New Venture

Q: I have been a paralegal for 24 years, and I am at the point of burnout. I would like to venture into a kiosk business, but I’m not quite sure how to get started or what approximate startup costs would be. Can you point me in the right direction and provide me with some information that would assist me?
– Juanita WhiteVia the Internet

A: It’s great that you want to venture out into a new area in your life. I would recommend that you first speak with other kiosk owners and/or operators about the pros and cons of the business. You will probably find that it’s a bit different from owning a storefront or home-based business; you have to attract mall clientele, deal with unpredictable customer traffic patterns, and compete for customers with different types of businesses. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to speak with mall management about cart and kiosk rules and regulations, or contact the city or county if your kiosk will be in a public space. You’ll want to discuss permits, rental fees, locations, and product approval and displays.

As with any new business, you should think about startup costs. Creating a business plan will help you get started. To research owning a kiosk, contact All A Cart Manufacturing Inc. (www.allacart.com), and read Business Start-Up Kit by Steven D. Strauss (Dearborn Trade; $19.95) and What No One Ever Tells You About Starting Your Own Business: Real Life Start-Up Advice from 101 Successful Entrepreneurs by Jan Norman (Dearborn Trade; $18.95).

SHOPSMART
Consumer Alert
Fee For All
Avoid airline surcharges before you take off
By Stephanie Young
You’ve heard the expression “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Well, that doesn’t fare well when it comes to your money. Hidden charges can take a toll on your wallet. While hotels, car rentals, and vacation getaways are notorious for having surcharges, travelers should be particularly aware of hidden airline fees.

You are probably already familiar with the fact that most major airlines charge for last minute flight changes. However, most have also implemented fees for in-flight meals and movies, and international taxes.

You can avoid unforeseen fees by keeping these travel tips in mind when buying your next plane ticket:

Change of plans. If you have a sudden change of plans, cancel your reservation as soon as possible. Penalties are less the earlier you cancel. Most major airlines charge up to $100 to change your itinerary before you take flight.

Paper vs. electronic tickets. Paper tickets are often an additional cost. Expect to pay $20 to $50 more when there is an eligible electronic ticket itinerary. Some airlines have discontinued the use of paper tickets altogether. However, it is necessary to use a paper ticket for international travel. (Foreign countries often require evidence of return travel.) For this reason, Continental offers paper tickets only for international flights.

Ticketing fees. Plan on buying your ticket according to which method has the least fees. For instance, Continental charges $5 for booking a ticket via a telephone reservation center and $10 via

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