The Cost of Buying a Used Food Truck



If you want to start a new food truck business, it’s important to know how much you’re going to invest and how much you’re expected to spend. In this article, we’ll give a better overview of the costs you might face when looking for the perfect food cart for sale. This should help you gauge providers, as well as know what to expect in terms of pricing.

The Possible Alternatives

If you decided to buy a used vehicle, your main reason may be saving on the cost of starting up. However, if you want to make your culinary and business dreams a reality you need to properly understand what the alternatives are, and how much you’re really saving.

New food trucks for sale will cost you an average of $100,000 – $175,000. The best part about buying everything new is that you will know your costs from the beginning and won’t have to face any hidden costs down the line.

A second alternative is to buy a new kitchen on a used truck chassis, for which you should expect to pay $75,000 – $100,000. Just keep in mind that a used truck may have mechanical problems or might need to be refitted to accommodate for the kitchen, requiring additional costs.

A used food truck with used equipment will cost $50,000 – $100,000, although you might expect to spend up to an additional $30,000 if the vehicle or the kitchen require extensive repairs. Beware of those whose price are below the $40,000 range, as they can be old and damaged, meaning that the amount you spend to restore them them back to good working condition might outweigh the cost of buying a newer model. In most cases, all sales are final, so keep your eyes peeled to make sure you aren’t buying a ‘lemon’.


The Positives of Buying a Used Food Truck

Obviously, the best part of buying a used mobile kitchen is that the sticker price will probably be very affordable. If you don’t need to take out a loan because you can pay its full price from the start, you are can save money in the long run, since you won’t have to pay any interest on a vehicle loan. Also, if you buy outright, rather than leasing a truck, you won’t have to deal with recurring costs, allowing you to focus on building your brand.

If you are in no hurry, you may take all the time in the world to scour the internet to find the best used food truck offer. Check out the vehicles you like, and compare them with other alternatives. If you find one that operates in the same area you’re going to work, it may have had all the permits to work there in the past. Although you still need to file with the proper agency to obtain them, since permits are not transferred to the next owner, you have a chance that the vehicle is already on par with codes and regulations. That’s a big time-saver that will also save you from finding (and paying) a mechanic to modify the vehicle to obtain the permits.


The Risks You Face when Buying an Used Food Truck

Nothing is perfect, but if you are prepared enough, you can minimize all the risks of buying an used food truck quite easily. Since you’re no mechanic (unless you are), it may be hard to assess the real conditions of the truck and the kitchen. The previous owner may have delayed maintenance because he ran out of money, causing many parts to be more prone to breakage than expected. What you can do about that?

First, check all the warranties in place for the kitchen equipment or the vehicle. Knowing which ones are expired will give you a better overview of what you’re going to pay on your own if it breaks. Since unexpected breakdowns and problems literally come with the territory, these are the things you might want to replace now rather than later.

Second, check if your truck is on par with local regulations since it needs to pass an inspection. If something is not totally functional you might not pass the inspection, costing you a significant amount of time and money. Take this opportunity to put in some serious elbow grease to make your kitchen clean inside and out. Hiring a professional service to clean the kitchen from top to bottom could cost as much as $1000 dollars or more, but if do it yourself, you will not only be presented with an opportunity to save money, but also the opportunity to familiarize yourself with any quirks the vehicle may have, or any other maintenance issues that may have been overlooked.


The decisions you make when you choose which vehicle to buy will affect your food truck business for the rest of its existence. It’s much more than just the money you’re going to spend: your entire business will be built around the vehicle, its limits and its capabilities. So even if you found an offer you find hard to refuse, it’s always a good decision to take your time and consider the options thoroughly before committing to a final decision.

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