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

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. 

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