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Discussing how much a food truck costs seems like a pretty straightforward topic right? Not so fast. If you break it down, there are a few different ways to talk about the cost of a food truck.

First, there’s renting on for an occasion like a wedding. Then there’s buying a food truck and the operating costs associated with running it. Sounds like a lot right? Nah. Don’t worry.

We’ve got everything you need to know about the costs of a food truck right here.


How much does it cost to rent a food truck?

If you’re looking into renting a food truck for a special occasion, according to New York Street Food, you can expect the cost to be somewhere around $20-$25 per guest. In addition to it being a fun, less-than-traditional alternative to dinner proper, it can also save you a ton of money since the average cost of wedding catering is $68 per guest.

You have to keep in mind, though, that costs vary by city and considering how expensive New York is, chances are you can get by with less in other places. The cost also varies by the food truck. An ice cream truck will cost significantly less than a barbeque truck, for example. The number of hours you rent it for also matters as well as the number of accompanying staff you ask for. Another factor is whether or not you want the truck to include beverages and what kind (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) as is parking—some spots cost more for parking than others.

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How much does it cost to buy a food truck?

As the Balance explains, a simple food truck with minimal bells and whistles can run you as little as $30,000 – $40,000, but the thing is that you get what you pay for. While the focus can tend to be on food, at its core a food truck is just that—a truck. You want to make sure it’s reliable because the who idea rests on its mobility.

It’s also important that your truck is reliable for your business, too so that you don’t have to halt operations in the middle of a lunch rush. When all of these factors are taken into consideration, the real cost of a reliable truck is about $50,000 – $70,000 which jumps up to closer to $100,000 if you opt for a completely new truck.

How much does it cost to run a food truck?

Once you’ve got your wheels, the next elements to consider when evaluating the cost of a food truck are the ongoing operating costs. According to Food Truck Empire, food trucks are often considered a low-cost alternative to signing a lease for a brick and mortar space. However, there are different costs associated with running a food truck that can creep up on you if you don’t plan for them.

Depending on the laws in your city, you could be required to use a commissary which can run anywhere from $400 – $800 a month. Then there’s insurance which can easily reach the $2,000 – $4,000 per year range. Like any other business, there are permits and license fees to consider as well.

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Cinnamon is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and journalist who paid a large part of her way through college and graduate school by serving. Her work has been published with outlets like National Geographic, the Washington Post, Pacific Standard, and more. You can read more about her at www.cinnamon-janzer.com.
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