Looking for a quality new or used ice cream trucks for sale by owners? We have inventory located across the United States so you can find a quality vehicle that’s conveniently located in your area without working through a dealer.
Browse active ice cream truck, step-van, or trailer listings on our website by selecting any of the links below. Each listing contains photos, equipment lists, location, price and other important details. Whether you’re looking for a unit fully-equipped for soft-serve concessions or distributing ready-made treats, you’ll find the right inventory here.
Visit this page regularly for more updated listings. Make sure to always inspect units in person before purchasing. Never send money through the mail or online for a unit you’ve never seen in person.
Ice Cream Concession Buyer’s Guide
If you’re not sure exactly what type of truck you need or are new to this business, we’ve written a brief guide that can help you determine the type of ice cream truck that fits your specific needs.
What Type of Ice Cream Truck Do You Want to Start?
There are two popular categories that mobile ice cream businesses fit into. Each type of truck has different equipment installed, which impacts the total price of the unit.
Novelty Ice Cream Truck: This is the truck or van you recall from your childhood. If the plan is to serve pre-packaged novelties like popsicles, ice cream bars, push ups, sandwiches, or cups you can start your business with a very simple and cost effective unit.
Standard Equipment List:
Cargo van or truck
Power inverter system (to power freezers)
Highly visible menu
In most areas, you are not required to install a hand-sink or plumbing installed for these units if you plan to sell pre-packaged ice cream only. The key being of course that you only distribute pre-packaged treats. If you plan to serve old fashioned scoop ice cream, you will be required to install a 3-compartment sink, hand washing sink, and plumbing, which will increase costs significantly.
As you can see the equipment needed to operate this type of business is simple. If you’re trying to start a business on a budget, an ice cream van distributing novelty treats is the way to go.
Soft-Serve Concessions: Although still very doable, if you plan to serve ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt self-serve style from a truck you’ll have more considerations to take into account when selecting a truck.
Higher electrical requirements with more powerful generator to operate soft-serve machines or scooped ice cream are required and extremely important for these trucks. Due to the power requirements, you’ll need to invest in a higher quality generator.
No one wants to spend a lot of money on a generator. But this is something you’ll want to invest in if you plan to start this type of business. You don’t want to run the risk of overloading your generator and product melting while you’re out on the road.
The 25 kw – 30 kw generators from trusted names like Onac Cummings and PowerTech are good places to start. You should also consider installing a high-power AC inside the unit to ensure product stays cold.
In addition to electrical, including a 3-compartment sink and plumbing in most areas to operate from a health code perspective. As a result of the additional equipment requirements, the cost of starting this type of ice cream truck will be more expensive and reflected in the sales price of units you see online.
Just because the cost of getting started is a bit steeper shouldn’t discourage you from starting this type of business. But we do want to highlight why the costs of a truck with soft-serve or froyo equipment will always be higher than one that only sells pre-packaged items.
How to Operate a Profitable Ice Cream Truck
There are different basic strategies you can use to grow a mobile ice cream business that are all proven approaches. Read our ice cream truck vendor survey to find out how much a typical revenue an ice cream truck can expect to make.
Daily Service Route: When you think of an ice cream truck making money this is probably what you think of first. A truck driving around different neighborhoods in the summer with one of those familiar jingles coming through the loudspeakers to alert folks the ice cream man is here.
As a past guest on our podcast points out, the more you drive the more income you make using this approach. Overtime, you’ll begin to figure out the neighborhoods that are most profitable in your area to increase efficiency and profitabilty.
Catering & Events: Different local events like kids baseball games can be highly profitable for this type of business. Likewise getting hired to deliver ice cream to birthday parties or other catered events is a way that many of these businesses improve their bottom line.
Strategic Partnerships: Partnering with third-party organizations is another way successful vendors make sales. As an ice cream vendor, you sell a high-margin product, especially if your focus is pre-packaged novelties. Often you’ll generate 70% – 80% in net profit per sale.
This means you’ve got room to split the profits at events you attend. By offering to vend at an event and do a revenue split you can help support the fundraising efforts or local sports teams to non-profits to churches. These organizations supply the customers and you do the work of providing the ice cream. Believe it or not, many ice cream and snow cone businesses focus on this as the primary sales channel because it can be so lucrative.
Other Things to Consider
We hope this brief guide gives you a better understanding of how to evaluate a used ice cream truck and how to operate one better. Here are two other items to keep in mind before purchasing a vehicle:
Get an Inspection: Never purchase a truck unseen. You’ll want to take it for a test drive and inspect it just as you would a regular automobile before making a buying decision. If you don’t know much about trucks, bring a friend that does or hire a mechanic to inspect the unit.
Know Your Local Health Code Requirements: Health code requirements are different depending on the area of the country you plan to operate. Make sure you understand what requirements are needed in your area before purchasing a truck that may not pass inspection in your area.
Whether you plan to sell pre-packaged ice cream or soft-serve, the ice cream truck is a business model that remains relevant decades after it’s beginning. If you want to learn more about operating a mobile food business, check out our business plan section to see how you can start a custom plan for your unit. Click here to browse our full inventory of food trucks for sale.