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  • Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

    Hey there,

    I am in Brisbane and I am currently considering setting up a new mobile coffee business. I have had a look around at purchasing a pre established business, and also a franchise, but they all seem so expensive, and I also want to work completely for myself, and not be bound to a particular brand or style of operations.

    So I am considering fitting out a van myself, and I was actually looking for some advice as to where to start and also the approx $$ that people have outlaid when setting up themselves (excluding van cost, as I already have one). Also where do I start? I know I obviously need to consider equipment ie, coffee machines, fridges and generators, but are their any other things to be aware of? Being an interior designer and having worked on shop fitouts, I know the restrictions in relation to those can be quite tight so I am assuming the same is for a coffee van.

    Thank you so much for your assistance in advance!


  • #2
    Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

    Simple equation, figure out what you think is going to cost and then double it and you will be about on the money. The big things are easy to figure out (fridge, coffee machine, grinder etc) but there are so many things you just dont think of and they add up. The final figure also depends on a number of factors as to how you set it up and what extras you will be doing (on top of hot drinks ie smoothies). I would allow around 20-50 k depending on what sort of a setup you are aiming for. When you are looking at franchisers and established businesses you are paying for the work that someone else has done, if you think you can do it yourself then you will save yourself a heap of dough but you will be on your own without support and the business will take a while to get moving, your call as to if that is important too you. You have to do the work and figure out what level of success is necessary for your personal circumstances (ie how much money do you need to make to cover your living expenses) and then work out how many coffees per week you need to sell and then talk to someone in the industry to find out how realistic you are being.

    Also get friendly with your council (or whoever enforces food safety standards) as they can be your best friend or worst nightmare.

    Good luck with your venture the rewards are there if you are prepared to work hard (and trust me sometimes you will question your sanity).

    Also do a search as this is a question that has been asked and answered in a lot of details over the past couple of years.

    Cheers

    Brett

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    • #3
      Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

      I will disclose before I start that I have a vested commercial interest here as Im the Queensland Agent for Custom Coffee Vans.

      As Moto coffee has pointed out and I can also vouch for in my own experience of building a van independently (search coffee van on here for several peoples experiences including my own) think of what you are expecting to spend then double it when doing it by yourself.

      There is also a myriad of information and sources you have to sort through if your are doing it by yourself. Last thing you want is a van that doesnt meet council regulations and will require a expensive refit or redesign.  I spent about 6 months researching, planning, drawing and contacting different agencies and builders before I got the van built which went over budget and overtime. Also had several technical difficulties with the generator which nearly shut us down for good as the generator agent refused to honor the warranty.

      The advantage of getting a van built by an experienced builder that supports their products VS building by yourself are:

      1. On time delivery and fitout
      2. Full warranty and support on equipment and machines.
      3. Fully meet and exceed HACP and Health standards.
      4. Training manual, advice and operating guides from experienced team.
      5. Package deals for fitout for your existing or new van that will cost you less then you doing it by yourself due to purchasing power and experience with building.
      6. Contacts for sign writing, public liability and finance.
      7. Guaranteed fixed budget with no budget blowouts.

      Would be happy to chat and discuss your options and talk about my experiences or sit down and have a coffee at our Yatala showroom.

      I will forewarn that running a coffee van does require a lot of hard work and determination but with the right support it helps.

      King Regards,

      Roger Bright
      Supreme Roasters
      (07) 3801 8989
      0422 967 520

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

        ill echo all comments, Phil @ CCV is a legend. Knows his stuff, is on the money and build a good quality van at the right price.

        Personally, I opted to build a new home instead of buying/building a van, but generally allow around 60k for full set up using good quality gear and a new Hyundai iLoad. Allow another 10k to cover start up costs including insurances, stock etc. If you have the cash and can be earning positive within a matter of weeks, great. If not, you could be behind the eight ball for some time.

        If you search some of my recent posts, you will see a fairly lengthy discussion about the merits and pitfalls of doing exactly this.

        Im curious to know of the generator issues you had Roger. Do you really need an inverter model? Im looking at a petrol Cummins which is around 6db louder than the Honda, however it is not an inverter model.

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        • #5
          Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

          Melbuurn I wouldnt be plugging anything of value into a normal generator. The inverter generators give much cleaner power. Have you ever seen how the lights dim when you put a big load across a generator suddenly. Cant be good for that expensive equipment. Of course I may be wrong but just speaking from experience with smaller generators.

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          • #6
            Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

            Alternators (Generators) are designed for specific purposes, its not just about the ability to deal with sudden load changes - The Prime Mover is equally important in this situation.

            If youre likely to go the generation route, then youre best served by visiting with a couple of specialist manufacturers or their agents to evaluate your needs and determine which option is going to serve them best.... 8-)

            Mal.

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            • #7
              Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

              thanks Mal

              Please elaborate?

              I have had a couple emails from Cummins, they tell me their Onan un it is best for within a van etc, but even they tell me the only truly portable inverter unit for the application is the Honda.

              Is it possible to get a 240v power filter that will clean power out of a normal generator?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

                Just having a casual look on the bay of evil over time there is a steady string of vans/trailers etc for sale for quite a bit less than cost especially if you are prepared to travel to buy them.

                As to building one your self while you might get lots of personal satisfaction out of it but the same evil site has plenty of 1/2 finished projects or unworkable abomonations too :

                If you have plenty of time, skills and patience then go for it.

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                • #9
                  Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

                  Onan is the rolls royce for coffee vans there are also other brands such as Kubota which are still good (I use one) but have their drawbacks (ie a bit louder and a bit bigger). I think it is possible to clean up the power a bit but it comes at a cost.

                  Do have a look at a pre loved setup as you can get them much cheaper, however some of them havent been looked after very well and you might be buying a lemon.

                  Brett

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                  • #10
                    Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

                    thanks for all the comments, feel bad as I hijacked lacakepetites post!

                    its this half-baked approach that has landed me both the Gino Rossi and the Faema from the bay at a great price. Now I nwws the cart and the generator....but agreed there have been some great bargains on the bay lately too, albeit with some crappy or unknown machines.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Coffee Van Setup when DIY. Approx $$

                      Originally posted by 565E57594E4E49553B0 link=1288849528/9#9 date=1289128025
                      thanks for all the comments, feel bad as I hijacked lacakepetites post!

                      its this half-baked approach that has landed me both the Gino Rossi and the Faema from the bay at a great price.  Now I nwws the cart and the generator....but agreed there have been some great bargains on the bay lately too, albeit with some crappy or unknown machines.
                      Only worry with The Bay is that you wont know how much of a bargain you have until you start doing commercial volumes and reliability = dollars. Well done so far and keep us posted! I for one share your dream/vision but have not the time to embark on this adventure... Yet...

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