With the rising cost of real estate, it’s impossible for budding food-service entrepreneurs to avoid asking: what is the difference in start-up costs between food trucks and brick-and-mortar storefronts? Even as an existing business owner, the numbers can be daunting when you think of the overall expenses associated with either, so let’s take a minute to dig into some specific differences.

According to industry insights from the small-business advisors at Lendistry.com, the break-even point for a mobile retail truck historically happens much more quickly than for brick-and-mortar stores for several reasons. First, the mobile retail truck has a single expense for the vehicle itself and no monthly rental expenses. Also, the retail truck can travel to the customers and target higher foot-traffic events, resulting in greater sales and profits. Lastly, the retail truck can be configured to accommodate for changing inventory, new promotional ideas, and more.

Other key statistics from the experts at the Linen Industry:

  • 18% of entrepreneurs on wheels break even in less than a year
  • 75% of mobile businesses have an e-commerce element
  • 45% of mobile businesses have brick-and-mortar locations

Custom retail trucks are built for a wide array of products, including clothing, shoes, sporting apparel, concert, and event merchandise.

When exploring mobile retail trucks versus brick-and-mortar businesses, it’s important to understand the mobile (meaning the truck) side of the business. Some additional advantages to a mobile retail truck include:

#1: Cost

Bottom line: it’s less expensive to build a custom retail truck, the break-even is quicker, and the ROI is almost always greater.

#2: Brand Awareness

Bringing your products to your customers, or potential customers, is a more effective way to gain brand awareness, social shares, and product loyalty. The expenses of marketing and advertising a brick-and-mortar store can be very high because you are asking a potential consumer to visit your shop in the midst of their already-overbooked schedules. Custom retail trucks have a way of bringing the experience to the customers, with the intent of leaving a lasting impression.

#3: Less Overhead Costs

The expenses to operate a storefront are non-stop. The allocated store hours are set, and several people need to be staffing the store during those times. In addition, owners have (or should have) standard business operating procedures, including ordering products, shipping orders, hiring/training, website, and social presence, and accounting tasks that need to be tied into the daily routine.

#4: Location, location, location

Real estate’s mantra is location, location, location — this is especially true for storefront businesses. When you are seeking a place to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes an entire life saving, as many entrepreneurs do), you don’t want to have a less-than-ideal location. If your location is not desirable, people will not visit you and your business simply will not survive. The key advantage of a mobile retail truck is that location is never an issue. You can travel to the hottest events, concerts, and festivals, and set up shop within minutes. You can be in front of your most-lucrative group of potential customers within minutes!

As a leading custom retail truck builder, APEX Specialty Vehicles has over a decade of experience bringing this idea to fruition. APEX’s team begins each build with the exploration stage in order to best understand each customers’ vision and then renders 3D designs to bring the vision to life in a realistic way before the actual building begins. The upfront investment in design and engineering is a unique differentiator for APEX among other job shops and custom manufacturers. APEX has an in-house design and engineering team that configures the most efficient and productive layout based on the client’s suggestions. Once the 3D designs are completed and signed off on by the customer, APEX begins the procurement and custom build process.

And one topic our consultants know very well: the value that a custom specialty vehicle brings to a business. More-affordable and sustainable than a brick-and-mortar store, our experts can share their rich experience of how mobile businesses can serve as either standalone moneymakers or powerful extensions to an existing business.

Have you considered adding a mobile retail truck to your existing business model to bring your brick-and-mortar branding to your customers, or just simply wanted to bring your entrepreneurial spirit to life with a custom merchandising truck? Get started by filling out our contact form and an APEX rep will be in touch with you within 24 hours of submission.

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