The Pros & Cons of a Mobile Coffee Business

With everyone on the go these days, and everything getting pricier, people need an easier way to get their morning coffee. So it’s no wonder that mobile coffee shops are becoming more and more popular all across the country. It’s inexpensive, easy to set up, and a terrific way to make lots of money quickly.

Like with any business, there are plenty of pros and cons when it comes to owning your own coffee cart. While it’s an easy and rewarding venture, you still need to know where to sell, how to stay safe, and, of course, how to find the right cart for you. Yet as long as you know where to go and keep track of the competition, all those profits will be well worth any potential challenges.

Let’s take a look at all the biggest pros and cons to running your own mobile coffee business.

mobile coffee cart business


  1. It’s Completely Flexible

One of the best perks about running a coffee shop on wheels, or any mobile food business, is that you can work at any time when permits allow. Whether you’re out there once or twice a week or decide to make it your full-time career, how much you work is totally up to you. So if you’re seeking a job with an excellent work/life balance, this is definitely one of your best options.

  1. Easy Business Model

Compared to other businesses, and even other food carts, running a mobile coffee business is super simple. You need less staffing and resources, can buy less products and supplies, and can sell it all year round. And thanks to all the information that’s readily available online, you’ll already know ahead of time how to plan and market yourself.

  1. Great Year-Round Sales

It may come in seasonal flavors, but coffee itself isn’t a seasonal product. Unlike ice cream during the summer, you won’t have to scramble to make enough money before the temperatures change. As long as people are out and need their fuel, you’ll have great sales all throughout the year. Plus, if you purchase the right kind of cart, you can easily serve hot or iced coffee throughout the year.

  1. Super Affordable

If you’ve always wanted to open your own coffee shop but don’t have the funds, a mobile coffee cart business is the perfect alternative. While it’s not exactly cheap, owning a cart costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars less than renting or buying out an actual store. Plus, most states don’t require a food license to sell coffee, saving you even more in the beginning.

  1. No Two Days Are the Same

One day, you could be set up outside a big box store or office building attracting people coming in for work. The next day, you might be selling at a local festival or farmers market. And the day after that — outside a concert venue helping everyone stay alert. If you’re in the right area, there are so many locations to choose from that you’ll never get bored.


mobile coffee business


  1. Weather Concerns

When your business is based outside, you’ll always have to keep tabs on the weather forecast. Depending on where you live, you could be dealing with rain, heavy wind, snow, and extreme temperatures on any given day. That’s not to say you can’t make it work when things start to change, but it will definitely be more challenging. And sometimes, the best thing for you to do is to just pack up for the day and try again tomorrow.

  1. A Saturated Market

Owning a mobile food business is easy and effective. Of course, the problem is that so many people want to own their own cart that there’s now more competition than ever. And you need to strike the right balance between somewhere with lots of people and somewhere with too many food carts. Pay close attention to where your competition is located each day, and choose an area that you think is missing a good coffee cart.

  1. Having Enough in Stock

There’s only so much product you can take with you when running a mobile coffee business. It’s not like having a brick-and-mortar store where you can keep your entire stock close at hand. Instead, you’re constantly having to check how much product and supplies are on hand throughout your shift. Keep track of your busiest days and best locations, and always adjust your inventory accordingly. This way you’re less likely to bring too much or too little.

  1. Building Relationships

When you’re just starting out, you may find yourself struggling to market your business and build community relationships. No matter how many people you know, it takes some time to be fully established. Yet there are some things you can do at first, such as social media campaigns, neighborhood events, or even trying your local park. And remember — while many people are dedicated to their regular coffee place, they’re always willing to try someone else if they’re in a rush.

Ferla Bikes Love: User Reviews that Win Hearts

“My Ferla bike mini is the best! I am the chef/owner of Heather’s Dessert Cart and Catering, LLC in Greenville, SC and I set up downtown and at local pop-ups and markets. The interior is the perfect size for two full coolers , my display stands, and all my supplies, but still small enough for me to pedal (with electric motor assist!) up and down the huge hills through my neighborhood. I absolutely love my bike and it gets all the best compliments when I am out, plus I love that this is a “green” addition to my business, as well. Thanks, Ferla!”

Heather Walley  ★★★★★

“I recently purchased the Grande Cart to open a mobile coffee business. I was a bit apprehensive making such a big purchase without being able to physically see the product or sales person. Steven was extremely helpful and professional through the process. He answered most of my questions honestly and gave good advice on opening a new business. I was highly impressed on the packing of the cart. The welded steel box certainly protected the cart so it was perfectly intact. I have been welcomed wherever I go and people are awed at this product. I have people randomly taking pictures and giving awesome comments on it. Only complaint if you will is that no reference material/manual was supplied for the cart. I had to goggle info on the freezer and water system. Would recommend Ferla carts to anyone venturing into a new small business. Thank you! Dragonfly Espress___O!”

Robyn DeCarolis  ★★★★

A few reviews from instagram:

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it difficult to start a mobile coffee business?

It’s one of the easier businesses you can start. With some basic equipment, a little research, and a good marketing campaign, you can be very successful in a short amount of time. If you’re not sure where to start, you can always check here for a full rundown.

How much does a coffee cart cost on average?

You can find a basic coffee cart for sale at around $5,000 or less, while a more sophisticated and full-equipped one can range anywhere between $13,000 and $20,000. Although some companies, like Ferla, give you the option of a payment plan to make things easier.

Is a mobile coffee cart business profitable?

It may take lots of hard work at first, but coffee carts are extremely profitable. In fact, coffee sales have a gross profit margin of up to 90 percent, so there are plenty of chances for you to make easy money.

Street vendor food carts

Choose a Ferla Coffee Cart for Your Business

Ferla has helped many mobile businesses take off ever since we started. That’s why we now have five coffee bikes and two coffee carts for you to choose from, letting you find the right one even faster. You’ll get restaurant-quality features, plenty of counter space, temperature controls, and solar panel system so you can stay completely green. And if you choose a bike, then there’s no need to worry about transporting it — just hop on and pedal to wherever you want to go. No matter where you live, Ferla is here to help you start off on your new business venture.

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