How To Start A Ice Cream Van Business – CPD Online College


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Video How to start an ice cream truck

Equipment You Will Need

An ice cream van can be a low-investment enterprise. However, before you can decide what equipment you are going to purchase, you first need to decide what type of mobile ice cream business you are going to run.

Typical start-up costs can vary significantly based on a number of factors, including the type of business you choose. You can also consider the price of new vs. second-hand equipment and the pros and cons of renting instead of buying.

Below is a list of equipment you may need to acquire to open your mobile ice cream business.

A vehicle

Depending on the type of ice cream business you plan to open, this could be your most expensive purchase.

You could opt for:

    • An ice cream van with inbuilt freezers – This can be an expensive option, with used ice cream vans selling online for an average price of £40,000, although they can sell for as low as £20,000. New ice cream vans usually cost a minimum of £60,000.
    • An ice cream tricycle with an attached cart – This is a cheaper option, with ice cream bikes available for as little as £2,000.
    • An ice cream truck – You can buy a used food truck for around £20,000. However, you may then need to pay separately to install freezers or ice cream dispensers.

If your ice cream business will not trade out of a vehicle, for example, and you opt for a pop-up food stall, you will likely still require a vehicle for transportation. This vehicle will either need inbuilt freezers or you will need to invest in portable freezers.


There are a wide variety of utensils you will likely need to invest in. The type of utensils you will require depends on the type of ice cream you intend to serve. For example, soft-serve ice cream will be dispensed from a machine, thus requiring fewer utensils. Example utensils you may need to purchase include ice cream scoops, ice cream dippers, ice cream spades and topping spoons. Utensils can be purchased for less than £100.

Soft-serve ice cream machine

These can be rented or bought. Prices range from £1,000 to £20,000 depending on the specifications of the machine.

Handwashing station

You could choose to purchase a portable sink, a free-standing sanitiser dispenser or even just supply a bottle of hand sanitiser.

Accessories and equipment

There are a huge number of accessories you could purchase for your mobile ice cream business.

These could include:

      • Topping dispenser.
      • Cone dispenser.
      • Sauce/syrup bottles, pumps or dispensers.
      • Dipping cabinet.
      • Cash register and Point of Sales System.
      • Disposable or reusable ice cream dishes/cups.

The number of accessories you include can vary wildly so it is best to only buy essentials in the early stages of your new ice cream van business venture.

Eating area

Some mobile ice cream businesses opt to supply a seating area for customers. This could include tables and chairs and a gazebo or parasols for shade. You will likely need to stay in one area for the whole day and ensure you have enough space to erect the seating area.

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