As a leading agency or brand, you are tasked with finding the most qualified and experienced builder for an upcoming food/sampling truck or specialty vehicle project. You probably begin scratching your head for the *right* questions to ask potential builders, so allow us to help you identify the 10 questions to ask your specialty builder. Each builder creates a different set of expectations and standards, so the below list will outline questions to consider when deciding on a food truck builder.
10 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR FOOD TRUCK BUILDER
- How long have you been building food trucks specifically? This question is important to understand how the builder begin fabricating custom food trucks and will gauge their credibility within the market. For example, APEX began by selling step vans to FedEx contractors, and began modifying the step vans for agencies and brands wanting higher end food trucks.
- What are the differences in food trucks and trailers? Understanding and determining which platform is best for your needs is crucial and should be outlined by the builder. Many factors should be considered when reviewing the differences, including vehicle maintenance, tow vehicles, budget, crew, etc.
- What is your typical project process – from beginning to end? Some builders over-promise and under-deliver, and to top that – are late on delivery. It’s important that your builder can clearly identify the entire build process – from design, engineering, exterior build-out, interior build-out, paint/graphics, training and delivery. At APEX, our process is clearly outlined during the design phase, so you have a definitive understanding of when your vehicle will be completed, and what elements need to be provided on the clients’ end as well. We make the process clear and eliminate any uncertainty. Check out our WHY APEX video to understand our process.
- Who will my contact be throughout the build process? Who will my contact be throughout the design, engineering, and build process? Will I continue to correspond with my salesperson, or should I direct my questions to the project manager? This type of clarification is imperative to ensure your questions are answered in a timely manner.
- Will you design my food truck? Many builders still have the ‘back of the napkin’ mentality, which has worked for them in the past until it doesn’t. Understanding the engineering and design mechanisms that go into building a food truck is important. APEX offers an in-house design and engineering team that will listen to your needs, identify the scope of work, provide 3D renderings, and a fully equipment list. We understand that bringing your vision to life is such an important part of your business decision to purchase a food truck.
- Do you offer a warranty? Most builders do offer a warranty, but to what extent? The industry standard is three years on craftsmanship. It’s important to understand how the warranty work is completed – the process, where the warranty work must be completed, expected downtime while work is being completed, etc. APEX is the industry leader on our warranty, as we offer an unmatched 5-year warranty on our craftsmanship. It’s simple – we are confident in our finishes and craftsmanship, and want to stand behind it for longer than all other builders.
- What is your typical build time? Get a complete timeline of the build process in writing. Be sure you understand the timeline demands – what do you need to provide in order to continue pushing the process along? Will you be given weekly updates on the build process? Based on conversations with several customers that have built with other builders, the biggest frustration of the food truck build is missing the deadlines. APEX understands that you are running a business, and your food truck is not generating ROI until it’s complete. We are set-up in-house to manufacture our vehicles within 4-6 weeks, depending on the SPEC or Custom series scope of work.
- After the build is complete, how will I receive the truck? Builders operate the delivery process differently. APEX has a nationwide delivery option that many of our customers take advantage of. However, our central location in Kansas City, MO, allows many of our customers the ability to pick-up their food trucks and receive onsite training from our production crew.
- Do you have any financing options? Without financing and security of funds, a food truck cannot be built. Some builders are beginning to offer in-house financing to ensure their customers can receive secured financing. APEX offers in-house financing, which allows our customers to be relieved of the financial uncertainties of finding a lender.
- Can I get a list of references? This may be one of the most important question you ask food truck manufacturers. This type of conversation with past customers will bring out unbiased information about the customer’s experience – both the positive and negative. It’s also important to be able to view a gallery or portfolio of their past project builds to ensure they have in-depth experience. Check out the APEX portfolio for a guide on what a solid custom food truck builder portfolio should look like.
We hope the above list of 10 questions to ask your food/sampling truck builder has been insightful for you and your team. Should you have any additional questions, give APEX a call and we can certainly answer those for you – 816-853-3360 – or complete our online quote form and we’ll be in touch shortly!