How to Start a Candy Cart Business
Mobile food carts are a popular choice for people on the go. A candy cart business will serve the the needs of those with a sweet tooth, as well as allow you to take your product to any area you like. Though your business venture will appeal to the kid in everyone, you must still file for the proper permits and licenses to make your candy cart legal in your state.
Research the candy demand in your prospective candy cart business area. For example, if your area is populated by middle-aged working adults, you should carry candy that is tailored to that demographic. Studying your business area for a week or two will give you an idea of the type of product you should carry.
File for a business name and license with your city or state's Secretary of State. Doing Business As certificates allow you to conduct business using your company's name and not your own. The business license will register your candy cart company with the state tax office so you can file your state taxes on items that you sell. Your business license and DBA will cost a small administration fee.
Contact your city's business development center to learn about the necessary permits you may need to operate in your area. You will most likely need a food vending or mobile cart permit that certifies your business as a legitimate candy cart. If you make the candy on site, you may need a food preparation permit and an inspection by a city health official. The permit cost varies, though it is not cost prohibitive to budding businesses. Once you have your permits, display them on your cart for your customers to see.
Choose a location for your candy cart. Depending on your city, you may be able to place the cart in any area that you like. On the other hand, your city may have restrictions regarding where you may place your cart. Check with your city's business office for details about cart locations. If you want to service a large area of the city, consider taking your candy cart in a set route around the city.
Buy a cart in which to store and sell your candy. Check your city's classifieds online or in the newspaper for new and used vendor carts. Online auction sites are another source of new and used candy carts. If you do not want to buy a cart, build your own with home improvement store materials. The cart should be sturdy, weather resistant, and able to store food items.
Set prices for your candy cart goods. Your cart's prices should be competitive with other businesses that offer candy items, though they should cover your operating costs. Consider offering samples or a "free candy day" to raise awareness of your new business. Create coupons that customers can redeem as part of this awareness effort.