Well, if you’re the neighborhood ice cream truck, then your dream can come true – every single day of your life.
You remember what it was like, right? Out on your lawn, baking in the summer sun like bacon on a griddle, when the suddenly the sweet sound of tinkling chimes and xylophones resounded through the air from miles away. You ran inside to beg your parents for change and then stood out in the street on your tiptoes waiting to glimpse the magical multi-colored van of delicious frozen confections.
If you are asking yourself to “How do i start a successful ice truck business?” you came right place. In California, Florida a lot of people make great money with ice cream truck business.
Summer isn’t summer without its sweet music and even sweeter tastes. And every adult looks back on those days with fondness and happy memories – all because of the most revered of all food truck icons…the beloved ice cream truck.
Some Quick Facts About the Yummy Benefits of Owning Your Own Ice Cream Truck
It’s one of the best and most lucrative businesses you can start. And one of the greatest things about this kind of business endeavor is that it’s practically recession-proof! Kids young and old all LOVE ice cream and you will rarely find yourself without a line of excited customers ready to give you their money.
And there are so many benefits to being the Ice Cream Person in your area:
- You can be your own boss and set your own hours (and you can never be fired!)
- Practically recession-proof
- It’s low in risks and high in profits
- Easy to resell later if you ever want to move on to something different
- You can work from anywhere
- Starting cost is low
- Work when you want
- Open and close when you want
- You can take off in the winter
- You can choose to keep it small (one truck) or to grow and expand into an entire fleet!
Not to mention the satisfaction and joy of seeing all those faces light up and knowing it was you who caused those brilliant smiles.
How to Go About Making Your Ice-Creamy Dream Come True
Before you start, sit down and create a clear business plan and write down all the goals you have in mind for your new business. Take time to research the financial obligations required and think about what it is that you want to achieve.
ASK YOURSELF: How much do I want to make? Do I want to do this full time, part time, as a hobby or as my main income? Be honest and and give it some thought – your answers will shape your business plan and purchases and make all your decisions much more clear and easier to make.
If you want to take the winters off, then you need to plan your income accordingly. Maybe you could come up with a product that is suitable for winter – like switching to fancy coffees, hot chocolate and gourmet soups to go.
Of course, if you do this right, you can make enough to sit back and relax in the off season!
When you’ve got a clear idea of what you want, it’s time to decide on a budget and start shopping around and comparing equipment for the best deal. You can get a van or a cart – there are a lot of options out there available to you. Just decide what size your want your business to be in the beginning…will you start with a small cart or jump right into the ‘big daddy’ truck?
SIDENOTE: Did you know you can get started for less than $1500 and upgrade as your business explodes and expands?
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s outfitted with an excellent refrigeration system that can keep your goodies at just the perfect temperature, no matter what the weather is outside.
If you’re going for the big truck option, pick one with a good clear speaker system so your music flows effortlessly into the ears of your customers for miles around…build up their excitement and anticipation.
Make sure whatever vehicle you choose has the proper signs and decals needed for marketing, as well as for safety. Pictures do your selling for you so use the brightest and most vivid ones possible!
Next you’ll want to do some research into the type of permits and licenses you will need to get. Realize that your vehicle insurance will definitely go up. Also realize that your entire business focuses around your truck. There will be “food” involved, so that involves the Health Department. Check out the local rules and laws for operating a food truck business, as there could be a limit of how many permits are given in your area.
Compare as best you can the cost of the product, the price you want to charge your customers, and the amount of profit you want to make. Understand your cost versus your price. I know this may be difficult in the beginning, but you need to understand your cost and your profit margins and how much overhead you need to cover.
Time to Be A Kid Again…
Here’s the really fun part – deciding what products you want to serve! It’s like revisiting your childhood all over again. Will it be soft serve? If so, what toppings? Cones or cups? What about push pops, king cones, popsicles and fudgesicles, or maybe Italian Shaved Ice? Maybe some gelato or Dippin’ Dots? Snowcones? Will you carry sugar-free or organic items?
Once you pick your starting lineup, you’ll need to find a good bulk supplier since products from the grocery store will cost way too much once you add in your profit. Check around with several distributors for the best deal.
Another way you could go is to make your own. That’s a lot of work, but it would be truly something special to put you in a different league than those ice cream trucks that buy straight from a supplier. If you wanted to make your own ice cream and goodies, you could contact some local dairies to see if they could supply you with bulk milk and cream. You could add fruit by buying fresh from local orchards.
Who knows… you could end up being the world’s next Ben & Jerry’s!
The Ice Cream Truck Cometh…
Have you thought about where you want to go with your truck? All over town, rural areas, or both? Do you want to be the center of attention in a big public space or focus more on neighborhoods?
SIDENOTE: One of the best things about operating a mobile food truck is if business dries up in one place, just move on to the next! With the proper permission, you can operate nearby parks, fairs, ball games, in shopping centers, schools, beaches, malls, or go out into neighborhoods.
With a little time and patience – and the right marketing – you can build a regular, steady clientele that buy from you on a consistent basis and tell all their friends about you. It can be a rewarding, exciting, and lucrative way to make a living.
Remember, you’re not just selling ice cream, you’re helping to create lasting memories and making new friends along the way. You’re giving people what they want, what they crave most – an experience.
No matter what happens – don’t give up. Starting a new business can be tough in the beginning, but we can help you every step of the way. With careful planning you can start your business well-informed and prepared for anything. The better you plan, the more successful you will be!