Looking good there :-)
When do you open for business?
Looking good there :-)
When do you open for business?
Today is the 5th day now, surpsingly from day one however the sales have been dominated by juices and smoothies, strange although I spose the weather has been a influencing factor. Still refinding the run and have got 8-11 booked solid and now looking to expand to the rest of the day and hunt down events. :)
And how are the ergonomics of the layout?
I assume you spend weeks working out what goes where and then after a couple of days using it you start to find "should-as and could-as" ;)
Events? Maybe we can book you for a CoffeeSnobs cafe day... at the beach or in the bush!
All the best in your new business.
Renzo, Ofra and Benito
Hey guys, sorry about the delay in replying didnt know there were responses.
Thanks for your well wishes Corretto & Di Bartoli :)
Andy it has been a bit like that on a few small things on the plus side though we have been fairly happy with the design as we had it designed from scratch ourselves. (few nights drawing sketches there) Totally unlike the franchised vans which u see around who pay 100+k for a layout that is suited to minimize their franchiser costs and designed for other people not your suitability. Main things Id change is the positioning of the grinder (long since bolted in) layout of a few electrical pipes and possibly not have put that hefty commercial juicer in the van.And how are the ergonomics of the layout?
I assume you spend weeks working out what goes where and then after a couple of days using it you start to find "should-as and could-as"
Had some luck with events and more then a few duds, still getting a feel for it and developing the contacts. Looking at tying myself in with 2 clubs over winter on weekends. Atm you can find us on Saturdays (feb 3rd onwards we return to the Kooyang grounds catering to Little Athletics, feel free to drop by) My partner and me work quiet well together in the back cause we share a familiarity that most baristas dont share behind the coffee machine I had a laugh. Often can instictvly know what the other needs without asking which speeds up things without scarificing quality.Events? Maybe we can book you for a CoffeeSnobs cafe day... at the beach or in the bush!
Feel free to book us for a day in the bush Andy, although Id have a feeling youd all be clammering to try shots on the machine and show each other your handywork while I enjoy a cold one. :)
Congratulation BrighterSide! your van looks very neat.
Where is your business in Autralia!
Do you roast your on coffee!
Good luck for your business. ;)
The sporting club ties sounds like a good idea.
When I was researching a similar venture I had plans to hit the soccer grounds on the weekends to cater to all those screaming parents.
Are you selling the van on eBay?
I am not sure whether those "soccer parents" need anymore coffee quite often they seem quite high stung already ;)Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1159868364/0#7 date=1167916093
Originally Posted by Coffeechaser link=1159868364/0#9 date=1167953133
Yeppers- definitely decaf for everybody, I reckon ;)
Originally Posted by BrighterSide link=1159868364/0#5 date=1167913208
Dont be too hard on those who develop coffee vans.....there is a reason for the expense not the least of which is the initial cost of the van. Most seem to like Merc Vito and at a minimum of around $45000.00 for a plain white empty van, theres the starting point from where the dollars can only keep piling up. *
I disagree with the comment regarding that they design vans for their convenience not that of the user. I think you will find their designs are under constant "review" according to the feedback they get from their operators.
You would well know that when you start from scratch you spend a great deal of time designing, building, redesigning and changing what you built in the first place. *This is time consuming and expensive. The time consuming aspect is a double edged sword...while you are redesigning something that didnt work well in the first place, or having to line up new subies *because the old ones arent reliable or did a bad job that has to be redone or they coudnt be bothered spending the time on doing something from first principles like this, *the van operator is losing income which until someone points this out, is a significant if hidden impost in the equation....you buy a ready made unit and you are ready to go immediately.
So there is more to this than meets the eye.
So for example:
Vito Van $45000.00
Electrical fitout if going inverter $20,000.00
Catering Equipment say $10000.00;
Commercial Shop fitout say $15000.00
Exemplary Total = say $90,000.00
Lastly, the van developer is entitled to a fair return for his work so add some kind of percentage to the 90 gs as fair recompense.
Ofcourse, the figure can be lower to start with if you elect to go with a generator instead of an inverter system, but you end up spending a commensurate amount in petrol and maintenance and relacement of the genie in the next three to five years anyhow...its just converted into a hidden running cost rather than a capital cost at the start. *
The thing I really disgree with however is paying fees to the developer for purchasing a "territory"....what territory?
