Have you always wanted to own your own retail business but weren’t sure how to start? Kiosks and mall carts are a good way to get into the business of retail at your local mall with low costs and flexible lease terms.

Benefits of opening a kiosk business:

There are many benefits to opening a kiosk or mall cart as your retail small business kicks off. Start-up costs of mobile retail units (mall carts are smaller and less expensive, kiosks hold more merchandise and cost a little more to lease) are minimal compared to leasing a store space in the mall. Lease terms for a mall cart, kiosk or RMU (retail merchandising unit) are also more flexible than a traditional mall store lease – monthly terms are common for a kiosk while store leases start at a year, says Entrepreneur Magazine. Mall cart and kiosk rentals also allow you as a business owner to test new merchandise and stock low amounts of product until you know what sells. Finally, many small start-up retail businesses gain brand recognition and word of mouth business from opening a mall RMU or kiosk.

How to pick a kiosk theme:

Do you have a special niche that no one else has? Are you a crafter worthy of an Etsy store? A unique product is a great start in choosing a kiosk sales category. No particular product in mind? Then do your research! According to Specialty Retailer’s ‘Specialty Retail Pulse, Winter 2013’ article, apparel, cellphone accessories and personal care & health are the top RMU, kiosk and mall cart sales categories of early 2013. Better yet, six of the top ten sales categories saw an increase of sales compared to the previous year! That means there is opportunity for new business in the mall.

Getting your retail mall business started:

Ready to open your own mall cart or kiosk? First call your local mall and ask for the specialty leasing manager (in charge of kiosks and mall carts). Ask about…

  • lease rates and length for that location
  • if the mall handles permits/insurance (typically they do)
  • kiosk security covers at night (varies by location)
  • If the mall leases mall carts and kiosks or if you need to purchase one yourself (see below or right here for a great blog post on used kiosks!)

Read through lease agreements fully and ask questions before signing so that you are aware of any extra fees or commitments you are making. Calling a few local malls will give you a sense of what is reasonable in your area as well as what spaces for a new mall cart or kiosk.

Once you have a better understanding of financial and time commitment involved, it’s time to get a business license and any additional permits you may need. Your local Small Business Association (http://www.sba.gov/) is a terrific resource for licenses and permits for a start-up retailer.

Finally, consider your staffing requirements. Is it just you? Are you going to be able to staff the cart from mall opening  to closing hours? If not, consider hiring someone to help you. One resource to help you find a potential employee is job board Work In Retail. And of course you can also post a job listing on Craigslist, or Indeed.

Equip, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of Mall Cart, Kiosk and RMU security covers. All Equip, Inc. covers are Made in the USA here at our shop in Colorado with the highest quality workmanship, materials, and customer service guaranteed. The team at Equip, Inc. proudly partners with you through the life of your cover.  We warranty our work for a full year unlike the competition, then offer repairs as needed at reasonable rates!

Request a free quote for your mall cart cover, kiosk cover or RMU cover by clicking here!