Taylor Berger, president of the Memphis Food Truck Association, has submitted a detailed answer to Quora about how to start a food truck in Memphis. It’s here.
Here’s an excerpt:
Here’s a baseline summary of costs to help you decide which type of vehicle to use for your concept. Here’s a summary:
A brand new, built-from-scratch custom food truck can easily cost $150,000+ by the time you buy the truck, a generator, equipment and build it out to code.
A brand new trailer will cost substantially less. Fully equipped and built out you will spend around $60,000. Of course, you also have to have a truck to pull it.
Used trucks and trailers are available online. As with anything used you generally get what you pay for and don’t have the advantage of full customization for your concept. On the other hand this is definitely fastest way to get rolling!
One of the first things you have to decide is whether to use a truck or a trailer (with a truck). The primary advantage of truck is its ease of mobility. You can parallel park, and get to places a trailer can’t. Plus you fit more closely everyone’s idea of what a “food truck” is supposed to be. The advantage of a trailer is that it’s usually less expensive, and if your engine breaks down you can still get out on the road, as long as you’ve a friend who will let you borrow his truck.
Another really important consideration is whether the vehicle has the space and structure to handle all the wiring and plumbing and ventilation systems that are going to have to be installed to meet code. This is one of the primary reasons the most common food trucks are large “bread box” style trucks or heavy-duty rectangular trailers.