A food truck park business is a business that provides temporary parking spaces on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis to operators of food trucks and also food truck festival organizers. A food truck park, or pod, is a space, such as a parking lot, that attracts a community of food trucks and carts, and also customers eager for a mass gathering of food options.
It equally provides the area with eating amenities such as tables, tents, and bathrooms. Rental rates for a food truck park are around $500 to $1,000 per month and these parks offer space daily as well. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 16,012 licensed and registered parking lots and garages responsible for employing about 142,726 persons.
The industry rakes in a whooping sum of $9 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 2.3 percent between 2016 and 2022. It is important to state that the companies holding the largest market share in the Parking Lots & Garages in the US industry include LAZ Parking Ltd. LLC, SP Plus Corporation, and ABM Industries Inc.
Steps on How to Start a Food Truck Park Business
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
If you are considering starting a food truck park, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your food truck park should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.
In this regard, you should source for information that will help you maximize your business, information that will tell you what your potential market will be looking out for from a food truck park, and also help you operate your food truck park with less stress and build the business to profitability.
a. Who is the Target Market for Food Truck Park?
- Food truck operators
- Food truck festival organizers
- Event Planners.
b. Is Food Truck Park a Profitable Business?
In as much as it is right to say food truck parks are profitable business ventures, it is important to state that the profitability of the business is dependent on the management style of the business, the number of food truck operators in the city, the number of food truck parks available in your city, the location, additional amenities available and of course the marketing and publicity approach of the business.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the food truck park business because the food truck park business is a niche idea in the parking lots and garages industry.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- Alder Street Food Cart Pod – Portland, Oregon
- Art District Food Truck Park – Lubbock, Texas
- Atlanta Food Truck Park & Market – Atlanta, Georgia
- Austin Street Truck Stop – Denton, Texas
- Aztec Food Trailer Park – Austin, Texas
- Ballard Bites & Brew – Seattle, Washington
- Baltimore Food Truck Park – Baltimore, Maryland
- Beehive Station – Salem, Oregon
- Bellevue Food Truck Pod – Bellevue, Washington
- Bleu Garten – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Boardwalk on Elm – Waco, Texas
- Bushnell Park Food Truck Court – Hartford, Connecticut
- Brownsville Food Truck Park – Brownsville, Texas
- Campus Pitt Stop – Columbus, Ohio
- Charcoal Alley – Jacksonville, Texas
- Clearfork Food Park – Fort Worth, Texas
- Columbia Food Park – Vancouver, Washington
- Columbus Commons – Columbus, Ohio
- Co-op Food Court – Austin, Texas
- County Fare – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- South Congress Food Truck Park
- University Co-Op Food Court
- Thicket Food Park
- Elmo Public Market Food Trucks.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Food Truck Park?
Yes, there are county or state regulations or zoning laws for food truck parks. Towns, cities, and counties also have zoning restrictions, designating commercial and noncommercial zones. Most areas limit food trucks, trailers, buses, and carts to specific locations. A list of where you can and can’t park should be available from the county clerk.
For example, in California, no person shall establish a food truck park within the city until permits for that purpose have been obtained from the building department. Food truck parks shall be duly licensed as a business and shall conform to all laws governing businesses, parks shall be located on a parcel of land not less than three acres and all vehicles within the park shall be kept mobile so that they may be moved within one hour if required.
f. Is There a Franchise for Food Truck Park?
No, there are no franchise opportunities for food truck parks.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Food Truck Park Business?
- A Feasibility Report
- Business and Marketing Plans
- Business Licenses and Permits
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
- A Corporate Bank Account
- Environmental Permits
- Facility Plan
Memorable Food Truck Park Business Names
- Star Zone© Food Truck Pod, Inc.
- First Port® Food Truck Park, LLC
- The Zone© Food Truck Park, Inc.
- Park Solutions® Food Truck Pod, Inc.
- Ground Zero™ Food Truck Park, Inc.
- Door Step™ Food Truck Park Company, LLC.
- The Sanford and Co© Food Truck Park Company, LLC
- Unique Park® Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- Zebra Stop© Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- Park Now© Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- Excel Group® Food Truck Park Company, LLC
- Your Slot® Food Truck Park Company, LLC
- The Tent™ Food Truck Park Company, LLC
- Reserved© Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- Mode Nine® Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- China Town™ Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- The Deputy™ Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- End Zone© Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
- Leeway® Food Truck Park Company, LLC
- Landcruiser™ Food Truck Park Company, Inc.
Register Your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Food Truck Park Business?
Although there are several options such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation, when it comes to the business structure for a food truck park, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC.
It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Food Truck Park?
- General Business License
- Zonal Permits
- Signage Permit
- Environmental Permits.
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Food Truck Park?
You don’t need any certifications to start a food truck park.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Food Truck Park?
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Approval
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Document
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
If you are considering starting a food truck park, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Food truck park?
A food truck park will cost from $300,000 to over $2 million to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.
b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Food Truck Park Business
- Business Registration Fees – $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $1,300.
- Marketing, Branding and Promotions – $1,000.
- Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
- Insurance – $1,400.
- Rent/Lease – $250,000.
- Other start-up expenses include commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($1,800).
- Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
- Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $1,750
- Furnishing and equipping the park – $35,000
- Website: $600
- Opening party: $3,000
- Miscellaneous: $2,000.
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Food truck park?
- The size of the food truck park (numbers of parking slots available)
- The choice of the location
- The required licenses and permits
- The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the food truck park
- The cost for furnishing and equipping the food truck park
- The cost of insurance
- The cost for registering the business
- Cost of recruiting and training your staff
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?
Yes, you need to build a facility for your food truck park. This is because the nature of the business makes it difficult to operate a food truck park without building a facility. It will cost you a minimum of $350,000 to build a small food truck park in some of the cheapest cities in the United States.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Food truck park?
- Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage and software renewal fees et al)
- Salaries of employees
- Facility maintenance
- Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $65,000 Per Year
- Park Manager – $35,000 Per Year
- Security Guards -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Food Truck Park Business
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Park Solutions® Food Truck Pod, Inc. is a licensed food truck park that will be based in Hartford, Connecticut. We will provide temporary parking spaces on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis to food truck and cart operators and also organize food truck festivals from time to time.
Park Solutions® Food Truck Pod, Inc. has been able to secure all the relevant licenses and permits to operate in Hartford, Connecticut. We will ensure that we abide by the rules and regulations guiding the food truck parks business in the United States.
b. Products and Service
- Hourly or daily off-street parking for food truck operators
- Weekly or monthly off-street parking food truck operators
- Organizing food truck festivals at regular intervals
c. Mission Statement
Our mission is to ensure that we build a food truck park that will attract the best food truck companies and franchises in the United States of America.
Our vision is to become one of the preferred choices when it comes to the demand for food truck parks in and around Westchester County – New York.
d. Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of a food truck park are to provide temporary parking spaces on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis to operators of food trucks and also food truck festival organizers.
e. Organizational Structure
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
- Park Manager
- Security Guards
a. SWOT Analysis
- Excellent operational history
- Highly secure and spacious parking
- Excellent customer testimonials.
- Reliable, secured, and efficient service.
- The owner is new to large scale marketing
- We will need a loan to finance the parking lot
- The owner is currently running the business solo
- Lack of economies of scale.
- Growing outdoor activities that will attract food trucks
- Build upon existing clientele
- Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
- Weather constraints
- Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
- The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
- Competition in the area could increase
- Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
- The regulatory department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate our business.
b. How Do Food Truck Parks Make Money?
Food truck parks make money from;
- Hourly or daily off-street parking for food truck operators
- Weekly or monthly off-street parking food truck operators
- Organizing food truck festivals at regular intervals
- Provide an area with eating amenities such as tables, tents, and bathrooms.
c. Payment Options
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Introduce your food truck park by sending introductory letters to food trucks, event planners, and other stakeholders in and around the city where your food truck park is located.
- Open your food truck park with a party to capture the attention of food trucks within your location
- Advertise your food truck park in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List our business and services on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet and mobile apps to promote your food truck parks
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?
Rental rates for a food truck park are typically about $500 to $1,000 per month and you can make the most of your investment by vending as often as possible. Many food truck pods offer space daily as well, but you’ll pay more per day if you reserve dates individually than if you commit to a block of time.
b. How Much Profit Do Food Truck Park Owners Make a Year?
It depends, but according to IBISWorld, profit for a food truck park can be around 7.7% of your entire revenue, after accounting for overhead costs and wages. That means a food truck park making $400,000 in sales each year would pull in just over $30,000 in profit.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- The capacity of the food truck park (number of parking slots and amenities available)
- The location of the food truck park
- The management style of the food truck park
- The business approach of the food truck park
- The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the food truck park.
- The number of years the food truck park is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Food Truck Park Product/Service?
The profit margin of a food truck park is not fixed. It could range from 7.7 percent to 20 percent.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Below is the sales forecast for a food truck park. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;
- First Fiscal Year: $320,000
- Second Fiscal Year: $680,000
- Third Fiscal Year: $2.2 million
Set Up your Office
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Food Truck Park?
- The demography of the location
- The demand for foods and drinks sold by food trucks in the location
- The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of food truck parks in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Food Truck Park?
- Bellevue, Washington
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Lubbock, Texas
- Hartford, Connecticut
- Broward County, Florida
- Seattle, Washington
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Portland, Oregon
- San Francisco, California
- Vancouver, Washington.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Food Truck Park?
- Parking Timers
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard food truck park, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), Park manager, cleaners, and security guards.
Launch the Business Proper
In recent times, no food truck park opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.
The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the food truck park, you will be able to inform people in your city that your food truck park is open for business.
a. What Makes a Food Truck Park Successful?
- Choose a good location
- Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
- Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
- Your branding must be top-notch
- Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your food truck park
- Leverage on all available online and offline platforms to promote your food truck park
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Food Truck Park?
- The business is open for the day’s work
- The park is cleaned and prepared to receive food trucks
- Food trucks drive in and get their receipt to park
- Marketing/website upkeep
- Administrative duties
- The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Food Truck Park?
- Good facility management skills
- Security-consciousness and alertness
- Customer service skills
- Interpersonal skill
- Business management skills
- Work experience in the food truck parking industry
- Experience in managing people
- Experience in business administration
- Experience in handling relevant software.