Before an individual venture into the food truck business, they should acquire proper permitting. In California, you must comply with various food truck licensing laws and procedures to ensure smooth business operations and avoid costly litigation.
Getting Your Food Truck License
Food truck owners will need to obtain a variety of licenses and permits before they are legally allowed to operate a food truck. The following are some of the more important food truck permits and licenses required in California and how to get them.
1. Business License
A business license, also called a “vendor license,” allows an individual to operate a food truck. The city where a food truck is located administers the business license. The business license needs to be renewed yearly. As a food truck owner, you need to pay between $15 – $100 depending on the type of business or the area of jurisdiction.
2. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a federal tax ID used to register a business with the IRS. It is issued free of charge through the IRS, taking approximately 4 weeks. The EIN allows a business to open bank accounts, create credit profiles, or hire employees. The number can also be used by a business owner to make tax payment estimates.
3. Health Permit
A health department permit indicates that the food truck has passed the health inspection. The health department sends an agent to examine the truck for any health code violations before assigning an overall grade for the food truck. Depending on the locality, the health permit costs between $50 to $1000. The health permit is an indication that a food truck business has conducted due diligence to avoid the occurrence of foodborne illnesses.
4. California Seller’s Permit
Any business selling tangible goods requires a seller’s permit to charge sales tax. Food trucks need a seller’s permit since they sell foods and drinks, which are tangible goods. As a prospective food truck owner, you will need to register for the seller’s permit, which is free of charge.
5. Fictitious Business Name
You will need to register your food truck name with the state. It will enable you to open a business bank account and be recognized as a legal business entity. A fictitious name is not needed if you use your legal name for the food truck business. Filing a fictitious business name in California costs $26 for one name and one owner. It is not advisable to use your legal name unless your culinary skills are well-known.
6. Liquor license
In California, food trucks cannot serve alcoholic drinks. However, food trucks can obtain a short-term liquor license for special events. As a prospective food truck owner, you should check to confirm if liquor licenses are available in the location they need to open their business. A liquor license will cost anywhere from $105 to $16,000, but as stated above, a food truck cannot get a full liquor license.
Let Legion Handle The Paperwork
Finding the licenses needed to open a food truck is important to ensure a successful business. However, applying for the licenses and waiting for approval may be tiresome. At Legion Food Trucks, we handle the paperwork for you. We’ll tell which license to apply for and we’ll even submit the applications on your behalf. Contact us today, and we will help your food truck business hit the road.