10 Reasons to Write a Food Truck Business Plan Before You Buy a Food Truck

A food truck business plan is a vital part of your journey towards mobile kitchen success. Before you put down any money on a set of wheels or food truck equipment, you must completely understand the needs and direction of your business. The easiest way to do this is to write and apply a strong, straightforward and detailed plan. It’s extremely irresponsible to venture out on a sales trip without a predetermined route of leads. The same thought process applies when starting a business, especially before investing any significant amount of money.

Buy a Food Truck

When you’re looking at food trucks for sale, remember that the deal of a lifetime comes around about once per week!


Here are ten good reasons to buckle-up and commit your plan to paper before you buy a food truck.

  1. Your food truck business plan will outlive your truck.

    If you build your business around a single vehicle, it is much more difficult to change things when you eventually have to upgrade, trade-in, or otherwise retire a food truck.

  2. Purposefully branding your business is easier.

    This means that you can find a truck that genuinely fits your logo or design style. That typically works better than forcing your logo to fit, or designing one around a non-permanent business asset.

  3. Your business needs to adapt to different trucks.

    This is especially important for the day when you eventually expand your food truck business plan to include more than one truck. The trucks may or may not have identical characteristics, making it essential to have a solid plan that can accommodate many different variations.

  4. Getting a great deal on the fly does not always mean getting the greatest value.

    It’s important to shop around and understand the market before you invest in your mobile kitchen. Keep in mind what attributes of a vehicle help improve the cost to operate or the resale value. This will make sure your purchase is truly valuable in the big picture of your business.

  5. A plan lessens spontaneous expenses.

    When you know your budget, it’s easier to decline offers from pushy salespeople and resist temptations on well-designed websites. Making sure you have a food truck business plan first also helps you to prioritize purchases and achieve future enhancements.

    custom food trucks

    New food trucks for sale will be very appealing.

  6. You’ll know that you can easily house and repair your mobile kitchen.

    What happens if your garage is too small? Perhaps you’ll run into trouble if your landlord or neighborhood association does not allow commercial vehicles onsite. Also, to whom would you bring your rig for repair if it broke down? These issues would all have their place in a food truck business plan and that would save you from stressful, on-the-spot decisions.

  7. There’s more time to work towards your ideal rig.

    With a plan in action, you’re free to find the mobile food truck that feels right to you and fits all the needs of your business. This means less hassles and less time between a large investment and revenue generation.

  8. You’ve already designed or envisioned your websites and marketing materials.

    This means you’re ready with decals or paint designs for your truck. It also means that all you have to do to start promoting your business is add some incredible pictures of your setup to your web presence.

  9. You know how to get the proper licensing to lawfully drive and operate your lunch truck.

    While you typically won’t need a commercial driver’s license to operate a mobile kitchen, your food truck business plan will ensure you’re well versed in every license, permit and inspection you’ll need to make sure there’s no red tape keeping you from your profits.

  10. Impulsiveness is a bad business habit.

    If you’re making such a huge purchase without a plan, take a look at some of your other behaviors. While it’s good to jump on a sure thing at the right time, a long track record of costly, erratic and reckless expenses lead to nothing but a closed up shop.If nothing else, a good plan yields good results. The future of your business is sure to hold a ridiculous amount of unknowns. You can take control and lesson the amount of future stress factors when you put your goals down on paper and map out a realistic way to achieve them. You deserve to take your time writing a food truck business plan that will ensure you experience success far into the future and well past your first rig.

“A food truck business plan is a vital part of your journey towards mobile kitchen success.”

How to Find Good Food Trucks for Sale

First step – start looking at food trucks for sale. After all, if you’re looking to get started in the food truck business then you’re going to need to get started where everyone gets started – buy a food truck. Of course there are plenty of ways that you can find your first truck. Some people choose to purchase brand new mobile food trucks that are custom-made for everything they want while others decide that they would rather start out with a used truck that costs less money and gets them out there faster. It’s all going to be up to you and what you want most.

Used Food Trucks on eBay

Used food trucks for sale are found in many places – even on eBay!

Finding New Food Trucks for Sale

New food trucks can come a few different ways. You can go to a shop that builds food trucks and buy one from their show room in much the same way as you would buy any other brand new car. You would be able to select from a variety of different colors and styles but you’d be buying something that has already been built. It is possible to make changes or adjustments to that truck after you buy it but in most cases these trucks would be ready to hit the road!

