How to Buy Catering Trailers on eBay

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How to Buy Catering Trailers on eBay

Catering trailers, also known as concession trailers, are a popular way for users to run their own business and experience entrepreneurship. A catering trailer is a movable business selling a product that is always going to be needed: food. From hot dog vendors to smoothie vendors, caterers who work out of trailers selling food and drink can be found in many places, from everyday street corners to special events such as fairs.

Before one can start selling foodstuffs, however, one must purchase a catering trailer that is not only the right size and price, but that also contains the equipment needed to make and sell a certain kind of food. There are many pieces of equipment that the shopper should know about, and it is also useful to be knowledgeable about the general prices for each catering trailer size and weight. After learning the ins and outs of catering trailers, the shopper can turn to eBay to find reasonably priced, used, new, or like-new catering trailers.

Vans/Trailers

The terms 'van' and 'trailer' are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing: trailers and vans have very different designs and are easily distinguished from each other at a glance. A catering van is essentially just a van, akin to those that one may buy from a car dealership, except the inside has catering equipment and the design on the outside of the vehicle often advertises what one is selling.

A catering trailer is large and boxy, and, unlike the motorised van, most of the time it is not driveable but must be towed everywhere. If the user wants a driveable catering unit, then a catering van is the ideal choice. If space, rather than mobility, is the issue, he or she may well prefer a trailer. Both vans and trailers come in various sizes, so no one unit is guaranteed to be bigger than the other. The consumer has the option of choosing from vans or trailers that have equipment already installed inside, a more economically sound option than customising a catering trailer.

Sizes

Catering trailers come in many sizes, and the size of one's trailer depends on how much money one has, and what one wants to sell. These are four basic examples of mobile catering trailer sizes, and each category has several different sizes of trailers that the shopper can choose from.

Model

Dimensions

Axle

Weight

Price

TravelChef (5)

6'6 x 5'' x 6'6"

Single

800 kg

£

 

8' x 6'6 x 6'6"

Single

1300 kg

£

 

10' x 7' x 6'6"

Single

1300 kg

£

 

10' x 7' x 6'6"

Twin

2600 kg

££

 

12'' x 7' x 6'6"

Twin

2600 kg

££

Vendor (4)

8' x 7' x 6'6"

Single

1300 kg

££

 

10' x 7' 6'6"

Single

1300 kg

££

 

10' x 7' x 6'6"

Twin

2600 kg

£££

 

12' x 7' 6'6"

Twin

2600 kg

£££

Professional (6)

12' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

£££

 

14' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

£££

 

16' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

££££

 

18' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

££££

 

20' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

££££

 

22' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

££££

Catermaster (6)

12' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

££

 

14' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

££

 

16' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

£££

 

18' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

£££

 

20' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

££££

 

22' x 7' x 7'

Twin

2600 kg

£££££

Choosing What to Sell

Before buying a catering trailer, the shopper must be sure of what he or she wants to sell. Catering trailers have been used to sell a wide variety of cuisines, from 'fair food', such as cotton candy and hot dogs, to more exotic courses such as Thai, Caribbean, Mongolian, or Chinese food. What kind of eats a trailer sells can be broken down into three main categories: hot food, cold food, and beverages.

Hot food includes food that is prepared using a grill, deep fryer, or oven, while cold food is simply taken out of a freezer or refrigerator, then served: for example, ice cream. Beverages can include soda, water, coffee, smoothies, shakes, malts, juice, Slurpees, and the like. The shopper must play to his or her culinary strengths when it comes to selling food, be it Italian dishes or simply coffee.

A factor to consider when deciding what to sell in a catering trailer is what is already being sold in one's area and, just as importantly, what is not. If there are two coffee shops on every block but not a single barbecue eatery in sight, then a setting up a BBQ trailer is a sound choice. Deciding what kind of foodstuffs one wants to sell also helps determine what kind of equipment the catering trailer needs to be fitted with.

Equipment

Depending on the type of foodstuff that the caterer is selling, specific equipment is needed to prepare and store the food. Though it is better for the user's wallet to purchase a trailer with already-installed equipment, he or she still must understand all the equipment needed for preparing and selling the product, and then find a trailer that includes all the correct tools.

For Hot Food

For any kind of food that is served hot, the user needs one or more pieces of the following equipment for a catering trailer. There are many types of tools for preparing and serving 'hot food', but not all are needed: for example, if the caterer only wants to serve burgers, he or she needs a griddle but not a double boiler.

