Over the years, we have had many customers wrestle with a common question. Should I use a truck or a trailer for my build?
There really is no simple answer but there are a few things to be considered.
The first question you may want to ask yourself is what type of food service will the vehicle support? General Catering? Film Catering, Street Vending? Special Events? Fairs? Or a bit of everything?
After you identify your main market opportunity you can then consider what type of vehicle would be best suited to meet your objective. Each opportunity has its challenges, but all must be taken into consideration before making your vehicle decision.
Let's Look at Trailers First
In most cases the trailers themselves are less expensive to purchase than the trucks depending on the size and options.
Trailers can provide more aisle space than a truck, especially on versions 14FT or longer. Shorter trailers with a width of 7 FT will have no interior wheel wells that take up valuable space for appliances. Trailers of any size allow a greater choice of service window size and placement as there are no door pockets or other considerations you have on most trucks. Trailers are well suited for multi day events. Once the trailer has been dropped on site the trailer the tow vehicle can act as a general transport to and from venue and or as a supply vehicle in the event you are running low on supplies. And should your tow vehicle break down, you can rent a truck or have a tow company get your kitchen to and from the event with relative ease without losing out on an opportunity.
On the other hand, unless the trailer is special ordered to accommodate a kitchen or retail application an on-hand cargo trailer may have insufficient axles, man door placement and or cargo doors that can limit the amount, weight and placement of appliances. These options can also affect where the service window and other equipment can go. Then there is the added expense of the tow vehicle itself and the sometimes-tricky experience of hitching up, dropping and maneuvering the trailer in sometimes less than ideal spaces and or tough traffic conditions. In this case a truck may be a better option Trucks are also an easier option if you are attending more than one event or location during the day.
Unlike most trailers truck chassis and bodies come in many different shapes and can cost anywhere from $15,000 used to $100,000 brand new.
Depending on the purpose and the brand it represents a unique truck and body style can definitely enhance the mobile experience. While large trucks can be just as tricky as trailers to maneuver, they are better suited to get around in downtown traffic or smaller markets or other venues. It is for this reason most street vendors choose trucks over trailers. Events such as farmers markets which are sometime set up on closed streets lend themselves to truck over trailers for maneuverability or if you are moving on to another venue the same day.
Trucks bodies can portray certain looks whether they be cute, cool, or downright beastly. And those looks can be enhanced by applying the right paint or wrap design. So, depending on your vision or brand a certain truck box can assist in creating that appeal.
Most of the trucks we build into are used, and as you might expect one of the biggest challenges is keeping them maintained. If your truck breaks down there are less options to get you to the event. Not to mention that if you can get a tow to the event the optics to organizers or customers doesn't help your brand.
Apollo has been building into trucks and trailers for 20 years and during those years we have been asked the truck vs trailer question countless times. In most cases the customer has come to us leaning one way and we do our best to help them through the pros and cons of their initial plan.
Whether the choice is a truck or a trailer there is no doubt that the mobile vending trend is here to stay and is continuing to spill over into many different retail applications. Mobile vending is much more than just food trucks or trailers now. Mobile bicycle repair, massage, fashion, hair, nail salons and dental services the list goes on. Most recently Apollo built a mobile dentist office into a Mercedes Sprinter. The van is equipped to provide X Rays, cleaning and cosmetics right in the clients’ driveway or place of business.
So, no matter what your vision is there will always be a decision to be made on what is the best mobile vehicle to build into to bring your vision to reality.