How to Start a Juice Shop: Steps & Insurance Requirements

There are over 4,000 active juice and smooth bars in the US. Juice bars are an attractive business idea that serves fresh produce to your customers. This article will cover the steps you must know when learning how to start your own juice bar. These steps include deciding your business structure, picking fresh ingredients, acquiring adequate juice bar insurance, and more. Read this guide for a more comprehensive discussion.

How Much to Start a Juice Bar

Before buying equipment and spending money, you should learn how much it costs to open a juice bar. Your business may flounder if you don’t plan for your eventual expenses.

Juice Bar Expense Estimated Cost
Business Registration $100-$1,000
Equipment $3,000-$12,000
Physical building rental $2,000-$12,000 
Insurance coverage $2,000-$4,000 
Employees wages $20,000-$40,000 
Create a website $100-$10,000


How to Start a Juice Shop

Now that you know the costs, it is time to learn how to start a juice shop. Below are a few steps you will need to take to set yourself up for success.


Decide Your Business Structure

You must be legally recognized in your state as soon as you start serving  in your business name instead of your real name. Some business structures to consider applying for include:

  • Sole Proprietorship: This is usually the least expensive option for registration. As a sole proprietor, you are the sole owner of the business. You are not taxed as a corporate entity but are personally responsible for business debts.

  • Corporation: A corporation is owned by a collection of shareholders. Each shareholder has a stake in the business and elects a board of directors that regulates the actions of the business. Corporations can issue stock to help them raise capital. Shareholders have liability protection from decisions the business makes.

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): This business structure combines the liability protection of a corporation with the pass-through taxation of a sole proprietorship. However, starting one is typically much more expensive than a sole proprietorship. Still, LLCs are a prevalent business structure in the US. 

Pick Flavors

Now is the time to decide what flavors to offer at your juice bar. According to a survey, the most popular juice flavors in the US are:

  • Apple

  • Orange

  • Strawberry

  • Grapes

  • Pineapple

  • Mango

  • Cranberry

  • Cherry

  • Lemon

  • Peach

  • Watermelon

  • Raspberry

  • Blackberry

  • Citrus

  • Tropical

  • Lime

  • Blueberry

Decide Other Offerings

While serving juices should be your business’s primary focus, you should also consider offering other products.

  • Bowls: Many customers like to pair their smoothies with a meal. You can offer healthy mixed bowls, including hemp seeds, chocolate, honey, and whole fruit.

  • Sandwiches: You can offer light sandwiches that can replenish the energy levels of your customers after a workout or on their lunch break from work.

  • Shots: A shot is a concentrated amount of raw juice that delivers a high volume of nutrients. For example, a ginger shot is made from a pressed ginger root blended with fruit juice. The antioxidants it contains can help with digestion and improve someone’s immune system.

Find a Location

Your business will need to be set up in a place that gets a steady stream of customers. You will also want ready access to local ingredients and the customers you are catering to. Some location suggestions include:

  • Near gyms: Gyms are full of health-conscious customers who will want to supplement their workouts with juices that replace vital nutrients.

  • Places with high-foot traffic: Your business has a better chance of succeeding if it can capture more attention. You will want to set up your business in a place that organically has large crowds that will pass your storefront and be tempted to enter. Examples are playgrounds and amusement centers.

  • Malls: Malls contain customers who are already receptive to making purchasing decisions. A customer at a mall will likely work up a heavy thirst shopping and stop into your shop to quench it.

Get Permits

You must apply for and receive different permits to serve your juices to customers.

  • Vendor license: Many states require registering with the state before making retail sales. A vendor license is not too expensive, typically costing around $25.

  • Health permit: To serve food and drinks to customers, you must apply for a health permit. This requires passing an inspection that certifies you have a clean kitchen and are storing food properly.

  • Alcohol license: If you decide to sell alcoholic drinks at your juice bar, you will need a special alcohol license. This license can be difficult to acquire and can take up to 6 months to process.

  • Food handler permit: This permit is required to show that you and your employees have proper training in safe food handling practices.

Get Juicing Equipment

Your juice bar will require specialized equipment to turn fresh fruits and vegetables into tasty juices. Below are some pieces of equipment you should consider purchasing.

Equipment Description Estimated Cost
Blender Turns whole fruits and vegetables into liquid chunks. Better for making smoothies than juices. $100-$1,000
Centrifugal Juicer Uses a cutting disk to shred your ingredients until the juice is expelled and the solid ingredients are separated $50-$500
Cold Juice Press Extracts nutrients out of fruits and vegetables without generating heat $50-$3,000
Refrigerator/Freezer Stores juices and keeps ingredients fresh $1,000-$5,000
Food processor A more precise instrument that lets you mince fruits, nuts, and vegetables $50-$800


Get an EIN

The IRS issues an employer identification number and uses it to identify you when you file taxes. It is required for businesses that hire employees and requires you to have already registered your business. Many banks require this number before you can open a business bank account. Your EIN will therefore be essential before you can take out loans for your business and build business credit. The steps to get an EIN include:

  • Apply: You can apply for an EIN on the IRS website or by phone or fax.

