Coffee Truck For Sale
Buying a Coffee Truck 101
If I have a coffee truck for sale, I'll post it here. In the meantime, here's some information to help you on your search...
Are you looking to purchase a coffee truck? Searching for a used coffee trailer for sale? In this page, I will cover the many aspects of purchasing a coffee truck.
- New Mobile Coffee Trucks or Coffee Truck Buildout
- Coffee Truck Franchise
- Used Coffee Truck or Coffee Trailer For Sale
- Build Your Own Coffee Truck
New Mobile Coffee Truck or Coffee Truck Buildout
The first option for getting into the mobile coffee truck or coffee trailer industry is to purchase a new coffee truck. This is by far the most expensive option, but also the option that warrants less headache from used or broken equipment.
Step One Find a Food Truck Builder. There are many around the country. Some more reputable than others. But while all food truck manufacturers build coffee trucks, not all coffee truck manufacturers build food trucks. What's the big difference? There are a few. The plumbing between a food truck and a coffee truck are significantly different. The water pressure and filtration is a coffee truck is extremely important and often has to meet certain guidelines to maintain the warranty in your espresso machine. In a catastrophic event of equipment failure, the first thing the espresso machine company is going to want to see is your pressure and filtration system. So, it pays to work with someone who knows thing or two about coffee trucks. Do you research. Ask for references.
A few questions I would ask if I were purchasing new:
1. Will it meet my county/city code?
2. What is the R Value of the insulation? *I cannot understate the importance of good insulation.
3. Does it come with equipment? Is the equipment NSF?
4. Is there a warranty? Labor? Equipment?
5. Turn around time?
6. Delivery Fees?
7. How are things added on as we go? What is the process for up-sell?
Here's a detailed list of coffee food truck manufacturers:
My 2 cents: This in my opinion is above all the riskiest coffee truck to open. Here's why: Most people have to borrow to get a new coffee truck. The loans on these range from $45,000-$120,000. Now, if you are just getting started in coffee or in coffee trucking, you cannot guarantee you're going to make good money right out of the gate! But with a business loan, you are very much guaranteeing a large bill in the beginning. It's an easy way to get flipped upside down real quick and find yourself out of business. So, it's not typically my recommendation. That being said, if you must, I offer a mini-franchise. It comes fully equipped with training. If you are going to do it, might as well do it right:
Coffee Truck FranchiseDifferent franchises have different fees. Most have a entrance fee, which is usually called a franchise free. You pay this at the beginning just to get your foot in the door. That fee can range from $10,000-$50,000. There can be other fees as well, such as marketing fees, which based on monthly revenue and also royalty fees. It's important to really understand what you are getting for these fees. At Green Joe Coffee Truck, our mini-franchise doesn't charge any entrance or reoccurring fee.
- Green Joe Coffee Truck Mini-Franchise:
- Scooters Coffee
- Xpresso 2 U Coffee Cart Franchise
- Maui Wowi Smoothie and Coffee Cart Franchise
Used Coffee Truck or Trailer For Sale
When looking for a used coffee truck a little gumption will go along way. Ebay, Craigslist, OfferUp and Facebook Market are all your allies. But also considering reaching out to current owners to see if they are interested in selling. Perhaps they opened a coffee shop and don't have the time. Case stated: A little hard work will go a long way here.
Like all thing used, it comes with an inherent risk of breaking down. But, it also is less expensive and you have the opportunity of finding a steal...
Tread lightly in this arena. This is where the ice can break. You can very easily find yourself upside down in a money pit.
The biggest piece of advice I was given, assume you are about to be ripped off and then have the seller prove you wrong. Pessimism is your friend here.
Questions to ask the seller:
1. Where did they find the truck?
2. How long were they in business?
3. Why are they selling it?
4. Where was the vehicle maintained?
5. Where was the equipment maintained?
6. Is any of the equipment still under warranty?
7. What problems have they had with the vehicle?
8. What problems do they expect with the vehicle/equipment?
9. What would be the next thing they would upgrade?
Here are some listings of used coffee trucks:
- Roaming Hunger
- Food Truck Empire
- Used Vending
- Used Food Trucks
- Concession Nation
- Commercial Truck Trader
- Sell My Food Truck
Build Your Own Coffee Truck
This is the option I personally favor. Even if you don't have any experience with construction, you can still build your own. Here is a couple of "out of the box" ideas to consider.
Purchase a Mobile Bar then Upgrade
In this pathway, you would use the same search technique mentioned above for a used coffee truck, but this time, your focus would be on a mobile bar.
Mobile bars are typically 1/3-1/2 the cost of a coffee truck because they don't have any of the equipment and lack the plumbing.
Then, hire a plumber to install your plumbing. My Coffee Truck Crash Course can help you walk through this process.
Purchase a Trailer and General Contractor
This is similar to the above, but in this path, you are purchasing a bare trailer (See Know The Cost Course for full trailer comparisons).
Then hire a General Contractor to oversee the installation of floors, walls, ceiling, electric and plumbing.
DIY Coffee Truck
Finally, this option requires the most work, but will cost the least. In the DIY path, you purchase a truck or trailer then do most if not all the work yourself.
You'll save about $20,000 doing this route. This is where I meet most of my clients and have built a business helping entrepreneurs with the build out and the red tape.
You will need to install your window, insulation, walls, floors, ceiling, plumbing, electric and equipment.
Whether you purchase new, used or build your own, take your time and do your research. Don't let anyone (including myself) pressure you into a deal you are not ready to make.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Trust your gut.
And research, research, research.
Most of all, don't get discouraged. The secret to coffee truckin, is you gotta keep on truckin.
About The Author
Vincent LaVolpa is the owner of Green Joe Coffee Truck. He has built 4 coffee trucks and 2 coffee carts. He has owned a brick and mortar (Helix Coffee) and has roasted his own coffee beans. He has written a book on how to build coffee trucks, has a Youtube page, a coffee truck podcast and sells consultation services on building mobile coffee applications. He has taught a coffee history course at University of New Mexico. He has placed Top 3 Best in the City for Barista. Prior to his work in coffee, he was a Paramedic with Albuquerque Ambulance and a Combat Engineer with the 1st Armored Division, 16th Engineer Battalion. His favorite cup of coffee is a medium/dark cold brew in the summer and a quad shot mocha breve (dust of cinnamon) in the winter.