I am not "standing up" for franchise van conglomerates and dont have anything to do with them, but I think the readers here need to have a balance in comments they read.
Hope this helps all.
The "territory" means they wont put another operator in the same geographical area as you.
Doesnt mean though you wont be competing with other franchises in the same "territory".
They cant guarantee you that.
Indeed! Thats why I object.
I had a laugh
When I firat started discussing such a franchise as a way out of my current unemployment situation, my son (the mean, practicle bastard that he is i.e. chip off the old block) suggested I do what BrighterSide has and set up my own vehicle - then follow a franchised operator around for a few days to learn the run, and beat them there everyday. ;D
Thanks for the response guys :)
Notice this thread is getting a lot of outside hits, think mainly cause it comes up 4-5th on google when searching for "coffee van". If you are an outsider feel free to create an account and ask any questions you have or just PM or e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org
Serge thanks for your compliment and well wishes, weve been getting a lot of good feedback about the van, guess those endless hours designing and planning it paid off.Congratulation BrighterSide! your van looks very neat.
Where is your business in Autralia!
Do you roast your on coffee!
Good luck for your business.
Our business is garaged in Frankston, Victoria and we visit the surrounding areas for our daily run. For events we travel anywhere from 20mins to a hour and a half away. For our coffee we use Veneziano Forza blend, the crew there have been quite helpful.
Framey I did list it briefly on there, wanted to see what type of interest it would gather and had a good response. If the right offer came along wed consider selling the van/and or run but atm Im quite happy with the hours, income and type of work. Not many people can boast working outdoors all days with limited hours and steady source of coffee and smoothies within a meter reach. :)BrighterSide
Are you selling the van on eBay?
Fresh_Coffee thanks for another perspective on things.
I recognise some franchisers that are out there have a lot going for them, in particular for people who are new to the idea all together and want the security of a support system and are willing to pay for it. The most common vehicles the franchisers use are Volkswagen Transporters, Mercerdes Vitos and mitsubishi Express.Dont be too hard on those who develop coffee vans.....there is a reason for the expense not the least of which is the initial cost of the van. Most seem to like Merc Vito and at a minimum of around $45000.00 for a plain white empty van, theres the starting point from where the dollars can only keep piling up.
While many have a ergonomic setup in the rear I think most of them fail to utilise the space presented to them in the mid section where most store their generator/alternator. As the power generator units are usually sealed off there is no reason why this space cant be more effectively used for anything other then storage.
One thing I find intersting is that some franchises swap what coffee machine they use in their van quite frequently, alternating from manual to automatic and then to another machine all together in the same period. Another thing I noticed is that not all rears areas use the space to the best they can, rather then moulding or shaping the stainless steel and other materials, which is more time consuming, they use straight unbent sheets that would reduce produce production time and costs but doesnt provide the optium space.I disagree with the comment regarding that they design vans for their convenience not that of the user. I think you will find their designs are under constant "review" according to the feedback they get from their operators.
Agree with you here totally, I researched the industry for over a year before I decided to make the jump myself. Luckily however I had employment and did the research in my spare time/days off. If you were to quit your job and start from scratch researching it and sourcing out builders then you would be cutting into your capital/savings.You would well know that when you start from scratch you spend a great deal of time designing, building, redesigning and changing what you built in the first place. This is time consuming and expensive. The time consuming aspect is a double edged sword...while you are redesigning something that didnt work well in the first place, or having to line up new subies because the old ones arent reliable or did a bad job that has to be redone or they coudnt be bothered spending the time on doing something from first principles like this, the van operator is losing income which until someone points this out, is a significant if hidden impost in the equation....you buy a ready made unit and you are ready to go immediately.
Of course they are and agree here, if they didnt do this there wouldnt be so many coffee van franchises out there, some however you can tell have larger margins in their vans then others. Also to keep in perspective is that unless the company is selling the license for the vans that their main money is made by royalities/admin/stock/kilo returns. Some use the royalty system while others make their cash by admin fees and a rebate by the coffee supplier per kilo purchased, on top of that is the markup in the everday products that the franchiser provides to the franchisee users.Lastly, the van developer is entitled to a fair return for his work so add some kind of percentage to the 90 gs as fair recompense.
