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How to Lease a Food Truck

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March 15, 2023

The popularity of food trucks has been rising in the culinary scene for many years now. The number of mobile kitchens has increased by 9.9 percent since 2022 and shows no sign of slowing down. It’s with good reason that so many restaurateurs want to jump on the food cart bandwagon. Food trucks can be highly profitable, have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar restaurants, and can be a great way for chefs to test out menu concepts.

For many, the first step in achieving their mobile kitchen dreams is leasing a food truck. If you are looking to learn more about the steps you’ll need to take and why leasing might be best for you, read on for all the details.

Advantages of Leasing a Food Truck

Whether you are starting your mobile truck journey or expanding your fleet, leasing a truck offers plenty of perks.

  • Low Start-Up Costs: With low start-up costs, food truck owners can become profitable relatively quickly. Some reports show an operator can earn up to an average of $500 daily. Based on those averages, food carts can earn $23,000-$150,000 a year. Buying a new truck ranges anywhere from $50,000 to $175,000. Renting a truck requires less upfront costs and allows for more cash flow flexibility. Long-term rentals, for example, can be as low as $1,000 to $5,000 a month.
  • Start-up Support: Working with a mobile kitchen leasing company often means that you can build out your dream truck to work for your unique menu and location quicker than if you began on your own. Many leasing companies can help with branding/designing your truck, acquiring the right permits, insurance, logistics, and more.
  • Cart Option Flexibility: When leasing a food truck, owners have two different options: traditional leasing or rent-to-own. These options allow operators to choose the best plan for the long term while considering monthly payment amounts. Traditional leasing usually requires a lower down payment and gives owners the ability to upgrade or change their cart further down the road. Rent to own might have a larger down payment, but it allows an owner to own a truck without purchasing one upfront.

3 Steps to Leasing a Food Cart

Once you’ve decided to lease a food truck, there are three key steps you need to take to ensure you’re on the right road to rent your mobile kitchen:

1. Design Your Food Truck Business Plan

The first step in any restaurant endeavor is to develop a business plan. Consider your brand, target market, location, start-up and operational costs, and menu. Having a solid plan will not only help execute your overall vision, but also will provide leasing companies and funding agents with a guide for your business. 

2. Gather Your Financials: Part of your lease application will include financial statements and general background information. You’ll want to gather your documents and monetary details that verify your business’s financial health. For example:

  • Down payment amount
  • Credit score
  • Amount of access to capital 

3. Get the Right Insurance: Most leasing companies require insurance before finalizing the rental. The type of insurance will depend on the particulars of the lease itself, as well as your county, city, and state requirements. You’ll want to make sure and look into specific insurance laws in your area to comply.

General Food Truck Requirements

Once you have finalized your food cart lease and are ready to start cooking, ensure you have all the requirements taken care of before opening day. Requirements vary from state to state, so check your area for specifics. However, here are a few key regulations to be aware of:

  • Food and health permits
  • Business license
  • Location permits
  • Demonstrated HACCP compliance
  • Food or beverage handling certifications

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Steps to Lease a Food Truck

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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