You’ve probably seen people lining up for a food truck, and you may be seriously considering starting your own. However, running a food truck business requires careful planning, and this includes knowing the costs that you may incur.
This guide lists down the expenses to expect, particularly on food truck license cost. That way, you can set up your financial framework before you drive your food truck around town.
Food Truck Business Costs: What to Expect
First, let’s talk about one giant misconception about food trucks – many people seem to think that putting up a food truck business is cheap.
This may be true to some extent. After all, you won’t need to lease a fixed location or hire several people in a single go. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have to worry about overhead expenses.
The truth of the matter is that you still need to prepare for initial outlay, bulk of which will go to the purchase of a food truck. This includes the base vehicle, the cooking equipment, and the truck decoration.
When preparing to spend on this startup cost, make sure to consider the following factors:
- Don’t pick the cheapest vehicle in the lot. Treat the vehicle as the central machine that lets your business run – literally!
- Choose cooking equipment that you can retrofit into the truck. Don’t go for conventional or one-size ovens and stoves.
- Take time to think about your food truck design. This can influence the potential of your business to attract a lot of hungry customers.
Estimated initial cost may run between $20,000 and $100,000.
Don’t miss out on the need to stock up on supplies, especially on the first few weeks of your food truck startup. You should prepare for a starting product inventory of at least $1,000, to cover ingredients, packaging materials, and other consumables.
What good is a food truck business if no one notices it on the first go? One of the first marketing strategies that you need to work on is the look of your food truck. As you park your food truck on a specific location, make sure that it attracts your target market immediately.
Branding involves a lot of areas – and a significant amount of expenditure. If you’re gunning for an impressive food truck outfit, a great logo, beautiful menu board, branded uniforms, and online presence, be prepared to spend up to $8,000.
You may be good at cooking your food product, but there are a ton of things that you need to prepare for in terms of technical and business skills. Be sure to allot budget to train yourself and your staff, particularly in the areas of food handling, customer satisfaction, and business management.
Your Best Alternative: Get A Franchise!
Want to reduce the total cost? Getting a food truck franchise is the best way to go, since the overall expenditure in this scenario is a lot cheaper than building a business from the ground up. For instance, you don’t have to go through costly trials and errors when starting a food truck venture.
The good news with getting a franchise is that the products and services have been tried and tested multiple times. If you choose a popular franchise, you’ll probably end up gaining profit fast.
A food truck franchising opportunity allows you to be your own boss, receive personalized training, free perks to start promoting your business, and save up on exorbitant costs. Everything that you need to run your own food truck will be provided by a franchise – and all you need to do is look for the perfect location!
Required Licenses for a Food Truck Business
Whether you’re planning to put up Philadelphia food trucks or similar ventures anywhere in the U.S., you need to abide by local regulations. Food truck regulations may differ from state to state, and so it’s important to ask about legal requirements.
Any food truck venture – well, any business for that matter – needs to carry a business license. In most cases, some states require you to pay for a fraction of your food truck’s gross sales on top of the business license fee.
Employer Identification Number
Food truck laws fall under general business regulations that require any business owner to have an employer identification number (EIN). This puts you in the tax registration database in order for you to declare and pay for business taxes.
Go to the IRS website to apply for an EIN online. This is free of charge, by the way.
Each state may require a unique set of permits for your food truck. Philadelphia food trucks, for example, are required to go through commissary application, mobile vending application, sanitation check, insurance, and more. Food truck laws in Philadelphia also require a sidewalk sales license, as well as curb market license.
Some states also require compliance to laws involving food handling, proximity to bathrooms and public access locations, and parking spaces.
In general, though, additional requirements for any food truck include zoning permit, alarm permit, health permit, and signage permit.
As a business owner, you have the responsibility to think about the welfare of your employees. This includes paying for insurance that covers your staff, such as unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
How Much Should You Prepare for Food Truck License Cost?
As a general estimate, you may shell out from as low as $100, but as high as $500. This wide range in food truck license cost ultimately depends on the state or location where you plan to install your food truck.
Need More Information?
To get a full list of permits, licenses, and other requirements in running a food truck business, check out this information page at phila.gov. Look for information on food truck license cost, so that you can prepare your budget ahead of time.
Interested in starting a food truck franchise that has earned a solid reputation for high-quality food and service? A Zac’s Burger Bus may be the ticket to your first successful startup!
Zac's Burgers is presently not selling franchises and does not have a certified franchise disclosure document. Zac's is offering licensing opportunities, however, potential licensees must meet all federal and state requirements.