The food truck business is booming. Every day when you go out for lunch, you see plenty of trucks parked on corners and customers like you lining up waiting their turn to be served.
That looks like an easy way to make quick cash, right? If you want to become your own boss but feel like owning and managing a restaurant is too overwhelming, you probably have thought of owning a food truck instead.
Indeed, this is a good idea that can bring you lots of money if you plan it right. But it is not as easy as it sounds. Starting and running a food truck business takes a lot of work, and the journey begins with searching and buying the perfect food truck. And since this is the foundation of your business, you cannot afford to take any chances. You have to do it right the first time; otherwise, your business will fall even before it starts.
In this article, you’ll discover a few factors you must consider when buying your food truck.
Table of Contents
Decide, Used Truck or Custom Built
First, before everything else, you have to decide what you want to buy, a used truck or a custom-made one. Custom-made food trucks can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $80,000 or slightly higher. If you find one for a lesser price, think twice before buying it! There are high chances that the truck requires too many repairs and might end up being too costly than expected.
That does not mean you cannot take advantage of a good bargain. Sometimes the seller only wants some quick cash, therefore, selling their truck at a much lower price than usual. In that case, you’ll need to find a reliable food truck repair and maintenance provider to help you identify a good deal.
On the other hand, a custom build is more expensive, but you will have everything you want the way you want it. Just make sure you can recover the cost within the first 12 months. You do not want to have too much debt on your new business.
Whatever you decide, make sure that the truck you choose is of high quality and can serve you for a considerable amount of time without problems. Also, check the equipment and ensure that everything you need is in place and in good condition.
A Truck or a Trailer?
Should you buy a truck or a trailer? Well, that will depend on your investment and specific situation.
Trucks are more mobile and spacious. They offer great flexibility and are ideal for curbside locations. Most trucks are usually 14 to 34 feet long. That provides enough room for you to cook and serve your meals from there. However, there are instances you might need to prepare your food from elsewhere, I.e., at home or a food commissary, depending on the length and the features of your truck.
Trailers, on the other hand, are more cost-effective in general. They require lower start-up costs and do not attract high insurance rates.
Typically, food trailers combine the features of both food trucks and food carts. Like food carts, you have to tow them to your desired location. They are also spacious, just like food trucks.
Food trailers allow you to keep cooking and serve a large crowd. They are perfect for special events where you can park for several days without having to worry about moving at the end of the day.
Decide on the Size
The second thing you need to decide is the size of your truck.
Food trucks are of different sizes, so what size is perfect for you? To answer this question, you need to understand the nature of your business.
Ask yourself, what kind of foods will you be selling? Prepackaged foods? Or will you have to cook on-site? If it is the latter, then you’ll need more space for your kitchen equipment and paraphernalia, and sanitation system. Some specific things you might want to look out for are the generator, the size of the water tank, and the type of air conditioning on the truck.
How many people will you need to work on the truck at a go? That is something else you need to consider when choosing the size of your food truck.
Also, where do you plan to park your truck? If you intend to run your food truck business in a city with lots of regulations and tight parking spaces, then a smaller truck might be a better choice.
Choose Where or From Whom to Buy Your Food Truck
If you decide to go for a used food truck, avoid shopping online at all costs. With online sources, you have no idea what you will get. That is a luxury you cannot afford. Instead, look around for custom food truck builders selling used trucks. You may end up paying a little bit more, but you can be sure to land a good deal.
If you choose to go for a custom-built food truck, visit different custom food truck builders on their websites. View and compare their offers, then pick the one that best suits your needs.
Also, interact with current food truck business owners, ask them for advice and learn from their experiences.
Remember: buying a food truck is a huge investment so, getting a warranty is mandatory. If there is no warranty, there is no purchasing! It doesn’t matter how good the deal sounds.
It is called a food truck business because of the truck. Without it, it is just a food business. Now you can understand why getting the right food truck is so crucial to any food truck business.
Use these tips to make an informed decision and start your food truck business on the right foot.