Across the country, ice cream carts are popping up in increasing numbers, says author David Weber, author of "The Food Truck Handbook." While ice cream shops can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase, carts are much more affordable to buy -- at about $2,000 each. Even though carts might have lower start-up costs, making the sales you want requires a plan.
Find a location likely to generate sales. Popular locations include parks, swimming pools, fairgrounds, stadiums, beaches, neighborhoods and other high-traffic areas. Secure appropriate permits to operate at each location.
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Make sure people know where to find you if you move around often. According to Weber, many food truck owners use Facebook and Twitter to tell customers where they are. You can also do this on your website if you have one.
Shop around for supplies. Spend as little as possible on things such as napkins and disposable spoons. Check bulk stores and online distributors. The less you spend on supplies, the more money you make.
Upsell. If a customer orders a scoop of ice cream, ask if she would like to make it a double or if she would like sprinkles and a cherry. Michael Turback, author of "A Month of Sundaes" and "The Banana Split Book," explained to PMQ Magazine, "It doesn't cost us but a few cents to put nuts, candy or sprinkles on the ice cream, but it costs my customers 50 cents."
Have popular flavors on hand, even if you're known for offering wacky flavors, such as jalapeno apricot. Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor. Companies reported in a 2012 International Dairy Foods Association survey that chocolate chip mint and cookies and cream were the next most popular flavors.
Charge more and build a reputation by making your own artisan ice cream. According to National Public Radio, many people are willing to pay more for better quality, more expensive ice cream.
Stay open on days you're likely to garner more sales, such as Sunday and Monday. Cold Stone Creamery reports that Sunday is the most popular day for ice cream sales. According to Mashable, food trucks are busiest on Mondays.
Make sundaes, banana splits, ice cream sandwiches or other treats. You're encouraging people to buy more ingredients, which means you can charge them more.
Above all, monitor your profit margins. You don't want to accidentally lose profit on something, but you also don't want to charge so much that people stop buying your treats.
Keep cash locked up and hidden from view.