The primary limitation when it comes to shopping for a food truck is your budget. Because it is probably the biggest expense you will face when you start your food truck business it’s one that you shouldn’t rush into.
We always suggest taking adequate time to make sure you are getting the correct vehicle for your needs. We see it all the time, start ups that are trying to stretch their budgets and purchase an existing food truck only to find out that it isn’t going to work for what they wanted it to do. That’s when they ask us to deconstruct and do a partial or full on custom build, which eats into the original budget, or they have to alter their concept and business plan to fit what their truck can be used for, which eats into future profits.
The reason this huge mistake is made is many times the person starting the food truck business has restaurant or culinary experience but has never been through the process of planning, evaluating and purchasing a food truck. That’s why we try to help everyone that fills out our form to get a quote on a food truck, understand the process, so they can take the correct action for them, whether they buy a truck from us or not.
Just like any vehicle purchase, the number of features and options will determine the price. Like we covered in our article about How To Buy A Step Van For A Food Truck, figuring price can depend on many factors, if you are starting with a base step van and planning to have it built out, the price fluctuate dramatically depending on if you choose to go with a new or used step van. The difference could be as much as $30k or more to go with a new truck, but you will have confidence that comes with a new truck. With that said there are plenty of dependable used trucks out there, it helps to have knowledgable mechanic on your team to check them out.
When buying your truck the main thing you need to keep in mind is your concept, and specifically what you need in your kitchen to be able to make that concept a reality. You also want to make sure you are thinking about the optimal layout for efficient and profitable service. That’s another thing we see when people buy an existing food truck, they get frustrated because the truck may have had all the equipment they needed already installed but the layout was so bad that providing the service needed to be profitable was almost impossible.
When it comes to upgrading a food truck kitchen it’s easy if it’s a better appliance that’s the same physical size or installing better shelving or storage, once again that’s the same size, but when clients want to start rearranging the layout we have to take into consideration weight distribution and other technical aspects that become more extensive, and expensive.
I know you came to this article looking for Food Truck Prices or Pricing so let’s take a look those. Keep in mind that the dollar figures mentioned in this section are only estimates because every vehicle is going to be different depending on the build.
A brand new custom food truck can cost you $80,000 to a $100,000 or more but you get to start fresh with everything in working order and the confidence of knowing it has been built to your specifications, taking into consideration your concept, service and profit goals.
Some custom truck builders often bundle in other services like kitchen design, equipment options, graphics design and vehicle wraps together. We like to work directly with our clients, helping them create exactly what they want and need. No sense over doing areas that might not be needed. Sticking to a start up budget can be make-it or break-it for many future food truck entrepreneurs.
Another thing to remember is Custom Truck Builders can also construct food trailers for those who would rather go with a trailer instead of a traditional food truck. New food trailers can range in price from $15,000 to $30,000 and up. Obviously the price difference is quite dramatic but with a food trailer, you must employ a second vehicle to tow it around. Once again you have to think about whether this is in alignment with your business plan, some areas do not allow trailers, especially in urban settings, but it is a great way to get into the business at a lower cost.
To wrap this article up, those who are trying to keep startup budgets in check, the most popular option is to buy used vehicles. Used vehicles can come fully equipped or as a base unit that needs customization.
It is possible to find a used vehicle that comes complete with all the pieces of equipment you will need to run your business without needing modifications, but they are few and far between. A lot of the time the reason they were for sale is they lacked profitable design and the previous owner either couldn’t make a go of it or they are buying a better vehicle that will actually meet their needs.
Fully-equipped used food trucks can be priced from $25,000 on the low end to $80,000 or more on the high end. The price depends on the condition, year and the type of equipment that has already been installed.
If you start with a used base vehicle (which is practically an empty truck), the price can start at $10,000 and go up to $35,000+ without any kitchen equipment. You will then have to factor in the cost of the conversion to a food service vehicle. You can take your basic vehicle to a custom truck builder where they can help design and implement the necessary equipment to convert the vehicle into a fully functioning food service vehicle. With this option, you get a used vehicle but you have the advantage of a brand new kitchen and equipment to cook with.