Over the past 10 years I've had a numerous amount of people ask, "how do I start a food truck?" I am going to make this as simplistic as possible. Please note: That these are the first 3 steps that I personally recommend in order to start a food truck.
Go to your local municipality or mobile health department and tell them that you'd like to start a food truck. They are going to hand you a packet (or send you to a website) that has all of the information that you need to start.
Why is this the first step? This is the first step because many times people will purchase a food truck or food trailer without looking at the inspection/permitting paper work from their local municipality. The paper work contains quite a bit of information, but most importantly it lists what is needed in order to pass inspection to receive a permit for a food truck in your city.
For example: Let's say you live in California and you decide to purchase a used food truck from Texas for $25,000 before getting the paperwork from your local mobile health department. You head down to the inspection office to get your permit (because you are ready to be in business) only to find out that you can not pass inspection in California because electrical outlets must be flushed into the "wall" of your food truck. This problem could be avoided if you grab the paper work first! (P.S. This has happened to two food truck owners that I know.)
Shadow a food truck owner!!!! Why is this important? If you have never worked on a food truck before, you do not know what to expect -- even if you're a full-time chef at a 5 star restaurant. Trust me, it's a different ballgame. I encourage each person to shadow a food truck owner for at least one shift (if not two). This will give you an idea of what a day in the life of a food truck owner really looks like.
Start doing some local research. Where do you want to park your food truck? Do you want to park at local bars that do not serve food? Do you want a permanent location at a food truck park? Or perhaps at a gas station with a busy intersection? Create a business model that works for you.
Currently, I have a client who pays $750 per month to park at a local gas station. This past month she's had over $8,000 in sales. I share this story to encourage you to find a business model that works for you :)
If you want to read more real-life stories of food truck owners, check out my ebook - "So, you think you want to own a food truck?"