How Much Does it Really Cost to Start a Food Truck? (Tips to Save Money)

How much does it cost to start a food truck? That depends on several things, such as where you intend to operate and whether you opt to purchase a food truck, concession trailer, or equip a mobile kitchen yourself.

how much does it cost to start a food truck

Only educational reasons are intended by this post. To get financial or legal guidance on your particular business.

Over the past ten years, food trucks have become incredibly popular. With Americans embracing mobile restaurants, what was once a fad has become mainstream.

 As a result, ambitious chefs and restaurant business owners have used food trucks as a less expensive and riskier option than starting up traditional eateries.

However, before trying out a food truck, aspiring business owners must know their expenditures.

Even if food truck proprietors hope to open brick-and-mortar restaurants in the future, starting out with a mobile business is a wise method to explore various areas

 test and improve dishes, and gain a following before making the commitment to a physical facility.

That launching a food truck is a relative bargain compared to (or as a precursor to) opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant is perhaps the most alluring feature.

However, the actual costs incurred by food trucks may be higher than you expect, particularly depending on where you live.

Starting Expenses for Food Trucks

How much does it cost to start a food truck? The answer is, “It depends,” but let’s look at key food truck cost elements that affect the launch and operating costs.

As a basic guideline, here is what you should budget for when starting a food truck

  • Between $20,000 and $60,000 for a used concession trailer with cooking equipment already installed.
  • Between $30,000 and $80,000 for a new concession trailer with cooking equipment installed by the builder
  • Between $80,000 and $175,000 for a new food truck with cooking equipment installed by a builder.
  • Used Food Truck with Builder-Installed Cooking Equipment: $50,000–$80,000

You should expect to spend between $15,000 and $35,000 less on labor if you handle a build yourself. Deduct this sum from the above figures.

 Remember that a food truck’s age, size, model, and condition are all variable elements that affect the price, how much does it cost to start a food truck

Startup How Much Does it Cost to Start a Food Truck

how much does it cost to start a food truck

If you want to operate a mobile restaurant, you may be torn between buying a completely furnished manufactured food truck and making your own.

 Each option has advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately, the time you have to outfit a unit, your experience, and your money should factor into your choices.

 Many of the abilities necessary to develop a food truck already exist in you if you enjoy working on projects or building things and have previous experience in the building sector.

 But are you truly ready to embark on this project?

Remember that there are additional expenditures besides those for these things and equipment that you should consider (e.g. construction tools, labor fees, permits & licensing).

In the table below, I examine the entire startup costs for a food truck business, with expenditures split out by line item. Let’s calculate the actual cost of your food truck together.

Detailed Food Truck Startup Costs

The costs associated with starting a food truck business, excluding the price of the food truck’s ingredients and equipment, are listed in the table below.

Startup Item for Food Trucks                         Cost approximation

vehicle examination                                                                  $100 to $500

Hardware & Software for Point of Sale                                     $500 to $1500

Generator                                                                                  $1,500 to $10,000

Paint for Food Truck                                                                  $1,000 to $3,000

Vehicle Wrap                                                                             $2,500 to $5,000

initially buying food                                                                  $500 to $2,000

Items, Papers, and Supplies                                                       $500 to $2,000

Design of Websites                                                                    $500 to $3,500

Initial Office Supplies & Equipment                                           $200 to $1,000

Public relations and advertising                                                 $500 to $2,000

Regulations and Permits                                                            $500 to $1,500

Expert, legal, and consulting fees                                               $500 to $2,000

Monthly Fees will Continue After the Sale

Payroll(Maximum of Four Employees)                                  monthly range: $0 to $8,500

Rent for a Commercial Kitchen and Commissary

(If Needed)                                                                          monthly range: $0 to $3,000

Monthly Processing Fees for Credit Cards                          Approximately 3% of monthly sales

Fuel                                                                                monthly range: $250 to $600

Insurance                                                                      $100 – $300 per month

Communication / Cellular                                            $60 to $100 monthly

Licenses & Permits (Annual Cost)                                Depending the area, $500 to $10,000

Total Projected Monthly Cost                        $460–$13,500

One thing to keep in mind is that most food trucks begin their careers as owners/operators. If this describes you, you won’t have to worry about payroll in the beginning.

Looking for gently used mobile food units is a wise move to cut initial costs because they are significantly less expensive but still in good shape.

 This might be a food truck proprietor who made an investment in a new vehicle, ran the enterprise for one or two seasons, and then decided they didn’t enjoy it. More often than you might think, this occurs.


