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Jul 3, 2024

What Permits Does a Food Truck Need in Florida?

Get your food truck rolling legally in Florida with our 2024 step-by-step guide on essential licenses and permits. From business licenses to health inspections, we’ve got you covered!

What Permits Does a Food Truck Need in Florida?Starting a food truck in Florida can be an exciting adventure, full of the promise of culinary creativity and the freedom of the open road. But before you hit the streets, there are a few important steps you need to take to ensure your business is legal and ready to serve. Getting the right food truck licenses and permits is crucial to your success, and we’re here to guide you through the process. In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about obtaining the necessary licenses and permits to operate a food truck in Florida, making sure you're prepared to serve up delicious food without any legal hiccups.

The Essential Business License


First things first, every food truck in Florida needs a business license. This license is essentially your green light to operate your business within a specific city or county. It's a foundational step in making your food truck dream a reality.

How to Obtain It

Obtaining a business license might sound daunting, but it's pretty straightforward. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Determine Your Business Location: Since business licenses are issued by cities or counties, you need to know where you'll primarily operate.
  2. Visit Your Local Government Office: Head to the city or county clerk’s office or their website to find the business license application.
  3. Fill Out the Application: Provide necessary details about your business, including name, address, and type of food you’ll be serving.
  4. Submit the Application: Along with a fee, which varies by location.
  5. Wait for Approval: Processing times can vary, so check with your local office.


  • Research: Each city or county may have different requirements. Make sure to do your homework.
  • Double-Check: Ensure all your information is accurate to avoid delays.
  • Stay Organized: Keep copies of all documents and correspondence.

Getting Your EIN (Employer Identification Number)


An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number for your business. Issued by the IRS, it’s used for tax purposes and is necessary if you have employees, operate as a corporation or partnership, or meet certain other criteria.

Application Process

Applying for an EIN is simpler than you might think. Here’s how:

  1. Determine Your Eligibility: Most businesses need an EIN, but you can check the IRS guidelines to be sure.
  2. Prepare Your Information: You’ll need details like your business name, address, and the responsible party’s SSN.
  3. Apply Online: The fastest way is through the IRS website. Alternatively, you can apply by mail or fax.
  4. Receive Your EIN: You’ll get your EIN immediately if you apply online, or within four weeks by mail.

Pro Tips

  • Apply Early: Get your EIN as soon as you decide to start your business to avoid delays.
  • Keep It Safe: Your EIN is important for many aspects of your business, so store it securely.
  • Use the IRS Website: It’s the quickest and easiest method.

With your business license and EIN in hand, you're well on your way to hitting the road with your food truck. Stay tuned for the next steps, where we'll dive into sales tax permits, health inspections, and more.

Sales Tax Permit – Keeping the Tax Man Happy


To keep your food truck business running smoothly and legally, you need to collect and remit sales tax. This is where the sales tax permit comes in. Issued by the Florida Department of Revenue, this permit allows you to collect sales tax from your customers, ensuring that you comply with state tax laws.

How to Register

Getting your sales tax permit is a straightforward process. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prepare Your Information: Gather essential details such as your EIN, business name, address, and description of your business activities.
  2. Visit the Florida Department of Revenue Website: Head to the Florida Department of Revenue’s online registration portal.
  3. Complete the Registration: Fill out the application with accurate information. Be thorough to avoid delays.
  4. Submit Your Application: After completing the form, submit it online. There is no fee for the initial registration.
  5. Receive Your Certificate: Once approved, you’ll receive your sales tax permit, allowing you to legally collect sales tax.

Insider Tips

  • Stay Organized: Keep records of your sales and tax collections meticulously to avoid any issues during audits.
  • File On Time: Ensure you file your sales tax returns on time to avoid penalties.
  • Understand Tax Rates: Familiarize yourself with local and state tax rates as they can vary.

Mobile Food Vendor License – The Heart of Your Operation


The Mobile Food Vendor License is arguably the most critical permit for your food truck business. This license, issued by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), officially allows you to operate your food truck and serve your delicious creations to the public.

Application Process

Securing your Mobile Food Vendor License involves several steps:

  1. Prepare Your Documents: Gather necessary documents such as your business license, EIN, and proof of vehicle registration.
  2. Complete the Application: Visit the DBPR website and fill out the mobile food vendor license application.
  3. Pay the Fee: There is a fee for this license, which varies depending on your location and type of operation.
  4. Schedule an Inspection: Your food truck will need to pass a health and safety inspection. Make sure your truck meets all sanitary and operational standards.
  5. Receive Your License: After passing the inspection and meeting all requirements, you’ll receive your Mobile Food Vendor License.

Pro Advice

  • Prepare for Inspections: Ensure your food truck meets all health and safety standards before the inspection to avoid delays.
  • Stay Updated: Licensing requirements can change, so stay informed about any updates from the DBPR.
  • Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of all licensing documents and correspondence.

With your sales tax permit and mobile food vendor license secured, you’re getting closer to hitting the streets with your food truck. Up next, we’ll cover health department permits and fire safety inspections to ensure your operation is safe and compliant.

Fire Department Inspection – Safety First


Fire safety is a top priority for any food truck, given the presence of cooking equipment and fuel sources. A fire department inspection ensures your food truck complies with local fire codes and is equipped to handle emergencies. This not only protects you and your staff but also your customers and surrounding property.


