One relatively easy and surprisingly profitable way to start a small business is to operate an ice cream cart. Because of low overhead and labor costs, an ice cream cart in the right location can make more than $100,000 per year. However, there are a few simple, but essential, things you must do to get your ice cream business off the ground.
Unfortunately, you can't just start selling ice cream anywhere you want. First, you will have to register your business with the city or county clerk in the area where you intend to sell. For a fee, usually not very high, they will then issue you a business license. Other legal requirements vary from place to place, but may include such things as a food handler's license or even a special license specifically for selling frozen products. Check with your local government to determine everything you will need. The Internal Revenue Service also requires that you obtain an Employer Identification Number for filing tax returns.
Getting a Cart
Fortunately, good ice cream carts are available in all makes and styles at reasonable prices. However, once again you must ensure that whatever you buy is compatible with whatever requirements your local government may have in place. For example, you should contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles, which may have safety, size and other legal requirements for operating an ice cream cart. Your local health department may want to inspect your cart before you start selling.
Don't Forget the Extras
People have expectations when buying from an ice cream cart that you will have certain extras on hand besides the ice cream itself. People expect you to have containers and cones to put the ice cream in. They want utensils to eat with and a choice of toppings. Some people will want sprinkles, nuts, hot fudge, caramel, whip cream and a cherry on top! People love to have choices, so give them plenty of ways to enable them to make their own personally perfect ice cream treat.
Once you have completed these three essential steps, congratulations, you're in business! All you need to do now is make the rounds of parks, schools, malls and festivals or wherever ice cream fans congregate. Sometimes, if the location is good enough, you need not move around at all. Good luck!