Where to Buy your Food Truck: RetroFit vs Customized & Marketplaces


Some food truck owners don’t want to sacrifice having an optimized space but aren’t able or willing to spend the money on a customized build, so they decide to retrofit their own trucks.

While a used vehicle can be found at a low price, buying all new equipment and hiring professionals to assist with the project can add up. Unless someone is a jack-of- all-trades, he or she will need to enlist the help of a mechanic, a woodworker, a welder, an electrician, and a plumber as well as find assistance in meeting local regulations.

Tools to complete the job can also get expensive. While building a truck, don’t cut corners as even the smallest mistake could mean disaster down the road, like getting one aspect of wiring wrong and starting a fire. If planning to learn all of the necessary skills to retrofit a truck, plan on hitting a few road bumps and don’t plan on having much time to work.

When dedicating days to building out a quality truck, its owner will not be turning a profit until they open for business. Sometimes self-builds take up to six months to finish.

While all of the above doesn’t sound very promising, there are many food truckers who have successfully built their own trucks and decided to go this route because they had a unique vision and either possessed or were ready to learn the skills to bring it to life.

Some owners achieved their visions on the cheap with help from skilled or connected friends that worked on the project, hooked them up with discounted parts, and loaned them tools.

Owners who complete self-builds have the advantage of understanding the inner workings of their trucks and being better prepared to diagnose and fix problems later.