Las Vegas: More Mobile Vendors Popping Up (video)

Sloppi Jos Food Truck

By Sharie Harvin |

Las Vegas' Sloppi Jos Food Truck

LAS VEGAS — Owning your own business has new meaning as Clark County officials see an increase in mobile vendors. Business owners say start-up costs of mobile businesses are less expensive and it’s more convenient to move around.

Of the 38 million people who visited Las Vegas last year, almost half shopped with these vendors. In fact, some of the most popular mobile vendors these days are food trucks.

It’s a growing form of business. Instead of brick and mortar, the foundation of local businesses includes rubber and curbside service only.

“You have to be able to put your ear to the ground, figure out where the people are going to be and then actually go to those events and you can make money that way,” said Jerome Thomas with the Patty Wagon.

For the Patty Wagon, Thomas says it’s all about mobility. Not to be mistaken, there are plenty of costs involved, including gas, maintenance and food costs.

Last year, Clark County says there were 63 food trucks and so far this year there are 77. But as retail vacancies rise, business owners like Douglas Porter are closing shop and opening trucks.

“We had a business for 10 years that was very successful and there was a smoking ban that was put in place several years ago and that put us out of business,” he said.

Porter says food and labor costs a total of 60 percent. He usually makes about 25 cents on a dollar, but starting over was much cheaper than struggling to pay rent he couldn’t afford.

For mobile vendors who don’t have enticing smells to attract customers, it’s about the owner and supplier knowing exactly what’s in demand.

If you’re thinking of becoming a mobile food vendor, Clark County says take into consideration you must have a background check by Metro, health district inspections and an annual renewal fee based on sales.