Are Ice Cream Trucks Independent or Self-employed?

Every time you think of ice cream your memory goes back to the days you would chase ice cream trucks down the streets. Now that you reminisce, you often wonder if they operated independently or were self-employed.

Ice cream truck drivers work as independent contractors. And to do so, they have to get permits, and health insurance, look for legal parking spots and sort out other responsibilities to come into the self-employed pool.

In this article, I’ll discuss whether ice cream trucks are independent or self-employed.

Read on to learn what ice cream truck drivers do to work independently.

Ice Cream Trucks: Independent vs Self-Employed 

In the past years, ice cream truck franchises would hire full-time employees to operate their ice cream trucks every day.

Being self-employed is a great advantage for them as contractors get to easily set their schedules. However, just like other businesses they still need to get all the necessary permits and licenses, and health certificates for their ice cream truck business. 

According to the Washington Post, times have changed for ice cream truck drivers, and they are now driving their independent trucks, which means they’re completely working for themselves.  

In simpler terms, it means that they are self-employed and are running their ice cream truck business independently.

They’re also not just selling ice cream anymore. Many of them are now selling snacks, like chips and candy, and some are even selling hot food, like tacos and quesadillas.

With the changing landscape of the industry, some ice cream truck drivers are finding it difficult to make a living. In fact, many of them are now turning to food banks to help them get by.

History of Ice Cream Trucks

The primary concept of ice cream trucks goes back to the 1904 St. Louis World Fair when ice cream was commonly served out of large blocks of plain ice. Even back then, ice cream trucks were individually owned and operated. 

They would sell ice cream in dishes that the customer was able to reuse. After some time, this concept of ice cream trucks evolved and adapted to trucks that were known as the white Grumman trucks. 

All these trucks were independently owned and each of them had its ice cream recipe. 

Are Ice Cream Truck Drivers Self-Employed? 

Yes. Many ice cream truck drivers have started their own ice cream truck business or franchise. The majority of entrepreneurs are interested in starting their ice cream truck business and selling ice cream to the public. 

As easy as it seems to be a self-employed person or ice cream truck entrepreneur, it requires a lengthy procedure.

They need to get the necessary licenses, permits, health inspections, and find crowd-generating routes alone among other responsibilities of a self-employed person. 

I have written a separate article on how to start your ice cream truck business.

Is It Easy to Run an Ice Cream Truck Independently? 

It is anything but easy to run an ice cream truck independently. The ice cream truck drivers are independent contractors who have to go through the whole process of registering their business all alone.  

On the get-go, you need to develop your business plan which will include all your business’s financial, sales and marketing elements (including equipment and ice cream truck cost). This will pave a detailed roadmap for your business. 

Moreover, a self-employed or independent ice cream truck owner has to do thorough research about his intended operating location and design his routes. Ice cream drivers normally target those areas which have a crowd and are popular family outing sites. 

Once an ice cream truck driver has decided on an effective route, they also need to get the necessary permission from the local officials and find a suitable parking spot. 

Plus, you have to choose a business name. When doing so, the self-employed ice cream truck owners have to check with the Department of State to see if they have been already taken. This makes brainstorming a new name for your ice cream truck a big hassle. 

On top of that, the majority of the people who start their own ice cream truck business establish an LLC (Limited Liability Company) and open a business bank account. In addition to that, a credit card is also necessary to operate their ice cream truck. 

Food truck vendors normally prefer a contactless point-of-sale system but in that case, you would still need a cash box if your ice cream truck is not yet equipped to take credit card payments. 

How Do Ice Cream Trucks Work?

Ice cream trucks deliver frozen sweet treats and many forms of ice cream through a moving truck that contains freezers to keep the ice cream from melting. These trucks often move around a route and sell ice cream by attracting children and even adults through a piece of music that makes everyone rush toward it

Many people are familiar with the ice cream truck music as it comes driving down the street. 

The truck owner has to plan routes, access ice cream stock, pick up the ice cream products, inspect the safety and hygiene conditions, check the route for traffic, ensure the ice cream music is blasting, fill the fuel, and then drive around. 

The ice cream stays frozen with the help of the refrigeration system which is already built into the truck and powered by either fuel or battery generators. Some ice cream trucks also use dry ice to keep their ice cream frozen. 

» Read my blog post: Here’s the Markup on Ice Cream Trucks

Do People Still Use Ice Cream Trucks?

Yes, people most definitely still use ice cream trucks. This is why ice cream trucks are still operating in many areas as they provide joy to people whether it’s kids or adults. 

Buying ice cream from an ice cream truck stirs up an increased amount of excitement as compared to buying from a convenience store. This is mostly because of the ice cream truck’s jingle and the sense of urgency the ice cream truck creates. 

Hearing the music of the ice cream truck after a hot summer day at a convenient location that you just happened to be in causes a boost in serotonin levels. 

Ice cream hits differently after you’ve been tired on a hot sunny day. Whatever the scenario, the whole situation that leads you to the ice cream truck causes a sense of satisfaction. 

What Do Ice Cream Truck Owners Do In Winter?

Being a self-employed ice cream vendor is a seasonal job. Many ice cream truck owners utilize their year-round license by switching over to hot beverages like hot chocolate, coffee, espresso, and even hot dogs in the winter. 

» I have covered more on this subject in this blog post: What Do Ice Cream Truck Drivers Do During the Winter?

This allows them to fully utilize their permits as well as keep earning profits instead of parking their ice cream van somewhere the entire winter days. While some self-employed ice cream truck owners decide to find other part-time jobs during this time. 

Big franchises also convert their business during the winter months and sell hot nuts or waffles. However, many countries continue to sell ice cream even in winter. 

Final Word on Ice Cream Trucks: Independent or Self-Employed

More and more people are moving towards starting their own ice cream truck business or franchise since it is an easy and fast route to earning good revenue. 

Don’t be discouraged by the startup work hassle. All you have to do is invest in a truck equipped with the necessary equipment, decorate it, establish a route and kickstart your business to gradual success. You need to have the right planning and resources, and you’re all sorted. 

Becoming a self-employed ice cream truck owner has its perks, you get flexible working hours, self-paychecks, and access to unlimited ice cream. One can easily just drive along a well-designed route, play the music, and earn profit. 

I hope you found this article insightful. 

About Hi' my name is Simon. I am the owner of Top Work Life. Together with a my team, I write content about income generating ideas, entreprenurship and growth as a person Read more about Simon & TopWorklife

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