The best case is when you can gain a secondhand unit that already has the kitchen built for your menu at a reduced price without having to spend the time or money to adapt the truck.

However, if you have a less popular menu, it could be difficult to get a secondhand food truck with the exact cooking setup and tools you require.

 It will be simpler to locate used equipment that meets your demands if you intend to serve tacos from a truck.

How to Finance Your Food Truck Enterprise

Most people don’t have enough money to outright buy a concession trailer or food truck. As a result, most sellers need to finance their food trucks.

 Make sure you have a business plan prepared, as well as the amount you need and your credit history because most lenders require one before approving a business loan.

 As an alternative, if you have good credit, you may get financing for a food truck in a manner similar to that of an auto loan. Most food truck producers can provide you with financial support.

In Order to Start, Inventory is Required

I list some of the most popular financing choices for budding food truck business owners below, how much does it cost to start a food truck.

  • Personal loan: This is a fantastic choice if you have a solid credit score and need less than $50,000.
  • If you have an excellent history of repaying debt, a business credit card can be a viable solution.
  • You might get a loan to buy a truck from some truck dealers or financiers of equipment.
  • If you have more than $50,000 in a retirement account, you can open a ROBS, which enables you to use the funds to support your business without paying early withdrawal penalties.
  • A small business administration, or SBA, micro-loan: Even though micro-loans are far less than conventional company loans, they might cover the startup expenditures for a food truck. Check out the Micro-loan Program of the SBA for loans under $50,000.
  • Look for investors: Whether it’s a friend or a family member, finding investors for your food truck business requires forethought. To convince investors to finance your firm, create a strong business plan and a compelling concept.
  • Leasing: Instead of purchasing your own truck, you can lease a secondhand truck that is equipped with the bare minimum. You pay a monthly fee to use the car, and some leases give you the option to purchase the truck at the conclusion of the term.
  • Crowdfunding: Popular options include GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Lending club. On these websites, you can start a crowdfunding campaign. Introduce your business concept in a distinctive way and provide rewards to entice people to take part.

Costs of Purchasing vs. Renting a Food Truck

The essential ingredients for your menu items and serving ware including plates, cups, lids, cutlery, and napkins are required how much does it cost to start a food truck

Depending on your menu, the initial expenses for ingredients may vary, but you should plan to spend between $1,000 and $2,000 when you factor in things like cooking oil, spices, and other things.

The initial investment in serving ware for food trucks is about $300.

Whatever method you choose to use to finance your food truck business, it is imperative to carefully consider how the money will be used,

 such as for the purchase of a truck, cooking equipment, or paying employee salaries, as well as how you intend to pay back the borrowed money.

 Your financial projections should consider the monthly gross income required to pay costs and any loan obligations.

How to Build a Food Truck

Building your own food truck can be the best option for you if you have the abilities, mechanical knowledge, and building or DIY interests how much does it cost to start a food truck

I discuss here the benefits and drawbacks of constructing your own food truck.


  • You might reduce some expenses (e.g. labor fees)
  • This choice might be appropriate for you if you have experience with plumbing, electrical wiring, and building.
  • You will become familiar with the inner workings and operation of your truck.
  • You’ll be far more equipped to fix your truck in the event of a breakdown if you built it yourself.
  • Every aspect can be customized to meet your goals and financial constraints.


  • It’s expensive to purchase the essential tools if you don’t already have access to them.
  • This choice might not be suitable for you if you lack knowledge of mechanics or how motorized vehicles operate.
  • It’s risky to perform plumbing or electrical work if you have no prior knowledge. These construction-related components should be hired out, which will raise the cost.
  • There will be several decisions to be made, including selecting the materials and determining the layout and design of your truck.
  • Not as quick and easy as purchasing a readymade unit. If something doesn’t work after a DIY build, there are no warranties.

I’ve included the items a food truck entrepreneur who built his own concession trailer bought to give you an idea of how many planning and equipment choices you’ll need to make.

You will need to purchase and install the items on this list.

Business Item Food Truck                                          A food truck owner gave the cost information.

