How Much does It Cost to Start a Food Truck Business?

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

If you’re thinking of starting a business, a food truck might seem like one of the options with the lowest barriers to entry, turning a quick food truck profit. You don’t need to rent or own a fixed location, you can run the truck without employees if you choose and food trucks can have quick access to customers just about wherever there are people. However, it’s also not completely free to set up a food truck. So below we’ll outline how much to start a food truck business.    

What You Need to Start a Food Truck 

Popular food truck resource FoodTruckEmpire offers a spreadsheet that helps you calculate the costs of what it would take to start a food truck in your area.  

For a quick idea of what you’re looking at in costs, the sheet ends up tabulating a total low-end cost of $28,100, all the way to a high-end cost of $114,100. That’s a pretty wide margin, going from the cost of buying a new car to the low six figures. What you need to source can affect your price, however. You’re looking at needing:

  • The actual vehicle 
  • The wrap that goes on the outside of your truck
  • Gas for the truck
  • Equipment and tools for cooking
  • Food/ingredients
  • Utensils and plates for serving your food
  • Register and credit card system
  • Permits and licenses      
  • Food truck insurance 

Those are the absolute necessities in the guide for how much to start a food truck business. You might also add optional costs, like a website to promote your business, a chalk menu and uniforms. Locally, you may be required to use a commercial kitchen.

How Much does It Cost to Start a Food Truck Business?

All of these costs can vary dramatically. For instance, the truck, wrap and attached equipment are listed at $25,000 to $100,000. The price depends on if you serve food that requires expensive equipment, like a deep fryer and grill. If you want to turn a food truck profit faster, you also might look into refurbishing a used vehicle. Also, food truck insurance can run in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on which products you select.  

>>MORE: Food Truck Insurance: Coverage, Cost, Top 5 Providers

That’s why it makes sense to start your own spreadsheet to help calculate your eventual food truck profit. But hopefully, this can act as a starting point for what you all need to consider.     

>>MORE: How to Get a Food Truck License

Why Food Truck Insurance is Important

Because food truck insurance can run so expensive, it might be one of the points you keep off your spreadsheet to try to limit costs. However, food truck insurance is one of the most important expenses.  

According to small business insurer, the Hartford, insurance and legal claims can run quite costly. Average claims are: 

  • Reputational harm: $50,000
  • Vehicle accidents: $45,000
  • Fire damage: $35,000
  • Product liability: $35,000
  • Customer injury or damage: $30,000

Keep in mind, these are averages. When it comes to general liability insurance, aggregate and occurrence limits typically run in the $1 million to $2 million range, as is the case with the Food Liability Insurance Program. That’s to protect your food truck profit from multiple claims or those large nightmare settlements you hear about in the news.   

>>MORE: What is Food Trailer Insurance and Where to Find It?

Final Thoughts for How Much to Start a Food Truck Business 

How much it costs to start a food truck business is a personal question that can only truly be answered when you tabulate the costs for the type of food truck you’re planning on running. However, it’s common to see startup costs in the tens of thousands of dollars. 

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

More Stories

The 7 Best General Contractor Insurance Companies for 2023

General contracting can sometimes be dangerous, since you’re providing the bulk of the service for construction projects. A bag of cement could land on your foot, you could fall off a roof while shingling or simply pull your back while lifting something, despite your best efforts to stay safe. Then there are the outside risks […]

4 Best Home Inspector E&O Insurance for 2023

Home inspection is an essential part of the real estate buying process. A home is a huge investment and has an enormous amount of emotions involved. This leaves any mistakes the home inspector makes subject to lawsuits. And that is the reason why home inspectors need Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance.  Top 4 Providers of […]

3 Best Window Cleaning Insurance Companies for 2023

Window cleaning doesn’t seem like it’s too dangerous or risky of a business, unless you’re cleaning the outside of the windows on high-rise buildings. However, even if you are just cleaning windows in a residential setting, you could still be held liable for damages if someone feels your cleaning is substandard, you damage property while […]

The 4 Best Carpenters Insurance Companies in 2023

If you are a carpenter, it’s likely that you’ve put years of effort into training for and obtaining your contractor’s license. You’ve also learned how to manage your small business, whether as an independent contractor or part of a company, and have come to see the importance of having insurance.  Business insurance for carpenters is […]

The 5 Best Roofing Insurance Companies in 2023

Home contractors around the country are responsible for maintaining, updating, and building onto the properties of their clients. Despite the modern tools and training available to these specialists, like roofers, things can go wrong. Your work schedule may be delayed. A helper might cut corners without telling you. It’s even possible to make a mistake […]

How Much Does Carpet Cleaning Insurance Cost? (2023 Rates)

It can seem counterintuitive to need insurance if you run a carpet cleaning business. It doesn’t exactly sound like the highest risk profession in the world. However, there are situations where you could be held liable if something goes wrong. For instance, if you accidentally ruin the carpeting you’re cleaning, someone could seek damages to […]

Cheapest General Liability Insurance for Contractors in 2023

If you run a business, one of the main concerns can be keeping your overhead low so that you can turn a profit easier. As such, liability insurance can feel like a luxury because it only covers you in those “what if” scenarios. However, you don’t have to break the bank finding cheap general liability […]