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How to Start a Food Truck Park Business

Food Truck Park Business

Do you want to start a food truck park business? If YES, here is a 20-step guide on how to start a food truck park business with no money or experience.

Please note that if you intend starting this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations in the country or state you reside in to know what is expected of you. You also need to pay a visit to the regulatory bodies in your country to get all the information you need before you can legally open your food truck park business in your city.

You can start your food truck park business from a small town in the United States and if you are good at what you do, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized especially if you go into franchising.

Steps to Starting a Food Truck Park Business

  1. Understand the Industry

Food truck park business is part of the parking lots and garages industry and the industry provides temporary parking spaces on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis to consumers. The industry is highly fragmented, with most operators being small private companies that operate a single parking lot or garage.

One-third of the industry’s operators are sole proprietors or non employers that collectively command only a small portion of total industry revenue. Although most enterprises in the industry are local and small, there are several large companies operating thousands of facilities on a national scale.

Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 16,012 licensed and registered parking lots and garages responsible for employing about 142,726 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $9 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 2.3 percent between 2016 and 2022.

It is important to state that the companies holding the largest market share in the Parking Lots & Garages in the US industry include LAZ Parking Ltd. LLC, SP Plus Corporation and ABM Industries Inc.

A recent report released by IBISWorld shows that the Parking Lots and Garages industry is in the mature phase of its life cycle. The report reveal that the industry value added (IVA), which measures the industry’s contribution to the economy, is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent from 2011 to 2022.

In comparison, GDP is expected to grow 2.0 percent per year on average over the 10-year period. The report further stated that while IVA growth will outpace GDP growth slightly over the period, the number of companies in the industry is expected to increase at the low annualized rate of 2.2 percent over this period.

During this time, merger and acquisition activity is expected to remain high, which is a key indicator of a mature industry. Please note that food truck parks work directly with the Food Trucks industry and the industry has experienced a boom over the five years to 2020, primarily as a result of the surge in gastronomy in the United States.

The industry is composed of operators that prepare and serve a broad range of cuisines from mobile food trucks on city sidewalks, in parks and at events. Over the past five years, the industry has outpaced the broader food service sector.

Additionally, the industry has evolved quickly, as entrepreneurial food truck operators have entered the market to cater to changing consumer preferences in favor of gourmet offerings and unique food concepts. As a result of these trends, industry revenue is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 7.5% to $1.2 billion over the five years to 2022.

Starting a food truck park business in the United States of America can be stressful, it requires enough cash to acquire land large enough to accommodate the kind of facility that can comfortably attract operators of food trucks.

  1. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize food truck park business cut across businesses that operates in the food truck industry and they range from Barbeque Food Truck, Ethnic food truck, Vegetarian Food Truck, Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Truck and Panini Food Truck operators et al.

  1. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

Unfortunately, there is no niche when it comes to the food truck park business. This is because food truck park is a niche idea in the parking lots and garages industry. Basically, all food truck operators provide temporary parking spaces to food tuck operators and some also engage in organizing food truck festivals from time to time.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The competition that exists in the parking lots and garages industry that food truck park business is part of goes beyond competition amongst food truck park businesses; you will be expected to compete with other players that also offer parking services to food truck operators.

So, it will be right to say the competition in the food truck park business is relatively competitive. The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry.

Just ensure you have well positioned parking facility, highly secured parking facility, your workers are well – trained, and your customer care services is top notch and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.

  1. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

Here are some of the most popular food truck park businesses in the United States of America;

  • Alder Street Food Cart Pod – Portland, Oregon
  • Art District Food Truck Park – Lubbock, Texas
  • Atlanta Food Truck Park & Market – Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin Street Truck Stop – Denton, Texas
  • Aztec Food Trailer Park – Austin, Texas
  • Ballard Bites & Brew – Seattle, Washington
  • Baltimore Food Truck Park – Baltimore, Maryland
  • Beehive Station – Salem, Oregon
  • Bellevue Food Truck Pod – Bellevue, Washington
  • Bleu Garten – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Boardwalk on Elm – Waco, Texas
  • Bushnell Park Food Truck Court – Hartford, Connecticut
  • Brownsville Food Truck Park – Brownsville, Texas
  • Campus Pitt Stop – Columbus, Ohio
  • Charcoal Alley – Jacksonville, Texas
  • Clearfork Food Park – Fort Worth, Texas
  • Columbia Food Park – Vancouver, Washington
  • Columbus Commons – Columbus, Ohio
  • Co-op Food Court – Austin, Texas
  • County Fare – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • South Congress Food Truck Park
  • University Co-Op Food Court
  • Thicket Food Park
  • Elmo Public Market Food Trucks
Economic Analysis

When it comes to starting a food truck park business you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start selling franchise.

When conducting costing and economic analysis for your food truck park business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place (locations and facility), pricing, and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your business.

The bottom line is that food truck park business is not a green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several parking lots and garages that can accommodate food trucks. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to acquire and give facelift to a parking facility and also the cost to successfully run the business.

  1. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful food truck park business as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is expensive buying the franchise of a food truck park business, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.

But if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the parking lots and garages industry, then you might just want to start your own food truck park business from the scratch. The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your food truck park business from the scratch.

Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.

Please note that most of the big and successful food truck park businesses and parking lots and garages around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

  1. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own food truck park business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well-established food truck park businesses and also parking lots and garages that allow food trucks to park. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own niche market.

Some other threats that you are likely going to face as a food truck park business operating in the United States are unfavorable government policies as it relates to zoning law, maintenance cost, and the arrival of a competitor within your location of operation.

  1. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

When considering starting a food truck park business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You can either choose a general partnership, or limited liability company for your food truck park business.

Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale food truck park business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start-up capital. But if your intention is to grow the business and have clients from all across your city, then choosing general partnership is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC will cut it for you.

  1. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

Normally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own food truck park business in the United States of America, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Melvin Moore® Food Truck Park, Inc.
  • Food Truck Connect® Food Truck Park, Inc.
  • All Food Truck© Food Truck Park, LLC
  • Lush Green™ Food Truck Park, Inc.
  • Dennis Morphy® Food Truck Park, LLC
  • Dioecy Jason™ Parking Lots and Garages Group
  • Stacey White© Food Truck Park, LLC
  • Mobile Foodie® Food Truck Park, Inc.
  • We Move® Food Truck Park, Inc.
  • Nancy Fred® Food Truck Park, Inc.
  • Amy Emma© Food Truck Park, Inc.
  • Charity Tyson® Food Truck Park, Inc.
  1. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

Here are some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own food truck park business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Risk Insurance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Physical Damage Insurance
  • Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
  • Motor vehicle insurance (comprehensive insurance)
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

You can contact the following leading insurance companies in the United States of America to purchase the needed insurance policies for your food truck park business;

  • Allstate Insurance Group
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Progressive Insurance Group (PGR)
  • Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC)
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • Lincoln National Life Insurance Company
  • MassMutual (Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company)
  • Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
  1. Protect your Intellectual Property with Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your food truck park business, usually you may have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark.

This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties. But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection.

If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subject to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.

  1. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

When it comes to operating a food truck park business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate a food truck park business in the United States of America.

All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of managing food truck park business and also effectively running the business. On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to manage your food truck park business pretty well, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.

  1. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your business in the United States of America;

  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Zonal Permit
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Assistant’s licenses for assistants
  • Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use (if you have a website)
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  1. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a food truck park business is a relatively capital-intensive business hence entrepreneurs willing to start the business ensure that they raise the required startup capital from all available legal means. When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan.

If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your food truck park business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from, government, donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
  1. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Choosing a location for a food truck park business can be in two phases. Firstly, it must be located in a city that has robust demography and also in a city that a attracts a good number of food truck operators and with good road network.

If you have taken your time to study the parking lots and garages industry, you will realize that food truck park businesses are willing to pay expensive rents in order to stay in a metropolitan city and of course a busy location; a place where food related business activities are at its peak.

It is important to note that a parking facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your food truck park business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city.

Having said that, these are some of the cities in the United States of America where you can locate your food truck park business;

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Los Angeles, California
  • New York City, New York
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Oregon, Florida
  • Washington, District of Columbia
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  1. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

There are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for CCTV, POS and software applications. So also, you will definitely need computers / laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a space with enough parking lots, the size of the food truck park business you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice.

If you have enough capital to run a standard food truck park business, then you should consider the option of leasing a standard and well-located parking facility; when you lease, you will be able to work with long – term planning, structuring and expansion.

As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer or Owner (you can occupy this role), Facility Manager, Accounting Officer, Parking Attendants and Security Guards.

Over and above, you would need a minimum of 10 to 20 key staff to effectively run a medium scale but standard food truck park business.

The Service Delivery Process of a the Business

When it comes to operating a food truck park business, the park is marked, and when food truck operators drive in to park, they are issued a receipt and when they are driving out, they are required to pay based on the number of hours they parked.

So also, when a food truck park business is organizing a food truck festival, they put up adverts with the purpose of attracting not just food truck operators, but also foodies who would want to buy from the food trucks. It is important to state that a food truck park may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.

  1. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale food truck park business is not too high means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with unique marketing strategies if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans, make sure that you create a compelling company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience in the parking lots and garages industry, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past.

This will help boost your chances in the marketplace. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your food truck park business;

  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to food truck operators and players in key mobile food sales industries with your location of operation
  • Advertise your services in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on The Food Truck Park Finder and yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your food truck park business
  • Engage in direct marketing and sales
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your business
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.
  1. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you offer your services at rock bottom prices is to source your loans or startup capital from a source that won’t put pressure on you.

Another strategy that will help you offer your parking services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products and services.

  1. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The availability of parking lots, the demography of the location as it relates to purchase of food from food trucks, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust clientele base. Over and above, ensure that your food truck park are well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your product can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

  1. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always.

If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.

If your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers retaining your services. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also to attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized emails and above all, you can easily receive complaints and feedback from them).

  1. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting your brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend good money to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your food truck park business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food truck and parking related magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community – based events/programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your food truck park business
  • Install your Bill Boards on strategic locations all around the locations where you operate
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your food truck park in local directories/yellow pages
  • Advertise your food truck park business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the locations where your food truck park business operates.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all official cars and trucks are well branded with your company logo et al.