struggling, keep your chin up and know that the taste of victory and success will be all that much better having endured the trials of your beginnings.  

1 comment:

  1. Ben,

    Wise words and so true. I've owned a few businesses in my time including a computer software company that I started and built to achieve sales of over $1.5M annually. What lessons did I learn? 1) Nothing worth having comes easily and, 2) never, ever give up.

    I'm now entering the hotdog vending business and will apply the advice you and others that know offer as well as the experience I've earned to create a successful new venture that will carry me far into my retirement years.

    Keep on stepping up to the plate everyday, you never know which swing of the bat will be the one that wins the Series for you and your team.

    Steve Shaffar