Food Trucks | Shelter Insurance®

Starting a Food Truck Business

Image: Food truck owner standing in front of food truck.

If your lifelong dream was to own a restaurant but you lack the capital, starting a food truck business may be a better option. And why not? Food trucks aren’t just what you see at local fairs—in fact, they’ve come a long way from that and are hotter than ever! But don’t run out and buy your truck just yet—do some research first.

Before You Buy A Truck…
Know your neighborhood! Would a food truck be a hit in your town? To find out, see if there are already food trucks in the area and how well they are doing. How busy are they during peak times and at events? What is their concept? (Pizza, tacos, Asian fusion, cupcakes, cookies, BBQ, grilled cheese, etc.) What’s the demographic of the type of customers who would buy your food? Do they live in your community? Finally, where would you be able to park your truck? What are local laws regarding that? Can you move to different areas and take your truck to events?

Let’s say you got all the answers you wanted to the above and things are looking good to move forward. Now you need to decide what type of food you will serve and how you will market yourself and your truck. Having a catchy name and a great logo that clearly captures your business, as well as a clean and attractive truck will make you stand out. Plan to join your local Chamber of Commerce to maximize exposure and establish a social media presence. All of this will serve you well, especially when you implement your marketing plan.

The Business Side of Things
Even though it takes a lot less money to start a food truck business, you will still need anywhere from $50,000-$250,000 to start it. This includes buying your truck, the equipment, marketing and any legal fees you incur to make it all, well…legal. Not to mention the food. You have to buy food. You will also have licensing fees to pay, permits to secure, and insurance for your business.

To get this funding, lenders want to see a business plan that includes an executive summary, company description, your market analysis, an organization and management plan, product description, marketing plan, the actual funding request, financial projections and an appendix.

And don’t forget to get a tax ID number from the IRS!

Ready to Roll!
Once you get your funding, the fun can begin! Now you have another set of decisions—like what kind of truck to buy—something retro-looking or something more modern and sleek? How big will it need to be? Will you buy a new one or a used one? How will you customize it to make it uniquely your own? You will also have ongoing costs associated with your truck—fuel, generators, vehicle maintenance, food, supplies and employees. (Yes, employees—which means payroll and payroll taxes, employment law and more.)

Food trucks are a growing popular food trend that people seem to love. Owning one probably won’t be as stressful as owning a restaurant, but it’s also not stress-free. You’ll have some of the same stress as any small business owner. If you have the stomach for it and you’re ready, go for it! And have fun feeding the masses!

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