Where to Buy a Food Truck


Food trucks are everywhere. Looking to buy one?  You’ll need to start with a budget. Then decide on whether you want to lease, or buy a new or used food truck. You can buy one on eBay or Craigslist, but there are risks involved. Here’s a list of some of the best places to buy food trucks. You’ll also find a list of food truck cost considerations in this blog.

Best Places to Buy a Food Truck

Beyond buying a truck, you will need to know how to start a food truck business. Starting a food truck business involves a food truck business plan. You’ll need to identify a target market and raise the money. In some places in the United States, you’ll need a health permit. Then you’ll need to pick the menu items. Don’t forget to add on food service equipment.

One of the biggest decisions is where to buy your food truck.  Here’s a list that can help you get started.

Buying a Food Truck on eBay

The most time-consuming and expensive part of buying one of these trucks is making the initial purchase. Buying one of these on eBay has pros and cons. Repairs and maintenance can be costly. If you’re buying a used truck look for quality photos. These should include the tires, the seats, and the interior and exterior.

Looking at starting a business through eBay? Here are the pros.  ·

  • eBay has some requirements for sellers. They need a verified PayPal account and a

standard seller performance rating. You can check out seller information to make sure they are credible. That’s found on the right side of any bid.

  • eBay is generally a safe way to buy a food truck. The platform combines with PayPal’s protection services.
  • There are other safeguards. You can click on the number that’s right beside the seller’s username. That will take you to their feedback page.

There are some disadvantages for entrepreneurs looking to buy on eBay too.

  • Watch out for the prices. Some eBay sellers don’t price food trucks realistically. Other times you can find lower prices. It’s good to do some research before you commit. That way you might be able to haggle for a better number.
  •   Not every seller on eBay will answer questions before you buy. Make sure their contact information is up-to-date in the Contact Seller section.
  • Watch out for transactions that happen outside of eBay. You’re not covered by any buyer and seller protection programs if you go through with these.

Finally, remember the costs of a used vehicle are less than a new one at first. However, you’ll need to factor in repairs and maintenance eventually. These can add to business expenses.

 Finding your Food Truck on Craiglist

If you’re looking for a straight-ahead approach to buying a food truck Craigslist works. Here’s a few things that can make it a seamless experience to start a business.

  • You need to find the right spot to get started. The initial search starts with the Cars and Trucks section. Then click on the For Sale section and start paring down your search.
  • Checking out the listing starts with the photos. Craigslist uses low-resolution pictures but they can provide some warning signs. For example, look for any signs of rust or other damage. That goes for the truck and any food trailer you are looking at.
  • You can use the VIN to get a Carfax report. This can either discredit or verify the information you’re getting from the seller.
  • When possible, it’s a good idea to shop locally. You eliminate a lot of the risk of being scammed when you can meet in person.
  • Find out why the person is selling on Craigslist. The answer should give you a good idea of the overall value.

Remember sellers might be asking for a higher price than they expect to get. That means there’s always room for some negotiation when you meet face-to-face.

Finding a Food Truck on Specialist Websites

Your business plan might include looking for a food truck on specific websites. You can find a good vehicle on specialist websites when you know what to look for. Some websites are for food truck manufacturers. They have an inventory of leasing and purchasing options. Some websites provide lists of credible dealers and they can even help you find one in your state.

Some of these will let customers customize their vehicles. Below we’ve put together a list of some credible places to do business


This online business provides an excellent inventory of food trucks and food trailers. You can search by location and categories. The process also involves filtering your search by year and fire suppression capabilities. This website also lists food trucks by state. Food trailers are listed the same way.

This company also offers an interactive food trucks for sale map. Just click on the state to get listings that include photographs and prices.

Foodtruck Empire

This website offers a start-up kit that can help you start a business. There’s even a blog and podcast so you can get some information to fill in your business plan. FoodTruckEmpire lists concession trailers, carts, and food trucks. They also have a directory of credible food truck manufacturers.

