Are you a person who likes to be center of attention ... or do you prefer to deal with people on a one-to-one basis? Are you at your best when lots of people are swirling around you ... or do you prefer calmer surroundings? Are you open to working in an unstructured environment ... or is more traditional set-up of walls and a door your preference? No matter how you answer these questions, our Gift Shop/Kiosk plan can work for you.
Whether you choose to market your items from a Kiosk or a Gift Shop, basics of each plan are similar. First we'll concentrate on Kiosks, especially pushcart type wagons that are so popular in malls and other high traffic areas, whether indoors or outdoors. Then we'll add in Gift Shop information.
WHERE DO I START? You've seen charming wagons in mall. They're filled with eye-catching items and surrounded by great foot-traffic and you thought they might be a great way to sell your products. You're right, they can be. Of course, as with any sales plan, it's time and energy you put into it that determines your success.
PLAN A LOCATION After you've made decision to lease one of these attractive carts, first step in your plan is to decide which mall you want to be in. Malls may vary widely as to foot traffic, leasing costs, and type of merchandise allowed. Remember, due to lack of storage space, you will be constantly restocking your cart and merchandise will have to be carried in on a regular basis, so you may want to lease one nearby, to reduce travel time.
CONTACT THE CART CONCESSION MANAGEMENT Every mall has a Management Office that handles cart leasing. After you have decided which malls you are considering, a letter of introduction and purpose sent to office is a good next step. OBTAIN A BUSINESS LICENSE Whichever mall or space you settle on, you'll need a business license and a resale number. Business licenses are issued by city in which you are doing, business. A fee is charged and license is generally valid for one year. Resale permits are required for all business owners and are free. Check with your City Hall for more information.
MERCHANDISE AND VISUAL CONCEPTS After having seen samples of your merchandise, most associations will want to talk with you about visual concept you have of your planned display. This is to insure that quality of goods allowed on their carts and how it is displayed is kept at a certain level and image is consistent with other carts in mall. Keep in mind that your merchandise selection for this type of operation will consist of smaller items such as Patchwork pieces, birdhouses, glass ornaments and like, since storage area in cart is minimal. With many kiosks, everything that does not fit inside a closed and secured cart must be stored elsewhere or removed every evening at close of day.
Note: Most malls offer some storage area but a fee is charged for space and fee varies from mall to mall.
ADVERTISING Generally, malls do not allow you to advertise with flyers inside or directly outside mall, therefore any advertising you do will need to be done by other methods. If you choose to advertise, decide on how and where you plan to do so and don't forget to add this cost into your budget.
FEES The fee structure for cart leasing also varies from mall to mall, however, there are several fees that are common for cart leasing.
1. Base Fee: This is basic monthly fee charged for leasing cart.
2. Percentage Fee: In addition to basic monthly fee, a percentage of your weekly sales will also be charged. Example: $700 per month base fee plus 12% of your weekly gross over $1500.
Note: These numbers are only examples. Fees vary widely based on area and location in mall itself. Some malls offer a lesser base fee for leases guaranteed for over a certain number of months.
3. Security Deposit: This is usually a refundable deposit.
4. CAM (Common Area Maintenance) Fee: A small fee is charged each month that goes toward mall's maintenance of area around carts.
ADDITIONAL FEES In addition to basic and percentage fees, security deposit and monthly CAM fee, there may or may not be additional fees. These fees are at discretion of mall association. They may include:
1. A small, one-time, signage fee that covers making and installing of a sign announcing your business name. This is charged in order to keep all signage uniform.
Note: In some instances, you will only be allowed to display certain signs, (such as "SALE", "We Accept Major Credit Cards," and "Employment Opportunities Available,") and they must be pre-printed. Most malls discourage hand-lettered signs.
2. A nominal, monthly, marketing fee to cover advertising.
3. A small, monthly fee for regular cart cleaning by mall maintenance.
INSURANCE It is generally required that lessee (you) will provide both general liability and property damage insurance. The mall will stipulate amount and type of insurance required. Premiums for these forms of insurance will vary according to area. Check with your local insurance agents for information and rate quotes.
CASH REGISTER You will be expected to supply your own cash register. A secure "cash wrap" area is built into most carts in which register is stored and secured by locks, which you will provide.
Note: Carts vary, however, each one is designed for security during off-hours and can be closed and secured, usually by locks, which you provide.
TELEPHONES AND ELECTRIC HOOK-UPS Electrical hook-ups are generally provided for lighting and cash register. Telephone service, however, is often not available. Therefore, if you wish to accept credit cards it is suggested that you use a cellular phone hook-up or a radio transmitted device (credit card machine) for these transactions.
INDIVIDUAL RULES AND REGULATIONS Each mall will have their own rules and regulations and these will vary. Applicable rules will be spelled out on your contract and/or on a separate sheet provided by management. Some of these may be:
1. OPENING AND CLOSING POLICY. Most every mall requires your cart to be open prior to opening of mall and close after mall has closed. A cart not open during mall hours will usually receive a warning followed by a small fine after a second fault.
2. DRESS CODE: Generally each mall has a dress code, which you will need to adhere to in order to present a professional look.
3. NEATNESS: It will be expected that you will keep your cart and stock neat and tidy in addition to monthly cleaning cart receives from mall staff.
4. SEATING, EATING, DRINKING, READING AND OTHER NECESSITIES: In order to present a professional front, many malls do not allow eating, drinking, reading, or listening to personal tape or cd players while doing business. One chair is usually provided (which will have to be secured at night) for cart operator. Often, since cart may be operated by only one person at a time and cannot be dosed during mall hours, it becomes necessary to eat or drink on site. In this instance most malls often bend rules and allow cart operator to do so if it is done discreetly and in a short amount of time. br> GIFT SHOPS The basics of opening and running a gift shop are very similar to those of a kiosk with a few important exceptions.