Thanks once again for your input Mike.
I won’t be moving my cart since my location and permit are from the local city council. Also the good foot traffic is important.
Unbelievably a street vendor that I met yesterday has leant me a commercial quality pop-up canopy for a few weeks – I’m so touched at his generosity. It’s very heavy but I think I’ll just about be able to put it up myself. It should tide me over until I source my own.
I have also ordered an airpot and will begin selling tea next week, which will hopefully attract more customers.
I’m really going to kick things up a notch now, since I realise that I will probably not be able to rely on passing trade alone. I’m going to start contacting local businesses and putting flyers and posters up in their offices with incentives.
I’m also going to order signage that is visible from the thousands of cars and buses that constantly pass by on this very busy road.
I feel really good knowing that I will at least be dry and buying a propane heater should also help with the cold.
This business really is full of ups and downs isn’t it?
I had a fellow dogger stop by the other day, he has an open cart and it too is his only source of income. What he has done to hopefully make it through a Michigan winter was to find a store, I think it was a comic book store (small town). The owner of the store let him set up his cart outside behind the store and put a couple of table and chairs indoors for the customers. The store owner is not charging him, because he wants more traffic into the store. My friend is also getting into soups, hot chocolate and coffee. He said it has been slow, but people are slowly finding him. Maybe you can find a local shop that would do the same for you. the way you sell the idea so that you do not have to pay rent is to just matter of factly state that you will increase foot traffic and potentially sales for the store owner. Make it a win win for both of you and sell it like that.
You are right things are not that bad and the weather will get worse. I just have to make sure I have the appropriate shelter for my customers and me. I defy anyone to stay in the driving rain after their parasol has broken and be a happy seller for 4 hours.
I’m glad I packed up when I did yesterday. I found a good local guy for signage who can also help with contacts and I got a good first step into a prime site for night trade.
I guess I am impatient, I just want things to grow, not stagnate. Thanks for the tips – many of which I do now. I will try to make believe I’m having a good day though – what’s the worst that could happen. It’s just that I haven’t had many and ~I don’t really want to have to get used to them.
All the best
I see that the average temp. in London in January runs between 41 to 47F. That’s not cold… and it’s not January… If you need your income to go up in the winter it seems a full-time job would be in order… either that, or SELL, SELL, SELL … and I don’t mean your cart…
If you want to keep slinging dogs… and you need your income to go up in the winter… you either sell more product or cut your expenses… My nut used to be $10,000 a month… now it’s $2,500 ish a month, and my wife and I and my kids are happier than ever… no more private schools, 4000 sq ft houses, cars, boats, credit cards, debt, etc.
So, I realize not everyone can cut their expenses so dramatically… And there is no guarantee you have what it takes to get through a brutal London winter… But I think what I would do is make believe I’m having one of those good days you mention (where you don’t even notice the weather) every day. And/or raise or lower your prices (both work at times, it all depends)… Or yell to everyone that goes bye something like ” 1 for 3 , 2 for 4 , WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER ” or sometimes this works ” Hi how you doing? Do you need directions? Can I help you get somewhere? This IS my part of town. I’m here every day. ” Find a way to help everyone walking bye is what I like to do… Sell some newspapers off your cart… “EXTRA EXTRA read all about it BLAH BLAH BLAH MAN BITES DOG, NEWSPAPERS, HOTDOGS, 1 for 3, 2 for 4 I’ll throw in the paper”… It’s sales, so SELL SELL SELL…
I know, I know, you all think I’m crazy… yep…
Best of luck
I apologise for the infrequent posts, I’m dog-tired all the time at present and starting to lose a little faith in things working out.
Things have been very up and down, which I attribute mainly to the weather, which seems to be having worse effects than I feared. Last week was my best yet, although Wednesday was bizarrely quiet compared to the other days – even though the weather was OK.
Monday this week, however, was diabolical. I had been warned that the weather would be bad all this week. It rained heavily early on, before I even left home, and was cold but dry for the 7 hours I was at my location. I don’t think I sold even 10 dogs. I couldn’t even bring myself to count my takings that evening. I feared the whole week would be the same but Tuesday and Wednesday were really good – I didn’t even notice the cold. But today…. It was wet and windy and hardly anybody stopped to buy. Then my parasol broke in the wind after `just a couple of hours. I tried for a while but just couldn’t bear to stay there not selling and without any cover. In the end I decided to give up on a bad thing. I went off trying to negotiate an evening location and some signage.
My problem is that I fear how winter will affect my business. In my mind I thought if I just made it through winter things would have worked out just fine. I’m just not sure if I can cope with the cold and wet as well as a massive dip in business. Things have generally been on the up and up, but I wonder if they are about to stall.
I’m about to start selling tea and offering chips and drink meal combos. I have recently started charging 50p for toppings too. I need my revenue to increase, not decrease over the next few months.
Do you have any thoughts?
All the best
The weather is beginning to bite, almost as much as my sales…..
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