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How Much Do Food Trucks Pay to Park?

Food Truck Parking Location

Yes, food trucks pay to park depending on the type of event, what products are being sold, the length of trading hours, and the lease agreement. These payments come in a staggering variety of shapes and sizes.

As a mobile food trucker, you may find a food truck space for rent with a lot that charges a set fee based on the day or the month. Alternately, you may negotiate a custom arrangement with a specific property owner who is eager for extra income or wants a food truck to attract extra traffic for an existing brick and mortar business.

Farmers’ markets and weekly festivals lease space to food truck operators as well, using a set daily price or asking for a percentage of daily sales. While you may be mobile, you are not allowed to park just anywhere. Most areas limit food trucks, trailers, buses, and carts to specific locations.

A list of where you can and can’t park is always available at the county clerk’s office. In most cities, you can’t just park your food truck on the street in front of a business.

You will be expected to apply to the transportation department to make sure that you are not obstructing traffic or taking up precious retail parking. Some spots have already been vetted and approved while others will require you to take the initiative and petition for their use.

Most local health departments will expect you to operate within a certain distance of a fully plumbed bathroom so you can wash your hands immediately after using the toilet. Have it in mind that this is a requirement despite the fact that you will also be expected to have a hand washing sink installed on board your truck.

If the person or company leasing you the space to park your food truck doesn’t have a bathroom on site, then you can secure a signed bathroom agreement from a nearby business such as a coffee shop or office building, although you may have to pay a nominal sum for this convenience.

If you have the space to store at home on private property that’s certainly an option. But if not, many commissaries offer overnight parking as an a-la-cart add on. Be sure to consider this when shopping for your commercial kitchen space.

How Much Does It Cost to Park a Food Truck?

Food trucks will more or less pay around $500 – $1000 to park in an event. However, there are different ways food trucks pay to park at events; as a percentage of food sales, a fixed flat fee on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, or even a donation to charity. There are also a few other ways food trucks pay to park at events.

Factors That Affect the Cost Of Parking at a Food Truck Spot

The exact amount food trucks pay will vary greatly based on various factors, and these factors include;

  1. Different Types Of Events

Have it in mind that not all events are created equal in terms of size, number of people who attend and ultimately what food trucks pay to serve their food.

For instance, mobile caterers will have to pay more to park at festivals because there is high volume traffic (people); they have longer trading hours and have what is known as a “captive audience”. Organizers will often charge less for a one-day street food market, where footfall may be less with shorter trading hours.

Festivals: 3-4 day events with high volume footfall, captive markets, and long trading hours. Pricing models include: Fixed Fee Percentage of sales, Percentage of sales + fixed fee

Street food markets: 1 or 2-day food markets where footfall may be less and with shorter trading hours. Note that there are also street food markets that operate 4-7 days per week as the industry is growing. Pricing models include: Fixed daily/weekly/monthly fee.

Business districts: Usually between Monday to Friday on the lunchtime period of 12-2 pm. They have very short trading hours and there may be competition in the area with other brick and mortar food retailers. Pricing models include: Fixed fee

Corporate events: Event organizers will have to contact the food truck vendors directly through their business website or other social media channels to attend their event. Pricing models: Event organizer pays food truck

Public land: This is a piece of land owned by the state or local authority. Note that Information will usually be on their website where food trucks can park and how much they charge. Pricing models include: Fixed weekly or monthly fee.

  1. Different Trading Hours

Also, note that the duration food trucks have to serve customers tends to play a role in how much they pay to park. For instance, it is ideal to expect a food truck to make fewer sales over a 5-6 hour period than it would over 14hours (street food market vs. festival).

  1. Different Types Of Traders

The type of food or drink products a food truck sells will also affect the exact amount they pay in fees to park. For instance, a food truck selling cold products such as smoothies or ice cream would expect to pay less than a truck selling hot food like burgers or hotdogs.

This is because the price per unit for a smoothie is much lower than that of a burger. It also means food trucks who sell cold products have to sell double the amount in the same time frame to cover costs.

  1. Different Lease Agreements

Indeed the terms and proposals of lease agreements tend to differ from one space owner to another. However, when you negotiate with someone to lease space to park your food truck and vend, you will have to do due diligence to make sure the property has the amenities you will need to operate legally and profitably.

Permitting and regulation vary across different areas so make sure to contact your local health department and transportation authority before entering into an arrangement with a property owner.

  1. Varying Truck Park Rates

A food truck park, or pod, is more or less a dedicated space such as a parking lot that hosts a community of food trucks and carts, attracts customers looking for a critical mass of food options, and provides an area with eating amenities such as tables, tents, and bathrooms.

Rental rates for a food truck park are about $500 to $1,000 per month and you can make the most of your investment by vending as often as possible. Many food truck pods offer space on a daily basis as well, but you will pay more per day if you reserve dates individually than if you commit to a block of time.

  1. Catering Arrangements

Food truck operators can also negotiate with individuals or groups for catering, which involves being paid by a single person or organization rather than asking each eater for payment. Like guaranteed sales events, there is no charge for a food truck space at a catered event.


The exact amount food trucks pay to park at a location is not that easy to ascertain and tends to often come down to specific circumstances. Things such as the overheads of the event organizer, the size of the event, what products are being sold and the length of the trading hours will all determine how much is paid.