How Much It Really Costs To Start A Food Truck

11 Jul, 2023


Best Car Insurance Quotes

Bundle home and auto insurance for bigger discount

If you’ve had thoughts about wanting to start a food truck, this will help you on your way to a better understanding of what that means, and what you need to prepare for. You can probably feel the excitement bubbling up inside of you over the thought of running your very own food truck, so don’t mistake that for indigestion, it’s a natural thing. If your thoughts about how much it costs to start a food truck are holding you back from you pursuing your dream, hesitate no longer. We’ve researched all of the necessary information to help with starting a food truck, to reduce those unnecessary stress factors of the unknown. Since no small business owner should jump into a 1.2-billion-dollar industry blind, we put together a handy reference guide, so you know exactly what to expect.

Since food trucks are essentially small restaurants that travel, you might assume that launching a food truck business is going to cost you only a fraction of that of a traditional brick-and-mortar full-service restaurant. To a certain extent, you’re correct. But that doesn’t mean that rolling down Main Street for lunch hour in your new set of shiny wheels is going to be cheap. When starting a mobile operation, costs are going to vary (just like for any restaurant), but you can expect to pay between $28,000 and $114,000. When all’s said and done, what end of that spectrum you land on will depend on a variety of factors. Below are a few to consider.

The Actual Truck

The cost of purchasing your actual truck needs to be addressed. Like all vehicles, prices will vary. You’re going to come across the brand spanking new Lamborghini of food trucks, as well as your garden variety junk mobiles of yore. Depending on whether you go the new or used route, the price of a food truck will run you anywhere from $50,000-$200,000. This doesn’t include the cost of your own personal design touches, and the truck wrap, or any of the equipment you’re going to need. So if you’re unsure about dropping upwards of $200K on a truck, we recommend aiming for the lower end and then outfitting as needed.

You may even want to consider opening up a food cart, coffee truck or concession business rather than an actual food truck; if your specialty food allows for this type of set up. Think of a food cart or trailer as the equivalent to a pop-up store for a brick-and-mortar retailer. The start-up cost would be less and the regulations around operations for a food cart may not be as strict as they would be for a food truck.

To get yourself going, you of course need to acquire a truck and the proper equipment. Start up costs for a truck, the wrap, and the proper equipment runs anywhere from $25,000-$100,000.

Food And Other Supplies

Initial product inventory is going to be important, and will most likely run you somewhere between $1,000-$2000 to get yourself properly situated. Restaurant experts say that your food costs should be between 28%-35% of the price you sell the product for. If you sell an order of fries for $1.00, your food cost for those fries should be $0.28 – $0.35, otherwise you may run into cash problems in the future.

Insurance For The Food Truck

Something of the utmost importance is to make sure you’re properly insured. On average policies for food trucks will start around $300. You’ll want to make sure your food truck is covered for everything from general liability insurance to auto accidents, and foodborne illness to workers’ compensation insurance for you and your employees.

Licenses, Permits, and Certifications

Besides the health department, you will have to jump through a few hoops to obtain the proper permits, but you’ll also have to pay to file for them. When outlining your food truck business plan, these items should be factored in as part of your startup cost and recurring cost, depending on how often you need to renew. This can be a bit tricky, because the rules, regulations and cost vary from one state to the next, and even from one city or county to the next. Check the local ordinances in regards to food truck operation for the areas you wish to operate out of, to make sure you have the proper licensing.

On average the costs of licensing, permits, and certifications will run somewhere between $100-$500, but that will vary greatly depending on where you’re located.

Fuel To Keep You Rolling

Fuel costs will also vary greatly from state to state, but a good estimation will be around $250-$500 monthly. That’s definitely a cost you want to factor into your business plan, since it’s unavoidable. Our advice is that you estimate on the higher side, in case you need to move areas due to any ordinance changes or hassles.

POS System To Keep The Lines Moving

When your lines move faster, your customers are going to be happier, and your profits are going to be higher. The days of food trucks having to be a cash business are long gone, so you’ll have multiple options in regards to payments that you can pursue. Depending on what system you want to use, this will range you between $200-$1,000. You may even consider using an Ipad for your transactions.

Marketing Your Food Truck Business

You have multiple options for marketing your business. Building a website can run you anywhere from $0-$5,000. You’ll want to factor in your own time that it will take to maintain any marketing campaigns as well. There are email platforms that can be paid for to send out business emails around your food truck, and the prices on those will vary, depending on what services you want them to provide. Don’t forget that you can also use social media platforms for free marketing as well.

Hiring And Training Employees

The cost of employees will vary according to where you are, but it tends to run between $8-$15 an hour. Also, don’t forget to factor in any specific uniform expenses, if you have a look you want to perpetuate for you business, etc.

leave Comments

Add new comment

1(844) 206-3962

Call to speak to licensed agent now