How to Start A Business As A Mobile Snack Concession Vendor In Texas

by Contributor - Updated September 26, 2017
Be sure to obtain proper permits when operating a mobile food business in Texas.

Operating a mobile concession stand or snack vending service allows you to own your own business and be your own boss, whether you plan to work full-time or supplement your income by working part-time.

Consider what kind of mobile food concession you are most interested in. Those dealing with food prepared from scratch, such as hot dogs or hamburgers, require the most equipment and food safety procedures, as well as the most expensive trailers. Mobile food trailers that have full kitchens must have the proper ventilation equipment, waste drains and fire protection to be legal in Texas and most other states. Concessions that require only a minimum of preparation, such as snow cones or popcorn, do not have to have such expensive and highly regulated trailers. Those that sell prepackaged snacks require the least regulations.

Think of a good business name. When starting your own food concession business in Texas you should first file for a DBA, or "doing business as," name in each county you plan to operate in. Apply for an employer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service. Apply for a Texas sales tax identification number with the state comptroller's office.

Obtain a health permit. When you start your own mobile food or snack vending business in Texas you will be required by law to have a health permit. These are obtained from whatever city you will be operating in. Otherwise, if you are not regulated by one city you will have to apply through the Texas Department of Health, which will inspect your mobile food trailer before licensing. You may also need a city license to operate as a vendor on public property.

Choose a suitable mobile concession trailer. You can often find used trailers that already conform to state laws. Search on eBay and sites such as Craigslist. You will need a full-sized truck in most cases, since food concession trailers may weigh more than 6,000 pounds. You will need commercial liability insurance both for the trailer and for your business to protect you from lawsuits. Keeping your equipment safe and sanitary are top priorities.

Find good locations. Look at calendar of local events and apply to the organizers as early as you can in the year. Many of the prime spots at local fairs and events are reserved a year or more in advance. Getting in with a company that puts on fairs around the state is another good way to stay busy. Although you will be traveling a lot, it is a good way to turn mobile snack concession into a full time job, since there is rarely enough business in one city to keep you busy full time. Make sure you have a willing spouse or helper, since mobile snack concession businesses are hard to run with just one person.

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