A Detailed Buying Guide for Catering Trailers

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A Detailed Buying Guide for Catering Trailers

Starting a catering trailer business is a great idea as it is very versatile. It not only has a lower start-up cost than other businesses, but users can also take the business to another location if they are not doing so well in one place. Besides that, aspiring entrepreneurs can easily bring their services to various events around the country. A mobile catering business is suitable for beginners as it is small, easy to operate, and yet can bring back a handsome return in many cases.

A big investment when starting a catering trailer business is buying the trailer itself. Since the trailer is the heart of the business, buyers should always try to get a good trailer. Among things to consider when purchasing a catering trailer are its appearance, size, and available on-board equipment. Besides searching for catering trailers from authorised suppliers, buyers can easily purchase both new and used catering trailers online, from manufacturers or from previous owners.

How to Get Started

Buyers can set up their catering trailer in many places, where allowed, including parks, sidewalks, or outdoor events. Before setting out to look at catering trailers, buyers must first decide on a few things, with an important one being the budget. Catering trailers are often quite pricey for new entrepreneurs, so it may be a good idea to get one on the smaller side. If business is going well and the owners have enough profit, they can always grow their business by getting a bigger trailer. Purchasing the right type of catering trailer is extremely important for any business since customers always judge catering businesses based on the attractiveness and cleanliness of the premises, the trailers in this case. The catering trailer is also the most important part of the business since it greatly influences where employees can work, and how productive they can be.

Buying a Catering Trailer

Besides taking one's budget into consideration, there are various other factors to think about before buying a catering trailer. Among things buyers should look at when buying a catering trailer are the appearance of the trailer, available workspace, available equipment, and safety of the trailer. These are all important criteria to look at since they can significantly influence the performance of one's business.

First Impression and Ease of Use

The first impression that potential customers get from a catering trailer is what helps them to decide whether or not to purchase. Even if the food is tasty and smells good, customers may hesitate to purchase from the business if the trailer does not look clean and attractive. Therefore, business owners must always find a presentable and clean trailer to purchase. If buying a second hand trailer that needs some touch-up work, business owners should make sure that they have enough budget for that.

Ease of use refers to the space and condition of a trailer. When inspecting a trailer, buyers should imagine themselves cooking and doing business in the trailer. They must make sure that there is enough space for themselves and any staff or helpers to move around in. It is also vital that they check every corner of the trailer such as the roof, floor, and moving parts. After all, a trailer with a door or window that gets stuck can be an ineffective workspace and even a safety hazard.

Catering Trailer Equipment

A catering trailer needs to have the right equipment if one wants to work efficiently. It is a good idea for buyers to first make a checklist of all the equipment that they want in their catering trailer before shopping for one. This way, they can save time when looking at the trailers to buy. Some basic equipment that every catering trailer has are a griddle, bain-marie, fridge, tea urn or water boiler, and sink. Buyers can also add extra equipment to make their work easier, such as a till or microwave oven.

Catering Trailer Equipment



Cooking eggs, bacon, toast, and other foods


Keeps cooked food hot; useful when serving many customers

Fridge or Freezer

Stores ingredients before cooking and keeps them fresh; should stay cold all day

Tea Urn

Boils water to prepare tea, coffee, and other hot beverages


Deep fryer to fry chips, chicken, fish, and more


A place to wash hands, kitchen tools, and food; most trailers have two sinks


Stores and calculates money when customers pay; may or may not be included with a trailer

The equipment listed here is essential for every catering trailer business. However, it is always up to users to decide if they want any extra equipment pieces. To ensure that the food remains fresh, a functional fridge is absolutely necessary. Many fridges have an external temperature gauge which displays their temperature. Some trailers even have two or more fridges to store separate different items such as food and drinks. Before buying a catering trailer, one should make sure that all the equipment is working well and does not have damages.

Catering Trailer Safety

Ensuring the trailer is safe is crucial before purchasing it. The first thing buyers should ask for regarding the safety of the trailer is if it has gas and electrical safety certificates. If a trailer does not have these certificates, one should not buy it as it may not be safe to operate. However, if buyers are interested in a particular trailer without safety certificates, they can have the trainer tested by a qualified engineer and see if the certificates can be obtained. Besides having the right safety certificates, buyers should also ensure that the trailer has a first aid kit, fire blanket, food thermometer, and fire extinguisher to comply with health and safety regulations.

When checking the fixtures in the catering trailer, one should check that it has proper air vents and a gas safety valve in case of gas leaks. It is also wise to check for any sharp or chipped edges and to make sure that all parts such as the floor and counter are sturdy. Since buyers will be preparing food in their trailer, they should ensure that the materials of the trailer are food safe, and that all surfaces are easy to clean.

Other Features of Catering Trailers

Besides checking the available equipment and safety of a trailer, another thing to look at is the available storage space. Storage includes the fridge, shelves, and other spaces. It is also a good idea to have proper waste containers to easily dispose of the rubbish. Besides that, having a trailer with some electrical sockets can prove to be useful. Buyers can use them to connect extra equipment, such as a microwave oven or any other equipment they need.

It is also important to choose a catering trailer with a good lighting system, as this enables one to work at any time of the day and night. Plus, proper lighting is necessary to provide a safe working environment. Another crucial component is the power source. On brand new trailers, users can often decide the type and size of generator they wish to use. Petrol generators are often smaller and lighter than diesel ones, but diesel generators are cheaper to operate. Depending on the size of the trailers and operating needs, users can decide on the right generator for their business.

Purchasing a Catering Trailer on eBay

eBay has a large selection of catering trailers, both new and used. To find a suitable trailer for your business, you can start at the eBay home page and type any appropriate keywords into eBay's search bar. You can just type 'catering trailers' or use more specific keywords like 'ice cream catering trailer'. When looking through the list of available items, do not forget to read the item description, price, and postage fee of each trailer. Also pay attention to the provided image so you know how the trailer looks like.

From the listing page, you can select a trailer to view more information about it. Important details to look at are the size of the trailer, condition, payment method, and more. Many trailers come with numerous equipment pieces and supplies on-board, so make sure you read what they are as well. If you come across an affordable trailer with ample equipment and accessories, you can purchase it or contact the seller to make arrangements for your purchase.


Catering trailer businesses are popular because they are easier to start up than other businesses, easy to maintain, and have the potential to bring in a lot of profit. Buying a catering trailer is a significant investment and entrepreneurs have to choose their trailer wisely. The first thing to look at when buying a catering trailer is its appearance, since giving a good first impression is important to attract customers. Next, buyers should make sure that their trailer is spacious and is easy to work in.

A catering trailer is not complete without the necessary cooking equipment. Therefore, one should make sure that the trailer has all the basic equipment pieces needed, including a griddle, fridge, bain-marie, tea urn, and so on. Another important factor to consider is the safety of the trailer. It must have proper gas and electrical certificates, besides being equipped with a first aid kit and other safety equipment. To shop for a good quality catering trailer, buyers can look for either new or used trailers on eBay.

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