One look at Craigslist’s plentiful offering of ice cream trucks tells you something’s up. They range from a 1958 Good Humor truck to a 2004 converted handi-van, some with mouth-watering images of ice cream on the side and others with oddly spaced, hand-painted words: Children Crossing.
One ice cream man explained why he’s getting out of the business: “Gas prices are going up, but the ice cream itself isn’t going down. And kids don’t want to pay more than $3 for ice cream,” says Joseph, who declined to give his last name.
He bought his truck last year for $10,000, and after fixing it up and getting proper city of Las Vegas ice cream truck licensing, his total investment was $15,000.
“It’s tough. Some of the other trucks don’t get licensed properly, and you still have to compete against them even though they’re not following the rules,” he says.
Soccer parks? “You have to hustle,” he says. “You see the other guys circling the park, and you have to get your space.” Trucks are only allowed to stay at most parks for a half hour at a time or face a $1,000 fine, he says. “So you’ve gotta be quick.”
“It’s too hot, and kids don’t want to come out.”
“I had a great spot where the kids loved me, but they [city officials] said I had to move 1,000 feet away from the school.”
Storage of the truck overnight, in a place that offers access to generators for refrigeration?
“There are commissaries where we all park our trucks, but you have to be careful not to piss anybody off, because someone can just unplug your truck and you lose all of your ice cream.”
Joseph concludes: “It’s tough. I was a nice ice cream man, but it just wasn’t worth it.”