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The Realities of Owning and Operating a Coffee Trailer Business

This blog post is based off our YouTube video about the realities of starting a coffee trailer business. It dives into the key considerations you'll need to address before brewing up your dream.

Watch the video here. 

Budgeting for Your Coffee Dreams

While that vintage caravan might be visually inspiring, it's important to factor in the total cost of getting your business up and running. This includes:

  • The Coffee Trailer Itself: Consider the size needed for your menu and staff, as well as your towing capacity.
  • Location: Will it be fixed or mobile? Research permits, council fees, and competition in the area.

Permits and Regulations: A Necessary Grind

  • Council Regulations: This can be a lengthy process, so allow ample time for applications and inspections.
  • Licenses: Obtain a vendor's license, food handling certificates, and any other permits required by your local council.

Considering Events: Brewing Up Extra Business

  • Event Suitability: Will your trailer be set up for self-sufficiency (power, water) needed for events?
  • Regularity vs. Events: Decide if events will complement your regular business or disrupt customer loyalty.

Consistency is Key: A Recipe for Success

  • Opening Hours: Set consistent hours that align with your lifestyle and customer expectations.
  • Staffing: Factor in staff costs and capabilities (towing the trailer) when creating your business plan.

Equipping Your Coffee Trailer: Grinding the Right Beans

  • Power Limitations: Coffee machines typically require more power than a trailer can provide. Research 15-amp compatible machines.
  • Menu Dependence: Your menu will determine the equipment you need (e.g., grinders, refrigerators) and the power required.

Weathering the Storm: Be Prepared for Anything

  • Impact on Business: Rain, wind, and even overcast days can significantly affect customer traffic.
  • Site Preparation: Consider awnings, shelters, and ground conditions to ensure a positive customer experience.

Security and Towing: Keeping Your Business Safe on the Road

  • Trailer Security: Research insurance options for your caravan, especially if left in a fixed location.
  • Towing Confidence: Assess your comfort level with towing the trailer, especially if you plan to use staff.

Size Matters: Choosing the Right Coffee Trailer

  • Menu Dependence: The size of your trailer will depend on your menu complexity and staffing needs.
  • Visual Appeal vs. Functionality: Balance your aesthetic preferences with the space required for equipment and staff.

The Day-to-Day Grind: Beyond the Coffee Brewing

  • Setup and Breakdown: Factor in the time required for setting up and packing down your coffee trailer each day.
  • Power and Storage at Home: Ensure you have the electrical capacity and storage space for your trailer when not in use.

Stocking Up: Keeping Your Inventory Flowing

  • Delivery Challenges: Mobile locations might require you to pick up supplies yourself, impacting your schedule.

The Cost of Coffee Dreams: How Much is Your Dream Worth?

  • Trailer Costs: Prices can reach up to $100,000, with Australian-built options offering advantages.
  • Resale Value: Consider the resale value of your trailer when making purchasing decisions.

Building Your Coffee Trailer: A Slow Brew

  • Build Time: Be prepared for a wait time of at least 16 weeks for a custom-built trailer.

Powering Your Dreams: Keeping the Coffee Flowing

  • Generators: Factor in the cost of purchasing, running, and maintaining a generator for events.
  • Solar Power Limitations: Solar power is currently not a viable option for running a coffee trailer.

Water Needs: Quality Matters

  • Filtration: Invest in a water filtration system to ensure optimal coffee flavor and equipment longevity.
  • Water Capacity: Consider your water needs based on your menu and event participation.

Dealing with Waste: Be Eco-Conscious

  • Waste Management: Plan for waste disposal, including bins, recycling, and legal compliance.

Installation: Getting Ready to Serve

While DIY installation might seem tempting, professional installation by qualified technicians is recommended for optimal safety and performance.


Opening a coffee trailer business requires planning, research, and a realistic understanding of the challenges involved. By considering these factors, you can be better prepared to navigate the road to coffee brewing success.


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