It is a wonderful job having your own truck and being your own boss, so we want to make sure you do it right. We would like to share some of the information we have gathered over the years to ensure you are successful.
The number one priority is safety. You are responsible for the safety of your customers, that is always our number one priority.
We have some information for you about the licenses you may need, insurance, different types of refrigeration, the music boxes available to you and some tips about the mobile vending world.
We hope you will find this helpful and if you have more questions we will always be happy to be of assistance.
Getting started means you have to have an Ice Cream truck. Berliner Specialty, Good Humor, and Blue Bunny do not sell or lease Ice Cream trucks, nor do these companies hire employees to work the trucks. It is up to you to purchase your own truck. The best three ways to accomplish this are as follows:
Berliner Specialty has the resources on-site to convert any truck or van to a working Ice Cream truck in just three (3) days! The following information in this package is only a guideline to help you get started. Stay determined, motivated, and keep a positive attitude and you will be on your way to owning your own successful business.
A Chest Freezer is the most commonly used and also the most economical freezer for the job. However, chest freezers are not the best for keeping your product frozen during the hot humid weather. Dry ice may be required. Appliance stores are a good source for a four, five or six foot chest freezer.
Cold Plate Freezers are the most reliable freezer for your product and work the best in the hot weather. However, they are also the most expensive. These freezers have a stainless steel body and come with either a 110 volt or 220 volt compressor. The 110 volt compressor is efficient; however, the 220 volt is superior.
Cold Plate Freezers have plates inside the walls that will freeze over night, and will take the temperature down to about -20F when in good working order. When you unplug them they will keep the ice cream frozen around 8 hours. After that on a hot day, your ice cream will start to melt. You will then have to plug in the compressor, or supplement the freezer with dry ice.
Nelson Freezer Equipment manufactures freezers, contact them at 1-419-898-3305. (BSD will also assist you in purchasing this freezer equipment.)
With any 110 or 220 volt freezer, whether it be Chest or Cold Plate you need a source of electricity for your freezer. You can obtain this electricity through a few different methods. The first method is your local mobile street vending facility such as Berliner Specialty Distributors can offer you a parking place with either a 110 or 220 volt plug-in for your compressor. Another source of electricity is the Inverter.
The second method, the Inverter will change the low-voltage DC current into usable AC household current. Inverters are good for the job, they supply you with a continuous power quietly, and it means you can operate your freezer without the need of a generator. Don’t confuse a generator with a compressor; generators are loud, will make your truck vibrate, and they are expensive to purchase and operate on a daily basis.
The Inverter is taking its DC current from the battery, so while the Inverter is working and supplying you with the power you need it drains your battery, meaning you have to keep your engine running. The starting battery in your vehicle is not designed for repeated deep-discharge cycles where the battery is almost completely discharged and then re-charged, the starting battery will wear out very rapidly. Deep cycle batteries are designed for deep discharge service where they will be repeatedly discharged and recharged so make sure you use a good deep cycle battery. The alternator in your vehicle is what keeps charging the battery. The best way to run an Inverter is with a dual battery system. In short, a dual deep cycle battery system is the most appropriate set up.
There are a few options when it comes to your music.
The most popular box in the industry is made by Nichols Electronics. Nichols Electronics has a large selection of music boxes and caters to the ice cream truck industry. You can reach Nichols Electronics at (952) 884-2212) or BSD will assist you in acquiring the music box.
Some selections consist of a 4-tune box, 8-tune box, 16-tune box, or 32-tune box. Generally, you can purchase an adequate music box for your ice cream truck for about $200, which includes a speaker.
Another option to play music is to install a CD player connected to special outdoor weather proof speakers. The speakers can be shut off with an on/off switch.
If you would like to play music for yourself, it gives you the option to play your own CD's as in the construction sites the guys would rather listen to anything but kiddy tunes.The CD player option can work great with another music box by it’s side.
The most precious members of our society are the children and all measures must be taken in order to keep them safe.
There are a few safety features that can be added to the truck but mostly it is about being alert and teaching the kids how to behave around the truck. First, it is a good habit to stop the truck in a safe place, where visibility is good and where the kids can cross the street safely and make that space the spot where you stop each time. Don't let them wave you down, make them come and wait in the usual spot, choose a tree or a land mark where it is easy to wait for the truck, not only is it safer, but you will also save time by getting everybody together waiting in the same spot instead of many different stops.
When you stop, look across the street and check for cars, only then signal the kids to cross because they may run without looking. A flashing swing arm is a very valuable safety feature to use. The swinging arm is a very effective way to let all cars know to watch for the children.
After the kids get their ice cream they are even less alert, it is your job to make sure they cross safely to the other side, from the rear, and watch for cars. Before you move off again you must check that there are no kids at the front of the vehicle. There are special "fish eye" mirrors that we believe should be installed on every truck where you can see the front of the truck, so even the shortest kids will be visible.
We strongly recommend not carrying any children in the truck.
Check your mirrors at the back to make sure you have no one hanging on the back of the truck, and if they do try to, handle it wisely and not aggressively as they are only kids and that will usually encourage them to do it again.
Front and back flashing lights are a very good thing to have as they will show passing cars as well as costumers that a truck is nearby.
Try to never go in reverse while driving the truck. If you see a place that will require backing up just don't go there. A back up horn is another good safety device.
Please use your common sense and always remember that you are responsible for the life of your customers.