The popularity of food trucks has grown in the last few decades. As a result, aspiring restaurant entrepreneurs are considering food trucks because of their lower-cost and lower-risk alternatives than brick-and-mortar restaurants. Enthusiastic entrepreneurs need to understand their potential food truck vehicle costs before buying one.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of opening a food truck rather than a traditional restaurant is the idea that it is a great bargain. However, the actual food truck costs endured mainly depend on where you live.
How much does a food truck cost? The answer is that it depends. Here are a few food truck cost factors that determine startup and running costs.
Food Truck Vehicle Costs
Depending on its age and the bells and whistles it features, food trucks costs will differ. The price of the trucks will depend on:
- The condition (new or old)
- The size
- Appliances included
- The location you make your purchase
A no-frills truck will cost you considerably less than a finished custom food truck. In addition, if you live and plan to run your food truck business in an expensive market, you are likely to pay a premium. Depending on whether you choose a new or used vehicle, the price of a food truck will run anywhere between $50,000 to $175,000.
How much does a food truck cost to rent?
While purchasing a new truck can cost you pretty much money, those costs can drop when you choose to rent your truck instead. For a six-month lease or longer, you can expect to spend $2,000 to $3,000 a month on a vehicle.
Food Truck Decor and Equipment
Most food trucks are walk-ins that are customized to meet the requirements of cuisine service. When you start with a previously owned food truck already furnished for service, you might only have to make minor changes or updates to fit in with your model.
However, if you are starting from scratch, this can be a more significant task.
Steps to Take Once You Have Your Truck
Here is a breakdown of the basic steps involved once you get a vehicle in place. You need to:
- Install electrical wiring
- Mount the interior
- Make holes for your serving window and ventilation
- Furnish the interior walls with fireproof materials
- Set up gas, hood, cooking equipment, and propane tank
- Install plumbing
- Configure your generator
- Furnish the exterior of your truck and have it covered
These steps require different professionals. You can choose to work as an independent contractor or hire a firm that specializes in customization to handle the task.
Food Truck Kitchen Space
Preparing and serving food on wheels are two different things, and mostly it is not practical.
However, you can rent space in a commercial kitchen to prepare and store food. Commissary space is vital to a food truck’s operations since most cities require commissary arrangement proof as part of their food truck application process. Renting commissary space can cost up to $1,500 per month, often including yearly and hourly fees.
Licenses and Permits
Restaurant licenses and permits pile up quickly for any food business, even when your operation is mobile.
To open a food truck and run for a year, you can spend an average of $28,276 on licenses, permits, and legal compliance.
What to Expect
Here is a walkthrough of some of the essential licenses and permits food truck operators should expect to have:
- Business certificate and Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Seller’s permit
- Truck license
- Fire inspection
- Health permits
- The total cost
Taking the First Step
When you add up all these estimates to determine how much a food truck costs, you can expect to spend around $70,000 to $250,000 to start your business. However, this doesn’t include general restaurant startup costs, such as food, equipment, kitchen tools, and labor. Although it is relatively less expensive to start a food truck than to operate a traditional restaurant, it is an investment that needs careful planning. Contact us today with any questions you have about starting your food truck business.