Remember when Summer used to mean ice cream trucks ringing their
bells all around the neighborhood? Well, Great OutDogs, the brainchild
of Matt Edwards may not ring its bell when it reaches your neighborhood,
but Edwards does his pet business from an 18 wheel truck, and he does travel to
neighborhoods throughout Austin, Texas.
Great OutDogs, which Edwards opened in April of 2012, is a website and mobile business that carries just about everything you can imagine a dog would need to be and/or play outdoors. No... Actually, it even carries stuff you can't imagine. And all of its products are eco-friendly.
Both the business idea, which serves a good-size niche audience, and the mobile sales method are pretty novel for pet businesses. Though we've seen vets on wheels and traveling groomers, the business of selling pet products from a truck is a new and kind of nifty idea.
It would be cumbersome to take such a large truck into a suburban or city neighborhood, so Edwards puts his stakes down at shopping mall parking lots; no doubt he has to pay a fee to do that. He publishes his mobile schedule on his website so that customers will know where to find Great OutDogs on a daily basis.
A mobile pet business doesn't have the commitment of renting a fixed store for a year or more at a time while you cross your fingers and see how it goes. It is also an excellent way to expand both your face-to-face and your internet sales, bringing you exposure to new groups of people all the time. After awhile, you will know where the sales are highest and you can shuffle and re-shuffle your neighborhoods and schedule accordingly.
Plus, you're outside; not stuck in a store or behind a desk all day processing orders, or waiting to have orders to process. Internet sales alone are very difficult to sustain without some publicity; and you and your products are your best publicity. Great OutDogs even sounds like a great franchise business, eh, Mr. Edwards?
What do you think about a mobile pet business? Do you have any ideas about what other kinds of products or services that might get some bells ringing around your neighborhoods?