How to Buy an Ice Cream Truck (Step-by-Step)

Opening a small ice cream truck business is pretty exciting and a good second source of income. Many people these days have been searching for ways to make extra money and a small start-up has always been the #1 way to do so. 

Here are the steps that will help you buy an ice cream truck:

  1. Get a loan
  2. Find the perfect ice cream machine
  3. Do your research
  4. Check used trucks
  5. Visit dealerships
  6. Strike the best bargain
  7. Insider tip

What’s so difficult about opening a startup is choosing your industry and deciding how you want to approach the path. It’s a common fact that capitalism demands innovation and recycling ideas doesn’t get you anywhere. 

So, if you plan on opening an ice cream place; instead of opting for a shop try a truck instead. It’s old-fashioned yet new in today’s world. An ice cream truck is not only cheaper to have but it also has an attraction that gets you, customers. 

But wait, how do you buy an ice cream truck? Well, that’s what I’m here for. Keep on reading to find out exactly how you can do that. 

Buying the Perfect Ice Cream Truck: A Guide 

If you like children and driving then you’ll love owning an ice cream truck. Like many similar investments, owning an ice cream truck is no different than buying a simple car. 

The process involves the same steps you’d usually have: going to dealerships and making sure you have the funds to buy a truck. 

Usually, an ice cream truck costs anywhere between $2,500 and $75,000.

This is a rough maximum and minimum limit to get the best-bargained ice cream truck, follow these steps: 

» I have covered more on this subject in this blog post: How Much Does an Ice Cream Truck Cost: Getting Started

#1 Getting Your Loan For Ice Cream Truck

The number one most important thing you should have cleared out before looking for a truck is your financials. Do you have enough to purchase an ice cream truck? And if not then how much in loan do you need? 

Ensuring that you have a sufficient amount will save you from worrying later.

Here are some ways to get a loan for buying an ice cream truck:


Crowdfunding is a great way to raise money for an ice cream truck business.

You can set up a campaign on a crowdfunding website and share your story with potential backers. Backers can pledge money to your campaign, and if you reach your goal, you’ll receive the funds to start your business.

Some crowdfunding websites:

Traditional Bank Loans

Traditional bank loans can be a great option for those looking to finance their ice cream truck business.

Banks typically offer lower interest rates than other lending options, making monthly payments more affordable. They also offer a variety of loan terms to choose from, giving borrowers the flexibility to find a repayment plan that fits their needs.

When applying for a bank loan, be sure to shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders to get the best deal.

To bag your loan, talk to your bank about your investment and check out their plans. Next, schedule an appointment with the loan officer and talk about the amount you’ll need. Here, you should present your business plan to them.

This has no other use but to ensure that you will be able to pay off your debt. With a solid business plan at hand, you’re more likely to get your loan approved.

In your business plan, you must clearly state every cost, profit, and paperwork so the loan company knows every detail.

SBA-Backed Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a loan program that can help ice cream truck businesses get the financing they need to get started or expand their operations. The SBA-backed loan program offers loans with low-interest rates and flexible repayment terms.

This makes it an attractive option for ice cream truck businesses that may not be able to qualify for traditional bank financing.

Loans From Friends and Family

Taking out a loan from friends or family can be a tricky proposition. On one hand, it can be a great way to get the funding you need to start your business without going into debt.

On the other hand, it can put a strain on your relationships if things go wrong.

If you decide to go this route, be sure to draw up a contract and make sure everyone is on the same page about the terms of the loan.

Finding Private Investors

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for private investors to buy an ice cream truck. First, it is important to have a well-written business plan that outlines the costs of the truck, the expected profits, and the marketing strategy.

Secondly, it is helpful to have a track record of success with other businesses or investments.

Finally, it is essential to build relationships with potential investors and clearly communicate the opportunity and the risks involved.

» You can also read my post: Are Ice Cream Trucks Independent or Self-employed?