  • Provide information: You must provide your business name, address, and your social security number to identify yourself.

  • Follow the rules: You can only apply for one EIN per person per day. You must complete the online application without interruption for 15 minutes. If your application is inactive for that long, you must start again.

  • Get your EIN: After you submit your application, you will have access to your nine-digit EIN. Be sure to save a copy of your application in your business records.

Hire Employees

You must hire employees to run a successful juice bar. Employees you need include:

  • Bookkeepers: A bookkeeper keeps track of your financial and business expenses. They manage employee payroll and use your business account to pay suppliers and make payments to satisfy financial obligations.

  • Cashiers: Responsible for using point-of-sale systems, ringing transactions, and giving cash back to customers for change.

  • Juice makers: These employees must have experience using your juicer equipment and creating made-to-order drinks from your menu. They must be adept at handling your ingredients and following safe food preparation procedures.

How to Start a Smoothie Bar

This next section will describe how to start a smoothie bar and the differences you must consider.


Macronutrients

Running a smoothie bar requires a deep understanding of macro-nutrients. The difference between smoothies and juices is that smoothies have more fiber and contain essential nutrients for their customers. For this reason, smoothies are generally considered healthier than juices. Smoothies have a similar amount of calories as juices. 

The increased fiber in smoothies makes them easier to digest than juices. A balanced smoothie will contain a protein source. This can sometimes be a protein powder, but protein can also come from flax seeds, nut butter, and milk. A smoothie should also contain healthy fat from sources like avocado, coconut oil, or almond butter. Healthy fats are responsible for lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol.


Come Up With a Name

Defining an iconic brand starts with a successful name. A few tips for choosing a name include:

  • Keep it simple: Your name must be simple and easy to understand. It also helps if it is easy to spell so people can look you up. 

  • Paint a picture: Your name should give the customer a picture of the benefit your business provides. For a smoothie bar, you should use a name like “Quick-time Smoothies” or “Smoothie Health” to describe your customer appeal.

  • Anticipate expansion: Some names might sound good initially but not as good as your business expands. For example, suppose your business includes your street name. In that case, it might not have the same ring if you expand to another location further away.


Sourcing Fresh Ingredients

Fresh ingredients are the most important thing in your smoothie bar to get right. The majority of the ingredients you serve to customers must be fresh. Some tips to keep your ingredients fresh include:

  • Airtight containers: When fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to air, they can quickly dry out and go bad. When the enzymes in fruits and vegetables are exposed to oxygen, they quickly age and turn brown.

  • Source locally: Find local farmers and ingredient providers that can deliver to you when their product is fresh. This ensures you get a quality product you can trust every time.

  • Remove dirt: To keep your ingredients fresh, you will want to remove any dirt or blemishes. You can do this by washing your smoothie ingredients to remove the dirt. This will have the added benefit of eliminating possible fungi and bacteria growth also.

Find Suppliers

Fresh ingredients for your smoothie bar can be found from various sources, which include:

  • Local farmers: Local farmers can provide you with a fresh source of ingredients. You will need to replace your fruits and vegetables constantly. Broccoli only lasts about 3-5 days before it goes bad. The same holds for many fruits and vegetables, which only last one week to a few weeks at most.

  • Markets: You can get the freshest ingredients if you arrive early in the morning. Be aware that each ingredient will have a peak season. For example, many fruits like cherries and watermelon are more available during the summer.


Franchising

A possible strategy to consider for your business is to run a franchise. This allows you to access their built-in customer base and benefit from their previous marketing strategies. 

An independent franchise is an excellent strategy for a small business owner because of these built-in benefits. Not enough small businesses take advantage of franchising. The US Chamber of Commerce estimates over 33 million small businesses operate in the US. Small businesses account for over 99% of businesses. However, less than 300 businesses every year franchise their businesses.

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How to Start a Juice Bar Truck

Do you want to avoid being tied down to one place paying rent every month? Then you will want to learn how to start a juice bar truck. Below are some steps you will want to take to make your juice bar truck successful.


Take Advantage of Mobility

With a juice bar truck, you can now travel to your customers instead of waiting for them to come to you. This is a massive benefit. You can now travel to heavily populated places to set up shop. You can travel to events where there are lots of people. You can also use your mobility to test out different pricing strategies and new menu items.

Compared to a physical juice bar, you will have lower operating costs and not have to invest as much upfront. If you have a physical juice bar, you can also have a juice bar truck to help you expand your business and reach new clients. 


Develop a Pricing Strategy

How you price your juices and other products will influence your brand perception. Below are a few tips to increase brand perception through your pricing strategy.

