So you’ve made a firm decision to jump on the mobile food bandwagon. Now, here’s the hundred thousand dollar question: should you buy new or used food trucks for sale?
I don’t want to act like your mom or pop. My word isn’t the gospel BUT get this: unless you are using the food truck as a showpiece to “WOW” your friends or you have so much money you don’t know how to spend them, steer clear from new food trucks!
Not only are brand new trucks a lot more expensive than used food trucks for sale, they also go down in value by 30% the moment you pull out of the parking lot. Plus, the only reason you’d buy a brand new truck is for its reliability…you can drive around town over and over again and it won’t matter. For a food truck, however, driving A LOT means you’re NOT getting any customers. No sales time, no profit – what have you got to show for spending a 6-figure amount on a brand new food truck? Nothing!
However, I’m not saying all of these to convince you that buying a used food truck for sale is stress- and pressure-free. Just like any major business move, it has its share of pros and cons. Let us take a closer look.
The Costs Of Buying A Used Food Truck
Just like any business venture, the costs of buying a used food truck for sale can vary wildly: you can spend very little to get the bare bones and start operating. Or, you can get all of the bells and whistles right away…and that can easily cost you your life’s savings!
Measured in dollars, the cost range could be anywhere from a modest $50,000 to a whopping $200,000. For a budding entrepreneur, settling for the HIGHER end of that range is like financial suicide. That’s usually the domain of high-end food establishments who wants to have a mobile presence and capture more customers on the go. That said, you don’t want to buy a used food truck that’s priced below $50,000 as you could be sacrificing the reliability of the vehicle and the quality of the food and maintenance equipment.
So what’s a reasonable price range for getting a second-hand food truck?
I’d say $70,000 to $80,000. Many used trucks within this range are usually good – they’re only a few years old; their total mileage is less than 100,000; and they can easily be remodeled or customized to fit your new food menu. Along with the truck and its kitchen equipment, keep in mind that you also have to shoulder fuel, maintenance, processing of business permits, food supplies, advertising, and other necessary expenses.
Other Factors To Consider
In the cost efficiency department, nothing beats buying a used food truck. HOWEVER, any business owner worth his salt will tell you that cost isn’t the only factor to look at. When it comes to used food trucks, the fact that it was previously owned means there may be minor or major issues you need to pay more attention to.
Permits and licenses are of number one concern. If the truck was used in the mobile food industry, you better make sure that ALL of its business permits and licenses are up to date. If you’re lucky, the city or state you plan to operate could allow permit transfers. Otherwise, you have to start from scratch, reapply for the particular permit, and that means MORE dollars going out of your pocket.
If the truck was previously used in the food truck industry, you will need to make sure that all permits and licensing are up to date. Some areas do not allow permit transfers and you will need to reapply for that particular permit.
Last BUT not the last, you also want to pay special attention to the feel of the truck. You don’t want the added burden of driving a truck that feels uncomfortable, so don’t forget to give it a test drive. Even better, if you have some extra funds, get a car mechanic to accompany you and check the truck’s status. That’ll go a long way in ensuring you’re getting the best bang for your buck!