Food Truck Insurance: An Overview of The Types of Insurance You Need

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The typical insurance package needed by a food truck business should include commercial auto liability, general liability, business and personal property insurance, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, umbrella liability or excess liability, and additional insured certificates if the owner of the food truck plans on joining food truck events regardless if hosted by a private events planner  or a local government agency.

Many insurance companies have an insurance package for food truck owners. The cost of insuring your food truck business  would depend on several factors such as:

  • Your annual gross sales
  • Value of your business personal property
  • Type of food truck

The insurance could cost as low as $300 or go much higher depending on the value of your equipment, number of employees, location, and gross sales.

Insurance Difference for Food Trailers and Food Trucks

There is a difference in insurance requirements for trailers and trucks. This is because the trailer needs a vehicle to tow it while a truck doesn’t. Thus, a trailer insurance will not be acceptable for a food truck operation and assuming that a trailer is automatically covered by the insurance of the vehicle towing is would be wrong especially if the trailer is to be used for business purposes.

Using a trailer for your food truck business is best covered by a commercial auto policy and the policy should be treated as a business insurance policy. However, if you plan on using your personal car to tow the trailer, it is imperative that you inform the insurance provider so they can increase your liability and add it as a business use endorsement. Otherwise, you risk being denied any claim should it ever get to this point. For commercial auto liability, the minimum limit is $1,000,000 unlike personal coverage which can be booked for much lower.

Another benefit to having a commercial auto policy is the option to buy Excess Liability which is demanded by some parties who rent out private or public land for events. This kind of coverage is not available under a personal auto policy.

Food Trucks That Have Gone Nationwide & How They Did It

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V-Grits is a food truck from Louiseville that serves vegan food. It recently announced that it has plans to go nationwide using a meal subscription service that will provide subscribers with recipes they can create on their own in their kitchens after ordering the ingredients from V-Grits. V-Grits plans to ship food ingredients to all their subscribers ; food ingredients that they make in their commissary. According to the owner of V-Grits, Kristina Addington, the plan is to start local and slowly expand the subscription service.

Yes, the food truck business has started to evolve into something very unique and V-Grits is not the only one that has grown. Continue reading »

The Demise of the Food Truck Business: How To Prevent This From Happening To You

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The food truck industry is bright and wonderful. At least, that’s what it looks like with the food truck reality shows, numerous food trucks and food festivals around the country and the world, and the stories, oh the stories of success, glory, and owning a cash cow.

Yet, the number of used food trucks being sold or dumped is also increasing. Their stories are not being told with as much vigor and enthusiasm perhaps so as to not jinx the skyrocketing trend food truckers have been enjoying for the past 2 years.

How To Avoid Losing Your Food Truck Business

According to, you can open a food truck with as little as $40,000 or spend as much as $250,000. Regardless of the actual amount, it still costs thousands to start a food truck and most food truck owners are small businesses run by regular folks who want to augment their income or start a business.

To avoid losing not just your food truck but also your savings, here are some valuable tips to consider:

  • Use social media with care. Never disrespect feedback from customers no matter how cruel it is. Learn to listen and consider each point raised by your customers. At the same time, get to know your customers especially those who take time to send in feedback. There are certain words you must never be caught using whether in your business or social media accounts like “hate” and “stupid” to describe your customers or competition – not even as a joke. You must also stay away from discussing about divisive issues like politics, race, or gender. On the other hand, you can and should not be afraid to engage respectfully with others about your spiritual beliefs and personal convictions as it can open opportunities for your customers to get to know you.
  • Make sure to follow all health, sanitary, and safety regulations. Treat each day as inspection day.
  • If you need help with accounting, taxes, and inventory control, get a professional to help you set it up or buy software to help you keep track of the paperwork.
  • Try to find a location that isn’t already congested with other food trucks especially if there are similar menus
  • Expand your business to offer catering and special events and observe working hours that customers can rely on
  • Never compromise on food quality, taste, and service

Finally, avoid burning out by getting good people, a trustworthy partner, and regular time out to enjoy a personal life.

What You Need To Know About Operating a Food Truck for 2016

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With 2016 looming, the prospects of being part of the food truck industry for the new year is promising, very promising. Imagine being able to start and own your own business in a time when the economy is not really doing so well – on a local, national, and even global scale. Being captain of your financial ship is an enticing treat since it will allow you to enjoy greater control over your income and maybe even allow you to do earn more from just one income source.

To operate a food truck in 2016, there are several tips you should be aware of.

Tip #1 Operating a food truck is harder than it sounds.

There is the romantic notion of running a food truck but if you don’t know the realities of this business, you will be terribly challenged and disappointed. Operating a food truck is hard work. It’s manual labor, physically draining, mentally challenging, and you have to be pleasant all the time or you won’t get return customers. You assume the role of purchaser, cook, dishwasher, Jack of all trades, delivery boy, general manager, server, driver, repair person, and maintenance guy.

