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Tips For Buying A Food Truck For Your Business

Before you jump on the food truck bandwagon as a business owner, there are a lot of things to consider to get started.
food truck

Food trucks have become very popular over the years, and food truck rallies or rodeos often attract hordes of customers looking to sample a variety of different options. Before you jump on the food truck bandwagon as a business owner, there are a lot of things to consider to get started. Based on our conversations with food truck operators, here are a few of the issues you should think through on your way to becoming a food truck entrepreneur along with some guidance from Commercial Truck Trader.

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What’s Cooking?

Your first decision should be what you’re going to have on the menu. Are you going to be serving snacks? Entrees? Desserts? Slushies? If you already have a concept in mind, you’ve crossed the first hurdle because what you’re going to serve will have a bearing on the equipment you’ll need. Do you need a grill? A deep fryer? A freezer? A wood-fire pizza oven? It’s important to know this because the equipment and amount of prep space you’ll need may dictate what kind of truck you’ll buy.

What’s Your Theme?

What’s going to set you apart from your competition? If you haven’t come up with a menu yet, do a web search and see what kind of food trucks are already operating in the area you’ll eventually want to be in. You might find there is a need for a specific niche that you might be interested in such as serving sushi rolls, espresso/cappuccino, hand-dipped ice cream cones, or maybe a regional option such as crepes or German food. Your theme could also have an impact on the type of vehicle you’ll choose.

Licensed To Grill

Once you have your menu/theme locked in, the next step should be to check with the municipality you’ll be licensing your truck in to make sure you understand what they require from food truck operators and what kind of licenses and permits you’ll need. The more you know before you purchase your actual vehicle, the better your decision making will be when shopping.

Choices. Choices. Choices.

Okay, now that you’ve gotten all the preliminary work out of the way and have a better idea of what the perfect vehicle will be for your new food truck business, it’s time to start considering the actual structure that will frame your vision:

  • Truck or Trailer? A self-contained truck is generally easier to park curbside than a truck-pulled trailer, but it’s also going to be more expensive than purchasing and retrofitting a trailer for your needs. That’s unless you don’t already have a tow vehicle to pull a trailer, if that is the route you decide to take. However, if you’re going to attend a multi-day festival and you would like to keep your vehicle on premises throughout the event, it’s easier to drop a trailer and use the tow vehicle for transportation than it is to pack up a self-contained truck and shuttle it back and forth.
  • New or Used? A new truck or trailer can be customized to match your specific needs. Buying new will also mean you have a potentially longer business “shelf- life” without worries of the vehicle or the equipment inside breaking down, which can be devastating for a new business that’s just starting to take off. On the other hand, a used vehicle will be easier on the budget and will normally come loaded with the equipment you’ll need right away, but you have no guarantee or warranty to protect you from any malfunctions that might occur. Just be sure the kitchen layout works for the concept you have in mind. Also, in most cases, a new vehicle will take longer to retrofit to your needs than one that already is functional.
  • Gas or Electric? Most food truck kitchen equipment can run on electric power you can supply with a generator. However, there may be some food prep equipment that is better suited to gas. If your concept requires propane, make sure you get a vehicle that is fitted to take care of those particular needs.


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Pass The Napkins

Once you have created your business plan, decided on your menu and theme, and considered all of the other options, is ready to help you find the trailer or truck that works best for your plan. We have one of the largest online markets for new and used trucks and trailers, from dealers and independent sellers, to help you find the option that will bring your dreams to fruition. Just be sure to invite us for a sample when you get up and running.


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Barrett Baker
Barrett Baker
Barrett Baker is a freelance writer with more than 40 years of writing experience. He has worked with the U.S. Department of Energy, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and a variety of advertising and marketing firms throughout his career. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, cooking, and working with animal rescues.

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