We offer only the best ice cream available for your business. Brands that have been celebrated from generation to generation like Blue Bunny®, Nestlé®, Edy’s®, Häagen-Dazs®, and Helados Mexico®. These widely recognized brands are sure to bring your customers back every day, keeping you in front of your competition.Do not be tricked into thinking that purchasing non-branded, low-quality ice cream will help you succeed. In fact, that’s the fastest way to ruin your business. Unsatisfied customers are not loyal customers.
- Your Own Business
- Before You Get Started
- Truck Wraps
- Point of Sale
Your Own Business
Owning your own business is a great opportunity! We’d love to help you get off to a running start. First, safety is always your top priority. Never forget that your customer’s safety is your responsibility. We’ve provided a little information about mobile vending on this page such as licenses, types of freezers, music, and a few first steps for starting your own business.
Keep in mind, in today’s digital world, it’s not uncommon to find your customers don’t carry cash. To avoid missing out on a potential sale, try out the card readers available now. This is a simple way to help increase your profits. All you need is an Android phone or iPhone/iPad. Download the app, plug in the small card reader, and you’re in business. The card reader links directly to your bank account, allowing you to accept VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, and Discover. There are many options available on the market. Check out a few options with intuit and square. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.
Steps Before You Get Started
Before you start thinking about the more enjoyable aspects of your business, you first need your license and an ice cream truck. You can easily obtain a privilege/peddler’s license from your local town hall. Simply go, fill out the application, and pay a small annual fee. Licenses vary depending on jurisdiction, so if you plan on covering a large area, you will need to obtain a license for each area where you wish to sell. Make sure you always keep your license in your truck. Your truck will be classified as a novelty truck, which means you will only carry prepackaged items and, therefore, your truck doesn’t require running water. You’ll purchase ice cream from a distributor in boxes of 12 or 24 count.
You have a few options when it comes to acquiring your ice cream truck; you can purchase, convert, or rent. When purchasing, use the same common sense and criteria as you would when buying a personal vehicle. You can also convert a truck or van into an ice cream truck. The most popular models are the Dodge Ram Van, Chevy Van, and Ford Van. However, you can also use a retired bread or mail truck. Your final option is to rent. We have a number of well-established mobile vendors who work with Southern Ice Cream & Gourmet Foods who may be happy to rent to you. The contract is solely between the vendor and you. Neither Southern Ice Cream & Gourmet Foods nor Blue Bunny sell or lease ice cream trucks.
To stay ahead of the competition, you need to stand out. Wraps have been on the forefront of the emerging need for low cost, high-impact advertising. Make sure you choose an eye-catching design that is clear and easy to see from a distance.
After your license and truck, your next most important item is your freezer. There are two choices on the market: a chest freezer or a cold plate freezer. The chest freezer is more affordable. The cold plate freezer, on the other hand, is more reliable.
Due to its affordability, the chest freezer is the most common. However, in hot and humid weather dry ice may be required to keep your ice cream frozen. A chest freezer can be purchased from Sears, Best Buy, or similar appliance store.
The cold plate freezer are more expensive, but in regions like the Carolinas where hot and humid weather is common the take some of the risk out of the ice cream business. If allowed to freeze overnight, plates inside the walls of the aptly named cold plate freezer reach an approximate temperature of -20°F for around 8 hours before you need to plug the freezer into the compressor or use dry ice. There are two different compressor options: the efficient 110 volt, and the highly proficient 220 volt. A cold plate can be purchased from the manufacturer, Nelson Freezer Equipment.
Regardless of which type of freezer or compressor you choose, you will need a source of electricity. At Southern Ice Cream & Gourmet Foods, we offer parking places with either a 110 or 220 volt plug-in for a small monthly fee.
An inverter is another way to supply your freezer with electricity. You can check out some options at Valco Electronics. Inverters work by taking the DC current from the battery and supplying you with the power you need. This drains the battery, which means you need to keep your engine running. A vehicle battery is not intended or designed for repeated deep discharging and recharging cycles, and thus will quickly wear out. Using a good quality dual deep cycle battery system is beneficial.
The alternator charges the battery. A standard engine alternator rated at 90-105 amps, can only deliver a maximum of 60-80 amps while being actively used, and therefore may not meet the demands of your equipment. You can either install an alternator controller or a high-output alternator. We recommend a heavy duty alternator, rated at 180-200 amps.
A thriving business requires customers, and the best way to draw customers to your ice cream truck is the iconic music box. The most popular box in the industry is made by Nichols Electronics. They have a large selection of music boxes – including 4-tune, 8-tune, 16-tune, and 32-tune boxes – and cater to the ice cream truck industry. We can assist you in acquiring a music box for your convenience.
You can also purchase an adjustable internal volume limiter to help you comply with local noise ordinances. On average, a regular music box will cost around $200 including a speaker. You can also install a CD player and hook it up to an outside, weatherproof speaker. This option is beneficial when serving adult customers who may not want to come running to your truck to “Little Brown Jug” or “La Cucaracha”. Having both a music box and CD player is the ideal combination to maximize the appeal of your ice cream truck.
Point of Sale
Once you have purchased the ice cream to stock your truck, you need a way to let customers know what products you are carrying. When you purchase your stock at Southern Ice Cream & Gourmet foods, we will provide you with the Point of Sale items that you need to draw customers in and tell them what you have.
Your customer’s safety is your responsibility and should always be your number one priority. Since a majority of your clientele are children, it is important to take any and every precaution to ensure their safety. Check out the IAICDV for more information on ice cream truck safety.
There are a few additional safety features that you may wish to add to your truck, many of which can be found at Nichols Electronics. A safety swing arm is a valuable asset to keeping your younger clients safe by stopping traffic to allow them to safely cross the street. Another useful addition is a fisheye mirror which allows you to better see around the front or back of your truck to watch for your smaller patrons.
Finally, a backup horn or alarm will alert your customers of all ages that your large vehicles may be moving in their direction, though it is best to avoid putting your truck in a position in which you need to back up if possible. You can check out some backup horns and alarms at BeStar.
At the end of the day, the best safety feature is you – being alert and vigilant, and informing kids how to be safe around an ice cream truck. Whenever possible, pick a visible meeting point or landmark – such as school bus stops or parks – where you’ll stop each time so children can gather and wait for you. Prearranged stops are both safe and efficient. They allow you to avoid being flagged down and making several stops in one area, as well as minimizing children running across the street and not paying attention to traffic as they attempt to get to your truck. Once you’ve stopped in your usual place, scan your surroundings for oncoming traffic before you signal children to cross the street. Keep a close eye on traffic after the children have received their ice cream to help them safely get back across the street.
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Southern Ice Cream & Gourmet Foods prides itself in partnering with the finest manufactures and chefs in the world.