This morning I sit down with Bob Pierson of M&R Trailers. M&R Trailers have built concession vehicles for over 5 years and they have a wealth of experience finding and evaluating used food trucks. I found out about Pierson through the large collection of YouTube videos (links to videos below) he’s produced demonstrating how to build a truck. In this interview, Pierson shares his tips for finding quality used trucks and his advice on evaluating whether or not a vehicle will operate longterm. Don’t invest in a truck before listening to this interview!
What You’ll Learn
- Why you should consider purchasing a used truck from a business fleet first. Think bread trucks, UPS, FedEx, and other related companies. These businesses have strict maintenance policies in place so you can be more confident they’ve been treated well.
- Bring a mechanic to help evaluate any truck prior to purchase. This can go a long way to ensuring you won’t end up with a lemon. Don’t buy on the word of the dealer.
- Why Pierson approaches building a food truck similar to the way he would a construction site
- Pierson doesn’t recommend purchasing a truck that has less than a 7 foot high ceiling. It can be difficult to get cooking equipment into the truck if you get lower than that.
- Why you should have an understanding of how much room you need prior to looking for a truck. Figure out how much room you need first… Then start looking for a truck that fits your needs.
- Some of the common sense things you should take into account before you buy a used food truck, including trying to estimate the cost of improvements, upgrades, or changes you’ll need to make on the vehicle.
- Why you’ll need electrical, gas, plumbing, welding, and framing skills to build an operational food truck.
- Why it’s often easier and cheaper to hire out a professional to convert a truck instead of trying to do it yourself.
- Why M&R Concessions recommends Cummings Onan generators versus cheaper variations
- The common mistakes that are made when building or converting a food truck
- The importance of getting a truck built up to health code requirements. In the coming years, Pierson expects regulations to tighten in this area.
Mentioned in the Podcast
M&R Trailers – This is Bob Pierson’s business. They’ve been building food trucks more than 5 years and are located in Macclenny, Florida.
How to Build a Concession Truck – In this 12-minute video, Pierson walks provides a high-level overview of a gutted truck before the cooking equipment has been added to a truck and explains the work that will be done in the future. After outlining the framing process where equipment including the generator will be located, you also get fast forwarded and get to see the final product. This is a truck that was built for a customer.
YouTube Channel – Follow the M&R Trailers YouTube Channel to stay up to date with more videos as their added.
The Other Truck – One example of a truck serving the Orlando area built by M&R Trailers.
Food Truck Sponsorship Article – This is the article was referenced on the show. The Sum Pig food truck out of Philadelphia struck a deal with Muir Glen an organic canned tomato company. Muir Glen offered up free tomatoes to the truck in exchange for free advertising space. I believe this is a trend that only will get bigger in 2014 and has gotten a lot of industry folks talking. I’m interested in learning if more food truckers would be open to forming a similar partnerships in their area.
Food Trailer and Truck Insurance – Special thanks to our Sponsor Insure My Food Trailer. Fill out the short form, they’ll crunch the numbers and send a free quote to your inbox.
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