You’ve worked as a volunteer for the fire department for several years. You know your way around some of the equipment used in putting up fires or during community events, like a fire-fighting trailer, pumps, and other accessories.
You own a successful marketing company and a huge car dealership. You are now looking to expand your business empire. You want to do something that resonates well with your experience as a volunteer firefighter and the community efforts of the department. The department also does charity work, like volunteering in soup kitchens, supporting children with special needs, or raising funds for the local hospital.
You’re thinking of opening your bottled water business. You’re imagining donating some of them to the department, for example, when there are events. You only have a vague idea about how to start the business. What are the main things that you need to know?
An Overview of the Bottled Water Industry
The bottled water industry is thriving and riding on a thriving $7 billion in revenue as of March 2019. Although the number of businesses has declined to just 680, the industry still employs more than 15,800 people and is sustaining a 1% annual growth rate for the past five years.
Getting It Done
The first thing that you need to know is that a large-scale bottled water business requires significant capital, which probably wouldn’t be a problem if you have resources to tap. Here are a few things that you should consider:
- The startup cost. The rough estimate is that you can quickly put in between $500,000 to $750,000 for a fundamental setup. You will need a plant-size space to run your operation, which will include equipment, like large storage tanks and water treatment machines. You’ll need a tool to process the bottles like sterilizers, filters, and conveyors.
- Permit. Since you are dealing with a beverage for human consumption, you need to get the necessary license from the Food and Drug Administration or FDA.
- Determine who your customers will be. You can opt for a model delivering to both residential and office areas. This means that you’ll need delivery trucks and workers to transport your product. You can tie-up with organizations, like the fire department, restaurants, or bars as an exclusive provider of their bottled water. Maintaining a steady and loyal stream of customers should be one of your main priorities.
- Your competition and value proposition. You will not only be competing against other bottled water companies but also against big bottling companies offering sugared-soda or energy drinks. Note that inconvenience or grocery stores, these items are almost always side-by-side or at least in the same cooler. Taste-wise, there isn’t much to offer to make yourself stand out. Be creative and see if you can do something with your label or your marketing tagline.
- Establish a brand. It’s great to have a clear vision of your brand. This might be where you can incorporate your experience working with the fire department. Your visual images must be stunning and memorable.
This can be a longer list. Be sure to include items like your price point, your marketing strategy, and your complete business plan. Continue to do your research before spending the big bucks. These pointers can help get you started.