How Much Does An Ice Cream Truck Cost?

Ice Cream Truck

You’re planning your ice cream truck business and you’ve already estimated the cost of an ice cream. While your everyday routine and meeting new people will be a blast, your bread and butter will come from the truck itself so you must make the right choice. Here we will provide tips for buying an ice cream truck and discuss the costs associated with buying a reliable truck and adapting it for working an ice cream truck business.

The Cost of an Ice Cream Truck

The largest ticket item when you start a new ice cream truck business is of course the truck itself. You have the choice between finding an ice cream truck already outfitted or one that you have to alter. You also can choose between buying a brand-new truck or finding one pre-owned.

Costs range between $10,000 and $20,000 for a used ice cream truck and a new ice cream truck costs roughly $60,000.  Leasing is another option, with payments ranging from $1,500 – $2,000 a month.

ice cream truck
ice cream truck

Costs to Adapt Your Truck for an Ice Cream Truck Business

After purchasing your truck you’ll want to paint or wrap the vehicle in the colors of your brand. Doing this will cost between $2,000 and $5,000. 

You’ll need shelving and racks which could cost over $3,000. 

To operate it as an ice cream truck, you must have a freezer. These can be found for $200 to $1,500. 

These freezers should be bolted down to the frame and floor of the truck. 

Soft-serve ice cream will require a machine that costs $1,500 used up to $8,000 brand new.

The hallmark of an ice cream truck is the music that will get them running to get their favorite treats. You’ll need a music box and amp system for this with costs ranging from $500 to $1500. 

Your truck should also be equipped with flashing lights, a backup alarm, and signs for safety.

Checking the Condition of the Truck

When buying a truck make sure to get it checked out by a professional mechanic. It will be worth it in the long run. If you purchase a truck for a steal, deck it out with everything you need and it doesn’t run, it will be all for nothing.

Take your time and research your options, compare prices, and narrow down your search. Then you can get out there and start checking under hoods and kicking tires. When looking for an ice cream truck make sure you check out the following items:

  • Run a history check to get a clear picture of the truck you are considering.
  • Inquire about and review all maintenance records. If there are none available, this may be a bad sign.
  • Ask about any accidents in which the vehicle has been involved.
  • Have your mechanic check the transmission, engine, and other areas to detect any repairs or replacements needed. Consider the cost of these in addition to the purchase price.
  • Check the exterior for rust, dings, and protrusions.
  • Check the tire tread and find out when tires were last replaced.
  • Ask about a warranty or the availability of an extended warranty.

Choosing Between a Diesel or Gasoline Engine

If you’re all about longevity, diesel engines last longer than gasoline engines but they are expensive to purchase and to run. They are often more fuel-efficient and offer more power. Gas-powered engines are easier to fill up as their fuel is available everywhere and is less expensive than diesel. Repair costs and tune-ups are generally less expensive as well.

Keeping Your Ice Cream Truck in Good Condition

When you choose the right truck, you’re pretty confident riding around knowing it will take the wear and tear well. And it might, but just like every other vehicle out there you have to maintain your ice cream truck. Don’t put it through any extra strain. Go easy on the brakes, rotate your tires as needed, and keep up with the regular maintenance recommended by the manufacturer.

Starting an ice cream truck business can be a worthwhile endeavor. The best way to start is with the right equipment. Keep these tips and information in mind as you decide on the best truck for your business. To learn more about running your ice cream truck business and to get all the tools and resources you’ll need visit Southern Ice Cream.

Southern Ice Cream has been helping entrepreneurs for over 40 years and carries unique ice cream flavors and specialty, frozen dessert items from popular brands. We are proud to offer exceptional customer service, quality products, and outstanding resources.