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Want to Buy a Food Truck? How to Pick the Right One

Want to Buy a Food Truck How to Pick the Right One

Picking out a food truck that meets your needs can jump start your business.

Food trucks are everywhere across the United States. They generally signal spring, summer, and fall, and they draw large crowds when they show up.

You might be thinking about starting your own business. Do you want to buy a food truck? If so, check out this article where we uncover how to pick the right one.

Decide Between a Truck and a Trailer

The first thing you want to decide is if you want a truck or a trailer you pull behind your vehicle.

This may depend on your budget and your needs. For example, a trailer may have lower startup costs and lower insurance rates. People often use trailers if they are starting a part time food truck business. They may only go to special events on occasion.

Conversely, if you really want to commit, you want to head the real food truck route. The truck is best for people who are parking and feeding customers every day in addition to special events.

Consider Used Truck or Custom Build

Next, you want to decide if you want a custom-built food truck, or if you are okay with someone’s used food truck.

Buying a used food truck is of course less expensive. If you’re going this route, again, do your research and have a professional mechanic look over the truck. You want to be careful that it’s in good working order without any issues as repairs are costly.

When you purchase a used food truck, be prepared for ongoing maintenance as well.

If you’re looking for a custom-built food truck, you’re going to have higher upfront costs, but you’re going to get exactly what you want. (tweet this) Because of the higher investment, you must be willing to commit to your new business in order to recoup your food truck costs.

Finally, be sure that the inner working of your food truck can handle the food you are preparing. Check over all the appliances, and if you need to upgrade something on a used truck, be prepared to do it.

If you’re building a custom truck, you can outfit your kitchen anyway you’d like.

Consider Leasing

Another option for your new food truck is leasing one. This can help if you can’t afford either a new or used food truck.

It can also help if you just want to get your feet wet to see if the food truck business is for you.

By leasing, you aren’t purchasing a truck outright, and it can be a lower risk option for you.

Buy a Food Truck

You want enough space to prepare beautiful food for each customer.

Choose the Size of Your Food Truck

Another consideration is the size of your truck. Since they come in many different sizes, you want to be sure what will fit your needs.

For example, do you need a lot of cooking and prep space? Or are you doing a lot of the preparation off site? Do you have room for a refrigerator and storage?

In addition, consider the size of your generator and the water tank. Fresh water is a must. Check out the air conditioning as it’s going to get hot inside.

Next, consider how many people will be working inside your truck at one time? You want to make sure you have enough room for yourself and any employees.

Finally, think about where you’ll be parking. Pick a truck that can fit where you plan to go.

Decide on Gas or Electric

Some chefs are diehard gas cooks, while others are fine cooking on electric burners.

Where do you stand? This might depend on what you’re cooking.

In addition, don’t forget you need refrigeration, a way to prevent and fight fire, and a vent hood.

Along with deciding on gas and electric, you want to check with your area’s gas, electric, and health inspectors. You want to make sure that the truck you purchase will meet all the local codes.

If your truck doesn’t, you’re sure to incur some extra costs.

Know Where to Buy Your Truck

You most likely can’t walk into your local car dealer and find a used food truck or even purchase a custom built one.

So, where do you go? If you’re looking for a used food truck, your best bet is to avoid Craigslist or eBay.

Your better bet is going to a custom food truck builder and checking to see if they are selling any used food trucks. You can also talk to local food truck owners in your city to see if they have any references for you.

While you may pay a bit more for purchasing a used food truck from a custom builder, you will feel better about your purchase.

When looking for a custom-built food truck, do some internet research and look for examples of their work. The inside as well as the outside of your truck should meet your needs and portray your brand. (tweet this)

Again, talk to other local food truck owners about their experiences with custom builders to find the right one. References are vital to helping you find just the right builder.

Ask About the Warranty

A food truck warranty is something you definitely want to ask for. You are making a big investment, so you want to be sure you know what’s covered.

You will certainly be offered a warranty on a custom build truck, but it also pays to ask your dealer if they offer a warranty on used trucks they sell.

The warranty for at least a custom-built food truck should cover the following:

  • Equipment
  • Tanks
  • Heaters
  • Plumbing
  • Electric Systems
  • The truck itself (things that may be covered when you purchase a car)

To Conclude

According to one study, the food truck industry performs consistently well. It also usually performs better than the restaurant industry overall.

If you’re thinking about buying a food truck, you can take the tips in this article regarding how to pick the best one.

Your food truck is an investment in your new business. Much like buying a brick-and-mortar restaurant, your food truck speaks volumes about your brand.

Take your time, do your research, and make sure your new food truck fits your menu and your style. It needs to support your business model and give off the right “feeling” to your diners.

Pick the right truck for your new business, and you’re well on your way to a successful food truck venture.

At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive food truck websites, but you can count on us to create a website that highlights your menu. We help you edge above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online appetizer menu? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: REVOLT and Megan Markham on Unsplash

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