The other option when you find a shop with new food trucks for sale is to custom make your own. In these cases you would be able to select absolutely everything from the inside out on your truck. You could make it whatever color you want, whatever size you want and you could put any amenities that you need on the inside. This is great for people who really want to jump in with both feet because you’ll have exactly what you want right from the start. Of course it takes a little longer this way because you need to wait for your truck to be built but you can rest assured it will be perfect for what you want because you designed it.

Finding Used Food Trucks for Sale

Your third option is to purchase a used truck. Once again you can often find these on the lot of companies that build food trucks. They could also be in different colors and styles and you’ll likely have your pick of several but you’ll have slightly less options. You’ll also have to contend with problems like wear, rust, and outdated pieces. You may have to contend with high mileage even because these vehicles have been used before.  If you find a cheap food truck for sale, don’t just rush in and buy it. Check it out thoroughly – there may be a good reason why it’s cheap!

When you decide to purchase a used truck you want to make sure you’re looking it over carefully and taking into account everything that you may have to fix up or change when you think of cost. After all that used truck may look like the better deal but if you have to put a lot more work (and therefore money) into it to get it ready then it’s really not the best choice for you. You may want to go with a new truck after all.

Be aware that you can search for used food trucks on eBay.  Buy a food truck online?  Who would have thought!  The same due diligence goes for any item you consider buying online – check it out thoroughly, including the seller.  For a high value item like a food truck, certainly plan to take some time getting to know the seller, their reasons for selling, the condition of the truck etc.

Avoid Getting a Lemon

We all know what a lemon is of course; it’s the car that you should never have bought because it’s really about useless. This is the car that needs pretty much every repair in the book and it looks like it too. You want to make sure that before you purchase a food truck you’re taking a close look online to determine what the requirements are for a food truck in your area. Then you’ll be able to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.

Another tip is to take a mechanic along with you. They’ll be able to check out all the components of the truck and make sure that it doesn’t need any costly repairs. From there you’ll just need to make sure that you’re checking over the body (look for rust or signs that the truck has recently been painted) and checking out any equipment that might be still in the truck. You want to make sure that even though things are older they are still good quality and you’ll still be able to get some good use out of them. Otherwise they’re not worth the money you’ll spend and you’ll end up regretting your purchase later.

Check the Regulations

Make sure before you get started with any of this that you’re checking all the rules and regulations for your state and local area. You need to be sure that you’re getting at the very least the minimum required parts for your truck. You need to make sure that you’re not getting something that’s been declared unsafe or unhealthy because that means you’ll have to do a lot of upgrading to get that truck out on the street. This could happen whether you buy new or used so be careful.

Also make sure that the truck you choose fits the rules for where you want to set up. There may be different regulations if you want to set up shop at the festival versus if you want to set up on a street corner. Make sure you know what all the rules are so you end up with something that will do what you want wherever you want it. You can find food trucks for sale quite easily but knowing what they’re really worth is sometimes more difficult.

“Don’t rush into the decision.  Ideally spend several months searching, looking and analyzing food trucks for sale that meet your criteria.”

Don’t rush into the decision.  Ideally spend several months searching, looking and analyzing food trucks for sale that meet your criteria.  And inspect as many as you possibly can.  Only once you’ve looked at all the sale prices of food trucks (repeat sale price, not asking price – they’re two different things!) and can compare the condition of one vehicle with another, will you be comparing apples for apples.  Remember, this is business.  The decision must be make on the numbers, not on emotion.  Food truck vendors need to be as savvy as the next business person, and if you have to start with a slightly lesser vehicle than that of your dreams, it may well be with good reason.

Financing a Mobile Food Truck Business

Smaller businesses are often in need of financing more often than others and mobile food vendors are no different. Because you’re not working with a larger company, you’ll need to find funding to get started, and you’ll need to continue to have funding as you continue to grow and to manage your food truck business. While you might have some funding to begin, you will need to look at the future to see how much more funding you will require as your business grows.
Food Truck Business Plan

Use a Food Truck Business Plan Template (such as the one available on www.mobilefoodvendor.com) to Plan Your Food Truck Success

You have a number of options when it comes to funding your food truck business

The mobile food business does actually require more funding than one might initially imagine.  Once you’ve worked out how much it might cost to get started, then you’ll be looking for the funding.  Give some thought to the places you might find sufficient funding as you’re going through your business planning process.  Finance will be a major section of your mobile food vendor business plan.  Some sources you may consider for obtaining finance are :

  • Personal savings
  • Friends and family
  • Banks
  • Credit unions
  • Private investors

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