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Sarah Ward

Cost to Start a Food Truck Business: 12 Startup Costs

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Learning how to start a food truck business comes with a lot of tasks. One of the most important is learning about the cost to start a food truck business. Knowing your costs, from restaurant food costs to labor costs to the cost to open a quick-service restaurant, will set you up for success. 

You’ll find there are costs for each part of your food truck business. There are the costs that come along with finding the best restaurant tech. You’ll have costs associated with operating in the best places to start a food truck business if you choose a bustling location. There will also be legal costs, small business marketing costs, and much more. 

This BinWise blog is your place to discover the costs that go into a food truck business. 

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Startup Cost to Start a Food Truck Business

On average, the startup costs to start a food truck business rest anywhere between $28,000 and $114,000 for the initial startup and operations costs. It’s a wide range, and the reason for that is because of how varied the cost for permits is across the country. 

Food Truck Legal Startup Costs

The first area of the cost to start a food truck business we’ll walk you through are the legal costs. Food truck legal startup costs cover licensing, insurance, and everything you need to be legally in the clear. These four costs are some you can expect for any food truck.

4. Business Licensing

Business licensing is essential for every business. It’s the basics of what you need, making you legally able to sell your products and services. 

3. Business Insurance

Business insurance is important for every business and especially important for food truck businesses. You can get business insurance to cover you and your employees. There is also liability insurance to cover issues with customers. 

2. Accounting Costs

Accounting costs are one of the lesser thought of business costs, but if you plan for them, they can be extremely helpful. Hiring an accountant can help you along.

1. Liquor Licensing

Getting a liquor license is something you should look into early in the process of planning for your food truck business. The application and approval process can take quite some time depending on your location. 

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Food Truck Inventory and Design Startup Costs

Food truck inventory and design startup costs cover the physical needs you’ll have for getting your food truck ready for customers. We’ve bunched them together because they are the physical components of setting up your food truck, outside of the legal needs and other necessary but less tangible costs.

4. Food and Beverage Inventory Stock

Food and beverage inventory stock is going to be a startup and ongoing cost for your food truck business. It’s recommended that you have a week’s worth of inventory at any given time, that’s what you should plan for in your budget.

3. Signage and Truck Decals

As a mobile food service business, a lot of your marketing will be focused on your physical truck. This comes in the form of signage and truck decals and wraps, to make your space unique and inviting.

2. Kitchen Supplies

Kitchen supplies are a part of your startup cost to start a food truck business, and they’ll come up along the road as well. Starting with high-quality equipment will give it a longer lifespan, giving you more bang for your buck.

1. Menu Design Supplies

Your menu is both a functional part of your business plan and a marketing opportunity. Investing in creative, user-friendly menus will set you up for success. We recommend menus on your truck and online options. 

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Food Truck Marketing Startup Costs

Marketing is a small but important cost for every type of business. When it comes to the cost to start a food truck business, marketing costs are especially important. Getting the word out about your business with these four facets of marketing will help you hit the ground running. 

4. Branded Merchandise

Branded merchandise is something not every business invests in, but it’s well worth it, especially for food trucks. Offering people t-shirts, sweatshirts, travel cups, and stickers with your logo and colors is a way of getting your name out into the world.

3. Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is a small cost in any marketing plan. It can be helpful when you’re just getting started and when you’re looking to boost your business for a specific time and event. 

2. Social Media Management

Social media management isn’t a cost every business will have. As a small business, you can certainly run your social accounts for yourself. Investing in social media management, however, gives you a greater return on the investment of a social media presence. 

1. Content Creation

The cost of content creation will vary depending on the content you want to create. It can range from social media posts to advertising to your website content. Overall, it’s an important cost to factor in, as it gives you content to promote your business. 

"Key Takeaway: The cost to start a food truck business is multifaceted and can change depending on your location and your business goals."

Frequently Asked Questions About Food Truck Starting Costs

The cost to start a food truck business is multifaceted and can change depending on your location and your business goals. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you further background on the food truck industry and how the costs relate to your profits.

What Is the Greatest Obstacle to Starting and Running a Successful Food Truck?

The greatest obstacles to starting and running a successful food truck are permits and regulations. Permit prices can be quite expensive depending on your location and the competitiveness of your food truck market. There are also limits in some states about how many food trucks can be in business. 

What Changes Have There Been In the Food Truck Industry Recently?

Some recent changes in the food truck industry are a shift to online menus and a focus on employee satisfaction. The shift to online menus comes from a need to ease the process of finding what a food truck offers for customers. As for employee satisfaction, with the food truck market booming, owners have been working to make sure they keep the best employees. 

How Long Does It Take for a Food Truck to Break Even?

On average, food trucks break even and become profitable within the first year and a half to two years. This is slightly lower than the profitability rate of standard restaurants, which takes around two years if not a little more. This is because of the popularity of food trucks and the relatively low cost of operations once you’re started. 

How Much Do Most Food Trucks Make Each Day?

Most food trucks make between $600 and $1400 each day. Of course, much of that goes back into the business in inventory costs, payroll, licensing, and general maintenance. It’s not all direct profits. As the business rolls on, however, profits grow and you learn how to manage your budget with the seasonality of business

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Food Truck Starting Costs: Getting the Wheels In Motion 

Starting up a food truck business, with the cost to start a food truck business and all the work involved, takes time, effort, and patience. It also takes a mix of solutions and resources that will help you stay on course and keep learning about the industry. Come on back to this BinWise blog and our series on food trucks whenever you need a refresher. 

When you’re ready to open for business, reach out to BinWise and BlueCart to schedule a demo. The BinWise Pro beverage inventory program, paired with the BinScan app, gives you the tools to master perpetual inventory. BlueCart’s order management software simplifies your order management system

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