The events of the past year and a half have exposed just how vulnerable some people are financially. It is a must these days to have a side hustle going to make some extra cash. Or, you could also be tempted to start your own business so you are safe from the whims of an employer.
One of the easiest ways to go about either option is to start a man and van business. There is a low barrier to entry to get started but most people don’t follow through. If you offer good services and competitive prices you can make this a full time income if you so desire.
In this article, we will go over some basics to get you thinking about starting your own man and a van service.
Start with the van
Though you may be tempted to start out with a second hand van to save money on the initial investment, it makes sense to buy one new or at least only slightly used. Reliability is the name of the game when it comes to this business so you can ill afford a van that needs frequent repairs.
The van you buy will say a lot about you and your business. In fact, if you really want to make an impression then going with an electric van series is a great way to generate interest as they are more sustainable.
Whichever kind of van you get, make sure that it is big enough to handle the job, but also good on mileage to keep your costs low.
Be a good marketer
Most of the business is going to be getting the word out there. Of course, you should start with a decal with your business information to put on your car, but it goes much further than that.
Proper marketing utilizes multiple channels to make sure your target market can find you. Many man and van owners are not putting much effort into marketing and rely mainly on word of mouth. Taking marketing seriously will give you a massive advantage.
Take advantage of social media and create helpful posts that people are eager to share. And have a professional looking website where people can do their booking. The key is to make sure that you have a presence that is consistent across the proper channels.
In other words, find a platform where your target customers are online and focus there.
Then, post helpful information during the times that will have the most impact. Don’t disappear for months and then post a few times and disappear again. Posting on a regular schedule is important for visibility.
It’s important for your brand as well. People need to see your logo and posts a few times before they remember it. If you have a Youtube channel and social media working together then they will remember you when the time comes to hire a van. They may not remember your name, however, so make sure that your online presence means that when they search your area for a man and van service that you come up high in the search results. An easily identifiable logo will help them remember that it is you and will book you as a result. The aspect of a brand determines the identity of the company. Using typography, colors, and images, it creates a visual representation of an organization. Business identities are guidelines that are utilized as a means for describing the visual appearance of a company. Examples of visual identity include stationery design, brochure design, flyer design, website design, signage, uniforms, and other tools similar to these.
Part of your marketing material should focus on the insurance that you have. This gives potential customers the peace of mind they need to book your services.
Having insurance to cover breakages, injuries and more will end up saving you money in the long run as well as making you more money through bookings made because of it.
A lot of the different insurance that you should look into are not required by law but will help you and your customers. Think about the type of business you are running and you will quickly understand the importance of being insured. Not only is your van out on the road all day where accidents can happen, but you are carrying people’s valuables around and need to keep them safe. You are entering people’s homes to do your job where injuries are a possibility.
It is likely that there will be a claim made against your insurance at some point in the life of your business. Try as you may to run a safe and efficient business, but accidents do happen. Being prepared for that eventuality will keep you in business for years to come.
Ask for reviews
Reviews are another way of giving a potential customer a reason to hire you. Everytime you finish up a job, make sure to have a way to ask for a positive review. Either ask them in person or email them a link to do so.
A new business will suffer without some reviews so be aggressive in asking. The worst case scenario is that they ignore your plea. In the best case, you will rack up the great reviews in less time than you think.
Reviews online are just like word of mouth. People look to the reviews on Google or your Facebook page to determine if people are happy with your service. The reason is that people like them are the ones leaving the reviews. They can read about how the person had the same situation that you find yourself in and had many of the same questions that you do.
Expand when you can
There is a fine line between creating a business and simply creating a job for yourself. You can only be at one place at one time so eventually you will need to expand your fleet.
Once you find yourself turning down jobs it is time to expand. Buy another van and hire a driver or two to take on the excess work. Then you can really kick the marketing into overdrive to drum up more business and then make serious money. Being a one man band may be the easier option but eventually you will hit a ceiling financially.