Should I invest In a Mobile Coffee Van, Cost £14,000

by Carl

I am interested in starting a mobile coffee (proper coffee done the traditional way) with a purpose built mobile coffee van that will cost me £14,000. I hope to secure a weekly booking with a big car boot sale and wondered if this sounds promising business?

Long term I would like to build a reliable brand an reputation for serving great coffee at outdoor events. Over time to add more vans and employ good staff to run them.

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Sep 06, 2018
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Franchise or Conversion we can help you decide? NEW
by: Really Awesome Coffee

We are passionate about coffee van conversions and if you visit our website www.reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk you can seen assortmant we have completed from london taxi's to our speciality which is the Land Rover.

We also have our franchise option for anyone who wants to get off to a flying start and is looking for support and the benefits of joining a recognised brand.

Which ever route suits you best, we'd love to help if we can.
Lynne 0121 295 1068


Aug 03, 2018
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Hi Paul who does Piaggio conversion NEW
by: Amir

Hi Paul, I liked reading your advice - very practical indeed! Do you do Piaggio conversion to turn into a mobile Coffee unit? How can I contact you? My email is: nirvana1707@yahoo.com

Apr 30, 2018
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Coffee Van NEW
by: Anonymous

Mobile Coffee Van. This business will always remain relevant. I have the opportunity to equip the van with everything necessary to start a business with modern requirements. The whole set costs 4000 pounds. By questions 447375033046 Sergey jansergei2010@hotmail.com

Mar 30, 2018
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coffee franchise NEW
by: Anonymous

Has anyone bought a franchise coffee van recently ..and making over a grand per week..

May 04, 2017
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Is all about location.
by: Anonymous

I give for granted you know how to make coffees..so my suggestion is: Buy a second hand little Piaggio Ape,(the one i use is 20 years old and works fine...they are like little tanks)...,fully converted for making coffees,get a good location,apply for the licence at the local council,good luck.if you see the business is good register as a Sole trader online.

Apr 23, 2017
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Still unsure
by: Anonymous

I am thinking of buying a coffee van I still a very unsure scared Scared 10 grand is every penny own help help help

Oct 09, 2016
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very cheap coffee machine
by: Anonymous

the best coffee is made with a coffee machine as in what the Italians call macchinetta , one for 20 shots of espresso is only about 40 quid , then you only need a source of gas, will be better than any espresso machine , I know I do it

Sep 04, 2016
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want the van business
by: Zem

I am interested in buying a coffee van .I want to try me luck.
Contact me zagrex@hotmail.co.uk

Aug 23, 2016
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Tony's coffee
by: Anonymous

Hi I say go for it I make £3400 profit a month it's better then £12000 a year I used to get on my previous job and you work hard but work for your self x:)

Jan 15, 2016
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Fresh Coffee
by: Anonymous

I`m looking at starting a `fresh coffee` service from my van, rather than buynig an expensive machine this would be fresh brewed ground coffee (inc decaf) served from cafetiers, I personally prefer it to Americano`s Cappucinno`s etc.
It would be interesting to get other people`s oppinions too please.

Jul 14, 2015
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Franchise / start up
by: Mr bean coffee van

I have read comments about franchise and burning £10 notes, it is all about location , people will buy branded so if you are close to them you will find it hard to compete.

Done city centre busy area and took £70 it doesn't work for us.

Pitches on venues boot sales are our markets, the competition there is crap coffee so if you serve the best people will come , first trading day I had at one boot sale was 68 pints of milk and over £300 in takings and all over by 12:30pm that was because there wasn't another barista van on just crap catering instant and watery hot chocolates

I have one van licences under my brand we share leads for events, training etched etc all for under £10 per week I have 2/3 vans and need more within the group so offer getting you started with used equipment , my 2 vans combined don't total a £15k start up , I have a tuktuk and an American food cart both converted for coffee, I only work them weekends although we do do events in the week if required want to know more find me on Facebook or Twitter mrbeancoffeevan

Jul 14, 2015
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Espresso Essentials
by: Coffee guy

Ive worked on a mobile coffee van owned by someone else situated near a Starbucks, Greggs and many independents. I take about £60-100 on average per day sometimes more. I have looked all over the Internet at people asking questions if they should invest in mobile coffee and the same responses always pop up saying that if you plan your business and sell bacon sandwiches you'll be sitting on a gold mine.

As someone who has experienced running a mobile coffee business first hand here are the main questions you need to ask yourself.

1. Do you know the fundamental basics of making espresso?
2. Do you know how calibrate a grinder and dose your coffee to produce the perfect espresso weight and taste?
3. Do you know how to correctly steam and pour milk for cap, latte and flat white?

