Coffee is a vital part of the daily routine of many Australians. That’s why starting a coffee van business is an attractive opportunity for many entrepreneurs. However, there are many things you need to consider when planning and launching your business, and in fact, whether to start it at all. Working in the coffee industry is a demanding and challenging job, that’s why we’ve compiled a list of things you should do before starting your own coffee van business. Do you want to open a cafe? Read our 5 steps article how to start a coffee shop business.

Find a location for your business

The first thing you need to do is find a suitable location for your coffee van. The best advantage of a coffee van is that it’s mobile, meaning you can take it anywhere! This means you could even decide on a few locations and move between them. If you are thinking of multiple locations, try to have a consistent weekly schedule so that you’re at the same location at the same time every week, this way you’ll be able to build up relationships with your customers, and they’ll know exactly when you’ll be back in the area.

When considering a place, think about how profitable it will be. Is there a lot of foot traffic in the area? Is there a lack of coffee vendors, and thus competition? Your location will depend a lot on your target audience. You may want to cater to working people, and catch them in the morning rush hour and during their lunch breaks. You could also situate your van outside a shopping centre and cater to those having a weekend shop, or around beaches in the summer holiday period. Whilst you should have some consistency in where you situate yourself, you should also consider big events throughout the year where there are bound to be large crowds, such as festivals and sporting events. Having these events marked on your calendar will help you prepare for these in advance.

  1. Get your equipment ready

Your equipment is one of the most important parts of your mobile coffee business. Ensure you have high-quality, commercial equipment that will stand the test of time. It may seem like a lot of money to pay upfront, but this is one of the most important investments you’ll be making for your business, and quality equipment will end up paying for itself. The last thing you want is to have to suspend business – and your income – whilst you’re dealing with a malfunctioning or broken coffee machine. A good coffee machine and a coffee grinder are good places to start. Brands like Boema, Caffe and Wega Coffee Machines sell great equipment.

  1. Select an insurance policy

It’s not uncommon for small business owners to overlook risks that end up costing the business a lot of money. To save yourself from this, you should get insurance to help you in the case of an unfortunate event. This will place safeguards on your business, so that you won’t end up going out of business when dealing with any potentially damaging issues.

There are a few different types of insurance you should be considering. Since you’ll be operating out of a van or truck, vehicle insurance is vital. With all the driving you’ll be doing, issues are bound to arise with your vehicle, so it’s best to be safe rather than sorry. Liability insurance is also a good idea for any business. This protects you against claims and suits that may be filed against you. You should also have adequate worker’s compensation insurance to protect yourself and any workers you might employ in the case of a workplace accident.

  1. Open a bank account for your business

You need to open a business account at a bank of your choice. Compare the policies and interest rates of different banks, and also consider their ease of access. You’ll be spending a lot of time using this account to evaluate your profits as well as to pay your employees, so choose wisely.

  1. Consider your inventory

You’ll need stock for your business. Find wholesalers who can provide you with your coffee beans, and decide on where you’ll source things like milk, sugar, syrups, tea, takeaway cups, spoons and stirrers. Take note of how long these suppliers take to deliver items to you, so that once your business is up and running, you’ll know when you have to think about resupplying. Ensure that your arrangements allow you to consistently brew fresh, delicious coffee.

  1. Obtain the necessary health and safety certificates

To give your business credibility, you should do the necessary courses that will help you ensure your business meets all the necessary health and safety standards. Displaying your Occupational Health & Safety certificates in your van will also reassure customers that their coffee is being made in a hygienic environment and that your staff are working in good conditions.

  1. Employ your staff and try out your business

Your business will only be as good as your staff. If you find staff with a great attitude, your business will be more likely to attract customers. This is also the time to visit our coffee roaster and coffee wholesale team and then you can start selling coffee! See how well your business does in the location or locations you have selected. If after a while of settling in to your business you’re still not meeting your gross profit targets, you may want to go back to the drawing board and reconsider things like your location, target audience and pricing. Remember, it’s completely normal for new businesses to under perform when they first start, so don’t be discouraged. With time and effort, you’ll find your own unique formula for success.