How to Start My Own Traveling Vendor Business

Are you looking for a job that will allow you flexibility in your schedule -- and that can move around with you? Working as a traveling vendor can provide a lucrative source of income. Wedding planners rely on florists, photographers and even bartenders who will travel to the venue and be able to deliver their services as expected. Party planners need traveling vendors who can arrive on time with everything that is needed to make the party a success. For those who enjoy a job that is full of variety, working as a traveling vendor can have its rewards. Starting this type of business is only a matter of some experience, a few good contacts, a little valuable advertising and the willingness to work hard.

Determine the parameters for your business. Working as a traveling vendor, you will find that clients have a variety of requests, and you might be asked to travel to all kinds of venues. It helps to prepare in advance by knowing exactly what type of venues you will do. For example, if you are a photographer, you might choose to focus specifically on wedding photography within a certain geographical area. If you are a bartender, you might decide that you will only work at specific types of parties. This is ultimately up to you, and you can expand your business plan as you go. But it helps to have a clear focus before you begin.

Research and decide on your professional rate. Unless you are starting a very new type of work as a traveling vendor, it is likely that you will have some competition in your area. So take the time to find out what they are charging, and determine how your rate will compare. Knowledge and experience will play an important role in how you set up your rates, as will the type of work that you are doing. If, for instance, you decide that you will focus a photography business around upscale weddings in a certain community, you can expect to charge more than your competitors; and your clients will expect to pay more for the quality of your work.

Assemble a portfolio and collect references. Working as a traveling vendor is contract work, and contract workers are most successful when they have a proven track record for future clients to view. Organize a portfolio that you can show to prospective customers, indicating your skill, reliability and attention to quality. Add references with quoted details so future clients can see exactly what others had to say. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and a portfolio with valid references can function much as word of mouth might.

Determine whether you need a business license to work in your area. Not every type of traveling vendor requires a business license, and not every community requires a license for the same type of work. So you will have to do the research to find out. Many communities, for example, require a business license (as well as a liquor license) for a traveling bartender, and most states require florists to register their business for tax purposes.

Tips

  • Be sure to organize the tools and supplies that you will need. Because traveling vendors are frequently on the move, they need to have their supplies ready to go. Select a bag or other type of carrying case that contains everything you will take with you, and keep these items together to avoid a last-minute panic. Wedding and party planners expect traveling vendors to arrive on time and with everything prepared, so be sure to remember that you are working on someone else’s schedule too.