Trailer Truck                                                                $14,900

Adhesive and the Floor                                              $258.66

Menards 1 outdoor light                                            $37.5

Menards outdoor lighting 1,                                      $38.05

Sink with 3 Compartments                                        $532.86

Switch Panel                                                               $30

Plug For Generator                                                    $69.37

Splitter for propane                                                   $53.11

Faucet with 3 Compartments                                     $52.06

3 trims, 4 FRP pieces                                                  $282.85

W.H. Gen. Carrier and                                                 $394.91

Romex                                                                         $34.74

Insulation                                                                    $41.32

Plate Rack                                                                   $100

The dispenser of towels                                              $35

Brackets, L                                                                   $30

Knife Stand                                                                  $10

Holder of Ticket                                                           $5

Bins, white                                                                    $105

Towel Sink                                                                    $80

Valves for plumbing drains                                          $80

Plumbing Equipment                                                   $149.99

2 shelves and 4 tables                                                 $1,233.73

Adhesive Jug No. 2                                                     $34.00

Pump, Water                                                               $106.24

a water tank                                                                $126

preparing table feet                                                    $150

Gloves for walls                                                           $10

four can lamps                                                            $40

More Rope Light romex                                              $103

Switches and Outlets                                                   $45

Discount window                                                         $1,189.00

Exterior Shelf                                                                $269

Six-foot hood                                                               $1,335.00

the metal stainless                                                       $501.44

trimmings made of stainless steel                            $483.35

a 4-foot fridge                                                              $420

Hoses and Holder for Propane                                   $64.27

Gas connections                                                          $140.58

More Plumbing Equipment                                         $20.24

Post Set Fridge Dormont                                             $55.00

Suppression of Fire                                                      $2,500.00

Provisional Cooking ware                                             $1,892.00

K and ABC classes, ext.                                                  $212.64

LP Gas Tanks                                                                  $95.00

Feet with Flanges for Appliances                              $60.00

Nuts & Bolts Made of Stainless Steel                       $30.00

Cable for trailer break-away                                        $10.00

Aluminum Flat Pi                                                         $100.00

Total Cost:                                                                    $23,645.91

It might cost roughly $13,600 to build your own food truck, including the trailer, electrical requirements, flooring materials, gas lines, plumbing requirements, and other food truck equipment shown in Table #1.

Without the aforementioned things, additional expenses (Table #2) might range from $16,000 to $54,000.

A DIY or “build-your-own” food truck may run as little as $30,000, as opposed to the $50,000 to $175,000 required to buy a fully outfitted food truck.

Depending on your region, the equipment you need for cooking, and the vehicle you buy, the cost to establish a food truck business varies.

The price of the trailer you buy typically has an important impact on the overall cost.


Entrepreneurs who want to follow their passion for food have a brand-new, exciting opportunity to do it by starting a food truck business.

 But before going too far into the business creation process, you need to evaluate your overall startup expenditures.

A successful business always begins with a precise plan.

One of the most crucial decisions to make when starting a food truck business is whether to build or purchase a new food truck unit.

 Although each solution has advantages and disadvantages, the choice ultimately boils down to preference and the amount of money you’re ready to spend.

Frequently Asked Questions

Food trucks make an average of $250,000-$500,000 annually, or $20,000 – $42,000 monthly. That might seem like a big range–so this guide will help you calculate your food truck’s revenue and profit potential. Along the way, you’ll develop some strategies for maximizing your restaurant’s income.

You can download the application from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) website or submit your application online. A full-year’s license is $347.00 and a half-year is $178.50.

Other than normal operation fees, food trucks will need to pay “rent” for their spot at events. These fees range in price and depend on the area, event, number of other trucks at the event, and many other variables. At events, you can expect to see costs to claim your spot range from $75+.

If you’re looking for a money-making business idea, a food truck is a great one. Successful food trucks can bring in more than $500,000 per year, with startup costs of around $40,000. Starting a food truck generally takes three to 12 months and requires these nine steps: Research local food trucks and laws.

Food franchises are among the most profitable, and food trucks are a good investment. Most food truck franchise owners generate close to or over six figures every year.

Can Food Trucks Park Anywhere? Food trucks cannot park anywhere they choose. General rules of the road such as not parking near fire hydrants, bus stops, and crosswalks apply to parking food trucks, but there are also industry-specific food truck parking rules operators need to familiarize themselves with.

Your food truck must pass inspection based on food safety and sanitation before you’ll be issued a health permit to operate your food truck. The local health department will regularly inspect your truck to make sure that it meets all food quality and safety standards.

In some cities and regions across the United States, it is illegal to prepare food inside of a truck. So, food truck owners in those areas have to use commissary kitchens to prepare their food before going out to sell it.

  1. Fire Safety Certificate.
  2. Shop and Establishment License.
  3. NOC from RTO.
  4. NOC from Municipal Corporation.
  5. FSSAI Mobile Vendor’s License.
  6. Kitchen Insurance.

Depending on whether you go the new or used route, the price of a food truck will run you anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000.

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