Have you always wanted to start your own food truck? The good news is that it’s actually a possibility these days. They’re more popular than ever before, they offer tons of flexibility to owners, and they’re much less expensive to open than a brick and mortar restaurant. Here are the ten steps to follow if you’re interested in starting up your own food truck.
- Get a license. Unfortunately, you can’t simply get a truck and drive it down the street, selling your food. You also can’t just set up a food cart anywhere you’d like. The requirements vary city by city but be prepared for food permits, health department certificates, and parking restrictions.
- Get your food truck. If you want a brand new food truck, it’s likely to cost you at least $100,000. However, you can likely find a used, fully prepared food truck for as little as $20,000. This may seem expensive but remember that food trucks require the same commercial equipment, like exhaust fans and fire suppression equipment, as they do in a typical restaurant.
- Figure out your niche. Whether you want to do something simple like tacos or cold sandwiches, or you want to serve gourmet cuisine, you’ll need to find your niche and do the research to see what others in that niche are doing in your area.
- Find financing. Once you have an idea of what it’ll take you to get started, create a comprehensive financial plan. You may finance your truck yourself, or you can request a small business loan. Your bank or credit union might provide a loan or you may need to reach out to peer-to-peer networks.
- Make a plan. You do need a financial plan but you also need a business plan. Writing one is both easier and harder than you think. You’ll have to consider every single detail but it will help you move forward and anticipate potential obstacles.
- Get insurance. Since your business is on wheels, you’ll need insurance. Speak with an insurance agent and describe what the business will be. You may only need standard car insurance but, depending on your state, you may need additional coverage.
- Figure out where to park it. Your truck’s going to be large. You need to find out if you can park it in your own neighborhood when it’s not in use, or if there’s another safe place you can park it. Some areas require you to park it only in approved facilities.
- Hop on social media. You’ll need major networking skills to spread the word about your new business venture.
- Expand. Once your business is successful, you can expand! This may mean adding a truck or two or moving into new markets.