Determining Startup Costs for your new Hot dog Cart Business

hot dog cart startup cost

Determining Startup Costs for your new Hot dog Cart Business

There are many variables when starting a hot dog cart business including menu items, monthly expenses, and hot dog cart costs. Here, we break down some of the hot dog cart startup costs you should consider when starting your new food cart. Keep in mind, all our budgetary amounts are approximate and for planning purposes only.

  1. Getting the right cart for you

    You will need to understand the local health department requirements for vending legally in your city.  Missing requirements will leave you flat and with expensive upgrades that may or may not be able to be done.  Finding that used cart on Craigslist might not be the great deal it is advertised if you can’t use it in your city! It isn’t all about getting the cheapest price. A quality, hot dog cart costs money and you want to ensure it complies with your city bylaws.

  2. Break down for start-up Hot Dog Cart costs.

    Equipment – 1 NEW WILLYDOG cart with 1 warranty & shipping = $4,299 – $10,000 Product – Buns, dogs, condiments = $400 – $1,000, Permits & Licenses = $100 – $500, Utensils, napkins, etc. = $100 – $200, Miscellaneous = $500 – $1,000, Propane = $25 – $70. Always ensure you have some reserve money in case of emergency.

  3. Monthly Costs.

    Insurance = $50 – $150, Commissary $15 – $ 50, Product & Paper restocking fees = $700 – $2,500, Propane & Fuel = depends on how far you travel and how much you are using.  If you are stationary, you will probably be renting your space = $50 – $200.  Repairs do cost you money $$, consider a new WILLYDOG cart with extended 2 warranty for only $350.

  4. Delivering Value.

    Have a great product!  Quality ingredients, super fresh.  Be exclusive.  Offer regional favourites.  Be creative.  Offer unusual toppings like avocado and hickory sticks.  Play Music.  Music is always a great people attractor, and you could have theme days.  Be friendly.  It is not hard to be nice.  Take it upon yourself to be personable and polite.  Be consistent.  Your customers expect you to be in the same place at the same time if you have the same posted hours.

  5. A hot dog with bun and condiments costs a vendor on average between 45 and 80 cents to prepare, depending on the supplier and the quality of the meat. If you sell that hot dog for $3.25, you’ve got a markup of roughly 300 percent. Don’t forget onions, relish, sauerkraut, cheese or chili.

When starting your new business, it is important to factor in your hot dog cart costs and start-up costs. Make sure you also allow yourself to be creative and get excited about all the amazing aspects to having a hot dog cart and being your own boss.

Put yourself out there right now instead of saying ‘one day I will do this.’ Just go ahead and do it!


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