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Ed's AV Handbook
Batting practice for the AV Professional
and primer for the novice

Chapter 10  Page 7

AV Business & Marketing

9 steps to place / location          

This 9 step process selects a brick-n-mortar location but may exceed your needs.  If you're looking for a quick less-qualified answer, then
skip to "Taking it to the street" that follows Step 9.   If you commence with Step 1, then confirm these three definitions for clarity.
     1. Trade Area - The total geographical area in which your customers reside.
     2. Trading Areas - Locations within the trade area where the action of trading takes place.
     3. Location - The address you select in the trade area.

The "9 steps" define trade area boundaries, locates its trading areas, compiles trade area demographics, and selects a brick-n-mortar home. 

Step 1   Trade area map
a. Obtain a map of the trade area that includes
streets, highways, freeways, geographical features, plus census tracts.
b. Access a U.S. census track map of the trade area: U.S. Census Tract Maps.
c. Alternative U.S. Census Tract DATA source: Melissa.com > Use Lookups.

 Step 2   Trade area barriers
Highlight natural and man-made barriers within the trade area that impede travel to trading areas. 
The barriers include
mountains, rivers, highways, freeways, railroad tracks, etc.  A barrier placed between a customer and a retail location impedes travel.  People avoid barriers.  They tend to drive to locations on their side of a barrier even if a convenient bridge or underpass is present.

Step 3   Local routes
Seek and highlight popular local routes within the trade area to shopping malls, big-box retailers,
churches, schools, parks, and other popular destinations.

Step 4   Promising location
Select a potential location on a route between targeted customers and the competition.

Step 5   Circular mapping
Return to your trade area map.  Draw a series of circles with the
potential location at the center; circles
with radii of 1 mile, 2 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles, 20 miles.

Step 6   Demographic spreadsheet
Go to the U.S. Census website at
Alternative census data source: Melissa.com > Use Lookups
Search for the census tract data of your trade area.
Enter the census tract data into a spreadsheet as follows.
     1. Title the 1st column as Tract #. 
         Enter the census tract numbers in the first column.

     2. Add the following demographic headings in succeeding columns:

           - Population
           - # of Households 

           - Medium Income

           - Medium Age

           - Male

           - Female

     3. Insert the census tract data into each applicable demographic column.

Step 7   The guesstimate
Add a new column with % as its heading
Return to the census tracts mapped within the circles.

Given trade area barriers, your local route knowledge, competitors, and distance from the proposed location,
Guesstimate the % of households inclined to travel from each census tract toward the proposed location.
For example, a census track within a mile, may equal 100%.  While a census track at 20 miles may equal 5%.  
Insert your best guess into the '%' column for each census tract.

Step 8   Adjusted demographics

Insert another column to the right of each of the following columns:
     - Population.
     - # of Households
     - Income Group
     - Age Group
     - Male
     - Female

Title the new columns as:
     - Adjusted Population. 
     - Adjusted # of Households
     - Adjusted Income Group
     - Adjusted Age Group
     - Adjusted male
     - Adjusted female

Multiply each of the demographic columns by the "%" column results of step 7.  
Enter the result into each relevant 'Adjusted' column.

Review the adjusted numbers

          The totals of each 'adjusted' column are your tailored-made demographics.  Do the adjusted numbers still support your confidence in the trade area?  If yes, continue.

Step 9  We're almost home. 
          You have drawn your trade boundaries.  You have identified your trading areas, barriers, and local routes. 
Plus, you have a tailor-made demographic sketch. 
This final step seeks to reaffirm your data with an on-the-street assessment. 

Taking it to the street
          Take drives from different points within the trade area to the proposed location.  Solicit opinions from existing retailers regarding the site, the trade area, and alternative locations. 
If your inquiries still support your trade area data, then secure it

Head them off at the pass
          The best locations positioned on popular routes between customer prospects and competitors cost more.  Strategically they "head them off at the pass". 
alternatives can offset a higher-cost location advantage with increased promotional expenditures.  However, the increased promotional cost is often higher than the difference between a lower cost and a better location.  If your budget allows, select better.  If needed, entertain the idea of reallocating budgeted promotional funds to rent. 
           Secure the location with a lease or purchase.  Enlist the guidance of a seasoned Realtor who is very familiar with the local travel paths and trading areas.  As a rule, they are the gray-haired agents at a rear desk in a real estate office.  Present the agent with a list of qualifying needs and wants.
          If purchasing is an option, consider its long-term commitment.  It's easier to move from a lease.  On the plus side, a purchase transforms an expense into an asset.
          Also, hire a lawyer to review the lease or purchase documents before you sign.  Both are negotiable documents.  Consider editing or writing an alternative to eliminate items you cannot afford and add items you must have. 
          Regarding a lease, seek five-year terms with an option to renew.  In all cases, be reasonable.  It is an agreement that you, the landlord or seller, will have to live with for many years.

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Ed's AV Handbook   
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288 Revised 2022

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