How Much Money Do Food Truck Owners Typically Make?

Food trucks have been around for decades, but at the moment, they're most definitely one of the cool kids on the block in American food culture. They have their own TV shows, their own festivals, and the list of food trucks with pun-y names seems to be growing by the day. All of this food-truck mania has food lovers and entrepreneurs curious about jumping into the food truck business themselves. 

Not having to pay building rent or deal with the upkeep of a dining room seem like obvious money-saving advantages, but what sort of cash are these food trucks pulling in? With so much competition, are food truck owners rolling in the dough or just scraping by? 

Food trucks can make big money

Some food trucks can rival restaurants in hotbed cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Austin — pulling in millions of dollars in sales a year (via CNBC). Those food trucks are in a very small minority, however, and most food trucks can only dream of that kind of success. 

The more realistic view of what food truck owners are making isn't quite as lucrative, but it's certainly enticing for anybody who wants to be their own boss. According to the website Profitable Venture, it's not uncommon for popular food trucks in major metro cities to pull in $20,000 to $50,000 in sales each month. Food trucks in smaller, more mid-sized cities likely make considerably less at $5,000 to $16,000 a month. 

That's still not too bad, but what does this look like in terms of yearly income and daily sales?

Some trucks can pull in big bucks each day in sales

These numbers seem to not be too far off with a survey from Food Truck Empire that asked 223 food truck owners in Florida, New York, Texas, Oregon, and California what their annual incomes looked like. Here's how it broke down: 21.52 percent made over $200,000, 30.04 percent made $150,000 to $199,000, 34.08 percent made $100,000 to $149,000, 10.76 percent made $50,000 to $99,000, and 3.59 percent made less than $49,000.

Another insight took a man-on-the-street approach and asked food truck owners how much they made on their best day (via YouTube). The biggest money stacks were around over $8,000 a day, but the owner admitted that it was incredibly unrealistic to ever expect to make that much in a single day.

Starting and keeping a food truck running isn't cheap. There are licensing and ongoing maintenance costs to consider. If an entrepreneur can carve out a niche in the right market, though, making a good living with a food truck is certainly doable.