How Much Does an Ice Cream Truck Cost: Getting Started

I’m sure you have an ice cream business in mind, but you don’t have a budget for it, which is why you’re here. What if I tell you that you can buy an ice cream truck for the business and not collect the funds to invest in the brick-and-mortar for an ice cream parlor.

You can choose between different types of trucks: brand new or second-hand, it depends on you. The cost for these trucks ranges between $10,000 and $20,000 for a used one and a new ice cream truck will cost around $60,000. You can even lease them with payments ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 a month.

Ice cream trucks are constantly evolving and have been here for decades on end. Everyone loves running to the sound of ice cream truck chimes, even adults, which is why it is evident that ice cream trucks are here to stay.

If you’re someone wanting to start an ice cream truck business, buying an ice cream truck is the first thing you should do. Therefore, to assist you in that decision, I have estimated the total cost for an ice cream truck in this article. Read on to find out!

Average Costs For Ice Cream Truck

Types of Ice cream TrucksAverage Costs
Pre-packaged Ice cream truck$10,000 – $20,000
Scooping ice cream truck$25,000 – $60,000
Soft serve ice cream truck$40,000 – $100,000

This table shows the average costs for different types of ice cream trucks.

The cost of the truck depends on the type of truck you opt for. This is why the price range starts at $10,000 and goes all the way up to $100,000. 

When it’s about starting a conventional ice cream truck business, most of the startup cash is spent on the purchase of a regular ice cream truck.

To determine the type of truck you need, you will first have to identify the type of ice cream you are planning to sell. For instance, if you wish to sell regular packed ice cream, you will only need a normal ice cream truck with professional refrigerators or freezers. 

The second possible option for you to choose is soft-serve gelato, for which you will need more advanced equipment and if you want that equipment integrated inside the truck, the price will be much higher. 

In all scenarios, the price range would vary. Here’s a table that has all these costs:

After you’ve decided which ice cream you wish to sell, you can move towards deciding which truck you want to buy. 

To make your decision easier, there are four options that you can choose from.

#1 New Truck

Buying a new truck is going to be the most expensive option that you can choose, but if you have the funds, it would be beneficial as you can construct the truck according to your preference and install all the personalized equipment in it.  

It also has multiple advantages — From a technical standpoint, you will have a brand-new engine, and by looking after its upkeep, you won’t face any issues for a long time. 

#2 Second-Hand Non-Food Truck

It’s okay if you don’t have the required capital for a new truck, you can always opt for a second-hand non-food truck. There are plenty of good food trucks available in the market. 

You can then choose the one with the most suitable size for your required equipment as there are plenty of options and varieties available; even on online platforms. 

However, there are some risks involved in buying a second-hand truck. As you will be buying a non-food truck it would require extra effort to make it appropriate for your ice cream business. 

You will eventually have to get it fully redesigned from the inside to fit your equipment. Therefore, you may even face some technical issues. But if all goes well, you can build it according to your preference.

#3 Second-Hand Ice Cream Truck

If you are someone who’s looking for the most cost-efficient way to buy an ice cream truck, consider buying a second-hand ice cream truck. This option will already have freezers and all the specs required for an ice cream truck business.

This way you won’t have to redesign the whole truck, so you get to save your time as well as money. 

Another win-win here is that a second-hand ice cream truck may already have fulfilled the requirements offered by the local health department for a food truck and you’ll not have to spend extra bucks. 

#4 Second-Hand Truck With Existing Permits

You can even buy a second-hand truck with existing permits. You must know that in order to sell ice cream on the streets you need to have some permits. Opting for this option will even save you from the hassle of getting the permits yourself. 

If you’re on a limited budget, this can be the most affordable option for you. To save time and get your ice cream business up and running as soon as possible, I would recommend you go for this option as it is the simplest and the fastest. 

You will have to have the truck ownership transferred to you after purchasing the truck and then, you’re good to go. 

However, there is only one thing you will have to ensure before the purchase: see that there are no new health department rules which may have been introduced after the truck was permitted. 

If there are new requirements after the permit was issued, you will have to issue a whole new request to get your truck permitted again. 

Things to Know While Buying an Ice Cream Truck

Now that you know what ice cream truck you can buy for your business, let’s take a look at some major things you need to consider before investing in one. 

I have listed down some things that you need to look out for before buying an ice cream truck. 

  • You need to research the market and get information about the prices of the truck with their relative features.
  • After you have chosen a truck that matches your preference, hire a professional mechanic to get the truck checked and run through all the major processes for a mechanical inspection. 
  • Ask the seller about the history of the truck to get a clear picture.
  • Get access to all the maintenance records. If there is no maintenance done on the truck, you may have to get it fixed in the future.
  • Ask about past accidents if any.
  • Check the engine, battery, or other parts if they were replaced or if they have any issues.
  • Check the truck’s warranty.
  • Check the condition of the tires.
  • Always do a test drive.

» Read my blog post: What Do Ice Cream Truck Drivers Do During the Winter?

Diesel or Gasoline Ice Cream Truck: Which Is Better?

Ice cream truck owners prefer using diesel-powered trucks instead of gasoline because they are fuel-efficient, and also because diesel helps keep the freezer running for a long period of time and keeps the ice cream frozen. 

Ice cream truck owners prefer diesel-powered trucks to electric ones as well. They prefer to keep the freezers running even when the trucks are static or not in use. This has become a popular tradition for ice cream truck drivers. 

Most ice cream trucks that you will see around your neighborhood are large diesel fuel trucks.

Ice cream trucks are usually plugged into a power source at night to keep the ice cream frozen for about 10 to 12 hours at 90 degrees. 

This is why many truck owners go for diesel engines which are ideal to keep the refrigerator and other equipment running. This has also become a source of pollution due to the great emissions released into the air by diesel engines. 

However, some companies have been working on an electric system and zero-emission ice cream trucks that will bring the diesel tradition to end. 

Where Can You Buy an Ice Cream Truck?

Whether it’s a used ice cream truck or a brand new ice cream truck, here are some websites that will offer you to rent or buy an ice cream truck according to your needs:

  1. Food truck empire
  2. Food trucks for sale
  3. Used food truck
  4. Used vending

You can easily look up these resources for the type of ice cream truck you want to invest in for your ice cream business. Researching will let you know if there’s any room for price negotiation on the used ice cream trucks. 

Plus, you can even buy an ice cream truck through online stores. Many online truck stores have their inventory located in different parts of the country so it will be easier for you to find one in your area. 

» This could also be something for you: Top 20 Unseen Ways to Make Money With a Van (Or Truck)

Summing Up the Cost of Ice Cream Trucks

No doubt the ice cream truck business is one of the most highly profitable ventures that you can start. 

If you wish to start your own ice cream truck business, just make sure to thoroughly do your research, compare and test drive several ice cream truck models and then invest in one that suits you. 

If you’re interested in buying an ice cream truck, I hope this article assisted you well.

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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