If the answer to all these questions is NO then go get a part time job as a barista, despite what you may think it takes a lot of training to learn how to produce good coffee. These skills cannot be picked up on a training course that lasts 1 day.

On the subject of training courses the best place to get trained is at an espresso bar/coffee shop. Many larger companies will offer training what is really designed to try and sell you a product (coffee, espresso machines, mobile coffee trucks). Beware of these courses.

If you can't make amazing coffee don't invest in an espresso machine business. Anyone who has an interest in espresso and mobile coffee units I'd recommend reading The Professioanl Barista Handbook by Scott Rao, it's a great introduction to the science and theory of creating great coffee.

Feb 03, 2015
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Spent £20 000 on a Franchise
by: Anonymous

I bought a franchise which cost me £20 000. The costs piled up as the mechanics broke down routinely in an extremely cold winter in Newcastle a few years ago.
All the costs aside I still couldn't sell enough coffee/food, there where so many bacon butty/pie vans I couldn't compete. The most miserable 18 months of my life.
Like most situations in life, after all the research and preparation you need that little bit of luck to gain real momentum.

Oct 21, 2014
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Franchising
by: Anonymous

You would be better burning £10 notes than investing in a franchise coffee van. I was deluded by the false promises,and unrealistic earnings projections, but found the reality totally different. All they wanted was their money and to use their products, back up support nil. If you do go for it do your research, copy them, and save a fortune in fees

Good luckhubris

Cheers

Tom.

Oct 05, 2014
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Van for sale
by: Colin

I have just bought a 2006 Ford ranger with only nine thousand miles from new,taxed and tested .
It has a Jiffy type body on with a big coffee machine fitted and a chilled section plus more the side and rear opens for display and serving mint condition .I bought it for my daughter but she isn't interested so it will be going to have to be sold. If you are interested give me a call 07973270022 any trial £12000.00 no vat

Jun 26, 2014
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Coffee Van
by: Mr Bean Coffee Van

I started with a van last October, found it hard to get in at venues, we are treated as caterers without the turnover and profit margin. I did town centre market, too much competition from greggs at £2 coffee and cake, and people still buy branded no matter how poor the coffee is.

Things now are different we have 2 venues for Saturday and Sunday , in fact we actually have 4 and that is why I know have a second van and another specialised coffee cart, we are asked all the time if we are a franchise that is because we look professional, have all the social media facebook and twitters as well as our own website we haven't done it yet but have been close to £1k weekend with the one van.

I am thinking of franchising vans out giving the Barista training, help support to build your own business. We are not the cheapest coffee van but at the venues we are at we are known for the best coffee there, that is important for the repeat customers, of which we sometimes get 4 or 5 in a day.

if you want to know more like us on facebook mrbeancoffeevan and get in touch. We are no Café Latino we would ensure a low set up cost, if you came on board with us we would insist whilst you use our brand that your coffee produced is up to stand and the beans used are the same.

In addition to the static sites we also do weddings, christenings, birthdays any private functions

Jun 04, 2014
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why does it have to be that expensive !!!
by: Anonymous

some people are asking prices for a coffee van that you could buy a nice camper (mobile home)!!!!!!
why does everybody in this country want to take vantage on something?? and price things above the honest price??? bunch of pirates!!!!!

Apr 09, 2014
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Equipment available
by: Cool Beanz

If anyone knows of someone looking for a fracino machine that is used once and 4 month old I have one for sale. Includes everything and grinder. £3000.

Willshaw2210@yahoo.co.uk

Only selling for personal reasons (pregnant wife) and need to go full time!!

Apr 05, 2014
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Looking to buy a coffee van in the Bolton area
by: Anonymous

Hi I'm new to the UK and looking for a coffee cart for sale in the Bolton area.

I can be contacted at nicolehogg@qantas.com.au if anyone had one for sale

Thanks Nicole

Mar 13, 2014
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Coffee machine
by: Anonymous

For me it seems that it is much better to buy a car and separate coffee machine, just because it will be much cheaper for you and, and it seems that coffee made with special machine will be much better. Moreover if business will not be succesful you will be able to use your bought van and in that way not to loose money you might spend while buying fully equipted mobile coffee van :)

Jul 02, 2013
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A helping hand.
by: Cool Beanz NE

I was in your position less than a year ago. I am now expanding and upgrading my equipment adding a bigger unit the lot.

If you want a ready made van and all the equipment I would love to be able to help a fellow coffee lover into the trade. I am still trading so the van name must be removed but other than that if you are serious let me know and I can point you in the right direction - c.beanzcoffee@gamil.com

Cheers

May 23, 2012
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owning a COFFEE van
by: Anonymous

I have had my coffee van for 6 years my earnings are very good & have a loyal customer base. It's a great job every days a coffee morning. Quality & great customer service is the key to success.

