You’ve got a fantastic idea for a mobile restaurant – the menu has been laid out; you have secured the funds; your partners have given you a go-signal; and all that’s left for you to do is…well, get a food truck!
BUT, simple as it may sound, getting the right food-vending truck requires some serious consideration.
First Things First: Should You Rent Or Buy?
Ultimately, it is up to you. Having said that, many industry experts, including Josh Hiller who prepared 8 food trucks for Food Network’s cross-country reality show, recommend renting for starters.
By renting a food truck instead of buying one, you get a feel for the business. You get to learn the day-to-day grind a food truck owner engages in; the risks you have to be aware of; and everything else in between…MINUS the hefty initial investment.
A brand-new, 22-foot standard food truck (complete with a flat top, steam table, sinks, coffee maker, and other basic facilities) can cost as much as $130,000! That’s a lot of burgers and sodas to sell just to break even…and we’re not even talking about the maintenance, license and insurance, staff, parking, and other significant expenses.
Unless you have a rich uncle or a substantial inheritance from a relative, $130,000 is A LOT of money and it’s out of reach for budding entrepreneurs.
Renting a food truck, on the other hand, won’t require such a heavy initial investment. Depending on the term of your lease, rentals can cost anywhere from $2000 to $3000 per month (for 6-month leasing contracts or longer). While that doesn’t include commissary costs ($1000 to $1200/month on average), it doesn’t even come close to a brand new truck as far as costs go.
Food Trucks For Sale: Where To Find One?
With the street and mobile food industry generating over $1B yearly and showcasing an annual growth of 3.9% from 2008-2013, it’s no surprise that food truck manufacturers and outfitters have rapidly grown in numbers.
But whichever manufacturer or custom truck builder you buy from, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
– You want a manufacturer who has built food trucks for the region or state you want to operate in. After all, different states and cities have different health department regulations. You want to make sure your manufacturer is familiar with them and can build a truck that meets these standards.
– You want a truck builder who will handle the health department approval process. It’s a long and tedious process and you need all the help you can get. That said, you should, at least, be familiar with these requirements. It’s YOUR business at the end of the day.
Here are four websites you can check out where you can shop for a food truck for sale or get one that’s customized for your needs:
RoadStoves.com – Co-owned by Josh Hiller, RoadStoves.com was the revolutionized LA’s gourmet food truck scene. Having helped iconic street foods like Kogi Korean Tacos, Aunties Fry Breads, and Cheeseball Wagon, these guys have a proven track-record in building customized food trucks; providing maintenance and storage facilities; and consulting services to food truck owners.
FoodCartUSA.com – While not as well-known as RoadStove.com, FoodCartUSA.com has been in the food truck manufacturing business for more than 20 years! Since its inception in 1992, Food Cart USA have manufactured catering trailers and mobile restaurants in Tampa, Hawaii, New York, Ohio, and other cities across the country.
USCateringTrucks.com – Located in Hayward, California, US Catering Trucks offer mobile kitchens; catering trucks; simple food carts; and spare parts for sale.
FoodTruckRental.com – If you want to go down the rental route, FoodTruckRental.com is one of the better sites to go to. Launched by Josh Hiller, this site bridges the gap between renters and owners. You can search their entire listing of food trucks for rent; narrow down your search by location; and best of all, it’s FREE (for renters).