Making the decision to take your business on the road isn’t an easy one. It is filled with complications, red tape, life changes, and major and minor decisions which can overwhelm you unless you are prepared. First, you must decide if your business qualifies as a mobile one, then think of all the things your business is dependent upon and consider how to bring those into your mobile package.
- Do you need a fixed address?
- Do customers have to come see you? How physically accessible do you and your product have to be to your customers? Can you survive day to day getting mail sporadically and having it handled by a mail forwarding service, often delayed by a week or more?
- Do you need to be in constant contact?
- Are you constantly on the phone, available to clients, and ready to respond to their needs? Do they have to be able to find you fast? Are face-to-face meetings a requirement?
- Does your business require inventory?
- When selecting an RV, you need to take into consideration whether or not you need room for product inventory. Maybe arrangements with a warehouse for handling your inventory would be better. Is it enough you have a few samples you can easily restock?
- Does your business require specialized equipment?
- Is it portable? Does it have special needs? Will it endure the brutality of the road? Do you require special computers and software? Can you easily update and maintain your office equipment? Do you need to build special containers or support systems to protect the system on the road?
- Would it help your business and make you more money to be mobile?
- If it is a boon to be where your customers need you, and that location is away from home, then taking your business on the road makes sense. If it doesn’t help your business, and you really can work anywhere, why are you considering this lifestyle? Will it help or interfere with your business?
Separation of Home and Work
When you take your business on the road, your moving home also becomes your office, and the visual front by which your clients will judge your work. The world is still a place where people are judged by their appearances, and how you keep your moving home/office speaks for your reputation. Keeping an RV pristine and ready for clients at any time of the day or evening can be exhausting, especially if you have children and pets. Confining the office area to a specific location in the trailer or motor home helps. Using the dining table and having to put everything away when you’re done can be time consuming and challenging when business is busy.
In planning to take your business on the road, consider how to separate home and work inside the trailer so you also have a place to escape and relax. Put your organizational skills to work to set up an area that maximizes the space, fitting everything in a small area. Carefully plan your equipment choices to avoid redundancy and equipment you rarely use. There are copy and mail stores in most towns which have office equipment such as staplers, paper cutters, packaging supplies, scanners, and things some businesses need only occasionally.
Set up a work schedule with your family to help keep work separate from home. When you are working, ask not to be disturbed and establish clear ground rules. If potential customers are in the campground or you anticipate customers visiting your RV, make sure you clear this with the manager and be ready for people to visit. A lot of campgrounds are very social and people think little of stopping by for a chat. If your work isn’t conducive to these interruptions, let people know or put a sign on the door about your "working" hours. It’s not easy to stay focused with all the potential distractions that comes with traveling.
What makes a good mobile business?
There are many businesses that are very mobile. Some multi-level marketing businesses work well from the road, bringing you and your product to the customer wherever they are. Selling household products, makeup, tools, and any product you can sell through mail or the Internet keeps the inventory low and is great for travelers as they can reach a wider range of customers. Service-oriented businesses, like web page designers or computer programers, are great for traveling, including office equipment repair and maintenance, public speaking and teaching, consulting, and insurance. Businesses working with products and services which don’t require physical storage space, massive inventories, or cumbersome specialized tools are excellent for the traveling business like web page designer, developing computer programs.