I go out on a part time basis, keep everything serviced & in excellent condition well cared for equipment will always keep you going.My van was designed by me using local trades to fit it out, coffee pastries/cakes are irresistible some people cant function without that coffee fix every day.

If I was keeping my van events, weddings etc is a must, I have not been able to do this due to health problem. I am selling my van at the moment due to a progressive health condition,I AM SAD about it
I will really miss it

Oct 11, 2011
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In the Recession what is happening to Coffee
by: Kevin

Hi
Have been reading this posting. I live in London and begun looking at the possibility of buying a van, my budget is around £15,000

Now my idea would be to get a pitch close to a tube station to catch commuters and offer in addition to coffee . tea, mineral water and food cheese rolls , pastries , croissants

My friend tells me near where she lives in Glasgow the coffee van used to do a breakfast bag , drink , danish and cheese roll for for £2.50 and the prices were tea 0.80 coffee 1.00

Now if I could offer similar prices in London and have the pitch would this be succesful

After that there are more hours in the day , so far I have been to 4 car boot sales and the vending vans have been quiet , they also offer burgers and coke Meal deal, coke , fries and burger £3.50 that does not sound like a lot left for profit, so was looking at other alternatives and one that sprung to mind was night shift Thursday to Sunday catering to clubbers, I know I need a licence but not sure how the local authority would view this

Can somebody please provide me with some current advice of how likley success is in this particular economic climate

Kevin

Sep 21, 2011
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does not have to be that expensive
by: Anonymous

I have seen coffe vans like a 2004 ford transit kitted out with equipment selling for £7000
So it doesn't need to cost you £14000.
Sell any vehicle you might already have to help cover your new van cost and get your tradining licences sorted out and health and safety etc and away you go.
Should be able to make enough profit to cover expenses and some left over if you find a good place to trade and with experience will come more money.

Sep 15, 2011
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Still thinking about it?
by: Anonymous

If you're still thinking about/looking for a mobile coffee van - I have a converted van and business for sale - Carpuccino. Branded and equipped to a high spec, been running for 3 years and profitable, now selling as was offered a job I couldn't turn down and can't run both. Selling the business with all knowledge learnt from 3 yrs of trading and a calendar of profitable events. Have a look www.carpuccino.co.uk and give me a call if interested.

Jun 21, 2011
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keep your set up costs down - think carefully about your market
by: Paul

We have been supplying duel fuel machines for a few years, to different types of customers and we see some fly and others flop. From this experience I would pass on three things:

1. Think carefully about your market and don’t give up easily on venues and pitches. Think about what will be bread and butter (your lunchtime round or town centre pitch) and what will bring in the bonus earnings (events, functions, festivals, weddings etc) These two aspects will need to work together. Often you will receive a negative response to town/centre pitches and objections from static businesses, but be persistent and appeal if necessary.

2. Don’t overspend on set up costs, otherwise it will be harder to pay back your investment and make a living.
• The majority of our customers have brought and converted second hand vans /piaggio’s etc. We have then fitted the coffee machine, grinder etc usually duel fuel with a flow-jet pump and battery inverter. This is going to be around £3k depending on the options.
• The main additional components needed for the coffee machine installation, are the gas bottle & connection and water tank.
• A two group machine, which serves four coffees at a time is usually the best size, but make sure your vehicle/cart is going to fit everything you need. Don’t get carried away with the cart and then compromise on what you need to serve your customers.

3. Other than busy locations or events, coffee will not be enough to earn a good living, so think about the products you can sell and what you need i.e. fridge etc. With a duel fuel coffee machine, you can run it off the gas (and battery inverter) or electric hook-up. It also gives the flexibility to run the additional equipment from a generator without the coffee machine being a draw.

I hope this is helpful, but please feel free to contact us, if you are thinking of setting up a mobile coffee business. Contact me, Paul

May 12, 2011
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think long and hard...........
by: Anonymous

some of you guys are living on planet zog; £200 per day? you'll be EXTREMELY lucky to do that in a WEEK. and never forget; TURNOVER is sanity PROFIT is sanity.

It is a very hard item to sell around the industrial estates in these straitened times (i know, we built our own van and have been doing it a year)and yes, events are where the money is.

BUT they are only there 6 months of the year and are EXTREMELY hard to get into as the network uses "Bob, Dick and Harry who we've used for years." i dont regret doing it, love it in fact but it will keep you poor.

Don't ever believe its money for old rope. the equipment's VERY fragile to be rocked around in the back of a van and mechanical breakdowns can be manifold and frequent and costly to repair (service on the machine minimum £450 + vat).

to trade on the streets as it were you'll need a street traders licence (£350 p.a.) to say nothing of annual public liability premiums and PAT testing of appliances and insurance for a catering van itself is c£900.

