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Purchase a Previously Owned Vehicle for Your Mobile Food Business

Buying a used vehicle is by far the most economical way to purchase your rolling kitchen (costs range from $15,000 to $99,000), but at the same time, it carries the most issues. If you decide to purchase a used truck, be sure to have a certified mechanic conduct an inspection.

Your vehicle is the largest investment you’ll have when starting up your business; you can’t afford to purchase one that’s consistently in the shop. In addition, even if a vehicle meets the health department codes in one area, it may not meet them elsewhere. When you buy a truck, you’re responsible for bringing the vehicle up to all current standards of the cities you plan to be licensed in.

Check out the following for dealers that sell used vehicles:

Although you can find a used vehicle on sites such as eBay or craigslist for under $10,000, your investment price can skyrocket the minute you start installing vending windows, lined walls and floors, electricity, hot running water, and a retail payment system.

Also, while online purchases of food trucks and other mobile vending units have increased over the last few years, some people and companies are taking advantage of this trend. More than a dozen consumers were left out in the cold when they spent thousands to order hot dog carts on eBay and received nothing in return.

If you’re planning to make a purchase of more than $500 from an online auction site, use an escrow service. The service receives the item from the seller before sending the seller your payment. eBay recommends Escrow.com and warns consumers of many fraudulent escrow companies, so if a seller suggests another company, investigate that company first.

Also avoid paying for online auction purchases via wire transfers, which carry few — if any — fraud provisions compared to credit cards.

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