How To Buy A Food Truck With Little To No Money

The food truck industry is a great one to enter for anyone who wants to start their own business, but has a small starting budget. Let’s take a look at why there are such low costs to starting your own food truck business, and tips/tricks that you can use to keep your starting costs as low as possible. It might not be free, but we’ll get it pretty darn close.

In order to purchase a food truck with as little money as possible, try shopping around for second hand trucks. You could also take out a loan or put the purchase on a credit card. Aside from this, you can rent equipment and buy low priced ingredients when getting started to keep starting overhead costs as low as possible.

Let’s take a look at each one of these tips individually to learn how low your startup costs really can be when getting started opening a food truck. This will help you decide whether or not you really want to take the plunge and open your own food truck!

Buying A Second-Hand Truck

How To Buy A Food Truck With Little To No Money

One great way to save money and keep startup costs as low as you can, is to shop around for a second-hand truck. Your truck, is going to be the most expensive part of your food truck business. As least as far as startup costs go anyway. So, if you are trying to spend as little money as you can, shop around on used car websites such as cargurus, carvana, carmax, or autotrader. Websites likes these are built specifically for used cars, and you are sure to find some good options that will cost you considerably less than shelling out for a brand-new truck.

You could also try websites like Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist to see if there is someone out there who is trying to get rid of a second-hand truck for cheap! The pro to shopping around on sites like these, are you are usually dealing with other individuals who own the truck, not working with a business or corporation. So, you are likely to get a better deal. They may have some truck just sitting around in their backyard that they are eager to get rid of, and you’ve just scored an amazing deal on a new truck.

The con to going through these venues however, is that you can’t guarantee that the truck your buying is in working condition, and if that’s the case, you many end up spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars trying to fix the truck you just bought. If you have limited funds to begin with, and you end up buying a truck that’s a dud, you may not have the additional funds needed to take care of these repairs. So, be mindful of who and where you buy from, before you buy. Like the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

How Much On Average It Cost To Flip A House

Taking out a Loan or Putting the Purchase on a Credit Card

So, while both of these options mean going into debt in order to open a business, it still keeps your starting costs down. Once your food truck opens up and your business starts to grow, then you can start to pay off your loans or the credit card. If you are opening a credit card to purchase the card with, make sure you choose one that has very little or no interest. This will keep your payments down and save you money in the long run. 

Do the same when taking out a loan. Make sure you aren’t taking out a loan that has a high interest rate, as this will sit and accrue interest over time, costing you more money in the long run.

 Neither of these are perfect options, as they both mean taking out debt, but as I said before you won’t have to worry about a high up-front cost, and you can pay it off as your business grows. Make sure you write up a business plan with a solid budget up front. Make sure you know how much your monthly payment will be if this is the route you choose to go, and you know how much you need to make in profit per month in order to make these payments on time, and still have money leftover in order to pay for ingredients, gas, payroll etc!

How Much It Cost On Average To Open An Auto Repair Shop

Rent Your Equipment and Purchase Low Priced Ingredients

How To Buy A Food Truck With Little To No Money

Another way of keeping the startup costs of your food truck low is to rent out all the equipment you’ll need instead of purchasing it outright. What equipment you’ll need will vary depending on what foods your food truck will offer. Think about it, the things you’ll need if you have a smoothie shop will be different then if you sell burgers. Think blenders to blend smoothies vs grills to cook burgers. So, you’ll first have to determine what cuisine your truck will be offering.

Popular retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, and eBay all sell used appliances that you can choose from. Sears is another popular retailer known for its kitchen appliances, that offers deals on used and refurbished appliances (they’re mostly online now, but check out their website). Again, you could try websites such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, but just be careful what you end up spending your money on.

Buying online will save you time as far as finding the right things that you need, and you can shop around and find the lowest price for what you’re looking for. So, before you commit to anything, do your research and see who can offer you the best deals on what you need.

Next, try to source your ingredients for the lowest prices you can, while still making sure you are getting good food. You don’t want to cheap out too much on the ingredients, and give all your guests food poisoning on opening day. Not exactly the bang you want to get started with! Check out your local farmer’s markets or grocery stands to see if there are any small businesses you can partner with to strike up a good deal. 

Since they are just getting started as well, they are likely eager to get off the ground and start selling too. If they find someone who would like to partner with them long term on their ingredients, the two of you can likely strike up a mutually beneficial relationship! 

Again, shop around to see what’s out there and to see where the best deal can be found. 

Bringing it All Together

At the end of the day, there isn’t really a way to get a food truck and get going for free. Unless you literally have someone who is giving their food truck business away. But, there are tips and tricks you can utilize to keep starting costs as low as humanly possible, and as close to free as we can! Once you do have your business up and going, make sure you make the best of things right off the bat. Remember, you’ve got bills to pay now! Make sure to always position your food truck in the best spots possible. Go where you know it will be busy. Whether that is concerts, festivals, fairs, carnivals, or just lunch time downtown. Make sure your truck goes where the crowds are. After all, it is the best part of having a mobile restaurant!

How To Best Get Financing For A Food Truck

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a good way to market my new food truck without spending lots of money?
How Much Insurance Do You Need For Your Accounting and Payroll Business?

Absolutely there is! There are multiple different things you can try to get the word out about your food truck, without even spending a penny (or just a few pennies)! Social media is a gem of a tool when it comes to advertising for free. Just create an account for your new food truck and start posting photos and advertisements to get the word out about your business. It costs you zero dollars to create a Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok and you can start promoting your business immediately.

  1. How can I find out where the best locations are to park my truck?

Do your research and find out where other food trucks frequently show up. This is a good indicator of what locations are busy and frequently trafficked by customers. Also check out social media to see what local events are coming up. Concerts, festivals, carnivals and fairs are all great places to get into because you won’t have to do any work on your part to bring in a crowd. The event will do all the work to draw the crowd in, and with any event, customers will be hungry and ready to spend!

To learn more on how to plan your own food truck business click here!

Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.