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

9 Best General Liability Insurance Companies for 2024

General liability insurance is probably the most popular business insurance that almost all businesses should have. It is required for some professions such as construction. The good news is that many insurance companies offer this product, so it is easy to find one that is the best for your business. In our intensive research, here […]

9 Best Commercial Auto Insurance Companies & Quotes in 2024

If you use your vehicles for work, you need to get a commercial auto insurance policy. Your personal auto insurance policy won’t cover the vehicles when you use for business. Commercial auto insurance is necessary when cars, trucks, or vans are used to conduct business. We cover everything you need to know about commercial auto […]

The 5 Best Business Owners Policy (BOP) Insurance for 2024

A Business Owner’s Policy (or BOP Insurance) is important to any small business to cover potential damages and losses when unexpected events happen. A BOP policy includes the coverages of general liability, commercial property, and business interruption in one master policy. If a small business can only afford one insurance policy, it should be a […]

11 Best Professional Liability Insurance Companies for 2024

If you’re a small business and in the market for professional liability insurance, below are 11 best companies offering this type of insurance for small businesses. In order to get an idea of the prices where online quotes were offered, we looked at a hypothetical accounting business in Wisconsin that had been in business for […]

Milepost Joins Truckstop: A New Dawn for Commercial Truck Insurance

The trucking industry is about to witness a significant shift in how insurance policies are procured, managed, and serviced. Milepost Insurance Agency LLC, a renowned Berkshire Hathaway enterprise, has recently collaborated with Truckstop, thereby pioneering a new era in trucking insurance for independent owner-operators. Revolutionizing the Insurance Experience The primary aim behind this dynamic partnership […]

Navigating Commercial Truck Insurance Premiums in 2023

Commercial truck insurance has become a focal point for many in the transportation sector as we delve deeper into 2023. With premiums seeing significant spikes in recent years, stakeholders are asking: Are we approaching a stabilization or even a decrease in these rates? Insights from industry experts provide clarity on this critical concern. Trends in […]

Regulatory Changes and Rising Commercial Truck Insurance Costs in California

In the wake of the passing of California’s AB5 bill, the trucking industry, including drivers and insurers, face unforeseen challenges. The legislation threatens to severely disrupt contractual trucking gigs, leading to rising insurance costs and potential operational changes. AB5 – A Potential Setback for Owner-Operators AB5, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019, […]

Finding Balance in Commercial Truck Insurance: Costs, Value, Services, and Long-Term Benefits

Navigating the maze of truck insurance offerings is not just a matter of finding the lowest price. It’s about understanding the nuances of what you’re buying, considering long-term benefits, and ensuring a harmonious relationship with your provider. This article offers a detailed examination of the process, unfolding the aspects of costs, value, services, honesty, and […]

New SEC Regulations on Cybersecurity and AI: A Comprehensive Overview

In an era where technology is at the forefront of business operations, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking decisive steps to ensure transparency and ethical practices. On Wednesday, the SEC was set to introduce new regulations that will impact publicly traded companies in two significant areas: cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI). These […]

6 Best Malpractice Insurance for Nurse Practitioners for 2023

Nurse practitioners have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to patient care. Many nurse practitioners assume that because they work under a doctor and their employer provides some level of malpractice insurance, they’re covered. It may be worth it to purchase your own policy, however. Employer malpractice insurance is to protect the employer, […]