Home Offices versus Commercial Offices for Food Truck Businesses - dummies

Home Offices versus Commercial Offices for Food Truck Businesses

By Richard Myrick

Both working from home and leasing office space can be great options for food truck owners. The key is to figure out which one is best for your needs. Ultimately, your business will suffer the consequences if you make the wrong choice, so be sure to choose wisely. Don’t rush this choice, and don’t let anyone else influence your decision.

The pros of a home office

Obviously, having a home office is your most affordable option. Not having to drive to the office in the morning before you make your way to your commercial kitchen is also very convenient. Another pro to having your office at home is that your family will probably enjoy having easy access to you when you’re not prepping food or driving around town selling it.

Based on these factors alone, a home office may sound great; however, you should only choose to do your office work from home if you meet these criteria:

  • You have a separate space available for your office that’s not a part of your normal living area. This separate space is important because you need to be able to balance your work and your personal life, and having them flow between each other without any separation can negatively affect both areas.

  • Your home has all the necessary resources and room for the equipment your office needs.

  • Your office work requires a minimal amount of staff interaction outside of your truck.

  • You primarily communicate with suppliers by phone or e-mail, not in person.

  • You have the legal right to operate this portion of your business from your residence.

    Working from home can be much simpler than leasing a separate office, but it may put you in violation of zoning and other laws that regulate residential and business spaces in your area. Familiarize yourself with the legal and tax laws that affect home-based businesses, such as the home-office tax deduction, and be sure to check out your city’s and county’s zoning regulations relating to home businesses.

  • You have a reliable meeting spot where you can hold face-to-face meetings outside of the home when necessary.

  • You’re self-motivated and highly disciplined when it comes to work.

    You must be honest with yourself on this point. If you’re the type of person who can be lured away from your business tasks to do odd jobs around the house, a home office isn’t for you.

The pros of a commercial office

Operating your office from a space outside of the home has some clear benefits. A “real” office can give your food truck business a more professional appearance in the eyes of the public. It also gives potential suppliers and staff the ability to meet you in your office and feel comfortable doing business with you there.

As tempting as it is to place your business name above a storefront marquee or office space placard, only consider this option if

  • Your business has the need for several full-time employees to maintain the office functions. For example, if you want your accountant and/or office staff in one place, handling the business tasks that aren’t handled in the truck or kitchen, you may benefit from having a “real” office.

  • You can afford the rent or lease payment and sustain it even at times when sales are slow.

  • You’re easily distracted and wouldn’t function well in a home-based working environment.