For those of you that built your own food truck or trailer, would you do it again?
Yes we would. And we are planning to build a bigger mobile kitchen to supplement the cart.
Did you learn any lessons that you care to pass along? Code related issues will be different for each sate/county/city.
We should have built a kitchen to start with. We knew we would be traveling to different states. We had a large cargo trailer that we could have used instead of selling it for far below what it was worth. We should have pushed a little with the HD guy in NC to get the Corain approved for all the countertops instead of having to use part SS (gets too hot in the summer sun and Corian IS NSF approved for commercial kitchens). We are far from happy with our SS fabrication.
What was your motivation for building your own instead of buying something already made?
We have been in residential construction most of our lives (my father was a tile setter, David built his first house at 16 yo… it was his family’s vacation lake house and he ended up building most of it). We kept looking at the various “commercial” units and decided we could build it, build better, build it to suit our needs and build it CHEAPER. Even now, with all the “remodeling” we’ve done on the cart to get it to where it is right now, we only have about $3000 in it. It was built “out of pocket”. But we had a lot of stuff on hand when we did it (trailer frame, lots of aluminum, corian, etc). Even if we had to buy everything, we would still have about $8000- $9000 in it. We counted our time as nothing.
Here is my situation. I have realized that a food truck is a better bet for me for many reasons and I would like to see about building my own truck.
Here is our situation… We live fulltime in an RV, we do not have a “home” like the others do. We do not live in one spot all the time… or we could depends on how we feel. We have to be self-contained at all times. So there are small problems with most commercially built units that make it to where it simply doesn’t work for us. The thing is this… we have both worked in the manufacturing end of other businesses. If we are capable of working for someone else to commercially manufacture an item, them why can’t we manufacture an item for ourselves. BTW, David worked in a trailer plant in MI and built “park models”(plus the cabinetry) in FL. If we are qualified to work in multi million dollar homes, then we should be capable of building a hot dog cart. A food truck/cart is, at it’s simplest, a pile of “parts” put inside a “box”.
Just get the local codes (or the toughest codes for any area you might be moving to/selling in), look at the commercial units and see what you would need to do.