This has been a question for the last 8 years, but has grown even harder to answer with each passing day. Eight years ago if you asked me this question I would have said save the money go used. There are many different reasons why and number one was price.
When this industry started to boom in 2008 the market was littered and flooded with high quality step vans for great prices, normally between $8,000.00 to $14,000.00 for an eighteen foot diesel step van. That price point was perfect and worth the necessary risks of owning a used vehicle, however that was 8 years ago.
Now we are in 2016 and the price for step van’s have sky rocketed. The fleets are depleted and people are selling used step vans for $25,000.00 to $40,000.00 can you say inflation? Not only are these used step van’s way more expensive than they were in 2008 they are also older, have more miles, and are whats left lying around that are being sold.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have toured food truck manufacturers sites, and what they do to these things before they sell are amazing, rebuilt engines, rebuilt transmissions, new tires, new suspension components, but the risk at $40,000.00 for just the truck no kitchen with no manufacturer’s warranty anymore is a steep price now compared to the $85,000.00 for a brand new 18 foot freightliner.
In my opinion if you have the money to build a food truck, do anything in your power to buy new, and ask about financing. With a new truck over a used you will get better rates, longer terms, and cheaper monthly payments because it is brand new.
So us here at the Food Truck Culture say go new, get the bumper to bumper warranty and power train warranty. If the pricing was similar to 2008 this would have went a completely different way.