Want to cash in on the food truck craze by hitting the streets with your own mobile business?
Take your food truck idea from a concept to an established business by following these five crucial steps:
1. Create Your Business Plan
A business on wheels may be different from a conventional one, but that doesn’t mean you get a free pass when it comes to your food truck a business plan. Like the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so take the time to put together a formal document that spells out your plan for growth in black and white. For a food truck business, clearly defining your target market, analyzing your competition, and deciding how you’ll position yourself to stand out among the other trucks along the sidewalk will be crucial to your success.
2. Make It Official
Opening your food truck business without the right licenses and permits in place can end up costing you hefty fines and penalties. The SBA’s website is a great starting point for finding out what licenses and permits are required to operate a business in your state You’ll also want to check with your state’s department of revenue regarding whether or not you need a sales tax permit, and with your state’s department of transportation to find out if you’ll need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive your truck. Lastly, check with your county clerk or city government for details regarding what local permits are required.
SEE ALSO: How to Insure Your Food Truck
3. Find Financing
Completing a business plan will give you an idea of how much capital you’ll need to get your business off the ground. How will you raise it? Traditional banks are a starting point, and you can seek out investors among friends, families, and people in your community. Don’t be afraid to explore non-traditional financing options such as crowdfunding or using the funds from your 401k to purchase shares in your new business.
4. Buy Your Truck
Your food truck will be your biggest start-up expense, but there are ways to keep the cost to a minimum. A used food truck can be purchased for roughly $20,000 to $50,000, and you can buy direct from owners using sites like RoamingHunger.com or eBay. New top-of-the-line food trucks can cost upwards of $200,000. Some food truck owners choose to lease new vehicles rather than purchasing them outright. Not only is it often easier to obtain a lease agreement than a loan to purchase a food truck, but it also allows you to future-proof your business by upgrading to a new truck once your lease agreement is up.
5. Go High Tech
Investing time and money in the right technologies will put you on the path to a profitable food truck business. Social media marketing is vital to spreading the word about food trucks and creating the sort of buzz that leads to lines around the block. You’ll also want to have the right cloud-based food truck point of sale system to allow you to process transactions, accept credit cards, easily manage your inventory, and analyze your performance.
Now that you’ve got the plan for your food truck business, what will you be serving up?