What to Look for Before You Buy a Used Food Truck
Thinking about starting a food truck business? Wondering if you should buy a new truck or a used truck?
Buying a food truck is much like buying a car. It’s an important and expensive investment. What’s more, the food truck you choose is the standard bearer for your restaurant on wheels.
In this article, we’re looking at used food trucks and what to look for before you buy a used food truck.
First, though, let’s look at the advantages to buying a used food truck over a new one.
Why Buy a Used Food Truck?
One of the biggest perks of buying used is that they are usually less expensive than buying new trucks. (tweet this)
In addition, when you buy a used food truck, all the retrofitting has already been finished. This allows you to see if the interior/kitchen layout will work for your food truck concept.
When you buy a used food truck, you also don’t have to worry about what stove, oven, or sink to purchase. The research has already been done, and because your used food truck already has what you need on the inside.
Now that you know the benefits of buying used, let’s uncover the things you need to look for before buying your used food truck.
Check Out the Engine and Truck Equipment
Costly repairs and maintenance can really eat into your bottom line.
This is why you want to have your favorite mechanic look over your proposed purchase.
You can also have an appliance specialist look over your kitchen area to check out the status of your appliances and make sure everything is working well.
Check Over the Maintenance Logs
You can learn a lot about what’s going on under the hood of your food truck by looking at the previous owner’s maintenance records.
This lets you know how well (or not well) they took care of the food truck. For example, did they do regular oil changes? Have the belts been replaced lately? How are the brakes?
Know the Manufacturer
Before you buy a used truck, look up the manufacturer. Check out the reviews.
Just as when buying an appliance, the reviews and ratings matter. If the manufacturer has more bad reviews than good, stay away from them.
Likewise, you want to check the reviews of the company selling you the truck. Too many negative reviews mean they aren’t a reputable dealer.
Look at the Age of the Truck
Just like buying a used car, you want to look at the age of the used truck you’re thinking about buying.
Too old, and you head into vintage territory. While this isn’t a deal breaker, you want to make sure the truck has been maintained well over the years.
If you’re thinking about buying a truck that is older than 10 years old but not quite vintage, the same holds true. Make sure it’s been taken care of and always have your mechanic look over it to tell you about any issues.
Check the Odometer
While food trucks generally aren’t driving long distances each day, you still want to look at the miles on the used truck.
Often the price goes down on a used food truck the more miles it has.
It’s always a good idea when buying used to look for something with as few miles as possible. If that isn’t an option, and you’re buying the truck from a company, ask about the warranty. (tweet this)
If you’re offered a warranty, excess miles don’t matter as much as they would without a warranty.
Consider how many miles you’ll be driving it as well. If you’re going to rack up 20,000 miles the first year, those are going to show up in wear and tear especially if the truck already has a lot of miles.
Ask for a Warranty
As we mentioned earlier, the warranty is important. When buying from a dealer, this is something you definitely want to negotiate.
For example, what if your truck breaks down a month after purchasing? If you don’t have a warranty, you’re on the hook for the repair. With a warranty, the cost burden doesn’t rest with you.
Bottom line – you must ask for a warranty. Even though you’re buying a used food truck, you are still making an exceptionally large investment in your business.
Make sure it’s backed up with a good warranty.
Decide If It Meets Your Needs
Since you aren’t buying a new food truck and customizing it, you also want to make sure the truck meets your needs.
Is it big enough? Does it come equipped with what you need? Will the setup inside work for you? Will it work with your brand? And finally, can you build the business you want with this particular used food truck?
If you can answer yes to most of these questions, then you’re well on your way to your food truck. If the answers are mostly no, then you have to look at how much it would cost to upgrade the insides of the food truck to meet your needs.
Check on Fuel Needs
Another thing to consider when buying used is whether you want a diesel engine or gas.
This usually comes down to a personal preference because you’ll find pros and cons with each. For example, gas is cheaper than diesel fuel, but diesel engines get better fuel economy. In addition, gas engines are quieter, but diesel engines are more powerful.
Just know what you’re getting into, so you buy the truck with the right fuel needs for you.
You’re ready to start your new food truck business. You’ve planned your menu, and you’ve finessed your brand. All you need is a truck.
It’s important to do your research, especially before you buy a used food truck.
Make sure it not only meets all your needs, but make sure it’s going to last you. This is a big investment in your business, and you want to buy from reputable dealers.
Finally, be careful when buying from individual sellers online. There is no chance of a warranty in this case.
While there may be some reputable individuals selling food trucks online, your best bet is to look elsewhere.
Look to buy your truck from a company with great reviews and a strong warranty.
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Images: Arturo Rey and Paula Vermeulen on Unsplash
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