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How Much Does It Cost to Open an Ice Cream Truck?

Ice Cream Truck Business

You need a minimum of $60,600 to start an ice cream truck business in any city in the United States of America. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first three months of operation.

The Ice Cream Production industry has come a long way and it is still evolving with loads of ice cream makers bringing in creativity in terms of flavors, packaging and mode of selling. Players in this industry do not just make ice cream, but also frozen yogurt, sherbet and other frozen desserts, with the exception of frozen bakery foods.

So also, it is the norm for ice cream makers to leverage on the food truck model of doing business to sell their ice cream. If you are contemplating starting your own ice Cream truck business in the united states, you should ensure that you carry out a thorough market survey and feasibility studies.

States in the southern region in the United States such as Texas and Illinoi et al can be ideal for an ice cream truck business because of the climatic condition/weather there. If you get some key factors wrong before starting your own ice cream truck business, then you are likely going to struggle to stay afloat.

Estimated Cost Breakdown to Open an Ice Cream Truck Business

When it comes to starting a standard ice cream truck business, one is expected to spend the bulk of the startup capital on the purchase of a standard ice cream truck. Please note that an average ice cream truck will cost a minimum of $10,000, but fancier models can run to twice that cost.

The truck must be insured, which can cost between $800 to $1500 every year. These are the key areas where you are expected to spend your startup capital;

  1. The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
  2. Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services (software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $1,300.
  3. Marketing promotion expenses for the grand launching of the ice cream truck in the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of – $3,580.
  4. The cost for hiring Business Consultant (it includes writing of business plans) – $2,500.
  5. Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  6. Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500) and phone and utility deposits ($2,500) – $3,000
  7. Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, fueling and maintenance of the truck, and payments of bills et al) – $15,000
  8. The cost for start-up inventory (flavors, milk and other ingredients and packaging materials et al) – $3,000
  9. The cost for storage hardware (bins, rack, shelves, food case) – $3,720
  10. The cost for counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.) – $4,500
  11. The cost for ice cream making equipment – $2,000
  12. The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $750
  13. The cost of purchase of mobile ice cream truck – $15,000
  14. The cost of Launching a Website – $600
  15. Miscellaneous – $1,000

From the rough estimate as listed above, you would need a minimum of sixty thousand six hundred USD ($60,600) to establish a medium – scale but standard ice cream truck business in any city in the United States of America.

Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first three months of operation. These are some of the products that you will find in an ideal ice truck;

  • Bulk ice cream
  • Novelty ice cream
  • Regular retail ice cream
  • Frozen fruit pops
  • Low-fat and nonfat ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Flavored ice
  • Sherbet
  • Other frozen desserts (except bakery)

Please note that this is a rough estimate and we usually advise our readers who are interested in starting an ice cream truck business to go to the market or directly contact wholesalers and suppliers of the type of ice cream truck and ice cream making machines they want in order to get the real time prices of these items.

The truth is that if you are a good bargainer, you can get a better deal that will help you beat down the estimated price as listed above.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Opening an Ice Cream Truck Business

  1. Your Choice of Location

One of the major factors that can influence the cost of opening an ice cream truck business is your choice of location. The truth is that the cost of rent or lease, labor, operational costs, and source of supplies are location-dependent.

In essence, the costs for opening an ice cream truck business can vary based on factors such as the region, city, neighborhood, and even specific street.

  1. The Cost of Purchasing Ice Cream Trucks or Vans

Another major cost that will determine the overall cost of starting an ice cream truck business is the cost of purchasing your ice cream trucks or vans. Depending on the size and location of your ice cream truck business, you may need different sizes and types of ice cream trucks or vans.

Interestingly, ice cream trucks and vans come in various sizes and capabilities, and the cost of a suitable ice cream truck or van will depend on your preferences and also your decision to settle for outright purchase or lease.

  1. The Cost of Equipment and Supplies

The cost of acquiring the needed equipment and supplies for your ice cream truck business is yet another major factor that will influence the overall cost of opening an ice cream truck business.  The quality, brand, and quantity of equipment you buy will no doubt significantly influence the cost of opening the ice cream truck business.

Also, the variety and quality of ingredients you plan to offer on your menu will affect your startup costs. For example, organic or locally sourced supplies tend to be more expensive than conventional options.

  1. The Cost of Licensing and Permits

If you are planning to open an ice cream truck in the United States of America, or in most countries of the world, you will be required to apply for the required licenses and permits needed to legally operate the business.

For example, in the United States, you will need licenses and permits such as health permits, food handling permits, business licenses, vehicle licenses et al.

Please note that depending on your location, there may also be specific regulations and requirements related to food safety, health inspections, signage, and accessibility. Ensuring compliance with these regulations may involve additional costs.

  1. The Cost of Hiring and Training Your Employees

Another major cost that can influence the overall costs of opening an ice cream truck business is the cost of hiring and training your employees. The truth is that you will need employees to run your ice cream truck business, and for you to get them up to speed, or to align with your business goal, mission, and vision, then you need to train them.

In essence, payroll expenses for hiring and training your staff members should be taken into account if you are considering opening an ice cream truck business.

  1. The Cost of Marketing and Advertising

If you are planning to open an ice cream truck business, then you must make provisions for marketing and advertising the business. Of course, you should know that promoting your ice cream truck business and attracting customers will require marketing and advertising efforts.

Please note that your marketing and advertising costs may include the cost of website development, social media campaigns, printed materials, signage, and other promotional activities et al.

  1. The Cost of Fuel and Maintenance

The cost of fuel and maintenance of your ice cream trucks or vans is yet another major cost that can influence the cost of starting the business. Apart from the cost of fueling your ice cream trucks or vans, you should also have a budget for maintenance.

This is necessary because if you want your ice cream trucks or vans to always be on the road, and to avoid unnecessary downtime, the trucks and vans must be regularly maintained.

  1. Parking and Storage Facilities

Another major factor that can influence the cost of starting an ice cream truck business is the amount it will cost you to lease or rent a parking and storage facility for your ice cream truck. Trust me, the cost of renting or leasing a standard parking and storage facility does not come cheap and can add to your overall startup cost.

  1. Utilities and Operational Expenses

Lastly, another major factor that will influence the cost of opening an ice cream truck business is the money you will spend on utilities and operational expenses.

In essence, if you are planning to open an ice cream truck business, then you should create a budget for utilities such as electricity, water, and gas, as well as recurring operational costs like insurance, cleaning services, waste disposal, and maintenance.

Aside from that, it is also advisable to set aside a contingency fund for unexpected expenses or unforeseen challenges that may arise during the early stages of your ice cream truck business.

In conclusion,

There are other factors not listed above that can influence the overall cost of opening an ice cream truck business. Interestingly, the costs not listed above may just be unique to your location, and perhaps the governmental regulations in your state or country.

You may want to find out what the additional factors are so you can add them to the comprehensive list of factors that can influence the cost of opening an ice cream truck business.