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Things to Consider Before Setting Up Push Cart Business in Shopping Complex

Updated on July 16, 2009

Setting up a small Push Cart business in Shopping Complexes might look like the easiest thing to do but in fact it is a challenging task and if not handled properly it will be a total disaster and a big waste of time. Don’t take it easy as it involves hard earned money.

Below are the few points that need to be studied properly before venturing into setting up your own push cart business.

Shopping Complex Management

First and foremost you will have to liaise with shopping complex management. Keep in mind that most shopping complexes will want to rent out their area as soon as possible in order to increase their cash flow. Be extra cautious on the terms & conditions and make sure you read every single point that has been stated. If the management has agreed on some of the terms that have been raised by you, make sure they get the points stated inside the agreement. Try to have the location map of your cart inside the agreement as well as some irresponsible management will simply shift your cart anywhere and whenever they like. Imagine having to shift your push cart 5 times within a year! It involves not only pushing your cart from 1 location to another, you will also have to take note that you will need to take out all the fixtures, displays and products and setting it all up again in another cart. And the worst part of all is that you face potential losses from that long list of customers’ base that you had slowly and painfully built over the months/years because they can’t find your new location!


Try to avoid the same kind of products that everyone else is selling; competing with others is hectic and will also attract unwanted problems like complains from other business owners that are selling the same products. Keep in mind that most of the shopping complexes will give priority to business owners that rent shop lot instead of push cart which mean the management might terminate your rental if your products are the same with the shop lots. It is advisable to have your own brand for your products, however if you are unable to do so initially, try to do it after your push cart is in operation for some time. There was once a shop lot business owner noticed that a particular push cart’s products are selling well, he approached the management and forced the push cart owner to change the products, while he starts selling the products in his shop.

Rental & Location

The management will show you a map on possible locations that you can place your push cart. Different location or different floor will have different rental rate. For example, area that is near to the cinema will cost higher due to the heavier traffic in that area. Shoppers will usually hang around the cinema area while waiting for the show to start. After you have a list of rental rate and locations, now it is time for you to walk around the shopping complex to study the traffic flow. Usually we will do it from Monday to Sunday as this can give us a better idea of the traffics on different day. Take extra note of lunch time if the shopping complex is surrounded by offices. After you have a better understanding on the traffic flow then you can start to choose your desired location.

Pick the best location possible which might mean a higher rental rate. Some area might have a much lower rental rate but your traffic might be limited as well. Shopping complexes do have areas which have very low traffic and this mean that very little shoppers will pass by your booth! Avoid this kind of area even though the rental is much lower. You might be able to earn back the rental and even cost of the sales but what is the point if it doesn’t give you the extra money. Why is location so important? We have experienced before that even within the same floor of a shopping complex, and only 50 meters distance from each other, the sales between the 2 pushcarts can be up to 600% different!


Push Cart business is a bit different from brick and mortar shop lot business in shopping complexes. Shop lot usually will have fixed price on the merchandise but for push cart, customers will bargain for prices. As so it will be harder to determine the price sold for a particular product. Some of the workers might cheat on the product sold. For example, a pair of earrings list price $19.90 after bargain sold at $15.00, the worker might says that the product sold at $13.00 or even worse if the customer doesn’t bargain and paid $19.90 for it. In order to have better management over this issue, use cash register for your push cart. We have noticed that some push cart owners even used CCTV in their carts in order to monitor the workers.

Exit Plan

Before you start the business, try to sketch out exit plan as well. Some people might say that this is so discouraging that before you start the business you are thinking of quitting it already. However this is important in order to minimize monetary losses and also to avoid possible legal cases. Make sure you really understand the agreement before you sign it. In your exit plan, states down every possible ways to settle the rental and worker issues. Apart from that, also state down the ways that you can get rid of the extra stocks as well. 

Other Helpful Tips

If the management allows you, try placing a big mirror or a few mirrors around your push cart. Mirrors will help you slow down the human traffic as people tends to look at the mirror whenever they pass by. If you have been into any retail business before you will know that usually customers come at the same period of time even though they don’t know each other. Your cart can be surrounded by customers this minute and none for the next minute as people tend to unconsciously follow others. Human being is a curious animal.  


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