You can search by state with the drop-down menu and category. There’s also a tab or you can list keywords. This service also has listings with high-quality pictures. The blog has a number of interesting articles and topics.

They can help you with everything from food offerings to advertising ideas. This website offers a good selection of food trucks for sale in places like New York City. Each one of the listings shows the number of days the unit has been up for sale.

Roaming Hunger

Roaming Hunger is a kind of portal for food trucks. It’s a business where you can look for and book one of these units for catering. You can also find one with their interactive map. The food trucks listed here make themselves available for events like corporate catering, fundraisers, and weddings. They post their menu items from their kitchen right on the site. Customers can order ahead by clicking a tab or book a catering event.

They also offer several marketing services including brand awareness and influencer networking.

Buying a Food Truck from a Corporate Fleet

There are several different ways to start a food truck business. Over the years many big companies have gotten into business in different cities. Different corporations that have owned a food truck include Google food trucks. The Internet giant owned a fleet from 2015 to 2017. Other names include AT&T and McCain.

Corporations are big on owning a vehicle. Some are interested in this type of mobile restaurant to serve their customers and employees. Others use this type of vehicle to feed emergency response staff. It’s another option to think about.

They serve as a great branding opportunity. Buying a food truck from a corporate fleet means going through the process already discussed.

These also allow corporations to have a presence at outdoor concerts, festivals, and local fairs

Searching Through Classified Ads

You can find food trucks for sale in both local and national ads. It’s important to look for high-resolution pictures in each. Contact information is also important. It’s good to have both a snail mail address, telephone number, and email address to choose from.

There should be a number of markets to sort through in national ads. You’ll get a good idea of where the customers are this way. Don’t forget social media as another option for classifieds like a Facebook page. Look for this service on other social media platforms too.

Ordering From a Custom Manufacturer

Some people want to get involved in this business with a customized unit. You need to go with a credible manufacturer to avoid undue stress. You will need to know what your budget and equipment needs are. It’s important to know where you will be operating and what kind of food that you’ll be serving.

A custom manufacturer will usually send a blueprint. Customers can make an adjustment afterwards. These manufacturers generally need about two or three months to finish an order.

Keep in mind the average food truck is generally 16 feet long and 7 feet wide. Your business might need a food truck, food cart or food trailer.

You will also need to decide on whether it will be powered by gas or diesel. A portable diesel generator can be the power source. There are lots of other options to choose from like a retractable awning and vinyl wrap for marketing.

Include other features in your budget like a pos system. Dont forget you’ll need to add on the food cost on a regular basis. And those are just a few option choices. This type of restaurant has many more.

Talking to Other Food Truck Owners

Talking to another food truck owner about their business is another way to get good information. Here’s a list of organizations that you can contact in your area. There’s a list of cities and topics to discuss. Search by location and note the best spots to get started.

Look for an owner that’s willing to discuss features like kitchen layout and more. Find out about costs for a propane tank and other features. Talking to these people helps to understand this food business. You can even find out which food unit is best. A food truck franchise is also an option so don’t forget to ask about that.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Food Truck?

The cost of a food truck depends on what type of food truck you’re looking to purchase. Prices vary depending on whether you’re looking to lease a food truck, buy a new truck or purchase a used truck.

Some have better features and cost more.

Buying this type of restaurant on wheels is involved. There’s more to it than meets the eye.

Buying a Brand New Truck: Becoming a Food Truck Owner!

Buying a brand-new food truck can cost anywhere between $100,000-$175,000. A new food truck has advantages and disadvantages. First off you’ll need to have the finances to make the purchase. You need to be aware of licensing and parking permits and regulations.

A new kitchen is one of the advantages of a brand-new food truck. The appliances usually come with a full manufacturer warranty. A new kitchen won’t need repairs quite as often as used equipment. The appliances don’t need as much maintenance either

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Used Food Truck?