Agree with you and thundergog here and believe its one of the main reasons people tend to shy from franchises at times, as well as the initial startup cost. The franchises will draw you up a territory irrespective of other vans operating in the area and happily plod you in there proclaiming that this is your territory and not to wonder from it. Some help you setup your initial run while others give you a few weeks training and then plop you out in the cold to establish and maintain your own run.The thing I really disgree with however is paying fees to the developer for purchasing a "territory"....what territory?
Again I agree, I welcome anyone to disagree or correct me or just provide a differnt perspective on things so those considering making a forray into the arena have all the information available to them. At the moment on the web their is very few sources for open, frank and independent discussion on the matter with most information people currently obtain about the industry are from the franchise websites themselfs.I am not "standing up" for franchise van conglomerates and dont have anything to do with them, but I think the readers here need to have a balance in comments they read.
Hi there, only just joined but have found this post on google. My wife an I have 3 mobile espresso vans in Auckland,NZ. It has really taken off here with at last count over 50 vans in auckland. We did it ourselves, our first van an old Hiace with a 2 group rancilio gas heated, invertor power setup. Cost $20,000.00. Now use 3 groups for better steam pressure retention. Use the mighty Ford Transit as its wider.We have had a few franchises open up here but I struggle to see how the operators made money. They work one day a week for the boss.
HI bantam and welcome :)
Iv heard the gas machines have taken a real hold in NZ, not to many operate with gas in Australia strangely enough except a few carts I know of. Do you have any problems with recovery/operating costs or does it all work smoothly?
I think one of the biggest problems is availability here in Aus, when i was starting up I looked into a gas 2 group rang about 10 sellers and only one could offer one, a Promac, that had to be specially imported from Italy and several month wait as made on order. Suffice to say that turned me of it and got a San Marino 2 group instead but in some ways I regret not buying a 10/15amp machine.
Curious to which franchises have made into across the tasman? You have Cafe2u expanding into UK now and they seem to be taking off in a big way over there, like you said however the franchise fees would kill you. Know of one operator who runs a cafe2u van and has franchise fees, marked up stock and territory limitations, seems all to restrictive for my liking.
It becoming at all cutthroat on the runs in Auckland now with so many vans operating?
Do you need to have any council permits for these types of operations?
Like are there any restrictions on where a van is allowed to operate from?
In a word YES!Originally Posted by Sullo link=1159868364/15#19 date=1185705233
Ensure that you do your homework very well before embarking on this type of venture. The city of yarra in Melbourne, for example puts a blanket NO on any requests....
Gotta lurve the concept of local Councils and their "MyLaws" - aka bylaws....Laws that some person thought up in their ratepayer provided car on the way to work ::) ;)
Gotta love the local councils they have a finger in every pie and do almost nothing for it. Although they do "some" good but the fingers in all pies thing gets me when they do bugger all, just anyone getting renovations permits and council approvals, they LOVE councils!
This would be something I would seriously consider if I had the time to seriously consider it and the capital to start. Having worked at building sites youd get used to a certain "brand" of coffee van and youd climb down 4 levels of scaffolding jump over everytime to get there for the good stuff, the bad ones depended on where you were on site depended on if it was worth getting there for just "brown stuff"
So Chris, I take it a call to your local council to get a copy of mylaws in writing bea good idea?
Yeppers Sullo- I cant recomment that enough...Some examples of stuff I experienced whilst in the cafe business:
City of Whitehorse
They have a star based ratings system for food outlets. We got 5 stars (tops) each year- except for the year the inspector found a 5cm length of silicone which had lifted near a sink ::)....So, time comes to sell, and all of a sudden there are "issues" preventing a sale:
1. In the section of our coolstore used to store ONLY unopened food, the shelves themselves were only particle board- which we inherited with the business. No problem until the sale.
2. A single bowl sink used only to rinse leaves etc as we had another sink to pre-wash before the diswasher. This was an issue as well- What if we washed dishes in that single bowl sink?
We discuss wind barriers to go outside our cafe with the relevant my-laws buffoon...The mylaw states "substantially clear". We had our barriers made to 1.2 metres or whatever they wanted with the bottom 40cm black with small branding- so we thought that we had jumped through the hoops...
