1. Is it better to get a custom-made food truck or buy a used one and remodel it to my needs?
If you have an extremely tight budget, then buying a great-condition, used food truck will probably be a better deal, but these are often a rare find. Now, if you can make a higher investment, you’ll definitely be happier with a custom-made food truck. It’ll allow you to pick everything you need from the sizes of the refrigerator and counter tops to how many fryers and cabinets you’ll need. And, it’ll save you the headache of dealing with used equipment that could be damaged, rusty, noisy or old enough to quit working and leave your business stranded.
2. How can I find out what food truck builder/ manufacturer to trust?
Every potential food truck buyer can do a “background check” on the custom manufacturing businesses by simply conducting research. Check for reviews online and contact previous clients for their honest feedback. A few key words to use on your search would be: “Food Truck Builder,” “Food Truck Manufacturer,” “Food Trailer,” “Concession Trailer” mixed with “reviews,” “testimonials,” and “complaints.” That will quickly help you narrow down which businesses to trust.
3. What is the process of financing a truck like?
Some places offer financing in-house, others have third-party financing companies, and some have a combination of both. Factors such as a high credit score, being a homeowner, and having no large derogatory remarks can help when it comes to getting approved for a loan. However, each loan application is unique and there are countess other factors that can determine loan approval or rejection, so you should never feel discouraged to apply just because you don’t have a perfect financial record.
4. How do I learn about city regulations, insurance and health code requirements?
The easiest way to learn the ropes is to find local food truck owners that are currently in business and ask them about their experience. They’ve already been through any headache and can tell you what the do’s and don’ts are. If you’re looking to start a truck in an area that is new to food trucks, then contact your county’s Health Department and have them answer your initial questions. Remember that rules and regulations will differ from state to state, so there isn’t a set formula to be followed here.
5. Is it a good idea to get a medium to high-mileage truck since it’s less expensive?
Buying a brand-new truck may exhaust your budget very fast, so buying a commercial vehicle may work for your project if the truck was properly maintained. Have a trustworthy commercial mechanic take a look at your truck before making a final decision.
6. Diesel or Gas?
People always ask what is the better option for a food truck. This answer is actually somewhat complicated. The best option will depend on what used trucks are available. If budget is not a concern, I recommend a new freightliner diesel step van over anything else. However, between a properly maintained gas truck, and a diesel that has been beat up its whole life, gas will be your best option. Again, it all comes down to doing groundwork on the truck itself.
7. What questions should I ask the food truck manufacturer before signing a contract?
- What will the truck price encompass? Will it cover the labor, parts, generator and equipment, for example?
- What warranties are offered with this purchase?
- Who do I contact when I have questions about the truck, equipment, etc. later down the road?
- What are some of the best ways to avoid major issues with the truck so I can mainly focus on running my business?
- What makes your business different from every other truck builder?
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