Nothing is more popular than the all-American hot dog and its many related products like chips and sodas. That makes selling hot dogs and related products one of the best small businesses to start. However, like any business, even the most modest hot dog venture needs preparation and planning if it is to get off to a successful start.
For better or worse, all businesses are subject to government regulations and the hot dog business is no exception. Generally, the regulations are set locally and vary from place to place. Therefore, contact the local health department in the city or town in which you intend to set up your business and find out what permits and licenses may be required. A food handler's license and a vending license may also be required. Alas, the payment of a fee is usually required to get licenses and permits. You might also be legally required to carry a certain amount of business insurance to cover lawsuits.
Do the Paperwork
Along with licenses and permits, it is often required that you fill out paperwork to be filed with government agencies. Many states require all businesses to register with the Secretary of State's office, especially if your business is a partnership or is owned by a corporation such as a franchise. If people are going to work for you, then you must have an Employer Identification Number for tax purposes. This means filing paperwork with Internal Revenue Service, which may also want you to fill out other tax related forms as well.
Location, Location, Location
Hot dogs and their related products may be universally popular, but that popularity means nothing if your customers can't find you. Whether you have an impressive looking mall kiosk or a humble cart on a street corner, nothing will have a greater impact on your sales than your location. Hot dogs are often an impulse buy, so you need to be located in busy areas where there are lots of people passing by. That may involve extra permits or expenses involved in getting a prime location, but it will be worth it.
Start off Right
The key to a good start in the hot dog business is to get the licensing, paperwork and location issues out of the way first. After that, you will be free to focus on your customers and sales.