The 7 Steps of Starting a Successful Food Truck
Do you want to start your own food truck business? You would not believe how easy it can be if you answer the following 7 questions!
GETTING STARTED WITH A FOOD TRUCK
Starting your own food truck may seem like a daunting task, with too much planning and large costs to get your dream business off the ground. The key to simplifying this process is set out your plan so there will be no surprises along the way. This plan will act as your foundation and will help you to save on costs wherever you can, and have attainable goals. With a solid foundation and some hard work, you will be surprised at how quickly your dream business can become a reality.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEA?
All great businesses start with a great idea. You will need yours. Figure out what makes you different, something that is unique that will attract customers and keep them coming back for more. This will likely be a combination of the design of your food truck, your menu, and the quality of the product. The truck can get your customers interest, your menu can get you that first sale and the quality of the product will keep them coming back for more.
If you don’t have an idea yet, look at what businesses already exist and start brainstorming your “special sauce”, that thing which will be different for you. One great way of generating unique aesthetic concepts is to follow the builds that come out of food truck manufacturers. Many food trucks have cool marquees, large windows, speakers, awnings and more. Follow newsletters and social media accounts of food truck manufacturers to see interesting builds that they have completed throughout the year.
WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
Now that you have your idea, it’s time to consider the costs. To figure out what you can do, you will need to set up a realistic budget. Determine if you will be running the business full-time or part-time, how much start-up capital you have, and start trying to estimate your major costs. You can request free quotes from some food truck manufacturers to get an idea of the costs you will be looking at.
These numbers do not need to be exact or set in stone, but they will help you make decisions and keep track of your money to ensure that you have enough to get your business off the ground. You should expect to spend between $60 000 – $10 000 on your new food truck investment.
WHAT IS THE BEST MOBILE TRUCK TYPE FOR YOU?
The food truck is your business and will be your business for a while. So, its very important that you choose the truck that is right for you. It needs to work for you and make sense of the kind of location you will be in.
Food Trucks are perfect if you plan on doing a combination of special events and curbside catering. They are self-contained, and you can travel in one vehicle with everything you need. Food truck sizes start at 12’ and go up to 24’ before you require a special license.
While trailers must be towed, they can be great for busy permanent locations or markets (instead of a tent or stall). Insurance is generally lower on a trailer than on a food truck and the start-up costs are less (trailers are less expensive than trucks). Trailer sizes start at 8’x10’ and go from there
CUSTOM SHIPPING CONTAINER KITCHENS
Great for building a fixed location kitchen or bar. Size options are 20’ or 40’. These are very customizable and have many options such as a patio on the roof, or a drop-down seating area.
If you have a great new idea, it can likely be done. Some specialty vehicles that we have seen include school buses, Air Streams, Citroen H vans, Sprinters, and Double Decker Buses; all converted into working food trucks.
With these options in mind, you will have to look at your budget and find the right one that works for you. In general, the more customized the food truck is, the higher the price point. So you will need to work with the manufacturers the get the best option within your price range.
WHAT LICENSING AND PERMITS DO YOU NEED?
Now that you have chosen your food truck, you will need to begin some research to make this business legal. This step will require some work contacting your local city hall about the rules of operating a mobile business in your area. These regulations can change from area to area, so it will heavily depend on where you are located but you can contact if you would like some assistance in navigating the rules for your area.
You will also need to acquire health permits for your mobile business which include a small fee, typically $50.00 to $150.00, along with an inspection of your vehicle once it arrives. Once again, these permits can be acquired through your local city hall to ensure that you are meeting health regulations for your area. These standards are typically regulated for the country you are in but if you are having any difficulty with them, you can contact the experts at (VFT info) and they would be glad to walk you through it.
We highly recommend working towards these licenses and permits before you receive your mobile business because there can sometimes be delays in the process and you wouldn’t want it holding up valuable days that you could be working.
HOW WILL YOU GET FINANCING?
You have your plan set out for your new business and you’re almost ready to take to the road, but you need a way to fund this new business. To get financing, you will need a good sized down payment to be able to have a manageable interest rate. There are many options that you can look at for financing and find one that works best for your budget. Talk to banks or lenders in your area and provide them with the quote for your food truck and they will provide with you with some payment plans. This step can be one of the most difficult in the process and if you don’t need financing then you will be saving some work.
WHAT INSURANCE WILL YOU NEED?
Since your mobile business is a vehicle, you will still require vehicle insurance along with business insurance. Your manufacturer will provide you with the information needed to get an insurance estimate including ownership, VIN, year of the vehicle, make and model. We recommend shopping around for your vehicle and business insurance to find the best rate that you can.
NOW GET GOING!
At this stage, it becomes your focus to get your customers. This is an entire post in its own right and is addressed throughout the Venture Food Trucks blog. In brief, it is important for you to strategically consider who your customers are, where to find them, and how to reach them! Remember that you are running a business now – and it is important to treat this as such. It is not enough to build it and hope that they will come, you need to entice your customers in.
With these 7 simple steps, you will have laid out a solid foundation for running your very own mobile business. You will be prepared for everything that may come at you and the only thing left to do is take action and get to work. The food truck industry is only a step away and you can be a part of that in no time at all.
We at Venture Food Trucks are here to provide you with the best solution for your food truck business. Call us at1.855.405.2324.