The Complete Guide on "How to sell my food truck"
Looking to sell your food truck? Start here, with our comprehensive guide on selling your food truck on the internet. Selling your food truck is not difficult, but it does require attention to detail and patience. After reading this article, you will be equipped with the right information on how to sell your food truck for the best price.
Sell my Food Truck Basics - the offer
As with anything being sold the basics are the offer, the presentation and the promotion of it. The first thing to determine is what you are selling, for how much and on what conditions.
– What are you selling? The food truck business, or just the food truck? All of the truck, or are you keeping that fryer?
– For how much are you selling?
– Conditions – Can you offer seller financing? Guarantees?
– Why are you selling the food truck?
What are you selling?
In the vast majority of cases a food truck being sold is only worth as much as the vehicle and the equipment. Most food trucks have no residual brand value, long term contracts or coveted concessions. If you do though; that’s great! Selling a concept or a whole business will do better than the assets, especially if you have a 10 year concession permit on the intersection of downtown and mainstreet. But be realistic about this! Many owner-operators put a lot of of love in their Mom and Pop shop brand, look and feel but please don’t count on someone else wanting to pay for that.
Taking stock of your inventory, some items might come up that are current and sellable without being part of a package deal such as a generator or combisteamer. Decide if you are selling these separately or as part of a package.
For how much are you selling?
Pricing is on one hand very similar to “how to value a food truck (business)” – however, although the market for (used) food trucks, used food trailers for sale and other vending equipment is huge it is not extremely liquid, meaning: you will usually sit on your ass(et) waiting for it to be sold for weeks or months unless you are comfortable selling below market rate.
On what terms and conditions is the sale?
Changing the conditions of the sale or being able to offer great conditions can be conducive to the sale. Are you comfortable and capable of offering seller financing? Is the original builder willing to give the truck a once-over and allow you to sell with a warranty or guarantee? And not all conditions are financial – if you are selling to a couple just starting out their food business, offering to work alongside them for a few weeks or months can make all the difference in them going for your truck and not someone else’s.
Why are you selling the food truck?
The why of selling a food truck sends a signal – whether you are upgrading your truck, quitting the business, retiring or the truck has broken down has an impact on how the buyer perceives the offer. If you are selling because you are upgrading or you have reached the venerable age to go on a pension, make a note of that as it will be a positive thing for the buyer. Are you selling simply because of an immediate need for cash, but no real desire to quit the business – then you might just want to skip this whole thing and go for a Sale and Lease back option – allowing you to cash and rent the truck back.
Determining the Salesprice
– Check the most recent listings for similar models in your area on the big listing websites and local Facebook groups
– Ask your dealership or a professional
– Read our blog on “how to value a food truck (business)”
– Reduce the price by 20-30% if you want to sell fast, or charge fair value and be prepared to wait a few months
– Also note that a low listing price might draw enough interested buyers so you can have them later bid against eachother, increasing the price again.
How to sell my food truck? - The Listing
A good listing for a food truck consists of:
- A descriptive, full, honest and thoroughy exhaustive write up
- Great pictures and video – and lots of them
- Documentation to back it all up
Mention anything and everything relevant that you can think of. What is the original brand and year of build of the truck? Who (re)built it in to a food truck? What year? What items did you sell from the truck? How often did you maintain it? Automatic or gearbox? How much power does it use when operating? When operating the truck, what are the pro’s and cons? Is it orange or blue? Are you listing it in Arizona or Austria? What are the dimensions? To what city, county or country code was this specced out to build?
Although many of the things mentioned seem obvious, remember that you are not just writing the description for the reader of the listing that is looking at the pictures: you are also writing the description for the listings engine of the sites you put it up on and for Google.
Pay special attention to the headline – that is what gets the buyer to click through to the listing.
When thinking ‘great pictures’ don’t imagine only those epic filtered Instagram posts that got you all the likes, but also the details of your truck: coating of the underside, locks, welds, electrics, sockets, fuse box, connection to grid, corners of the windows and the kit/sealant on them, paint job close up, lights close up, engine with the hood open, etc..
Besides the heading, the first picture is tremendously important – a headline like “Seasons” combined with the first picture being a close up of your sink is not going to sell no matter the price and how many sites you put it up on – see example above. Think of the thumbnails on YouTube video’s – those are immensely important and so is your opening photo.
Although you do not need to put it up on Facebook immediately, during the salesprocess you will often be asked to provide certain information so it is best to have it handy.
– Do you have the original invoice?
