Find the location of a snow cone stand
Rent, rent, rent
Lord Harold Samuel, a real estate mogul, coined the phrase: “There are three things that matter in a property: location, location, location.” No other factor is as important to the success of your business as the location you choose.
Location is not the only consideration. You also need a quality product, a clean booth, and friendly employees. You also need signs that are bright and visible from the main road and hallways. None of this will do any good if you can’t attract customers to your area. Careful determination of new sites is critical for most retail businesses. I can give you some general guidelines and things to consider when making this decision. It’s time to put the location at the top of your to-do list. Below are some of the things to consider.
For a basic snow cone stand, a little common sense is the main component in making decisions. There are software tools that will give you traffic patterns, demographics, and other data, but you need to place your booth not just in your city, but in the neighborhoods you know. Just by living there, you need to know the main areas to look for locations.
You should look for an area with young families and children or high school students who can drive. Elementary, middle, and high schools are good areas. Children’s parks, swimming pools, and sports complexes are also good indicators of the correct demographics. High-traffic areas like malls, restaurants, and stores are another good indicator. Depending on your city, foot traffic or vehicle traffic will be much more important. Another indicator is whether there are other kid-friendly businesses in the area. Do you see an area with a concentration of ice cream parlors, toy stores, galleries or other similar businesses? If these companies are successful in this area, chances are you are.
Once you’ve decided on the areas to consider, you need to test your locations to see which one works best. The easiest way to check is to just go outside and observe the area. Park where you are interested and watch the traffic. Are there many children running around the local park? Do you see as many cars as you expected? Are families moving in and out of local businesses? Sitting and watching on both a weekday and Saturday can be the best way to really get to know an area.
Leasing and renting
At this point, there is more to do for your snow cone stand. Just because you’ve found your dream parking lot or store front doesn’t mean the job is done. Hopefully there is more than one place that you think will work for your business. If this is the case, you should start contacting the business owners to sign a lease. Your rental agreement is almost as important as the location itself. A good owner can make your business run much better, but a more difficult one can cause you a substantial amount of trouble and stress.
Generally, there are 2 types of business owners you can work with: small business owners and large chain stores. Small business owners are much easier to work with. You can usually deal with the landlord in person and the business owner will appreciate the rental income. The corporate headquarters typically takes care of renting the parking space for a major chain of stores. In this case, you can’t just walk into your local Wal-Mart, Target, or Best Buy and sign a lease. Trying to deal with a corporate office means spending a lot of time on the phone trying to find the right person to talk to. Even when you find them, you have to hope that they care enough to call you back. The person on the other end of the phone will not see any of your rental income, but has to go the extra mile to help you. There is no incentive for this to happen. There are also a number of chains that have a general policy of not dealing with small businesses or renting parking spaces.
The amount you must pay for rent will vary considerably from city to city and location to location. In my experience, $ 250-400 was an average rental range, but this may not be accurate for your situation. I suggest asking other snow cone and concession stand owners for a range of the current rate. Be sure to indicate if the lease includes electricity for your booth and how you get power. Other problems that are easy to forget are where you can empty your dirty water tanks and throw out the trash. You also need to make sure there are places for your customers to park and the hours that you can keep the booth open. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to make sure that you and the owner are on the same page. If you don’t explain it clearly, a different set of ideas can cause you a lot of trouble.
Take into account all the costs associated with the initial opening of your business and the location. This information is crucial to properly budget and plan your opening. When it comes to starting a business, underestimating costs and the time involved is one of the most common and dangerous mistakes new entrepreneurs make. It is also one of the easiest to avoid.
The best advice I can give someone is to be thorough in your research. There are no perfect or simple answers. Know your city, area, and particular location. Test your assumptions and do the groundwork to make sure the place is actually as crowded and kid-friendly as you thought. Good luck!