Griddles

Griddles are normally made out of iron, aluminium, carbon, or stainless steel, and any basic griddle has a large, flat surface that can be heated to cook foods (usually meat). Most griddles have a 'grease trough' located on the front, back, or side. When the user scrapes off the excess oil and grease that accumulates on the griddle, the grease can be placed in the grease trough for easy cleanup. Fuel or power options include natural gas, propane, or electricity. If the user knows that the griddle will be needed frequently, he or she should consider buying a three-burner griddle rather than a one- or two-burner, which allows one to grill meat products more quickly and efficiently.

Ovens

Useful for heating, baking, or drying, ovens are almost a requirement when one is preparing hot food, whether it is used for meat, bakery items, or casseroles. Some common ovens used in catering trailers include a convection or fan-assisted oven, an individual stovetop burner, a rotisserie/hot dog/hog roast oven, and a potato oven.

Fryers

A must-have for caterers who want to supply fair food, fryers are usually made out of mild or stainless steel, with stainless steel much less likely to corrode than mild steel and thus a better investment. Fryers can run on electricity or gas. Electric fryers come in counter-top models and are popular in restaurants. While gas fryers heat up more quickly and to a higher temperature than their electric kin, electric fryers lose less heat and have a faster temperature recovery time between frying cycles. In addition to different fryers, there are also different 'fry pots' available.

Heated Shelves

Heated displays are used to keep food warm after it has already been cooked and prepared. Often found in the delis of grocery stores, these are also useful for caterers. Heated shelves may be electricity- or gas-powered, and are normally made out of stainless steel and glass. Possible accessories for a heated shelf include interior lights, temperature displays, pull-out preparation drawers, and door locks.

Double Boiler

Double boilers, also known as bain maries when discussing catering, include between two and four stainless steel pots, and can be used for dry or wet cooking. Double boilers are often used to melt chocolate, cook sauces that may easily be burned, or other thick liquids. This equipment is useful because the lower pot is filled with water, and when brought to a boil, the steam made in the lower pot transfers to and heats the upper pot. Double boilers can run on electricity or gas.

Extractors

Extractors are necessary when there is a lot of steam being produced as a result of cooking. The extractors remove the steam, clearing the cooking area so the caterer can see what is going on in front of his or her eyes. Extractors run on electricity.

For Cold Food

Since most cold food does not need to be prepared, only stored, there is very little in terms of equipment for cold food other than refrigerators and freezers. Most fridges and freezers run either on gas or electricity, and come with door locks and interior lights. Another piece of equipment used for cold food is cold shelving: much like hot shelving, cold shelves are meant to keep food cool and chilled while they are on display for customers to examine. Finally, the caterer may want to buy a trailer with an ice cream, gelato, or sorbet yoghurt machine, so he or she can make and serve cold treats.

For Drinks

To serve drinks, the caterer simply needs the ingredients to make the drink, which usually come in an easy-to-use mix form, and a machine to make the mix into a drinkable beverage. The types of drinks one can serve ranges from coffee, cappuccino, and hot chocolate to alcoholic beverages, to smoothies, to soda. Soda dispensers are more expensive initially, thus raising the price of the catering trailer; however, they are an investment that can earn one money in the long run.

How to Buy a Catering Trailer on eBay

To start searching for catering trailers on eBay, you must first go to the eBay home page. From there, type in your search query in the form of keywords, such as 'catering trailer', into the search engine. You can narrow down the results that appear on the page by selecting options, such as specifying a price range, choosing colour, condition, or sub-type.

You can feel safe about buying products online thanks to some of eBay's strict and trustworthy policies that ensure you get the product you paid for. The first policy is PayPal, which allows for safe and easy money transfer and allows no one but you to see your personal information. The second policy is the system that gives out 'Top-Rated Seller' badges: these badges indicate that a seller has consistently received positive feedback from previous buyers, and sells enough products per month and year to suit eBay's demands. By buying from sellers who have the 'Top-Rated Seller' badge on their product pages or personal pages, you can be sure that you will get your product whole and in the condition it was advertised in.

Conclusion

When one owns a business, one must know everything about that business before purchasing anything, and catering trailers are no exception. The caterer-to-be needs to know if he or she should look for a trailer that includes a griddler or a fryer, or if a trailer with an ice cream machine and cold shelves is needed. Additionally, the user should be knowledgeable about all the possible equipment a catering trailer can include and be able to find one that contains the right pieces of machinery for selling a certain foodstuffs.

On eBay one can find a catering trailer that not only contains all the needed equipment, but also does not bankrupt the user. The perks of using a catering trailer to start a business is that it is a relatively low-cost business to start up. If the user finds that there is not much business in the area, or there is too much competition, he or she can simply hook the trailer up to a car and move elsewhere. With the right food product and good selling techniques, the caterer can be sure that he or she is ready to set up a successful business.

 
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