How Much Do Ice Cream Trucks Make?

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If you are considering running an ice cream truck business, it is only natural to want to know how much you will make. Operating an ice cream truck is an exciting job -a career by itself- and part of the food truck industry. 

Food trucks are pretty popular in the United States, and by 2018, they were a multi-billion industry.

Running an ice cream truck business provides a lucrative work environment. Besides having a flexible work schedule, you get to spend time in the outdoors, interact with children, and can take vacations as you work. So, how much do ice cream trucks really make?

An ice cream truck will earn you an average of $200 to $300 dollars a day during summer. This translates to at least $5000 if you work a minimum of 20 days a month. In a year, you can make up to $40,000 in gross income.

Still, there are many factors that determine the amount of income that an ice cream truck can make, as shall be discussed shortly. By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of how much you can make running an ice cream truck business.

Ice Cream Truck Business

How Profitable Is an Ice Cream Truck?

In a favorable environment, an ice cream truck can be very profitable. A favorable environment is marked by low costs, a ready market, and not too much competition. Also, if you work long hours, you are likely to make handsome profits.

To estimate the potential profit you would make from an ice cream truck, determine the costs involved. These include fixed and variable costs. 

  • An example of a fixed cost is the amount spent on purchasing the truck, which could be $10000.
  • Variable costs include insurance at around $1000 per year and a license fee of $300 per year.
  • Next, determine the potential revenue based on the price of your ice cream and how many pieces you are likely to sell in a day.

As per, ice cream trucks can make up to $200 or $300 in a day, which can go up to $1000 on holidays and events. 

When you have figures for the costs and the revenue, you can determine the potential profits. The goal is to have very low costs and high revenue.

Factors That Determine the Income of Ice Cream Trucks

Like every other business, there are factors that will determine the amount of income you will make. As such, it is not as simple as getting a truck, loading it with ice cream, and making money. 

Here are the factors that you will determine whether you will get attractive returns running an ice cream truck.


Ice cream is a cold product and, therefore, not very marketable during the cold months. Thus, it does not sell all-year round; it has peak and off-peak seasons. 

Ice cream sells well during summer when it is hot, so it is best to make use of the hot months. You can take home anything between $300 and $1000 on a summer day, and it gets even better on holidays such as the 4th of July.

In places like Montana and Minnesota, you would have to find something else to do during the winter period. However, places like Southern California and Florida allow for year-round operation as it is always hot.

The target markets

Every product has a target market- the target market for ice cream is mostly kids. Therefore, you would have to identify areas that have families with young kids or places where children hang out a lot. 

Schools and parks will provide you with a market for your product, as well as areas with events like football and basketball. The good thing about ice cream is that it is affordable for different income levels.


Essentially, the lower cost of running an ice cream truck, the higher the income. Fortunately, an ice cream truck has low fixed and start-up costs, so you can start making profits early enough. 

  • Getting a truck will cost you between $10000 and $20000. Overhead costs are not that much trouble after you acquire the truck.
  • Overhead costs would include wear and tear, electricity to run the freezers, insurance, fuel, and licenses. For insurance, you should expect to part with $450 to $1000 annually. 

In most states, all the permits you would require to operate your ice cream truck business would cost you around $300. You would also be required to pay for labor if you have a driver.

Profit Margin

A profit margin is basically determined by the difference between the buying price and the selling price of ice cream. A good profit margin should be at least 50%. If it is less, then your ice truck is not making you as much money as it should. 

It is possible to get up to a 100% mark-up on summer days if you earn $200 to $500. During events such as the 4th of July or memorial day, an ice cream truck can make up to $1000 a day. 

Level of Competition

The less the competition, the more the income. If you go to sell in an area with several other ice cream trucks, there will be less customer traffic.

Therefore, you want to identify an area with a niche for ice cream trucks and take advantage of the opportunity. 

So, it is imperative to conduct due diligence on market saturation for ice cream trucks before heading out.


The more effort you put into the business, the higher the income. You have to be consistent and put in the hours. 

Essentially, the more hours you work in a day, and the more days you work in a month, the more the income. Working during the weekends and holidays is especially rewarding for an ice cream truck business.

How To Make an Ice Cream Truck Business Successful?

If you want your ice cream truck business to succeed, then you have to make people aware of your business. People become aware of a business when you market it. Social media is an effective and affordable way of making people aware of your ice cream truck. 

You can share pictures of your truck as well as your schedule on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Social media provides an avenue to interact and engage with your customers as well.

It also helps to be connected to relevant personnel. For instance, if you have a connection with local party planners, they can alert you whenever there are birthday parties or weddings. Getting affiliated with the local sports teams will also be helpful.

Additionally, it is important to stick to a route or have a route for each day of the week. People will expect you, and it will also encourage word of mouth. 

Here is a video where an entrepreneur who’s on track to hit 20 million USD in ice cream sales (via truck) is sharing his experience:

In Conclusion

An ice truck is a lucrative business idea and is part of the multi-billion food truck industry. How much an ice cream truck makes depends on the climatic season, rate of competition, consistency, and whether you are the owner or an employed driver of the truck. 

On average, an ice cream truck makes $200 to $300 dollars a day, $5000 a month, and up to $40000 a year. During special events such as memorial day or the 4th of July, an ice cream truck can make up to $1000 a day.