Check out some of the best places to buy used food trucks and food trailers
Food trucks are a billion-dollar industry in the US and have grown over the last five years, between 2014-2019, by 6.8%. It shows no signs of slowing down either.
This means there are a large number of companies that specialize in custom-built food trucks, trailers, and equipment for the mobile catering industry.
There are also a lot of used food trucks and trailers out there on the market as mobile food businesses sell their old equipment.
Why You Should Buy A Used Food Truck
To be honest, if you are just starting out, second-hand is the best way to go. There is literally no point buying a brand new food truck for a more expensive price than a used one, after all, you have no idea if your concept even works yet.
If you buy a used $20000 dollar truck and things work out, you can always upgrade to a bigger and newer $50000 truck. However, if there are some unforeseen problems or issues, you will have to sell the truck. Getting 80% of your money back from an unwanted sale is much better than getting 50%.
So where can you find used food trucks for sale?
Below I have put together 8 of the best places to buy used food trucks from websites that specialize in the mobile catering industry or have a decent-sized section on their marketplace dedicated to food trucks.
This is quite a well-known marketplace in the UK for all kinds of second-hand goods.
It also has a decent-sized section for used food trucks, food vans, vending trucks, concession trailers, and mobile vending carts.
And if you are on a budget you can sometimes find used food trucks for sale under 5000.
NCASS (Nationwide Caterers Association) – (UK)
The Nationwide Caterers Association is UK-based and has been going for over 30 years.
It is a specialist trade organization that helps people in the mobile catering industry with legal documentation, training, and work opportunities.
It has a section on its website with a pretty wide array of mobile catering units such as used food trucks, mobile horseboxes, and used mobile food carts for sale.
You can also find some cheap used food trucks for sale there.
eBay (UK & US)
This website probably needs no introduction and is a popular online marketplace for new and second-hand goods around the world.
You can often find a good selection of used food trucks and trailers for sale, along with used food truck equipment.
In fact, I bought my first second-hand concession trailer from eBay many years ago (you can see the unit in the About me section).
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Secondhand Catering Equipment (UK)
This is an online marketplace dedicated solely to used food trucks and equipment in the mobile catering industry.
And because it focuses solely on this niche you can find a very good selection of used food trucks and food trailers for sale.
The last time I visited the site it had a nice range of stylish airstreams and converted horseboxes.
You can also find food trailers for under £5000.
Used Vending (USA)
This is another online marketplace dedicated solely to the mobile catering industry and is based in the US.
From what I can see It probably has the largest selection of used food trucks to buy and sell on all the websites listed.
There is a filter where you can set your budget and find anything from used catering food trucks and food trailers to bakery food trucks and everything in between.
Roaming Hunger (USA)
This website is slightly different from the rest in that it specializes in experimental marketing and brand awareness for a range of festivals, markets, and corporate events.
However, it has a section on its website for buying and selling used food truck trailers.
And if you want something brand new there is also the option to lease or custom-build food trucks.
Used Food Trucks (USA)
There is not much guesswork when it comes to working out what this website does.
It specializes solely in buying and selling new and used food trucks and trailers and you can also find mobile units such as coffee and beverage and pizza trucks.
It has a handy filter where you can search by the age and mileage of the food truck.
You can also search for pre-1980s and vintage food trucks.
Facebook Groups (UK, USA, International)
There is a Facebook group for pretty much every niche you can think of these days and the mobile catering industry is no exception.
There are many Facebook groups for mobile vendors to share tips and information and also for buying and selling used food trucks, trailers, and equipment.
Here are a couple of groups to get you started.
There are a lot more groups than this, Just search for keywords like used or second-hand food trucks and equipment and you should get quite a few results.
How to buy a used food truck
A food truck, trailer, or any other type of mobile catering unit is the biggest investment you will make when starting a mobile food business.
This is why it is important to do your due diligence and make sure you buy the right food truck for your needs and are not left out of pocket.
So here are a few things you can look out for before making that big purchase.
Get it checked over by a specialist
Buying a used food truck is just like buying any other type of vehicle so make sure you take a professional mechanic with you to inspect the engine and structure of the food truck.
You should also get an electrician and/or gas specialist to check that it is safe to operate and ask to see previous documentation for annual gas and safety checks.
Make sure it meets your needs
The used food truck you buy will hopefully be with you for years to come so you want to make sure it meets all your catering needs.
For example, does it have adequate ceiling height and space for more than two people?
Does it have enough space for additional equipment you may need for the type of food you intend to sell?
Consider the mileage & service history
Again like any type of vehicle, you need to take into account the distance it has travelled over its lifespan.
Around 100,000 miles is around average for a 10-year-old diesel engine.
You should also ask to inspect the service history to see how well-maintained the food truck has been and what work may have been done to it.
And finally, always remember to negotiate.
I’m sure after inspecting all the things we’ve discussed such as the mileage, service history, etc there’s something you can use as leverage to get the price down.
People are always willing to come down in price as long as you ask.
Just don’t pay the asking price.