How to Start an Ice Cream Truck Business

Joanna Okedara
Table of Contents
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    One ice cream business idea that you cannot go wrong with starting is the ice cream truck business. Starting an ice cream truck business is very lucrative and can yield high profits if you manage it the right way.

    The ice cream truck business is known for its familiar jingle and songs that awaken childhood memories. Beyond taking your customers back to their respective childhoods, it comes with a lot of profit.

    Key Takeaway: Contrary to the thoughts of most people, starting an ice cream truck is not financially overwhelming when compared to the startup cost for ice cream shop. It can be easily expanded as all you need to do is acquire your second truck.

    If you decide to start your mobile ice cream business then it is important that you have the needed knowledge that will guide you through. This article is a comprehensive guide on the tips you need to start and scale your ice cream truck business. Read to learn the best tips that will guide your dreams to reality.

    Let’s get to it!


    How to Start a Mobile Ice Cream Business

    1. Develop a Business Concept

    Before you even think about serving up ice cream, you need a solid eCommerce business plan and unique selling proposition. Start by identifying your target market and understanding the local demand for ice cream. Consider the uniqueness of your ice cream truck idea—what will make you stand out from the competition? 

    You need to decide on the types of ice cream you want to sell. Also, keep in mind that your choice of ice cream wholesale and business concept must resonate with your target customers. 

    1. Secure Your Operating Licenses and Regulatory Permits

    There are specified guidelines that you must adhere to for operating an ice cream truck. Likewise, you must obtain all necessary permits. It is important for you to consult all the local agencies that are involved in licensing and permit issuance for operating a food and beverage industry wholesale distribution business in your area.

    Additionally, research and secure the appropriate wholesale licenses and permits required in your area to operate a mobile food business legally.

    1. Buy the Right Truck or Van

    It is important that you make the right truck selection for your ice cream truck business. You'll want a reliable vehicle with enough space to store your ice cream and equipment. 

    You have to decide whether you're going for a used or a new truck. Additionally, you'll have to factor the need for custom modifications in your truck selection determining factor.

    Such modifications often include freezer space, serving platform, and power supply source among many others. Ensure your truck complies with local ice cream truck requirements.

    1. Stock Up Ice Cream Supplies

    Your source of ice cream supplies has to be dependable and consistent. Ensure that you buy quality wholesale ice cream supplies like the toppings cones, waffles, and other essentials.

    Establishing relationships with a reliable wholesale ice cream distributor is an idea you have to explore. It surely guarantees you access to quality ice cream stocks.

    Offer to sell other rare varieties of ice cream options to cater to different tastes. Also, include options that cater to other dietary restrictions like lactose-free ice creams and vegan ice creams.

    1. Craft an Irresistible Ice Cream Menu

    Your menu is your ticket to attracting and retaining customers. Create a peculiar ice cream menu list that appeals to a wide range of customers. 

    Be very creative with your menu list. Include classic flavors alongside unique and seasonal menu offerings. Think about incorporating fun and visually appealing dessert options that will catch the eye of passersby. 

    You can also add different toppings, sauces, and cones in order to improve customer experience.

    1. Select a Strategic Location

    As an ice cream truck business owner, the location you select will affect your table turnover. It is a critical factor. Before finalizing a location, ensure that you research high-traffic areas, parks, events, and other eyebrow places. 

    Establish a regular schedule for your truck's locations, but also be flexible to adapt to changing circumstances or special events. 

    1. eCommerce Marketing and Branding

    The kind of branding you should do for your ice cream truck business should be one that catches everyone's attention at a glance. Design an eye-catching logo, colorful truck wrap, and appealing signage. 

    Utilize social media to promote your truck's location and special promotions. You should explore the online space, the social media, to engage your local audience. Also, engage the local community in convincing discussions about ice creams.

    One other thing, collaborating with other brands can influence your sales positively.

    1. Pricing

    Your prices must compete favorably with other operators in the industry. And your prices must reflect the uniqueness and quality of your ice cream brand. Monitor your expenses closely to maintain a healthy profit margin. 

    You have to be intentional about capturing the attention of your customers by doing pricing promotions and loyalty programs at intervals to reward your stable customers.

    1. Exceptional Customer Service

    As an ice cream van operator, it is important that you give your customers a warm and friendly reception. Exceptional customer hospitality can make your brand the most sought-after.

    Outstanding customer service can set you apart in the ice cream truck business. Train your staff (if applicable) to provide friendly and efficient service. Remember customer preferences and build relationships with your regulars. A smile can be the reason why a customer is coming back to your van for another ice cream palate.

    1. Growth and Adaptation

    As you continue to make more revenue, the best thing to do is to expand. Take the opportunity of the increased flow of revenue to add more trucks and other food and beverage distribution businesses. 

    Always stay abreast of any trends and customer needs. Be flexible in your strategies so that you can always find it easy to navigate some difficult bends in your ice cream truck business.

    29 Ice Cream Truck Requirements

    Here is a list of ice cream truck requirements before you can begin your ice cream business:

    1. Business License
    2. Health Permit
    3. Mobile Food Vendor License
    4. Vehicle Registration and Insurance
    5. Vehicle Inspection
    6. Food Handlers Permits (for employees)
    7. Refrigeration and Freezer Equipment
    8. Handwashing Facilities
    9. First Aid Kit
    10. Fire Extinguisher
    11. Menu and Price List
    12. Signage (menu, business name, contact information)
    13. Commissary Agreement (a location to store and prepare food)
    14. Waste Disposal Plan
    15. Cleanliness and Sanitation Protocols
    16. Permitted Locations or Routes
    17. Sales Tax Permit (if applicable in your area)
    18. Liability Insurance
    19. Music License (if playing music from your truck)
    20. Safety Equipment (cones, traffic cones, reflective vests)
    21. Marketing Materials (business cards, flyers, social media presence)
    22. Customer Service Training (for employees)
    23. Inventory Management System
    24. Financial Records and Reporting
    25. Environmental Compliance (if using eco-friendly materials)
    26. Compliance with Local Noise Regulations (for music and jingles)
    27. Compliance with Local Parking Regulations
    28. Compliance with COVID-19 Regulations (if applicable)
    29. Compliance with Accessibility Standards (if required)

    Frequently Asked Questions About Ice Cream Truck Business

    Starting an ice cream truck business can be easy with the right knowledge. Here are some of the questions about starting an ice cream truck business.

    How Profitable is an Ice Cream Truck?

    An ice cream truck business is very profitable. You can make at least $600 on a daily basis which can be up to $8000 on a monthly basis.  

    What is a Person Who Sells Ice Cream Called?

    A person who sells ice cream is called an ice cream man.

    What are 5 Popular Ice Cream Flavors?

    5 popular ice cream flavors are:

    • Vanilla
    • Chocolate
    • Strawberry
    • Butter pecan
    • Teaberry
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