Used Step Vans For Sale by Owner

Before a food truck is goes into operation, the units are often in service as delivery trucks by organizations like UPS. Here you’ll find a variety of used step vans with and without mobile kitchens already installed. These units come in a variety of makes including Ford, Workhorse, GMC, Morgan Olson and Freightliner.

Each active step van listing below contains essential information including multiple photographs, mileage, make, year, and of course the asking price. When applicable, you’ll also find the list of cooking equipment already installed on the unit. Whether you’re searching for a newer unit or something more retro, we can help you find it.

Active Step Van Listings

Check back this page regularly for more step van listings. We add new inventory every single week.

What is a Step Van?

unwrapped-step-van
An unwrapped step van ready to be converted into a food truck.

A step-van is a medium-duty vehicle (also called box trucks or delivery trucks) that has historically been used by businesses for delivering products. Common examples are bread trucks or UPS trucks. These vehicles have a long-standing reputation to reliably operate for years even with consistent by businesses.

In the 2000s, step-vans began being converted for use as food trucks. The box area is large enough to be converted into a commercial kitchen combined with dependability make it the ideal vehicle for mobile food vendors.

What To Look For When Purchasing a Used Step Van

box van food truck
Box van converted into a food truck.

Not sure what to look for in a quality step van? We’ve organized a brief buyer’s guide to help you make the right truck based on your needs.

Vintage or Modern Step Vans: You’ll want to understand the era of truck you want first. Historically, step vans were designed to last longterm and put on tens of thousands of miles delivering packages, bread, milk, or other food items.

Classic style step vans are usually considered to be pre-1973 manufactured units. These vintage steps vans include Dodge Route Vans, Chevy P10, IH Metro, and Divcos. These vans have see a recent resurgence being utilized not just for food trucks, but for pop-up retail shops as well.

If you are planning to purchase a used step van with the goal of converting it into a mobile food unit then you’ll want to invest in a modern step van. The last thing you want to deal with regularly as a food truck owner is break downs. Break downs cost you money in terms of ongoing repair and the opportunity cost of missing out on high-value catering or events.

If you plan to drive long distances to vending events, we recommend investing in a year 2000 vehicle or newer as a general rule of thumb. Driving to different vending locations 4 – 5 days will result in wear-and-tear on the step van no matter how well it’s maintained.

Gas VS Diesel: Another decision you’ll need to make is whether you want a gas or diesel step van. For most food vendors, a gas unit will be the right choice. But let’s dive into the reasoning behind this.

One of the advantages diesels is preferred in large trucks is they get better mileage per gallon on the highway. This is one reason semi-trucks use diesel. Engine durability is also superior in these diesel vehicles. These engines are designed to take abuse and be on the road for long periods of time.

While diesels are terrific for long-haul truck driving, if your goal is to convert the diesel step-van into a food truck you should consider the following. Diesel has a stronger smell than gas. This smell can really push customers away from a food unit.

Another reason is that the benefits of diesel won’t apply to food truck vendors is that they don’t drive far enough to realize the mileage benefits. Food trucks operate in suburbs or cities and serve within a 20 mile radius. Gas mileage benefits of diesel are for highway miles, not city driving. Finally, over the past 20 years gasoline has been lower priced per gallon.

Size Requirements: Over the decades step vans have been manufactured in may dimensions and lengths. Before you buy be sure to understand what the dimensions are. This is important whether you decide to convert the unit into a food truck, camper, or use as a delivery truck.

The dimensions of the unit will impact how much cooking equipment you can install onboard a future food truck. You’ll also want to ensure you have enough space for storage and inventory onboard. Most food trucks are 16′ – 18′ in length.

Here are some of the lengths you’ll most commonly find in step-vans:

  • 12 foot
  • 14 foot
  • 16 foot
  • 18 foot
  • 20 foot

How to Evaluate a Used Step Van

Converted Step Van
Converted Used Step Van

Here we outline some practical guidelines to keep in mind when before you purchase a step van. Although the price range will vary depending on the age of unit, mileage, and condition of the truck, you can expect to pay over $10,000 for a cheap step van so this not a decision to make lightly.

Understand Your Needs: The first step in finding the right step van is to understand your situation. If you want an expansive menu that requires a lot of kitchen equipment installed on the unit, you’ll need a bigger step van like a 20″ in length vehicle to fit all the equipment. If you plan to transform the step van into a taco truck that requires minimal equipment aside a smaller unit will work just fine. One of the biggest mistakes newbies can make is to buy a truck because it looks cheap only to realize the vehicle is not the right size.

Audit the Condition: Buying a step-van is a lot like evaluating any other used vehicle. You’ll need to inspect the engine, tires, interior, and exterior of the step van. Here’s a list of the specific aspects of a step van you’ll want to evaluate before making a purchase decision:

  • VIN Number: The 17-digit VIN number is usually listed in the door of the step van. This VIN number is the personal identification number of a car or truck. You can use this number to find out if there is an accident history of the vehicle and verify the make, model, and year of the vehicle. This number could be located in a different location depending on the age of the unit and the make. Prior to 1981, there was no consistent format for VIN information. Ask the owner where the VIN is located if it’s an older unit. After you acquire the number use the free online VIN decoder to see if there are any issues.
  • Odometer: Always check the odometer of a step-van before purchasing to verify the mileage. Make sure the odometer matches what the current owner says about the vehicle.
  • Check Lights: You should check the interior cab lights, blinkers, and brake lights of the unit. This will can help you identify electrical issues that might exist or if a light needs to be replaced.
  • Heat / Air Conditioning: Always test turning on the heat and air conditioning of the step-van is working correctly. If not, there could be more serious engine issues at play.
  • Test Transmission: Turn on the step van on and then put the vehicle in gear from neutral to drive, back to neutral and reverse. If you hear a clunking sound it could be the sign of a bad transmission.
  • Test Drive: Ask the owner if you can take the delivery truck for test drive. Drive the truck in locations you would typically use it. Take it out on the highway and in the city streets if possible. Observe how it handles and sounds in these different situations.
  • Check Engine: Pop open the hood and evaluate the belts to look for wear and tear. You should also check the oil and fluid levels to ensure everything looks good.
  • Under the Vehicle: You’ll want to look underneath the step-van as well. In addition to looking for vehicle damage, check the ground for any leaks or oil spots as well.
  • Check the Exterior and Interior: Conduct a 360 degree inspection of the exterior and interior multiple times. You’ll notice different scratches, dings, or dents the more times you circle the unit.

Finally, you should never buy a truck without seeing the truck in person. Never send money to anyone in advance of an on-site visit either. Never be concerned about missing out on a good deal because there are always more step-vans coming on the market. Check back here each week for find more listings.