how much is a food truck permit in california

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How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California



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How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California

One of the food trends that is growing the fastest in the country is food trucks. They've come a long way since the days when they were just dirty burger vans, and now they're some of the most popular restaurants in the world. After the 2008 financial crisis, people in California couldn't pay the sky-high rents that came with having a licensed business. This gave rise to the upscale food truck trend that we're all used to.

One study found that there are now and over 8,000 food trucks in US cities with more than 120,000 people. This could mean that there's no better time to start your own food truck business than now.

How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California

But before you hurry to start typing up your food truck business plan, you need to know that it won't be worth the paper it's written on if you can't estimate how much it will cost to make your business work. So, we've put together a helpful guide to help you figure out how much all of these costs will be, starting with the food truck itself.

How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California

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Food Truck – Est. $50,000 - $200,000

Different types of food trucks will charge different prices, just like different kinds of cars. Your first choice is whether to buy a car that can be driven on the road or a food "trailer" that you can pull to different places. Even though a trailer will save you money in the short term, don't forget that you'll still need a car that can pull it and pay for that car.

How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California


If you want to buy a "real" food truck, the cost will depend on many things. The overall costs will depend a lot on whether you buy new or used, how many changes or improvements you need to make to the kitchen, and how much you need to spend to brand your truck by wrapping it or putting decals on it.

Licenses, permits, parking, and insurance - $8,000 -$12,000

Wouldn't it be great if you could load up your food truck with supplies, find a busy street corner, and start selling? It's not quite that easy, though. Before you even think about selling food from your food truck, you need to make sure that your business is legal and follows the rules. Insurance for the business, permits to serve food, code inspections, and licenses for the food truck are all necessary costs. Also, many of these aren't one-time costs, but rather costs that happen every year.
Here's how much you can expect to pay for each part of complying with laws and rules:

$75 to $140 to start a business.
Registration fees range from $85 to $40.
Foodservice licenses cost between \$270 and \$2,000 per year.
$125 to $150 per year for a fire safety permit
Permit or license for a food truck: \$250 to \$500 per year
How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California
\$200 to \$1,000 per month to park and store a food truck
Event pitches - $600 per event
At least basic liability insurance: \$1500 to \$4000 per year

As you can see, a food truck costs a lot of money up front. Even though there's no doubt that it's a great business chance, you shouldn't take it lightly.
Costs for food, kitchen, and other supplies range from \$3,000 to \$7,000.

Now it's time to think about what might be the most important part: the food. First, you'll need to do market research to figure out how much your first month's (30-day) inventory will cost. Try to find out how many orders other food trucks are getting in the areas you want to serve. When your business is well-known, the cost of inventory alone will be in the tens of thousands of dollars every month.

How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California


How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California

On top of the costs of food stock, you'll also need to think about the costs of food preparation and storage. Many use a commissary kitchen, which is a commercial kitchen that is shared by more than one mobile food vendor. This is where food orders are made and important ingredients are stored.

In most cities in California, this service will cost you more than \$1,000 per month. Lastly, you'll need to get smallware (like pots, pans, and spatulas) and serveware (like plates, bowls, eating utensils, napkins, etc.) before opening day.
POS software and other tech investments cost between \$1,000 and \$3,000.
In the early days of food trucks, cash registers were enough. Now, if you don't have a mobile POS system, your business could fail before it even gets off the ground. Cards have been used more than cash in the US for almost a decade, and the popularity of mobile wallets is making us move toward a cashless society faster than ever.

But a point-of-sale (POS) system for a food truck does a lot more than just accept modern forms of payment. It keeps track of orders through the kitchen of the truck, lets people place orders online, and can be used to make customer loyalty programs. During busy times, servers can even leave the truck and take orders from people in line using a handheld POS device. This cuts down on wait times.
How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California

Next, you'll need to invest in other tech solutions, like accounting software, a professional website, and an app that lets customers place orders. You'll also need to buy a business mobile phone, Wi-Fi network access, and hardware for taking payments.

Cost of labor: \$1,000 to \$8,000

Of course, you're going to need help running your food truck business, especially if you start to get known in the area where you do business. Many people who run food trucks do it all by themselves at first, but others hire two or three people right away and then add more people as needed later on.

How Much is a Food Truck Permit in California