Good luck to you if its what you really want to do. trouble is, even at £2.00 per cup theres just not enough meat in the margin of the product.

Get yourself a crepe van, jacket potato, hog roast, donut trailer or similar for some serious earning potential.

And just maybe, if it doesnt rain, you can afford the £250 pitch fee a living wage might be possible but you'll find for the vast majority in the industry, its just a sideline to their day job. sorry!

Oct 28, 2010
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How to convert smart car to coffee van?
by: Nat

Anybody knows where can I convert a smart car to coffee van? Which companies in England are doing this and for how much?

Aug 04, 2010
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coffee van
by: Anonymous

You could pick up a very reasonable second hand van and it would cost no more than an average family car only difference is it will cover its own cost eg insurance fuel etc that you would have to pay out for but other than a means to get to work it wont make you money and its something given the right pitch could make you a reasonable living , don't expect to be a millionaire in a few years as it wont happen !. don't give in with your local council over the rejection on the pitch you really want as they will just keep fobbing you off to get rid of you , try your local counsellor to help move things forward ! If you have a passion for making good coffee and making people smile as they taste it and give you great feed back then its a very rewarding job although the often long hours can ruin social events and family life !

May 29, 2010
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Telling it like it is
by: Anonymous

The fact that you're asking questions like this should provide you with the 'answer' !

Sorry, but you already knew this didn't you ?

And yes, I have run my own coffee van business for over 3 years now.

If in doubt, don't, simple as that.

If you still REALLY know you can make a go of it then BUILD your own van, don't spend unecessary tens of thousands on a trendy thing, you don't need one, especially to start with.You will, however, need all the CASH you can lay your hands on when starting out.Spend as LITTLE as possible - it's not hard to build a van,it might take a bit longer but there are plenty of people to ask for help if you really look, and you will know more about the business because of it.

May 26, 2010
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Mobile Coffee
by: Anonymous

Have done it and stopped doing it, but may come back to it? As people say you need right pitch, also make sure you can physically work outdoors all year round. It is Ok in the summer but challenging in the winter.

Top tip! When finding a pitch make sure you are not too far from toilets and warmth.

Good Luck

May 22, 2010
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A good pitch
by: Anonymous

You can Make lots of money if you have the right pitch.
cost of a cuppa is 15p Lots of profit
Go For It

Apr 28, 2010
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leave it where it is
by: Anonymous

Hi, I bough a coffee van had got myself a permanent pitch at a busy train station and at a large castle. I had to do long hours , getting up at 4.30 am to get everything organised to open at 6 am for commuters, I then moved to the Castle at 2 pm , I got home at 6 pm and it took an hour or so to reload and wash down etc. I finished at 7 pm, just in time to go to bed again to get up at 4.30 am. I made good money about £20,000 a year - but it came at a price !! you want make much money at a car boot sale - people are already there trying to get something for nothing !!

Apr 03, 2010
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No
by: Ross

I invested over £50000 in a franchise and have had my fingers burnt badly. I went office to office & it was just not wanted. Markets are hopeless, too expensive & other events are hard to come by. Keep your money.

Dec 16, 2009
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Go for it, nothing ventured nothing gained
by: Anonymous

given the cost of a van at around £17000 and the equipment and fitting of it, some companies are charging 7-10k.
easily make a living from it, go for it, at 33p per drink all in, you will be clearing £1;30 per drink, as long as the coffee is good and you know what you are doing.
Iam doing exactly that, but i am doing it all myself, new van the works
good luck

May 28, 2009
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thik carfully
by: Anonymous

costs 14000 pound, how bad do you want this business.
long term could be a good gold mine short term dont waste your money.

May 12, 2009
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go for it dude!
by: Anonymous

what other business can you buy for £14000 that will earn you a couple of hundred quid per day? I say go for it.

Apr 28, 2009
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Too much to Spend on Coffee Business
by: Anonymous

Hi David,

Many thanks for your good advice and thoughts. I will continue the research as you suggest.

I am concerned about the price too, I was hoping to spend no more than £10,000 on something like this.

Apr 28, 2009
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Small Business Options
by: Anonymous

Hi Carl,

I think that £14.000 is a hell of a lot of money to spend on a trailer a lone.You will have to sell a lot of coffee to make your money back.


Have you tried to secure a permanent pitch with a trailer, rather than just a trailer at least this will justify the cost.

Do visit some car boots and see what they charge for a coffee, even stay there a few hours and see how busy they get. From this you can see how much business you may get.

I think the idea is great, but do reconsider the amount of money you are going to spend.

Regards
David

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