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Start Here

Hello Future Coffee Truckers! My name is Vince. I've built out 4 coffee trucks, 2 carts and a brick/mortar roaster.

how to start a coffee truck

Welcome to my website, where I help educate on how to enter the mobile coffee industry, whether that's a coffee truck, coffee trailer, coffee van, coffee kiosk or coffee cart. 

Step 1: Free Starter Guide

The first step I'm going to recommend is to download the Free Starter Guide. not only does this keep you in the loop with my newsletter so you're up-to-date with the blog content as well as any deals or promotions, they're also starts you off with these resources: 

  • Top 10 Things to Know about Coffee Trucking
  • Coffee Truck Equipment List
  • Sample Floor Plan
  • Word of Advice from the Author
  • Cold Brew Recipe

Step 2: Research

My recommendation would be to get yourself in front of as many other mobile baristas as you can, so you can start asking some questions. These are the people who have context. Seek the industry leaders and find out what they are doing and how they are succeeding.

Research Categories: 

    • Cost of Goods
      • This is the price per cup you pay. 
        • Lattes, Syrup Lattes, Coffee, Tea and Pastries
    • Start Up Cost
      • Your initial investment
      • I have a course on this subject and I keep the cost low on purpose, so you can see how much you'll be in the hole.
    • Reoccurring Cost
      • Your monthly expenses
        • Gas, Storage, Commissary, Website, Insurance
    • Volume
      • This is the single hardest prediction to make. Welcome to entrepreneurship. 
      • I have made an attempt to give insight to this issue, but it is a very difficult subject, so don't judge me. Here is the video: 

 

Here are some of the forums and focus groups that I've used during my research phase. 

Green Joe Newbie and Vet Coffee Truck Facebook Group

Espresso Outlet's Mobile Coffee Business Facebook Group

Coffee Forum

Coffee Geek

Home Barista

Reddit Coffee Forum

Barista Exchange

Coffee Forum Etiquette:

Do yourself a favor and do some reading before asking questions. We get bombarded with questions such as "How much is the mark up of a cup of coffee?" Those type of questions are well within your research ability, we're not going to take the time to answer a question that you could answer yourself. More importantly, if we see you are not doing your research, then we are less likely to answer a question you really need!  

Code and Regulation

To find out what permits you will need to operate a coffee truck, you will need to contact your local health department. Each county and city have their own regulations that differ from state to state. Visit your local municipalities website and contact the Environmental Health Department to find which permits needed to operate a coffee truck. 

Equipment

The equipment you need for a coffee truck is a hybrid between the equipment needed for a coffee shop and equipment needed for a food truck. 

In my equipment course, I called and questioned the technicians of every espresso machine manufacture to determine which machine is best for a mobile coffee truck. In addition to espresso machines, we also cover espresso grinders, commercial coffee brewers, refrigerators, water filters, water pumps, water heaters, blenders, HVAC and generators. 

Coffee Truck Crash Course

I've combined all the courses of research into a 4 week course, where I assign a research project each week. Then, each week, we meet online to discuss the research and share resources, questions and ideas. If you're getting serious with the idea of coffee trucking, this course is for you. It will put a deadline on your research and a kick in the butt to get started. 

Ultimate Guide on How to Build Coffee Trucks

My eBook is a less expense, more well rounded approach to researching a coffee truck. It explores a wide variety of topics of entering the coffee truck business. If you are new to entrepreneurship or the coffee industry, this would be a very good starting point. 

Step 3: Funding

Obtaining funding is going to be the largest obstacle to getting started. There are multiple ways to obtain funding and based upon the amount of funding, I have different recommendations on how to get started. Here is a video on how to get started with little to no money. 

 

 

Self Funded

Savings, inheritance, home equity loans are all different ways to get started with self funding. Of all the methods of funding, this is the lowest risk. However, it also tends to have the lowest amount of funding. I have created a blog post on my recommendations of how to get started with different budgets: 

Commercial Loans

Commercial loans are where you start stepping in risk. For this you should have a solid business plan.

When I wrote my business plan for coffee trucks, I included 4 years of experience on how to make a successful coffee truck business. I highlighted my tricks and tips in yellow, so you can delete it before sending it to your underwriter. 

I then hired a loan officer to help me write it so it would get approved for financing. Now, while I can't guarantee you get approved for a loan, I can guarantee no one else has written a business plan specifically for coffee trucks where they poured 4 years of advice into it. 

To obtain a loan, they usually want you to have amazing credit or cash on hand. There are other types of collateral, but cash is king. Be smart. Don't bite off more than you can chew here. 

Friends and Family

Of all the methods of obtaining funding, this is the riskiest, in my humble opinion. Not because you can default, your in-laws are going to repo your house...but rather than often money and relationships don't mix well. If for whatever reason, your business doesn't succeed, the risk of losing a good friendship, seems to me to have greater damage than defaulting on a loan. 

Tread lightly. 

Step 4: Action

You've done your research. You have your funding to start. It's time to put it all in action. Here's a few resources to help along the way.

Resource Page

  • My resource page is filled with all the little things I use on the coffee truck: espresso tamper, ratchet paper towel holders and so on...
  • I also offer Floor Plan Design services, where I will draw floor plans to your code. 

Used Coffee Equipment Facebook Group

Restaurant Equipment Auctions

Vintage Camper For Sale

vintage coffee camper

Commercial Truck For Sale

Used Coffee Drive Thru

Coffee Carts and Bikes For Sale

coffee cart

Step 5: Feedback

Now that I've written the article and published, I can use some feedback. 

Did I miss anything? 

What didn't I cover well? 

Is there a broken link? Misspelled word or other typo? 

Feedback is 100% anonymous, so you can really lay into me. No ego here. I cannot fix what I do not know. 

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