If you want to get started in the ice cream street vending business I suggest you first try to lease a truck before you buy. After an ice cream selling season with a leased truck you can then determine if you want to buy your own truck.
If you are unable to find a place that leases ice cream trucks you can try asking ice cream distributors in your area if they know who leases ice cream trucks. After a few phone calls someone should point you in the right direction. To find an ice cream distributor you can use any of the yellow pages sites like SuperPages or Yahoo Yellow Pages.
As far as local laws and vendor permits, go right to the town hall and ask. It can definitely vary from town to town. Since the laws can be different do not take someone else's word for it unless they have sold in the same locations that you want to sell.
Selling ice cream on the street is a unique business. The competive edge you have is that you are going to the customer and making it very convenient for them to buy an ice cream. Once someone actually walks up to the truck most likely they have determined they are going to buy something. I therefore suggest you start off simple and selling novelties is an easier way to start.
The best way to be successful is try to become a part of the community where you are selling. Find out about baseball, softball or soccer game times. Show interest in the games. If a team knows you are a fan of them and support them then they may support you. When you are selling talk to your customers. Find out what other activities they do. Having car dealerships and industrial areas as regular stops is good since even on cloudy days you can still get business from them. The more you drive around a neighborhood the more you learn.
Ice cream street vending is similiar to other sales jobs in the way that the more time and effort you put into it, the greater potential. Just like running any business you should do the math. Determine all your costs and expenses. Then you can decide how much you need to sell to be happy with your income. Establish daily routes, find community areas to sell, be aware of any local events and be friendly to customers are some keys to success.
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