Got a Georgia food truck on your mind? Starting a food truck business in Georgia is becoming easier than ever, thanks to new legislation that will let mobile restaurateurs operate in multiple counties without needing a permit for every jurisdiction.1 If you’ve always wanted to know how to start a food truck business in Georgia, don’t wait. Whether you dream of selling gourmet donuts or old-fashioned phô, follow these simple steps to get started.

1. Do market research

Before you start retrofitting an Airstream for comfortable cooking in the Georgia humidity, it pays to study the market.

Start by scoping out the competition. Google Maps will give you a good idea of the number of food trucks in your area, or you can use apps such as Where’s the Food Truck or StreetFoodFinder. Pay a visit to popular food truck locations such as business districts, farmers’ markets, and college campuses, where you can get a good idea of what’s popular in your area. Atlanta alone has dozens of food trucks and food truck parks.2 Sure, areas with a high density of pop-up restaurants provide more competition, but they’re also a bigger draw as diners can sample multiple food types.

The food trucks that tend to be most successful source their food from local ingredients, incorporate cultural heritage or put a fresh spin on the classics. Atlanta’s popular Blaxican food truck, which blends soul food with Mexican cuisine, is a great example.

Whichever direction you go, keep in mind that your food truck won’t be able to leave the lot without the proper licensing.

2. Get a business license

Required food truck permits will vary depending on the Georgia county or city where your food truck will do business. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce can help with questions. Or, schedule an appointment with a county planner for guidance on the steps to get your peach pie out to the masses.

In most cases, you’ll need a business license, also known as an occupation tax certificate. This document protects owners from certain liabilities and enables you to file your business taxes separate from your personal taxes. It is typically obtained from your county’s business licensing division. Other documents you may need include:

  • Your tax ID or business Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Current registration for the truck

If you apply for a business license in person, you can usually get it that day. However, if you apply by mail, it may take up to several weeks.

3. Get a food permit

Before you can sell food, you’ll need to have a Health Department Permit and, in most cases, an Inspection Certificate for your Base of Operations.3 Again, depending on your location, you may need to obtain these from your county or district’s health department or the Georgia State Department of Public Health.4

You must inform the health department of all vending locations and operating times for your truck. Be sure to update the department if anything changes.

Additionally, you’ll probably need one or more of the following, depending on your location:

  • Parking permit/written permission from the property owner
  • Public vending permit
  • Background check
  • Mobile food unit permit

4. Set a budget

While opening a food truck is undoubtedly cheaper than starting a traditional restaurant, that still doesn’t mean it’s cheap. A new truck with cooking equipment installed can run $80,000–$175,000, while a new trailer will probably cost $30,000–$80,000.5 But with a bit of elbow grease, you can save a significant amount of money by buying a used vehicle and installing the equipment yourself.

Next, you’ll need to consider other costs, including paint, a generator, website design and more. Expect these expenses to add up to $8,800 to $34,000.6

Finally, don’t forget to budget for ongoing monthly costs, such as payroll, fuel, supplies, advertising and insurance. Note that Georgia requires food trucks to have access to a licensed commercial kitchen regulated by the local health department in most cases. Expect this to cost around $800–$1,200 per month.

5. Market your business

You may have perfected the recipe for lowcountry boil, but it won’t do much good if no one knows about it. A big part of your job is to ensure people know where to find you.

Fortunately, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, and a little creativity goes a long way. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • A website. Keep it updated with new locations, menu items and promotions.
  • Social media. Of course, you can pay for ads, but creating a strong presence with high-quality photos and videos is less expensive and creates more community engagement.
  • Your truck. It’s like a giant mobile billboard, so it pays to invest in its design. It should be fun and eye-catching, and people should be able to tell at a glance exactly what you’re selling.

6. Get insurance

Every business needs insurance, and Georgia food trucks are no exception. General liability insurance covers your business against the financial consequences of third-party claims related to bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury. To get started, download the Thimble mobile app or click “get a quote” on our site. We make it simple to get insurance for your small business by the job, month or year so you can focus on your fabulous food.


  1. Office of the Governor. Gov. Kemp Signs Legislation to Support Georgia Businesses. 
  2. Atlanta Eater. 22 Food Trucks and Food Truck Parks to Seek Out Around Atlanta. 
  3. Georgia Department of Public Health. Mobile Food Service Establishments (Food Trucks) Frequently Asked Questions. 
  4. Georgia Department of Public Health. Food Service. 
  5. Mobile Cuisine. How Much Will It Cost to Start a Food Truck? 
  6. Mobile Cuisine. How Much Will It Cost to Start a Food Truck?