With the right product, location, and customer base, running a food truck can be a very lucrative business. But like any new venture, you’ll need to make a financial investment before you can get the ball rolling. Read on for the top five startup costs to plan for as you launch your food truck business.
Permits and Licenses
Before starting your food truck, you’ll need to pay for the necessary permits and licenses.
These will be similar to the requirements for normal restaurants, but with a few additional categories. Here is a list of all permits and licenses needed when starting a food truck:
- Business license
- Mobile food facility permit
- Driver’s license
- Health department permit
- Food handlers permit
- Seller’s permit
- Commissary letter of agreement
- Parking permits
- Standard operating procedures
- Fire certificates
- Temporary event license
- Any other permit licenses by state
Exact permits and license fees will vary depending on your location, but you should plan on allocating a significant amount of your startup budget to cover these costs.
The kitchen equipment needed for a food truck depends on the types of food for sale, but here are the main essentials to consider:
This equipment may cost anywhere between $3000 and $10,000, depending on the quality and manufacturer. Some new food truck owners splurge on top quality appliances right away, while others choose more affordable items and make necessary upgrades as they scale their business. Another popular option to lower initial equipment costs is to lease appliances.
Besides the major equipment for your food truck, you should also include ingredients in your startup budget. This expense will depend entirely on your menu, so be sure to do the research and get a general idea of typical supply costs for the items you’re going to serve.
Be sure to include safety equipment in your startup budget. This may include fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and a ventilation system for your food truck.
To be extra cautious, look into installing an automatic fire suppression system, which automatically releases fire-extinguishing chemicals in the event of a fire. In some areas, these systems are actually required for food trucks — but even if this doesn’t apply to you, it’s worth installing one to stay safe.
Truck Operational Costs
Like any vehicle, food trucks have normal operational costs like gas and auto insurance. Be sure to also include maintenance costs in your budget to keep the truck and kitchen running smoothly long-term.
Acquiring a Food Truck
Now for the most critical part of any food truck business — the truck itself. Depending on your setup and budget, you’ll likely be choosing between a full truck, trailer, or van. From there, you’ll need to convert the vehicle into a mobile kitchen, implement cooking and safety equipment, and customize it to fit your brand. You can do this yourself, or have it all done for you with our team at Legion.
Get a Custom Food Truck from Legion
While there are a few startup costs to consider, starting a food truck is still a fantastic business opportunity. If you’re ready to take the first step, our team at Legion Food Trucks can provide a built-for-you food truck customized to your exact specifications. You choose the truck, design and concept — we’ll bring it to life.
To learn more about how we can help, contact us today. In the meantime, feel free to learn more about starting your own food truck with our comprehensive startup guide, Getting Started in the Food Truck Business.