How to Build a Hot Dog Cart or Trailer

Updated April 17, 2017

The street food vending business is a lucrative opportunity if you want to start your own business and don't have a lot of money. Starting a hot dog vending business requires little capital. You can trim costs more by building your own hot dog cart or trailer. Depending on the size, design and type of material you use, a hot dog cart will cost between £195 and £1,300 to build. Building your own cart also offers the advantage of allowing you to customise your cart to suit your needs or style.

Check the website of your municipality's health and food inspection department. Ensure that the materials you buy and the plans for your hot dog cart meet your local government's requirements. Heating systems should meet the minimum heating requirements. You can find a list of materials and their requirements on the websites of your local licensing bureau.

Determine how you'll prepare the hot dogs (grilled, steamed, boiled, etc.). This will dictate the type of heating system you buy and the cart size. Companies that sell hot dog cooking systems also provide information and specifications on other parts of the hot dog stand. Websites such as offer advice on equipment for hot dog carts.

Select and purchase wheels for your cart. Heavy-duty rubber tires are appropriate for daily work. The size of the tires depends on the weight and size of the cart and cooking system.

Assemble the cart parts you have purchased. Ensure that the umbrella is removable and water repellent. Paint the cart body according to the design and colours you've selected. Take the cart out for a test drive. Ensure that the wheels are running smoothly and test how well the cooking system maintains the required temperature. Adjust anything that does not meet your specifications.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking system
  • Bun bag container
  • 3 wheels
  • Vending umbrella
  • Metal cart frame
  • Condiment dispensers
  • Napkin dispensers
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About the Author

Based out of Pittsburgh, Gregory Taylor has been writing since 1999. He has written for the "Sentry," RMU Radio and the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette." Taylor holds a Master of Arts in journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Robert Morris University.