The price of designing a new food truck will be between $30,000 and $120,000, depending on numerous factors that will be highlighted below. Starting and running a food truck business is a joy; it is a lucrative industry, you meet interesting people every day, you work where and when you want to, and you are your own boss. But like any other job, you need a strong foundation to turn a profit.
By now you probably have a business name picked out, you understand what your menu will look like, and now you need to find an affordable, high-quality custom food truck company or truck designer that can transform your dream into reality.
A food truck is like a rolling billboard, so it is important to get the design right, even if that means investing more money up front. More importantly, your food truck’s design will become the basis for your branding efforts. Your colors, logo, and overall vibe will be what your customers come to associate with your food, so the design is about more than just attracting hungry diners.
Indeed, you can still have awesome food and loyal customers if your truck features a minimal design, but you are going to have to work twice as hard as the trucks with bright colors and clear design concepts to make that happen. Note that this is true when you are serving at food truck festivals and fairs, where customers have dozens of choices.
But unless you were an artist or designer before you got your start in food service, you will probably want to hire a professional to handle your exterior and interior food truck design.
Note that you have various options here, but it is crucial to work with a designer who allows you to talk about your vision for the truck. Your designer should welcome your feedback throughout the design process, to ensure you get a finished product that you are happy with.
For a lower budget option, you can source your design to an art student, offering them a chance to add to their portfolio while earning some cash. If that’s not an option, a professional will be your best bet. Have it in mind that some services will provide you with a detailed design, leaving the actual food truck wrap to another business, and others will go through the entire process with you.
Factors That Determine the Cost of Designing a Food Truck
Whether you are the team leader for an established restaurant, a member of a leadership team for a corporation, an entrepreneur or you are about to launch a family business, you and your competitors all have the same goal: wind up with a food truck that will help you achieve your own personal growth goals.
Therefore, finding the best food truck designer is essential for your success. Note that the price of designing a new food truck will be between $30,000 and $120,000, depending on numerous factors, and these factors include;
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Have it in mind that no two food truck businesses are the same, which means that no food truck design experience will be the same either. The dimensions of your food truck will affect the cost of designing your truck and also vary depending on your menu, equipment, and staff. You can choose to pick the design of your food truck layout by yourself, or you can leave it to a professional company.
The length and width of your truck have a major impact on how you choose to organize it and how your designer will charge for their services. No matter what size your truck is, you will be presented with the challenge of fitting all the equipment you need into a limited space. Experts note that the most common food truck sizes are 14 feet, 16 feet, and 22 feet.
When you are designing your food truck yourself, you will have to design a floor plan by yourself and also consider all the food truck equipment you need and the unique space you will be working in. But with a well experienced designer, you just have to cater to the space by mapping it out and then let the designer designate specific zones for equipment based on the truck’s dimensions.
Designer Experience and Timeline
Creating a food truck can take more time than expected due to the availability and expertise of the designer. It may take a professional one to three months to design and complete all of the work. All these will factor in while negotiating price with a designer.
5 Tips for Hiring a Custom Food Truck Designer
Searching for the best food truck designer is no easy task. A good number of entrepreneurs make the mistake of treating the process like they are shopping for a new car. But the fact that it is a motorized vehicle is not something to focus on.
Note that a food truck is the foundation of a business, and it must be built for hitting high revenue goals and delighting customers. Here are tips to help you find a food truck designer that has your best interest in growing your business.
Gun for Value, Without Compromise
You have to first understand that you have a lot of options when it comes to food truck designers, and like any other big purchase, the value should be your number one priority. You can find food truck manufacturers that charge half the price compared to others, but this doesn’t mean you are getting value.
Consider the expense it will cost if you buy a poor-quality truck outfitted with fake equipment, and it breaks down. Aside from paying for repairs, you will be losing money by being off the street. In addition, you run the risk of competitor trucks taking your spot while your truck is being repaired. Your best bet is to find a high-quality food truck designer that only uses the best equipment while offering fair and competitive pricing.
Creativity is a Must
Most times, business owners seeking a custom food truck will put most of their focus on quality and value, but finding a true creative should never be put on the back seat. Note that you can have a food truck hand-constructed with the finest parts and latest equipment, but without a creative touch, you will be losing customers.
Also, have it in mind that people eat with their eyes first. Your food truck will not only be competing with other mobile kitchens but also with brick and mortar restaurants. If you don’t have a creative concept with eye-catching graphics and colors to tie in your branding with what your customers want, you will be missing out on a huge slice of your consumer audience.
Integrating Design into Your Business Model
A good food truck designer will start the engagement by understanding your business model, growth goals, target customers and will create a design around those factors. Note that acquiring a food truck is not like buying a family car: you need a custom platform, the right food truck equipment, and the right technology in order to have a truck that will help you achieve your growth goals right out of the gate.
For instance, if you intend to have a staff of two and you plan to serve Omaha dry-aged steak sandwiches, but in one year you want to expand your menu to steak tacos, nachos, and burritos, and you want to add a fryer to your truck and hire two more people, you will need a platform that will both accommodate current and future needs without going too big.
Note that the first sign when speaking with the best food truck designer is a vast portfolio with multiple client types. Look for a food truck designer who has supported entrepreneurs setting out in the food truck business for the first time.
If a food truck designer has successfully worked with a significant number of these clients, you know they are thorough and client-focused. You should also look for a food truck designer with a number of mom and pop clients under their belt. Most of these clients have family traditions, so knowing your food truck designer has supported these client types is a testimony to their abilities.
Finally, go for a food truck designer that also has a number of large corporate food trucks in their portfolio. Corporations tend to be very particular when it comes to food truck designers. If you talk to food truck designers who have repeat work from restaurant chains and from large companies, you know you have found a quality food truck company that can help your business grow, with a client roster to prove it.
How long have the Food Truck Designers Been in Business?
Unfortunately, some food truck designers make shortcuts in the quality department. And this isn’t usually discovered until well into the first year of a food truck business when failures start happening. Note that these designers don’t last very long because word travels fast.
Therefore, to avoid working with these shady types, look for food truck designers that have at least 20 years experience. Two decades is a great run and testifies to the fact that the food truck company has been producing quality builds loved by its customers.
The amount of food truck businesses in cities and at events continues to grow. To properly serve your customers, make sure that your food truck has an efficient layout, suits you and your employees, and is customized to reflect your brand.
Food truck design is totally dependent on how you want customers to feel when they see your truck. After you have been around for a while, they will start to associate your colors and logo with the delicious food they crave. Don’t be afraid to get creative, as this will earn you extra points with diners.