New Business Basics: How To Setup A Kiosk Based Business In Your Local Mall

Learn how to setup a kiosk based business at your local mall and what's involved.

You see kiosks every time you are at the mall. Cell phones, jewelry, nick-knacks, even real estate is sold at mall kiosks. But where do these kiosks come from? How can someone open their own business in a mall kiosk and what is involved? In this article we'll answer those questions as we explain how to setup a kiosk-based business at the local mall.

Where do the kiosks come from?

Everyone from sole proprietors to major corporations own kiosks. Most kiosks are franchised through a parent company. Someone will buy franchise rights from a company then open a kiosk with that store's name and identity. Anyone that meets a company's criteria can buy these franchise rights.

Major corporations and franchise owners don't compose all kiosk owners. In fact, anyone with enough money to pay the rent and the ability to negotiate a lease with the mall management can own a kiosk-based business. If you have the business idea and determination, you can own a kiosk at the mall.

Should I franchise a kiosk or start my own?

The real question is what type of business would you like to do and how much time and money do you have to invest in that dream? A kiosk franchise is like any other franchise and comes with the full backing and support of the franchisor. With your franchise fee you will receive product, advertising materials, and a corporate identity to sell the product or services. Some Franchisors will also help negotiate a lease with the mall. The downside is that all this costs money, sometimes several hundred thousand dollars. But the franchised kiosk will have most of the work already done for you. The business concept has already been proven and you can fall back on the franchisor for help. Most franchises have a kiosk designed, built, and ready to setup at any mall.

If you plan to tackle a mall kiosk yourself, be prepared to put in long hours. Since a kiosk is nothing more than a location for your business, the task of setting up the business is still up to you. A good place to research starting a business in your area is the local Business Development Center.

After a business has been setup you still need the physical kiosk. Some malls will lease a generic kiosk that you can use for your business, however, these kiosks are typically small and limited in use. Another option is to have the kiosk designed and built yourself. This is preferred as the kiosk can be build for your business needs. Make sure to discuss the kiosk options with the mall management. Some malls are flexible on the type of kiosks they allow while others require all kiosks to follow a strict design.



Research the location

The location of your business can be a huge factor in its success or failure. Different malls in the same city will charge different rates and the type of stores and customers they draw will vary. Your target customers should frequent the mall where your kiosk will go.

Go to the mall and talk to current kiosk owners. Most will be happy to answer questions you have and share the details of their lease. You will find that some areas of the mall are more expensive than others but not always better. Get an idea of how busy kiosks in different areas of the mall are. Also ask about extra fees charged by the mall. The fees will vary by mall but most charge taxes, common area maintenance, and marketing. After the monthly rent and extra fees, some kiosk locations can cost several thousand dollars per month.

Negotiate a lease

It is time to meet the mall management and discuss possible locations and lease terms. At this point your business should be ready to open. Research has been done on the type of business to open and local regulations. You should have an idea of where in the mall the kiosk will go and how much it will cost.

Be prepared; the mall management doesn't have to lease you any space. If the management doesn't like your business idea or there is too much competition in the mall, chances of opening a kiosk there are slim.

The initial lease proposal from the mall is almost always over priced. These numbers are not set in stone and you should not pay more than other tenants do. Let the management know what you are prepared to pay per month. Countless mall businesses go bankrupt each year because their rent payments are too high. Stand your ground and a decent lease can be negotiated.

Open for business

When you negotiate a lease with the mall management, an opening date for your kiosk will be set. Most malls give you a thirty day window before the opening. This gives you time to setup the kiosk, install phone and fax lines, and get ready for the opening. This also gives you time to stock product, do some pre-open advertising, and take care of any other business needs.

With some research, hard work, and the right idea, anyone can operate a mall-based kiosk. It's up to you to put in the effort to fulfill those dreams and succeed.

© High Speed Ventures 2011