When they arrive, we get slapped with a remove them immediately or we revoke your permit compliance order. It seemed that "substantially clear" was then, at the order of the inspector, defined to include a 15cm clear strip at the bottom. On paper anywhere at that stage? Nope... The result? A further 2k out of pocket to have the barriers modified. >:(
City of Yarra
I live near a town hall and see perhaps 100 ratepayer funded cars filling our street and local carpark. I assume that almost every employee who works there must get a car these days. A friend who rents near me wanted a parking permit to park outside his house. Youd think that a license, passport and pile of bills with his name and that address would be enough? Nope- Copy of the lease in his name is required or no cigar. As for his housemate, I guess she has no hope whatsoever because her name isnt on anything...
So my opinion is that they do very little other than leech as much as they can...
Local councils serve as nurseries for budding politicians before they move on to state parliaments.
As one premier once--correctly, in my view--- remarked: all city councils are good for is collecting the garbage.
And even that is done by specialist contractors.
They have become out of control bureaucracies taking on roles beyond traditional functions. We now have resident council artists, youth officers, community development officers, social welfare.... all courtesy of our rates.
All I want is for the council to arrange the garbage collection and keep the roads in good order. If they stuck to that charter my rates would probably be 1/3rd the amount.
And, to bring this back in topic, there would be a few more coffee carts roaming the streets. ;D
The 3 Rs:
Rates, Roads and Rubbish.
That should be it.
Your brevity sums it up nicely TG. Well done.
I can see it now, coffee vans roaming the streets ala Mr Whippy-style. Now theres a business venture. *Not sure what tune would be playing. Blurs Coffee & TV???. *Originally Posted by robusto link=1159868364/15#23 date=1185711511
Coffee Express? Cafe Express? Go Go Cafe? Mmmm. Give Mr Whippy a run for his money.
What....not Mr Espresso or Mr Crema (Im sure the names are already taken!).
I was wandering the bay of evil earlier, shoudlnt been concentrating on something I was bidding on, saw a coffee cart thingy dodat. Asked bro in law b4 he went to work if I could stick it in his garage and have all the coffee making roasting stuff on that in one area, he said after we make the pergola couldnt we put it there??
This yes steve go ahead thing must run in the family, if only hed let me plumb a machine in , in the kitchen......
big bad machine I will have you one day.....
thanks for posting this thread brighter its a good one.
Frustrated Caffieneless one
in the same vein as the tourism advert australia where the bloody hell are ya...Originally Posted by robusto link=1159868364/15#27 date=1185712899
Bloody Good Coffee
Whatchas think? ;D
New Zealands not to bad, but in Auckland theres five local councils to deal with. Some are good, some are a pain.
We are called Coffee A Gogo. Some days its more like "mess a gogo". The wind and rain are a real pain some days. Trouble is the cold wet days are the busiest.
See a Rancilio agent if you want a gas machine. Quite neat how they work with the flame self adjusting. I leave the gas going the whole time when on my run. It will be a cheap cremation if I do have a big crash!
In regards to fees, one operator charges $32000 fee, which gets you use ( not ownership) of a new suzuki van setup. Then charges $450 a week fee + your coffee supplies cost!
Ive set up vans for $20000. Dont spend to much on the van. A $1000 van makes the same tasting coffee as a new Merecedes Vito. People spend to much setting up, and cant recover the cost.
My espresso engineer modifies the Rancilio quite well. Has added a small boiler along the main boiler to preheat smaller amounts of water entering the main boiler. Steam recovery will always be a problem as the heat is on the outside of the boiler, not inside like an element.
Have you seen the new Mega truck coffeee vans .Cute.
Time for me to chime in here. Its a bit of a rant, but makes for good reading.
I have personally built several coffee vans, I have had first hand experience in the industry.
I have been involved since it began in Sydney, about 7 or 8 years ago, when my friend converted an Icecream van to serve coffee. It was terrible to work in, noisy, uncomfortable and really hot in summer. Back then the customers didnt care what the van looked like, as long as it was clean inside, and you turned up on time to deliver fresh quality coffee, without them needing to leave the office.
The Coffee Van industry started to emerge, we built a new a van you work from the inside. A quality fit out with running hot water and twin sinks for cleaning, as we had in the converted ice cream van and the business grew to a third van.
