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How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Food Truck? [Vinyl Cover]

Do you want to paint your food truck but you are concerned about the cost? If YES, here is how much it cost to paint a food truck or cover it with vinyl.

One thing that lures people to food trucks, apart from the food they sell, is the colour and decoration of the trucks. A bright and beautifully painted food truck would likely draw more people to it because people first feast on things with their eyes before they start making decisions of whether to buy or not.

And again, a food truck that is gaily painted usually gives the impression that the food within tastes as good. When you want to start a food truck business, you need decide on how to paint your truck, and what design it will carry.

2 Ways to Design your Food Truck

If you plan to hire an artist to create your food truck’s exterior look, you’ll want to be sure they’ve got years of experience in the craft, if not, they can give you a completely hopeless job. You have a couple of options when it comes to the exterior decoration of your food truck. You can have your truck either wrapped in vinyl or painted;

Wrapping your Truck in Vinyl

The most common practice in the food truck industry is wrapping the truck in vinyl. This is because of the unique nature of this medium as well as the eye-catching designs it comes with. Marketing studies have supported that vehicle wraps are actually read and remembered better than any other form of advertising, except TV ads.

Vehicle wraps look great for years, depending on weather exposure and how well you take care of the wrap. Although vinyl manufacturers guarantee the material for five to ten years, the actual life span of a vehicle wrap will be considerably less.

In addition, wraps that stay on vehicles longer than three years tend to bond more strongly to the surface and make wrap removal more time consuming. A decent wrap will cost between $3,000 and $5,000. If you operate in a city with buildings taller than three or four stories, consider wrapping the top of your truck.

Think about what people on the upper floors looking outside their windows will see when you drive through or park in these areas.

In most cases, they’ll see a blank white truck top, with nothing differentiating you from the local delivery truck. But if your roof is branded and includes your contact information, they may just make the choice to come downstairs and place an order.

Painting your Truck

Paint is another, although less common, option for adding graphics to your truck and is about half the price of most full vehicle wraps.

The downside to paint is that unless you invest even more in a professional painter, you can’t get the same quality and detail in smaller painted graphics. Your investment would be in the neighbourhood of $1,000 to $3,000 for the paint option.

As a general rule, you should not attempt to paint your vehicle yourself unless you have experience in truck painting. Not only do you risk spending a lot of time and money to do the painting yourself, but you also risk the chance of doing a poor job and having to get the painting redone by a professional, and end up spending even more money.

If you choose to have the main body of your truck painted, you can still install a partial wrap that features your logo and contact information. Some food truck owners do that to at least make their name and logo stand out brightly.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Food Truck?

If as a food truck owner, you want to paint your food truck instead of using the vinyl option, then it’s OK. If completed by a true artist that can bring your vision to life and has mastered their craft, you can end up with a beautifully painted food truck that will truly differentiate your business from the competition.

Painting your truck gives you the chance to rejuvenate the look of your truck or try out a different color altogether. Besides choosing a color, one of the biggest things to consider is the cost to paint a truck before getting started. While we can’t tell you exactly what it cost to paint a truck, we can help you get a general idea of the cost of your endeavor.

Professional Painting Or DIY

The biggest consideration to make when evaluating the cost to paint a truck is whether you want to do it yourself or pay a professional to do it for you. Of course, going to a professional costs more, but it’s likely you’ll receive a showroom quality finish.

If you have the tools, patience and skill, you could attempt the paint job yourself. This not only saves you money but gives you a project to enjoy. The one time it is not advisable to paint the truck yourself is when you require the finish to be collector’s quality.

Then, it’s best to bite the bullet and seek help from a professional. To get that durable, high-gloss finish you crave, they might need to apply more than 20 coats of paint.

Cost to Paint a Truck Professionally

If you choose to go the professional route, you have some different levels of service available to you. Basic Service – This involves a few coats of paint and is the most inexpensive option. They use synthetic enamel and will only take care of visible areas.

You can expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 for most basic services. Standard Service – this often includes sanding and removing any rust before beginning the paint job. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on how much work needs to be done.

Showroom Quality Service – This involves taking the bodywork to bare metal with sanding. Then, they remove any dents and rust. After that, the shop applies high-quality paint in numerous coats. These projects might consume a month of time and cost up to $20,000.

Cost to Paint A Truck Yourself

If you drive an old food truck, it might not make sense to have a professional paint it, especially if you have some skills in painting. To keep the costs down, it’s wise to consider doing it yourself. The materials you need are readily accessible. Make sure you purchase:

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Masking tape
  • Foam brushes
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint trays
  • Mineral spirits

One of the main things you need to consider is where you’ll paint the truck. It is very likely that you do not have a climate-controlled booth, so you need to evaluate your location’s dirt and dust content. The best place you could paint is in a well-ventilated, clean garage.

How to Find the Right Artist To Paint Your Truck

If you know you cannot handle the paint job of your food truck, you need to bring in a professional artist. As with any form of art, there’s a certain level of personal preference when it comes to deciding what looks good and bad. As a result, you’ll need to find an artist or painter whose past work aligns with something that looks good in your opinion.

One way that you can find the right artist for your future food truck mural is to look at the individuals past body work. While many artists won’t have a lot of experience painting vehicles, they’ve likely completed other projects that will give you a sense of their style and approach to a piece of work.

Some artists may have experience developing billboards, exterior signage for restaurants, or even painting beautiful pictures. The first step is to identify if you like the artist’s style as they will likely create something with a similar vibe. If you don’t think their past work matches the theme of your business, continue your search.

At the end of the day, you can paint a food truck and have it look outstanding. But it’s going to be more time-consuming and in many cases more expensive to hire someone to hand-paint your unit. If you are planning to get a very basic external paint, you may only need to invest $500 – $2,000 into your project.

However, due to the creativity, skill, and time needed to create these rolling pieces of art, the cost will be considerably more. Paying $5,000 – $10,000 or more for this type of project should be expected.