Be ready to assume all roles. Do not be picky and grumble about doing stuff you find demeaning. Find satisfaction in the ordinary jobs and you will do alright.

Tip# 2 Be flexible about location.

While location is important, more important is being in special events where you are sure the crowds will be like music festivals, country fairs, and flea markets. There will be late nights and early mornings but as long as you schedule the events with rest days in between, you will love the business and the income it will bring in.

Tip# 3 Listen to your customers and competitors.

You may think you have the best menu in the world but if no one agrees with you, then your food truck is doomed. You need to listen to the comments and actively solicit feedback. You don’t have to follow everyone but give each serious consideration. It also pays to know who your market is so you know who to listen to and who to shrug off.

Tip# 4 Prepare for lean months.

The food truck business is seasonal so have a back-up plan for the lean months. For instance, you could have a mini version of your food truck to put inside malls or covered events during the cold months or you could have a second business whose peak time is the lean months of the food truck. For example, if you have a special meat sauce, why not pack them for selling online? You will have to invest a little more to get this other project going but once it kicks off, you could have a winner that will compliment your food truck operations.

Finally, don’t forget to use social media to market your business. If you don’t know how to do it, get someone with experience to help you out.


Building a Sustainable Food Truck Business

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A sustainable food truck is the key strategy today with so many available choices in the market. The industry has ballooned to massive number of food trucks in all corners of the country and globe so much so that customers are now becoming pickier about which food truck to buy from. Add to this mix is the fact that customers are also becoming more blasé about hyped-up marketing having been exposed to so much in the past months. Thus, food trucks are no longer an attraction or something to support and buy from because “it looks cute and unique.” Food trucks have to deliver to goods: in flavor, quality, and sanitation.

Here are a few tips on how to stay sustainable in the food truck industry.

Continue reading »

How to Protect Your Food Truck Turf: Or Should You Do This At All?

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Your turf as a food truck owner is more than just a parking space; it is part of the key to your success in the food truck business. Some locations are just better than others even if you compare it to a few spaces down or up a main street where other food trucks are parked. Thus, it is not unlikely that you will find yourself rushing to book a specific “lucky space” or trying to make sure that you are in ahead of the others in a free-for all, first-come, first pick basis. Continue reading »

How to Balance Running a Food Truck and Personal Life

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Owning a food truck business can easily take over your life and relationships. Understandably, the euphoria of owning a food truck is addicting especially if you have always wanted to start your own business. Being part of the retail business, a food truck works even on weekends if one accepts catering or joins events. This can get very hectic and put you in a position where you have to make choices. Since the food truck is an investment and there is an urgency to start making money, usually the choice is to attend to the food truck and let go of a personal life and relationships  for the meantime.

Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disaster because it can lead to burn-out, damaged relationships, and costly errors in running your business because of fatigue and insufficient R&R.  Many business owners put aside time for a personal life but make the fatal error of not being present mentally and you will still suffer the consequences of work-intensive lifestyle.

The Basic Rules of Running a Business

If you want to enjoy life and still have enough energy and time for your start-up food truck business, you need to:

  • Have a support system that fully backs up your business plans. There will be many times when business emergencies will eat into personal time. Your family, friends, and partner in life must be able to understand this and not make it an issue.
  • Have an outlet where you can go to get away from the business. This could be a sport, a hobby, a place, or being with someone.
  • Avoid bringing personal issues into the daily operations of your business and vice versa. Keep it separate even if your business partner is your life partner.
  • If your partner is your life partner, spouse, friend, or relative, have an agreement to be professional while at work.

Stick to your Business Plan

Having a good foundation with a realistic business plan is a good start. Stick to it and don’t force the timeline to success. The only exception would be if an investor comes around and want to bankroll several food trucks carrying your product. You see, the learning curve of running a business is an important phase and usually happens during the first 2 years in business. This is not an excuse to forget family and a personal life rather a warning that starting a business is demanding but not everything.  If you can balance your life and manage your business in this first 2 years, you will accumulate a wealth of information and experience that will help you become a success. This is why the business plan is critical to a small business where funds and resources may be limited.

How To Start A Food Truck Business Without Applying For A Loan

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You don’t have to start a food truck business by being in debt. It is an acceptable way of starting a business but why do it this way when you can avoid getting into debt? At the very least, you should consider aiming for a low loan amount so you don’t stress on your first 2 years about repayment.

Before you even decide to limit your debt exposure, you have to accept that not applying for a big business loan will mean learning to cut corners whenever and wherever necessary provided you do not compromise on quality and integrity. You may also have to accept that it will require you to work harder since you may have to avoid hiring too many employees.

