Our members have already been where you are now and know how to get from idea, through buildout and onto the streets. Owning a food truck isn't complicated, but it does take a LOT of attention to detail to get through the building, permitting and licensing process. We've included what you need to know here.
1. Find a truck. Most food trucks are self-funded, but some people have been successful with crowd funding sites like Kickstarter. Craigslist is a good place to start looking for a truck/trailer. To search several nearby cities at one time from multiple listings, try SearchTempest. You can also try Facebook Marketplace and usedvending.com. There are also two LFTA members who build food trucks who can find and/or customize a truck for you: Derby City Mobile Kitchens and Kentuckiana Food Truck Company.
2. Follow this Checklist & Supplemental Information Sheet for Mobile Food Trailers (and trucks) from Louisville Metro Health Department if you're in Jefferson County.
3. Submit your Plan Application to the LouMetro Health Department. You must submit four sets of plans.
4. Build your truck, making sure to use a Master Plumber. There is NO easy way to find a Master Plumber in your area, but here's the best we can offer you. Go to dhbc.ky.gov, look down on the right side below the picture of the men with hard hats to an area called quick links. In the quick links area, you’ll see SmartGov Online Portal. Click on it. In the middle of the page, click the Go button. When on the main page, you’ll see your mouse pointer flashing in a search box just above 4 tiles. You can enter the license number in that box, being sure to put the prefix with it (M####). This system requires that you know exactly how the license holder’s name is entered on his license account to be able to find his license details. Meaning you’ll probably need his first name, middle initial and last name for your search to be thorough if you don’t have the license number.
5. Take the Food Handlers class at a cost of $35. (And pass the test.)
6. Take your truck/trailer to the Health Department for an inspection and get your Permit which will cost $280. Your Permit allows you to legally make food.
7. Now apply for your LouisvilleMetro Vendor's License and your LouisvilleMetro Vendor ID. These cost $250. Your Vending License and ID allow you to legally sell food in Jefferson County.
Note: To work in Jefferson County you need a Health Department Permit, a Vending License and a Vendor's ID.
Things are different across the river.
1. Find a truck. See above.
2. You'll need to take an approved Food Handlers Course. Choose from these. Your KY Food Handlers class and permit are NOT transferable.
3. Indiana licenses food trucks by county (not state wide.) Make an appointment with the county Health Department and take your truck for an inspection. Remember to take your food handlers certificate with you. Also take your Commissary Kitchen Permit if you are required to have one.
Your food truck Vending License from LouisvilleMetro gives you permission to park at a parking meter from 7a - 2p, or other legal parking space within Louisville Metro with the exception of diagonally striped parking spaces. You may not park in those. You can purchase a bagged meter for a fee, or you can pay the meter.
To park in apartment communities or office complexes, you must be invited by the property owner or manager.
You are never permitted to roam in neighborhoods.
Need liability insurance? Yes, you absolutely do! Check Flip, Insure my Food, State Farm and Progressive. (We take no responsibility for our recommendations, other than to say that a lot of food truck owners use them.)
Generators must be either permanently or semi-permanently mounted to your truck or trailer. A generator, propane tanks, gas cans and any other fuel source may never be placed on the ground or pavement.
Generators must prove - using the manufacturer's specifications - that they run at 70 dB or less.
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