If you're thinking about starting a food truck business, renting a truck rather than buying could be the most logical way to begin your venture. When you rent a food truck, you can test the market for your idea without having to make a huge financial commitment. Renting costs less up front when compared to buying or customizing a food truck, and may also come with permits and food kitchen agreements, depending on the company.

Renting, Leasing or Buying Food Trucks

A rented food truck typically is already equipped with all the appliances and kitchen tools you need. The truck is set up and ready to go, with all the permits in place.

In addition, some companies offer the additional option of leasing a food truck that you customize yourself. This is a bigger financial commitment and can cost up to $50,000 per truck. Meanwhile, buying a food truck requires either building a brand new food truck from scratch, which can cost $100,000 or more, or buying a used truck at a considerable discount.

Keep in mind that with a food truck purchase, you're responsible for all the upkeep and maintenance costs. When you rent a food truck, the upkeep and maintenance are covered by the owner.

Finding Food Trucks to Rent

Several companies specialize in offering short-term food truck rentals. For example, FoodTruckRental.com provides an extensive list of people ready to rent food trucks, along with descriptions of the equipment in the truck and the truck's location. Trucks can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on the owner's preference. Mobi Munch is another food truck rental service, with options ranging from monthly to yearly. When you rent from Mobi Munch, you also get a training session for new food truck operators.

The Cost of Renting

Renting a food truck isn't cheap, but it's considerably less expensive than buying or leasing a customized truck. If you rent a truck over a six month period, for example, you can expect to pay about $3,000 a month. Some already come with commissaries, which are established kitchens where food can be prepared or stored. If the truck doesn't come with a commissary, this can cost an additional $1,200 or so a month.

Advantages of Renting

If you've never been in the food truck business before, renting a truck first can help test the viability of your business idea, as well as whether this type of business meets your needs. You'll have less of a financial investment, so you won't lose out on as much if you discover that the food truck business isn't the right fit for you. After two to three years of renting, you'll have a better idea of how much income you expect to make and whether purchasing a truck is a financially wise decision.