A northern beaches operater concieved a Van that you stood outside to work. They were cheap to produce and re sell as a franchise, and small enough to operate from home. They didnt meet the basic rules of hygeiene, no sinks and food handled with no reagard to any health laws.
This was the turning point in the industry as I see it. This van was too easy to re produce, and every one did. There are several coffee van franchises , represented in nearly every state spawned (copied without permission) form this ill concieved abortion of a van. In Sydney, the sheetmetal company fitting out these vans wasnt even loyal to the original operator or inventer, making them to order for any one that enquired.
In Sydney this industry is at saturation levels, there are NO MORE exclusive territories, or quality stops. Once when canvassing for new stops we were politely greeted, and the new customers enthusiastic. Now we get "Oh not another !@#$% Coffee Van". This is due to the proliferation of the vans, but also due to cowboy operators. Like any Business, to get a return you need to invest and Im talking about time. Most of the better stops have developed over years, and the customers treat you like friends. We interact with them on a personal level and know them by name. Many of our stops have come from impatient cowboy operators, who have abandoned, or annoyed themselves out of potential sales due to impatience. This very attitude has also prevented us from getting stops. Like the old saying, once bitten. I know of one operator that washes their utensils in a public toilet at the end of the day. The Sydney councils seem incapable of policing this and the industry is suffering as a whole
I encourage individuals who are keen to have a go to do thier research thoroughly, and for the un initiated, here are some tips.
Each person at a stop represents a $5.00 spend if you average out the sales.
How many $5.00 sales will it take to make a living and repay your investment on a weekly basis ?
What is the average number of employees per business where you plan to operate ?
Based on the answer to the previous questions, how many times will you need to stop to make required number of $5.00 sales ?
Are there enough businesses in the area to call on ?
Are there enough coffee van (7:30 to 13:00) trading hours in the day to make required number of stops ?
Remember every one wants you to call between 10:00 and 11:00, you cant be in two places at once.
Cleanliness costs nothing, and should ba a non negotiable standard
Only serve from private property by invitation, to avoid the wrath of your local council
Liability insurance is a must
Be punctual. If you stop 20 times, are late to each stop and miss 2 $5.00 sales per stop, you just lost $200 in takings. Do that for a week, and there goes $1000.00
It is your office for 6 hours a day, you need to be reasonably comfortable or it will become tiring
If working a smaller outside van, is there adequate shelter for inclement weather ?
Reliability is important, if you break down you arent earning.
The genset will cost the most money (except vehicle) and no, a tradesmans genset wont do the job. plan on spending from $7,000 up to $15,000 for diesel reliability
If the council is interested, seek the requirements for health reglations, ensure you comply and seek certification.
I am happy to assist any one entering this industry, or any one already in it for that matter.
Sounds like sage and generous advice to me Wayne. ;)
bantam: I think spending $1k on a van is a HUGE risk and likely to end in tears, unless of course, you dont intend actually taking the van for a drive... ;D ;D
Nice Van BS, I checked out your website and some things did not show up like your menu. Can I make one suggestion though. If putting picture on the web. (Like you map) make convert the pictures into JPG or GIF files rather than BMP files. BMP files are generally a lot larger and take longer to show up on the screen, a real pain for people with dialup.
Another than that cool setup.
Good luck with it all.
Thanks goodies, can see what you mean about the load up time on the site.
Coffee mogul your 2 vans arnt the "groove aroma" vans are they? They match the fitout that you described. As for the "exlusive territories" HA that are already filled with franchises wait for them to get filled even more by new franchises popping up in WA and VIC who are offering cheaper setups (alas still over priced). Victoria hasnt been overwhelmed like QLD and NSW yet but give it a year or two, cafe2u has even got radio adds plugging them now down here.
As to our van we have sold the business recently and are looking towards the future. Our experiences with it have been mixed. The best times: Doing events with fimilar faces that appreciate your coffee and your presence. The worst: Canvassing new businesses that arnt interested and some genny problems. With overall the good outweighing the bad Im glad I designed, built and operated the business from scratch.
Bit of a bump but its amazing the amount of people that have called me from just finding my number off the image at the top. Just shows how little information there is out there on deciding on whether to go indy or franchise and the price differences involved. If anyone has any questions regarding the process or requirements involved happy to continue answering any calls 0410292962 or just pm me.
Would be truely intersting to have a tally of how many vans are out there now...