  • Raise prices when necessary: Don’t be afraid to raise your prices if needed. Business owners often make the mistake that they need to make their prices as cheap as possible. This often backfires. Customers associate the cost of something with how valuable it is to them. A higher price will make your product seem more novel or more healthy. Juices and smoothies already have a healthy perception around them. A cheap smoothie may give the impression that your products aren’t high-quality.

  • Test your market: Not every customer market is motivated by the same things. It is essential to test prices with customers to see how they react. For example, in a market motivated by quality, the amount you charge is less important. This means your customers will be open to higher prices if the quality is there.

  • Pay attention to online reviews: While you sometimes get direct customer feedback, customers often wait until they leave to review your mobile juice bar online. Sites like Google, Angi, or Yelp will allow customers to give feedback on your business and its pricing strategy.

Open a Business Account

You can open several types of business bank accounts, each with unique benefits.

Account Benefits
Business Checking Allows you to make deposits and withdrawals. You use this account for making bill payments, wire transfers, and order change for your cash registers.
Business Savings You use this account to invest money from your business to grow it with interest. It is harder to withdraw money from a savings account once it is there.
Money market A money market account is like a savings account but generally has higher interest rates. It will require a minimum balance to be maintained, and the interest rate is subject to fluctuation.
Merchant account A merchant account is required to process your customers’ debit and credit transactions.


Take Note of the Disadvantages of a Juice Bar Truck

While the advantages of using a juice bar truck are numerous, there are also some disadvantages of using one that you must plan for. These include:

  • Maintenance: Your juice bar truck will need constant maintenance to ensure it is functioning properly. If your refrigeration and cooling systems are not in top shape, your products can easily overheat.

  • Reliant on the weather: Unlike a business building, a juice bar truck does not give customers a place to shelter from the weather. The weather conditions like rain or snow may prevent customers from approaching you. Also, hot weather can draw in business but may cause your truck to overheat. The hotter it gets, the more your equipment will strain to keep things cool.

Decide on a Marketing Strategy

You will also want to consider investing in other marketing strategies. You could hire influencers on Tiktok, Instagram, or Facebook to promote your products. These influencers would leverage their trust in their organic audience to convert them into potential customers. The downside of using an influencer is that your brand might also take a reputation hit if they get into a scandal.

Another strategy to consider is an email campaign. Email campaigns can get your brand instant attention from targeted customer base segments. An email campaign offers one of the highest returns on investment of a marketing strategy. It is estimated in retail and consumer goods businesses; email has a return on investment of $30-45 per $1 invested. You can create personalized messages with an email campaign to meet customer needs. A survey showed that 91% of customers reported they would be more likely to do business with someone who provides relevant information to them.



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Insurance Requirements for Boosting Income

Insurance coverage boosts your take-home income because you don’t have to worry about unexpected financial loss. The following policies are recommended to keep your juice bar safe from the risks of doing business.


General Liability Insurance for Juice Bars

General liability protects against third-party claims of personal injury, bodily injury, and property damage. If one of your juice bar employees accidentally damages customer property, this policy will be what covers you. We recommend choosing Thimble for general liability insurance. They have sold over 200,000 policies, and 75% of their customers are first-time buyers. You can purchase short-term general liability insurance that covers the month, day, and hour.


Professional Liability Insurance for Juice Bars

Professional liability insurance covers you from business mistakes that cause others losses. It pays for the costs to defend yourself in court and any legal judgments. Hiscox offers a tailored professional liability policy. The company focuses on specialized insurance policies with flexible payment options and discounts for bundling multiple policies. Hiscox has an A rating from AM Best.


Commercial Property Insurance for Juice Bars

Your commercial property insurance policy protects your juice bar from fires, theft, vandalism, and more. This policy helps you pay for the damage to repair damage to your building and assets on the premises. CoverWallet is our choice for commercial property insurance. They help you save time by allowing you to compare policies from multiple top insurance companies directly. CoverWallet has an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.


Commercial Auto Insurance for Juice Bars

A commercial auto insurance policy protects your business from vehicle accident liability costs. It also can protect against damage to vehicles used during business. For commercial auto insurance, you should choose Tivly. They match you with policies from over 200 insurance partners. With so much selection, you can find a policy that works for you.


Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Juice Bars

You need workers’ compensation insurance to comply with employee insurance requirements in most states. This policy pays medical treatments and lost income to injured or sick workers. For workers comp, we recommend The Hartford. They offer extra benefits like their “nurse-back-to-health” program that helps your employees during every recovery step. The Hartford has a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.


Business Owner’s Policy for Juice Bars

A business owner’s policy is a more comprehensive form of insurance. It combines the coverage of general liability and commercial property insurance. NEXT offers transparent pricing and competitive rates on business owners’ policies. They have expedited claims, online quotes, and a 4.7/5 from customer reviews.

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