Starting a Mobile Catering Business

The information below is provided as a guide to starting a mobile catering business, please contact the relevant authorities for the latest information

Do I need to register my mobile catering business/trailer?

Yes, you need to register your mobile catering business/trailer with your local Environmental Health Department, ring your Council and they can normally put you through.

I only have one Burger Van, is this still classed as a business?

Yes, your burger van is classed as a business, because you are preparing and selling food.

Can I just turn up and trade on the Street from my mobile catering trailer/van?

No, you usually have to get permission to trade from your mobile catering unit from the local council. If permission is granted, you may then be issued with a licence. A fee maybe payable to trade in a particular spot from your mobile catering trailer/van.

Can I trade from an Industrial Estate using my mobile catering trailer/van?

Yes, you can trade from your mobile catering trailer/van if you have the landowner's permission. Contact the owner of the Industrial Estate.

Can I open my mobile catering trailer/van late at night?

To trade from your mobile catering trailer/van late at night, you may need to apply for an entertainment licence, contact your local Council for further information.

Do I really need insurance for a Burger Van or other type of Catering Trailer?

For your mobile catering trailer/van, at the minimum you must have Employers Liability Insurance (if you employ people) and third party insurance to cover the towing vehicle.

You should also consider Public Liability Insurance, Product Liability Insurance and Mobile Catering Trailer Insurance.

What qualifications do I need to operate a mobile catering business?

To operate a mobile catering trailer, catering van, burger van, catering unit etc, you will need to have a Food Hygiene Certificate (most Councils offer this training for a small fee).

Where can I trade?

From your mobile catering trailer, you can trade from Markets, Car Boots Sales, Retail Parks, Shows and Events, Industrial Areas, Lay bays, Sporting Events, Shopping Malls etc, however, remember to get permission from the landowner.

Should I buy a new or second hand mobile catering trailer/van?

See some of the pros and cons below of buying a brand new or second hand mobile catering trailer/van.

New Trailer



You can choose exactly what  catering equipment you have inside the catering trailer or van

A new trailer will cost more than a used trailer

You can choose exactly how the outside of the trailer/van should look, including your company name and graphics etc


You get a warranty usually 12 months


The trailer/van looks good and portrays the right image to your customers


Your new trailer will come with gas and electrical certificates


You know who you are buying the trailer from and can go back to them should the need arise



Second Hand Trailer



Will be cheaper than a brand new trailer

You cannot choose what equipment is in the trailer/van


You cannot choose what the outside of the trailer/van looks like, it may have somebody else's name, logo etc, which costs money to change


You buy a trailer "sold as seen" which means that you have no guarantee and after purchase if things go wrong, you have to spend more money putting it right


If the owner has not looked after it, the trailer/van may not look good or may put customers off buying food from yout


The used mobile catering trailer/van may not have up to date gas and electrical certificates, which cost money to obtain


You don't know that the seller is the rightful owner of the trailer, if it turns out to be a stolen trailer, you will lose the trailer and the money you spent on it


If you buy a second hand trailer and it needs repair work, you may find that when you add up the amount of money that is needed to be spent you may be better off buying a new mobile trailer/van.


I want to buy a brand new mobile catering trailer, what should I look for?

Ask to see samples of their previous work; if they have a showroom then this is great as you can see what they have. If you can't see what they have built how will you know what the quality is like?

Professional catering trailer manufacturers will operate from proper industrial properties, they are not likely to be operating from yards, back gardens, sheds, barns etc. Be very careful of businesses operating from these types of premises. Can you really trust leaving your hard earned money with them?

Remember the cheapest can sometimes work out to be the most expensive in the long run!

Which Mobile Catering Trailer/Van Manufacturer should I contact?

Contact Excel Trailers, their website is or telephone 01279 42 22 27, they are based in Essex, but offer a nationwide service. They are an experienced professional firm that build great mobile catering trailers and vans. They are excellent value for money.

They also sell a range of mobile catering trailer spare parts and accessories to which can be brought on-line and delivered direct to your door.



We hope you find this website interesting!