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Costs to Consider When Starting Your Own Pizza Food Truck

  • 4 min read
Lady selling food in her food truck
Image Sourge: Sean Benesh / Unsplash

Creating your own food sales business from a food truck can seem like a cost-effective business idea. After all, you don’t have excessive overheads when you’re not renting or buying a business premises to serve customers from. Instead, you just have your food truck and a map of the best parking spaces. However, there’s more to starting your own pizza food truck business than a kitted-out food truck. You must also factor in these costs:

Ingredients to Produce Your Pizza

You’ll need many high-quality ingredients to prepare delicious pizzas from your food truck, such as flour, cheese, pepperoni, and chopped vegetables. While choosing the most cost-effective suppliers is tempting, consider basing your purchasing decisions on reputation and quality.

For example, food producers who use inspection systems from leading providers like TDI Packsys may charge more for their ingredients. However, you can typically enjoy more peace of mind knowing their goods have undergone thorough inspections before being sold to restaurants and other food businesses. The more high-quality the ingredients you have, the more delicious your pizzas may be, and the easier it might be to attract a new loyal customer base.

Vehicle Modifications

Some people are lucky enough to find food trucks for sale that have already been kitted out with the best kitchen equipment. However, that’s never guaranteed. Pizza food trucks are not as common as other food truck types, meaning your chances of finding one that’s ready to go are probably slim.

You may need to factor in the costs of vehicle modifications before your business begins in earnest. Set money aside for kitchen equipment, storage, and pizza ovens. At a minimum, most pizza food trucks require pizza ovens, refrigerators and freezers, serving equipment, and food preparation surfaces. You may also need to modify your food truck to meet your area’s health and safety regulations.

Not to be forgotten are the costs associated with branding and your food truck’s exterior design. You may need to set aside thousands of dollars to help make your food truck stand out from the crowd. After all, the food truck scene is growing at a rapid pace, and you’ll likely have stiff competition!

Food Truck Licenses and Permits

While anyone with pizza-making skills can thrive in the food industry, not just anyone can launch their own food business out of a truck. You must have all the appropriate licenses and permits. These can vary across all states in the United States.

At a minimum, you may need a business license, permits from the health department, and a food handler’s permit. If you don’t have a permanent location to sell from, parking permits and compliance with local zoning regulations can also be important.

According to a Food Truck Nation report, starting and maintaining a food truck for one year can cost an average of $28,000+ for all permits, licenses, and ongoing legal compliance. Understanding your legal and local obligations before launching your food truck can be a good idea. By being aware of what’s required of you before you start planning, you may avoid making costly mistakes that delay your grand opening.

Insurance

Just as you need to budget for insurance in everyday life for your house, contents, vehicles, and medical needs, you’ll need to do the same for your business. You may be required to purchase liability, vehicle, and workers’ compensation insurance policies.

While added costs can be frustrating, insurance can be a crucial form of protection for your business. Failure to have it might mean you must pay out of pocket for any legal issues or food truck damage.

Servingware and Packaging

Having all the necessary ingredients and kitchen equipment to start cooking delicious pizzas is just the first step toward launching a successful food truck. You must also consider the costs of servingware and packaging to provide your customers with a standout food service experience. Napkins, condiments, toppings, pizza boxes, and containers are just a few of the many things you’ll need to purchase initially and for as long as you’re in business.

Wages

Wages are an often overlooked cost associated with pizza food truck ownership. Whether you're working alone or with a hired team, you’ll need to set aside money for the costs associated with everyday living.

If you’re hiring workers, you’ll likely need to pay at least the minimum wage of $7.25. However, the minimum wage can differ from state to state. Small employers with fewer than six employees may need to pay the minimum wage of $13.73. These costs can all add up, depending on how many people you hire and how long they need to work for.

Food Truck Fuel and Maintenance

Just as your own run-about vehicle requires fuel and maintenance, so does a food truck. You’ll need to pay for fuel to drive it to your location and even to run it for food service, depending on how it’s powered.

All vehicles require maintenance, so you may also need to set aside funds for regular servicing and the repairs and maintenance of parts. Fortunately, there’s potential for you to save money if you can take care of most vehicle maintenance and repairs yourself.

Marketing and Advertising

Some food trucks have become popular by serving excellent food. After all, word of mouth is a powerful form of advertising. If your customers are happy with your pizza, they’ll spread the word to their friends and family. Before long, you can have a dedicated customer base.

However, with so many food trucks operating in busy cities, a budget for marketing and advertising can often be crucial for getting the word out about your delicious pizza. You may need to launch a website, set aside funds for a developer to create an online ordering service, and pay for social media ads, Google ads, and traditional advertising like flyers and newspaper ads. These costs can all stack up.

There’s certainly more to starting a food truck than buying the truck. If you’ve been thinking about launching your very own pizza food truck business, it’s time to start planning. Being aware of all associated costs might ensure your financial readiness while being prepared for any unexpected surprises.

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