Keep Your Primary Income

A food truck business can start as a weekend business. This will allow you to keep your day job and schedule the food truck to go out on weekends and special holidays. Your plan should include the tipping point when you can transition to being a full time food truck business. This tipping point should include a net income that can support your lifestyle and a growing list of regular customers and venues where you can park your truck including a daily parking slot for the lunch crowd.

Look for Investors

If you have a great menu and fantastic reviews on your food, you can start searching for investors who will be willing to put up the capital for a food truck.  Surprisingly, there is a growing number of business-minded entrepreneurs who do not want to work in a kitchen but want to own a food truck. These are the people you should target and you will see them roaming food truck areas and festivals looking for great food truck ideas.

There are also websites that connect investors with people who have business ideas like crowd-funding websites. Another option would be to approach friends and family although this kind of personal relationship can be troublesome down the road.

How about Starting Small First?

Instead of testing your food truck menu on a full scale kitchen truck, why not join food festivals with a small food cart first? The capital investment is much smaller and you get real feedback on your food – just like you would with a food truck. You will have to scale down your menu and only offer your most delectable item. However, you can also rotate your food to test each item in real time.

Food trucks that opened brick-and-mortar Counterparts

The idea of going into the food industry is to make money, be your own boss, and enjoy doing something you love. The food truck is a great way to start because it does not require the capital of a full-blown operations. However, the ultimate dream to be financially stable or prosperous has a greater chance of being realized if a food truck owner can transition to a brick and mortar restaurant which will allow the entrepreneur to sell more food to a larger market at regular working hours.

A few hardworking food truck owners have been successful in doing this. Take a look at their inspiring stories.

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Josh Saltzman and Trent Allen started their food truck business, PORC, in 2011. They bought a UPS van and converted it into a food truck selling pulled pork and coleslaw. After almost getting into an accident on the food truck, they decided to turn their business into a brick and mortar establishment. Their products were selling well but they were not happy with doing everything. There are around 19 food trucks in the DC area that have also followed suit like Far East Taco Grille, Popped! Republic, Curbside Cupcakes, and SOL Mexican Grill. The road to moving into a permanent spot is easier because you have already established a history as a business success. Banks are more willing to sit down and discuss a business loan with an established business person. You can show your assets, Twitter followers, and even give them a taste of your food to seal the loan!

According to Kristi Whitfield of Curbside Cupcakes who opened her brick and mortar restaurant last October after running a successful food truck for more than 4 years, “If it weren’t for the food truck, none of this would be in existence.”

Quick Tips on How to Know When You Are Ready for the Big Time

Moving from food truck to permanent location is a huge step and sounds like the perfect ending unless you want to start franchising. It is important to know when this can happen so you don’t waste a golden opportunity with lenders and investors.

  • Build your market and reputation. Investors look at your online reputation as well as your standing in the community you serve.
  • Don’t change your menu frequently because it will take you longer to build your name and reputation
  • Start introducing yourself as an enterprising individual with big dreams to your customers. You never know who among them would be willing to invest in your business.
  • Save, save, save if you do not want to apply for a business loan.

Choosing Your Food Truck: Should You Buy Used or New?

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The biggest expense when setting up a food truck business is buying the food truck. And although the growth rate for new food trucks in the past 5 years is around 12.4% or over 4,000 food trucks now operating around the country, there are used food trucks being sold in the market. The question to answer then is whether to invest in a new truck or buy a used truck.

There are some people who believe in the superstition that buying second-hand or used items especially if it is connected to failure will mean trouble. If you think along these lines, you should buy a new food truck although it will cost you more and still give you a 50/50 chance of success or failure.

Other Factors That Should Be Considered

Superstition aside, there are other factors that must be considered when buying a truck. The first questions you should answer are:

  • How much storage do you need? How much cooking will you be doing?
  • Do you want gas or diesel?
  • Where do you plan to sell because there may be parking restrictions on size and length of truck?
  • Would you rather buy a food truck ready-to-use or buy a truck and customize it?
  • Are you willing to consider leasing a food truck?

A ready-to-use food truck will mean that you have to make do with the lay-out and plan around it whereas a customized truck can be outfitted to suit your business plan.  In addition, to order a custom-made food truck would take time to finish and this will delay the opening of your business. You are also taking a chance that the person you order the custom built food truck from is spot on with your instructions.

One way to decide on the truck to buy is to scout around at existing food trucks that are selling foods similar to what you have in mind. Many food truck owners are happy to discuss their business if you approach them properly and you could solicit excellent tips on buying your own truck.

Keep in mind that food trucks do not necessarily have to be trucks. You have other options like buying a minivan, cart on wheels, or a minibus. The idea is to tie down the food truck design to your business concept so it is attractive and a crowd-pleaser.