– Proof of vehicle registration, or title/deed (trailers)
– Invoices and records of maintenance history, works and parts
– Purchase receipts and maintenance history of inside equipment
– When selling the whole business, make sure your books are professionally prepared too.
Essential information that you must list:
– Asking price
– Year of build
– Year of revision/renovation
– Fuel Type
– Measurements (LengthxWeightXHeight) internal and external
– Permits, concessions
– Seller location
Final preparations and tips
Before I can sell my food truck, I need to make sure to perform some basic digital and offline maintenance.
Clear up any unsanitary or low quality images, unwanted comments, pictures and information about your business online on your social media profiles and your website. We use Quickbooks for our accounting, and they published a great how-to guide on tidying up your business’ online profile.
Clean your truck, polish it up and perform all minor maintenance that you can do yourself so it does not have to be mentioned on the listing or during a sales conversation. Don’t forget to clean the cab and take new pictures if you have to.
Where to sell my food truck? - Where to list your food truck
There are a lot of places to list and sell your food truck. Roughly summarized they are:
- Your builder
- Your network
- Major listing sites
- Slightly truck specialized sites
- Truck specialized sites
- Business listing sites
- Financial Lease companies
- Facebook groups
When selling, try starting with your builder and network. Builders often get requests for customs at unexecutable budgets – being able to offer your old model instead with a fair commission might be just what their client needs. And if not your builder, contact other builders in your area too so they are aware of your listing.
Major classifieds sites are things like Ebay, Craigslist or your local equivalent (Avito.ru, Paruvendu.fr, Gumtree, Marktplaats etc..). These are very big in food truck and trailer sales! And although dealing with the amount of non serious buyers can be a hassle, it can be worth it if you are going to hustle that sale.
Mildly truck specialized sites like Reezocar and Truckscout.com do have a food truck section, and truly food truck and trailer specialized listing sites – like us and others – sell only concession related trucks and trailers. A downside is that specialized sites will ask a commission – 8% for Karpatia, 10% for Roaming Hunger and a buyer-based commission for UsedVending.
If you are selling the whole business, business listing sites like BizBuySell or your local bank can help.
Selling on Facebook might be one of the bigger opportunities but does require a significant time investment – many sellers do not manage to respond to all comments and messages, lowering engagement and the chance of a sale. So be sure to have your notifications on and that you’re ready to respond to them all on your phone.
Lastly, should you be selling only because of cashflow issues Financial Lease can be an option – you sell the truck to the bank or lease company, who lease it back to you. Karpatia Trucks offers this too.
When to sell a food truck business?
Sales pick up just before the season starts – meaning selling in March will have you sell faster than when you first list it in December although the final price will not be higher or lower. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place like Australia or Florida, we have no usable data for you (yet!) on timing the sale of your food truck.
How to sell a food truck business?
If you were following the above steps you have just made a great listing with a very detailed and fair value offer that you really spread around. Watch out – here come the buyers!
Most buyers consist of dreamers, tire kickers and ghosts – such is life. When putting an ad on Facebook that clearly states you are selling a green ice cream truck in Orlando, FL for $40k, be prepared to repeatedly answer on your messenger and comments about what color the truck is, where you are based or what the asking price is.
While it might be tempting to point out all information is included in the listing, you will sell faster if you put on your professional car salesman smile and simply copy-paste the answers from a sheet every time you get the same question.
Start at a reasonable asking price. If you already price your food truck very high, the amount of bidders drop significantly. Once you have a lot of interested buyers, you hold the power of negotiation. You may also want to offer your social media accounts and website to the customer that wants to buy your food truck.
Remember that not selling is also an option – especially if you aren’t dying for the cash. The annual depreciation on trucks sitting unused is not super high, and it can be rented out when you still own it.
Note that payments by credit card can have a chargeback period up to 120 days and checks may bounce. Meaning that deal you think you closed could be disputed later by an out of state (or country) buyer, claiming the product was defective, and note that PayPal seller protection does not cover this. Checks too may bounce, so make sure to cash that before handing over the keys and paperwork.
For this reason we recommend taking a wire transfer, cash, or selling through a marketplace that offers payment guarantees.
Buyers will be looking at all sites and Facebook groups, not just our listings page. You should list the truck anywhere and everywhere – and yes, that includes our competition. Our goal is to help you get the best price for your truck as fast and easy as possible, so you need to attract as many prospects as possible.
Why list with Karpatia
– Massive international audience.
– Secure escrow system
– Modest 8% commission
– Template brochure for your listing