How Much Does it Cost to Start a Food Truck

Opening a traditional restaurant is expensive. It typically requires a lot of investment. But if you really want to open a food related business, a food truck might be the answer you need. A food truck is a mobile restaurant. It is usually a large vehicle (mostly trucks) that is equipped with a complete kitchen utility to cook food and sell it to customers. This type of restaurant is getting popular nowadays because it is much cheaper than the traditional ones. A lot of entrepreneurs, especially first-timers, open this kind of business. But how much does a food truck cost?

Average Cost to Start a Food Truck

Opening a food truck has a lot of factors that you will need to consider. Each of those factors plays a vital role in your business. And each factor depends on where you are and what you’re goals are. Here is the breakdown of the total cost to start a food truck:

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Food Truck

  • This is the first factor that you should consider and this might be the biggest cost you are going to make. The cost of buying a food truck depends from one location to another. Low-end food trucks may cost you around $50,000. On the other hand, high-end food trucks can cost around $200,000.
  • Kitchen and Equipment. This is the next factor on the list. Your food truck won’t be complete without it. Here are some equipment together with their costs:
    • Truck wrap to give a design to your vehicle and attract customers can cost you around $2,500 up to $5,000.
    • Utensils and paper goods may cost you around $500 up to $3,500.
    • Your startup food purchases may cost you around $500 up to $2,000.
  • Food Truck Supplies. One factor that can affect the total cost to start a food truck is the supplies needed. Of course, you will need a place where you can sell food legally, a power for your kitchen equipment, fresh water, and truck propane. Here are what’s included in the food truck supplies:
    • Product inventory can cost you around $1,000 up to $2,000.
    • A generator can cost you around $1,500 up to $10,000.
    • A P.O.S. system can cost you around $150 up to $2,500.

You might also need a truck commissary. The cost depends on your location and the services offered. The cost of commissaries usually runs around $400 up to $1,200.Food Truck empire provides a list of how to find the best commissary.

  • Permits and Licenses. Whenever your business involves food, one important permit that you will have to get before you can operate is the health permit. The cost of permits and licenses normally depends on where you want to operate. The cost will range around $800 up to $5,000 per permit and licenses.
  • Of course, you can’t operate the food truck all alone. You will need to hire someone to either cook the food, prepare the dishes, and do other food truck related jobs. The number of people you will hire will depend on the volume of your customers. The more volume of orders you will get, the more staff you will need to hire. On an average, a food truck operating in a busy location usually has 4 up to 6 staffs.

You will also need to purchase uniforms or t-shirts for your staff. However, this can be avoided. This can cost around $200 up to $1,000.

  • After you have purchased all the equipment and things that are required for your business, you are now ready to go. However, you will still need to do something to catch your customers. And that is where marketing comes in. One way to advertise your business without costing too much is through social media. There are a lot of social Medias available today such as Facebook, twitter, or Instagram. If you have a lot of money, you can also create your own website. Creating one can cost you around $0 up to $5,000 depending on your preference. Other forms of advertising can also cost you around $500 up to $1,000.

Tip: One biggest way to have a successful food truck business is to have a sense of humor. Having a constant and friendly communication with your customers helps you to connect with them and increase your customer base.

Extra Costs

Now that you have an idea on how much does a food truck cost, you should also know the additional expenses that you are going to make during the operation of your business.

  • Your food truck won’t run if you don’t buy fuel for it. The cost for this is around $250 up to $400 per month.
  • If you accept phone orders, then you will need a phone which cost around $100.
  • It is also good to have a free Wi-Fi in your food truck so that you can attract more customers. The cost will run around $200.
  • You will surely encounter repairs for as long as your food truck is operating. The cost is not stable but you should budget at least $1,000 per month.

Business Plan

Even though a food truck is a simple and inexpensive business, you will still need to have a business plan. Unless you don’t have any plans to make your food truck successful or grow. You can hire a business consultant which may cost you money. On the other hand, you can make one yourself. You can visit The Balance to know how to make your own food truck business plan.

Total Cost

Average Cost to Start a Food Truck

So how much does a food truck cost? Well, it depends on your preference and your budget. If you have a lower budget, you should expect to spend a startup cost of around $50,000 or less. On the other hand, a high-end food truck can have a startup cost of $200,000 or more.

Because food trucks are getting more popular today, the cost to open one is somehow also increasing. But the cost isn’t the same with a traditional restaurant. So if you are a first-timer in the business industry, better start with a food truck.

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