Buying a used food truck is a great alternative if you don’t have the money for a new vehicle. The price for an older food truck can be as low as $35,000. You can get a decent purchase for around $50,000.

You might already have the permits you need with a used purchase. That saves time on your business. However, the warranties might be expired.

Leasing a Food Truck Business

Leasing a food truck business is another alternative. Research says some cities have commissaries where you can lease a food truck for around $4500 a month. You can also enter a lease-to-own program. The price range there is $3600 a month at the lowest to $3800 a month for a new truck.

Entrepreneurs should be careful about the prices for long-term rentals because they are high. Due diligence will help you find the best mobile restaurant.

Other Restaurant Startup Costs to Consider

Beyond buying the vehicle, there are other food truck cost additions. There are lots of other items to consider for your business. They include inspection and parking costs as well as food service permits and insurance. Here’s a breakdown of some of the money you’ll need to run this kind of business.

  • Parking can cost anywhere from $250 to $2,000 per month. This, of course, assumes you don’t own plenty of space on which to park your food truck.
  • Event fees can set you back $500-$1,000 for every event.
  • Kitchen equipment, of course, is rather fundamental here. Unfortunately, not many trucks are sold with equipment stocked inside.
  • Marketing could include a custom truck wrap. There are a a lot of food trucks out there. You’ll want yours to stand out and proudly pronounce your business.
  • Putting together a customer base starts with marketing and a website. Consider email marketing too for a food truck business. A strong social media presence is going to help draw customers to your stand for special pop-up events, too.
  • Payment options might include a POS system that can cost starting at about $50 a month.

We haven’t even talked about the food costs, too. That’ll all depend on what your truck serves. This type of mobile food restaurant also needs napkins, spoons, plates, and the like. That can cost up to $500 a month. The more unique the company, the more these costs will vary.

Is it better to buy a new or used food truck?

For many entrepreneurs, buying a new unit is an excellent idea. There’s a bigger startup cost at first, but you’ll save on costly repairs. Here are some of the advantages of getting a new truck.

  • These can be customized to suit the needs of your target customers.
  • You’ll get a polished, clean appearance with a new vehicle.
  • There is no need to worry about big repairs and breakdowns at first.
  • This type of mobile kitchen has good warranties.

There are a few disadvantages. For example, there’s a big initial investment. As well, customization takes a little longer. There’s more time to wait at first.

Buying a used truck has advantages and disadvantages too. For example, food truck owners note the kitchen equipment has already been installed. You’ll be able to use features like a serving window right away. These units cost less at first. That means you will need less money when starting a food truck. They might even have a pos system ready to go.

There are some disadvantages to buying a used unit. These include:

  • These don’t last as long as a new truck.
  • You can’t really be sure of the history and wear and tear.
  • You might have a problem finding someone to make changes.

Buying a used or new unit comes down to how much money you have upfront to spend.

How much does it cost to run a food truck monthly?

There are monthly costs for this type of business. Here is some of the money that you need to set aside on a monthly basis.

Food truck and step van owners need to pay for the parking spaces they use in the commissary. That can cost anywhere from $1000-$1500 monthly. Maybe more in some locations.

You might need to rent a space to prepare the food you sell. Commercial kitchen space costs between $500-$1500 a month. Cooking gas and fuel for your truck can usually eat up $600 on a monthly basis.

Although they vary, maintenance and truck insurance usually costs upwards of $400 a month

Are food trucks a good investment?

This type of business is a good investment that has seen a good growth rate since 2015. However, you’ll need a solid business plan and the ability to manage food and expenses. It’s a good way for entrepreneurs who don’t have the money for a restaurant to get started.

Do food trucks make a lot of money?

Generally, you can make anywhere from $50,000-$200,000 by owning this type of business. Research says around half of the truck owners make at least $200,000 a year. Being a chef cuts down on costs when you’re starting this kind of business. That means more profit.

Image: Depositphotos

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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