Espresso cart lease, Los Angeles : LUSENET : Coffee Related Buy/Sell/Trade : One Thread


I'm moving past the 'dreaming' stage of planning an entry into the espresso market. I'm looking to start smallish, with a cart at a local community college. I'm hoping to build capital and move on to either more carts or brick and mortar.

I believe I have a good location planned (the above mentioned community college.) Now, I obviously need to think about the cart. I have a few questions:

Is anybody aware of any companies in the Los Angels region that lease espresso carts?

What are the terms of the average espresso cart lease? Up-front fees, monthly fees, buy-out, etc.

In just starting out, is it better to buy a cart or to lease? My gut feeling is to start off with leasing until I have enough capital to either buy out the lease or move on to new equipment.

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

Best Regards, Devlyn Davis

-- Devlyn Davis (, January 26, 2004


Greetings Devlyn,

When I read your inquiry I was taken back because it is the same inquiry I would have written. I too am interested in launching an espresso cart business at my local Community College. I have been researching the idea of building a coffee/espresso business and I have recently gotten very excited about this venture. I have been desperate to find a charming business to operate which could allow me to finally leave my horrible 8-5 and allow me the freedom to spend time with my kids on my terms. I have been reading up on it and surfing the net trying to gather as much information as I could get my hands on. I would really appreciate it if you could let me know if you do get info on leasing an espresso stand. I would be interested to know any progress you've made as well toward launching your business, mostly as a way to keep myself motivated:)

Thanks and I look foward to hearing from you,


-- Nona Hall (, January 27, 2004.


Thanks so much for responding. Motivation is the key isn't it. :) I will absolutely keep you updated on my findings.

I actually already run a part-time computer consulting business, so I am aware of the mechanics of starting/running a small venture. However, beyond being a fan of espresso drinks, I do not yet have much experience in this area. Nevertheless, this idea has gotten under my skin and will not leave me alone. That's usually a good indication to me that it's something I can successfully pursue.

Besides researching costs of carts, I will soon be looking into what my 'costs of goods sold' will be and what kind of lease terms I can expect from my desired location. I am formulating a business plan, which, at this point, is not much more than an outline of my 'dream.' As I get solid data, I will plug them into the plan and do a rough break even analysis to see if I can be successful.

I'm reading books on the espresso business and scouring the net. There's good info out there, but I don't have the experience yet to filter out the 'noise.' My timeframe for selling my first drink is the start of the next fall semester (late August.) I'm thinking that I may pursue part-time employment at a coffee house to get some real experience, which can only help. I wouldn't want to fail due to stupid mistakes that anybody working in a coffee shop for 12 hours wouldn't make. I can't imagine where I'll find the time, what with a family, full time job and side business...we'll see.

Thanks again and good luck!


-- Devlyn Davis (, January 28, 2004.


-- VIOLETA HOLGUIN (, July 18, 2004.

The term "Leasing" in this industry is normally compared to getting an all out loan from the bank to finance your venture, so, when you get into this area, you are essentially doing a lease to own type of set up traditionally. As long as your business plan is sound and you have a good location, which it sounds like you do, you are set.

Starting an espresso cart is going to be one of the easiest operations to do simply because you don't need 100% of everything confined within your own personal space. This cuts down on overhead, on the other hand, you are in LA, which is a very tough County to deal with. Stage one would be to call the County health department, ask them for an espresso cart packet, this will give you all of the specs you are going to need to address in one place. Second, decide if you want to do a traditional espresso cart, or just an espresso catering operation. The idea here is, do you want to get involved with alot of overhead, or just a little, catering carts and events do not require nearly as many regulations compared to stationary espresso cart operations.

My url is http://espresso- it has more information about them since I'm an espresso cart builder.

-- Brian Millar - Owner of Espresso-Outfitters (, September 06, 2004.

Dear Friends,

I have a mobile espresso truck. As a community outreach, I got permission to go to our local community college and serve the students. (I was doing this as an outreach for my church). I gave away free drinks and was totally swamped with business, (of course) and with interest in doing it daily.

Once the college saw the excellent interest, the food contractor that was already there (cafeteria, etc) demanded that THEY be allowed to provide this service, as it was part of their contract to get ALL of the concessions.(event though they had NEVER done the espresso thing). The college had to comply, and now the food vendor does an espresso cart at the college!

I think it is a great idea, but be careful. Make sure you have an iron clad contract BEFORE you make a substantial purchace or lease.

I was not dissapointed as I do not do this as a business. But if you are counting on the business, you do not want to build something for someone else to steal.

I welcome questions about building a mobile unit, etc. My mobile espreso van is a great tool.


-- kevin mcguire (, December 12, 2004.

I am flipping through the net and I saw these postings. I am right there trying to find a space, I have a cart ready to go. I want to be in LA but the city colleges are flooded already. Is just pulling up on the street legal? Doubt it.

-- Tim M. (, February 09, 2005.

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