Hot-dog carts: keeping start-up costs low. Part #1


Carts and Startup Costs


Start up costs can vary depending on a number of factors. For instance, if you purchase a hotdog cart, it can cost you somewhere between $2,000 up to $4,000 for added equipment.  A kiosk on the other hand will cost you around $5,000 – $7,000. If you purchase a used hotdog cart, it can cost you around a $500 to $1,500 depending on the condition.  


OK. I know. Money is always tight starting out. So, let’s talk used carts.


Yeah, you might even get lucky like I did starting out. I was scouting around for a used cart and I had so little money even starting a hotdog business seemed out of reach to me. But, sometimes, the universe works in your favor. My friend was at a junkyard getting a used part for old clunker of a car, and there it was – my baby. I saw it in the distance – off to the side of the building, a very dirty, dented, and generally beat-up hotdog cart with flat tires. While for most, it was no prize, for me I saw its beauty in the form of potential dollars signs. To make a long story short, after much haggling, I went home with my first used hotdog cart for just a little over $200. To be fair, I had to spend almost $150 to replace missing or broken parts, and I did put a fair amount of elbow-grease in and labor time to get it back to “running” condition.


Will you find a $200 cart? Maybe. But it could take a long time. Remember: there is also lost opportunity cost in NOT having cart. How many $500/days will you miss out on in waiting? Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish. So while it would be super to find such a deal, it is not altogether likely. The real range you should seek out is the $500-$1500 range. And the sweet spot in this range is likely closer to the $750-$1000 range. In other words, try to budget this amount. You will still be getting a good deal on a used cart, and you are likely to find numerous carts in this price range.


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