Counting the Costs – Estimating Food Truck Expenses

Counting the Costs – Estimating Food Truck Expenses

You have a great idea for a food truck, one that you know will be a success, but how do you begin to make your dream a reality. Counting the costs, or understanding the expenses of owning and operating a food truck will help you plan effectively for business success. In addition to the cost of the truck, there are a number of other expenses to consider as you prepare to launch your food truck business. Here, the professionals at Sizemore Ultimate Food Trucks share tips for estimating potential food truck expenses.

The Food Truck

Obviously, your choice of food truck will likely be your biggest expense as you start your business. The age of the truck as well as its size and built-in features will contribute to the cost estimate. If you don’t have the funds to purchase your food truck, you may be able to finance your selection, which means you will need to account for monthly payments as part of your expenses. In addition to the cost of the vehicle, you will need to account for the cost of customization inside and out to meet your cooking needs and represent your brand.

Start-up Costs

Every business has start-up expenses, and food trucks are no exception. You’ll need to acquire appropriate licensing, permits, and registration fees for the locality in which you will be operating. In order to plan properly, contact the city or county where you will operate your truck to get guidelines for all fees, permits, and licensing that will be required for the successful start of your food truck business.

Custom Cooking Equipment

Depending on the type of food you will be serving, you will need to equip your food truck with custom cooking equipment. In most instances, you will need oven, grill, fryer, refrigerator, warming lamp/drawer, exhaust fan, and, of course, a generator.  Additionally you will require serving utensils and cleaning tools, as well as disposable products like plates, napkins, trays, and utensils for your customers. In some cases, you may find your business is better suited to food preparation in a commercial kitchen and service from your food truck. If this is your plan, you will need to add commercial kitchen rental to your estimate costs.

The Food

Now, to the most important part, estimated the food costs for your business. Food costs are based on your menu. A simple menu tends to present with lower costs than a menu with many items. Your food costs should be between 28 and 35 percent in order to ensure a positive revenue stream. In order to calculate food costs, you will need to price out the ingredients for each dish.

The Cost of Operating

Operating costs include fees and maintenance required to keep your business going.  The most common operating costs for a food truck business is food truck insurance, maintenance of your truck, fuel, wages/benefits for staff, a POS systems, and internet/cell service. In some localities you may need to include parking fees as well. 

Marketing costs is also a large part of operating expenses. Marketing keeps customers coming to your food truck. Many food truck owners find social media marketing as the best option for results and cost-effectiveness, but others find paid ads and even a food truck website are effective for marketing.

Ready to Get Your Food Truck Business Started?

Estimating  your food truck expenses is the first step in creating a budget and securing the needed funding for your new business.  Call on the professionals at Sizemore Ultimate Food Trucks to help you get started!