#2 Identify the Perfect Ice Cream Machine 

Since your major investment is the ice cream truck, it’s best to have the lowest and best possible price you can obtain. A way to make your investment work is to consult those who already own an ice cream truck. 

You can learn of the safety items needed on the truck, freezers and all the other knick knacks that are required. To get a better idea of all that you might need, go ahead and spend a day in their truck (you will have to take permission first) and see them in action. 

A perfect ice cream truck is one where you have ample space for movement, storage, and other necessities.

You’ll be spending most of your day there so make sure it’s comfortable. 

Some of the famous Ice cream machine manufacturers:

#3 Do Your Research

Once you’ve gotten the loan approved, it’s time to deep dive into the ice cream business. This is a rather peculiar business so it’s a given that you may not know all about its operations. 

Food truck businesses are complicated, you need stable storage spaces and cooling containers to keep the food cold; making sure it does not rot. 

These are just some of the precautions owners have to face and really, there’s no way to better grasp the responsibilities of owning an ice cream truck without consulting a previous owner. 

Speaking to someone with experience can enlighten you on all the knowledge you may not know. They’ll tell you all the tips and tricks to make sure your business can run smoothly and successfully. 

#4 Check Used Trucks Out 

Mark a day trip for visiting dealerships and inquire only about used trucks. Oftentimes, you can find a perfect truck that may have been used before. 

There’s nothing wrong with getting a used truck as long as it gets your work done. There are also certain shops you can look at online and search for used trucks there as well. 

The trick is to go deep. Look at every detail you can and make sure you leave no room for imagination. You should also see if the safety precautions work for warning kids of your truck. 

#5 Visit Dealerships 

Go to dealerships. I cannot stress this enough but you have to frequently visit dealerships to get a good truck for cheap. 

Also, test drive several trucks to get a hang of them and figure out which one you can find ease in driving. Furthermore, you should also check out either soft serve or novelty freezers to see which one you’d want the most. 

The kind of ice cream truck you pick can also affect the price so by checking out the freezers you can figure out which sort of ice cream you want to sell. 

#6 Strike Your Best Bargain 

Lastly, strike the best bargain you can. There is no need to buy a truck right on the spot. Haste never ends well. 

But, instead, you can inquire about multiple trucks at once and get into talks about which one’s the best out of your options. Keep your choices open and be sure to always have an eye on all ice cream truck sellers. 

Only purchase the truck once it’s acceptable.

Note: any absurd price should not be entertained. 

It’s not much difficult to purchase a well-working and worthwhile truck, you may need to scavenge it for some time but it isn’t impossible.  

Even though you might have a loan that can handle a pricier truck it’s still not bad to use less for one main investment and spend the remaining amount on other things such as stock and designing. 

This way you can be sure to use your loan most efficiently, ensuring that every investment you make is the best possible choice. 

» Maybe this also could be of interest to you: Do Ice Cream Trucks Need a License? (Breakdown By State)

#7 Insider Tip

Insider information: do a little mock run of your ice cream truck before actually purchasing the real thing.

“And how do I do that,” you might ask. 

For this: you rent an ice cream truck and try to decorate it in your brand’s colors as much as you can. This can be done by hanging items that you plan on putting in your actual ice cream truck and setting the interior as you plan to. 

On renting an ice cream truck; older trucks are often available for lease for as many days as you wish. Just search for them on renting websites or contact your dealership and you’ll most likely find a truck that you can use. 

This can be pretty helpful to understand the working of ice cream trucks before making your big purchase. 

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

Summing Up the Step-by-Step Guide for Buying an Ice Cream Truck

That’s all you need to know about ice cream trucks! By now, you must have had a clear view of where to start your endeavor and how to go about it. 

Think of ice cream trucks as any other income stream. It’s no more different aside from its unconventional nature. But it’s the nature of the ice cream truck business that attracts so many customers. 

In the end, running an ice cream truck isn’t that hard but I’ll admit you will have trouble finding the perfect truck for you. It may take a bit of searching but there’s no such thing as a perfect truck. 

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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