Here's how to prepare for and pass your fire department inspection:

  1. Understand the Requirements: Check with your local fire department for specific fire safety requirements for food trucks.
  2. Install Fire Safety Equipment: Ensure your truck is equipped with fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and, if necessary, a fire suppression system.
  3. Conduct a Self-Inspection: Before the official inspection, conduct a thorough self-inspection to ensure everything is in order.
  4. Schedule the Inspection: Contact your local fire department to schedule an inspection.
  5. Pass the Inspection: During the inspection, the fire officer will check your equipment and overall fire safety measures.


  • Regular Checks: Regularly check your fire safety equipment to ensure it’s in working order.
  • Train Staff: Ensure your staff knows how to operate fire safety equipment and follow emergency procedures.
  • Documentation: Keep records of all fire safety equipment maintenance and inspections.

Local Permits and Licenses – Navigating Local Regulations


Operating a food truck in different locations within Florida means navigating a variety of local regulations and permits. Each city or county may have its own specific requirements, so it’s essential to research and comply with these local regulations to avoid fines or shutdowns.

How to Check

Here’s how to find out and comply with local permit requirements:

  1. Research Local Regulations: Visit the websites of the cities or counties where you plan to operate to understand their specific requirements for food trucks.
  2. Contact Local Authorities: Reach out to local business licensing offices to confirm the permits and licenses you need.
  3. Obtain Necessary Permits: Apply for any additional permits required by the local jurisdictions, such as parking permits, health permits, or special event permits.
  4. Stay Updated: Local regulations can change, so regularly check for updates to ensure ongoing compliance.


  • Build Relationships: Establish good relationships with local authorities to stay informed about any regulatory changes.
  • Stay Organized: Keep a checklist of all local permits and licenses needed for each area you plan to operate in.
  • Plan Ahead: Apply for local permits well in advance to ensure you can start operations on your desired schedule.

Navigating local permits and ensuring fire safety are critical steps in the successful operation of your food truck. By staying informed and prepared, you can ensure that your business runs smoothly and legally, no matter where you park.

Commissary Letter of Agreement – Your Operational Base


A commissary kitchen serves as a base of operations for many food trucks, providing a space for food preparation, storage, and cleaning. Some local regulations require food trucks to use a licensed commissary. This ensures that food handling meets health and safety standards when not on the truck.

How to Secure It

Here’s how to obtain a commissary letter of agreement:

  1. Find a Licensed Commissary: Look for a commissary kitchen that meets local health department standards and suits your needs.
  2. Negotiate Terms: Discuss the terms of use, including access hours, available facilities, and costs.
  3. Sign an Agreement: Draft and sign a formal agreement outlining your use of the commissary kitchen.
  4. Submit to Authorities: Provide a copy of the signed agreement to the local health department or regulatory body as part of your permit application.

Pro Tips

  • Choose Wisely: Select a commissary that is conveniently located and fully equipped for your operations.
  • Understand Costs: Ensure you fully understand the costs involved, including any additional fees for storage or extra hours.
  • Maintain Good Relations: Foster a good relationship with commissary management to ensure smooth operations.

Vehicle License and Registration – Keeping It Legal on the Road


Your food truck is not just a mobile kitchen; it’s also a vehicle that needs to be legally registered and licensed. Proper vehicle registration ensures your food truck is recognized as a roadworthy vehicle and compliant with state laws.

Steps to Register

Here’s how to get your food truck registered:

  1. Prepare Your Documents: Gather necessary documents, including proof of ownership, proof of insurance, and a completed vehicle registration form.
  2. Visit the DMV: Head to your local Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) office.
  3. Complete the Registration: Submit your documents, pay the registration fee, and complete any required inspections.
  4. Receive Your License Plate: Once processed, you’ll receive your vehicle registration and license plate.


  • Insurance: Ensure your vehicle insurance covers all aspects of your food truck operation.
  • Renew Timely: Keep track of your registration renewal dates to avoid penalties.
  • Comply with Regulations: Ensure your vehicle meets all state and local roadworthiness standards.

By securing a commissary agreement and ensuring your vehicle is properly licensed and registered, you’re setting a strong foundation for your food truck business. These steps are essential for maintaining legal compliance and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations.

Commercial Liability Insurance – Protecting Your Business


Running a food truck comes with its own set of risks, from accidents to foodborne illnesses. Commercial liability insurance is crucial for protecting your business against potential lawsuits and financial losses. This insurance covers various liabilities, including property damage, bodily injury, and more.

How to Get Covered

Here’s how to secure the right insurance for your food truck:

  1. Research Providers: Look for insurance companies that specialize in food truck coverage.
  2. Compare Policies: Evaluate different policies to find the one that best suits your needs. Consider coverage limits, exclusions, and premiums.
  3. Get Quotes: Request quotes from multiple providers to compare prices and coverage.
  4. Purchase a Policy: Once you’ve chosen a policy, purchase it and ensure you understand the terms and conditions.
  5. Review Regularly: Periodically review your insurance coverage to ensure it still meets your business needs.


  • Understand Coverage: Make sure you fully understand what is and isn’t covered by your policy.
  • Bundle Policies: Consider bundling multiple types of insurance (e.g., liability, vehicle, property) for better rates.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up to date with any changes in insurance regulations or coverage options.


Navigating the complex world of food truck licenses and permits in Florida can seem daunting, but with the right information and preparation, you can set your business up for success. From securing a business license and EIN to obtaining necessary health and safety permits, each step is crucial in ensuring your food truck operates legally and efficiently.

Let FoodParks Help!

Ready to find the perfect spot for your food truck in Florida? Browse our available parking locations and start your journey today! Whether you’re a seasoned food truck owner or just starting out, our platform helps you discover prime locations to maximize your business potential. Let’s get you on the road to success!

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