Before you fill out your mobile food vendor permit application, it helps to understand the laws and requirements, make a few business decisions, and gather the documents you’ll need.

This checklist covers all the steps you need to take before filling out an application for a mobile food vendor operational permit in the Austin area.

1. Learn about mobile food vendor permit types and fees.

You’ll need to choose the right permit type for your mobile food business on the operational permit application.

2. Get a Texas sales and use tax ID number.

You’ll need to include it on your permit application. Learn more about registering for Texas sales tax and start a sales tax ID application on the Texas comptroller of public accounts’ website.

3. Get a mobile food unit.

You need to say what type of unit you have on the application. If it’s a motor vehicle or trailer, you’ll also need to provide a license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN), plus the make, model, year, and color.

4. File the business documents for your mobile food business.

You’ll need to indicate what type of business you have on the permit application: proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC).

5. Consider assigning a responsible party to make decisions about your permit.

If you want anyone other than you to be able to close out, renew, or alter your permit, provide that person’s name, phone number, date of birth, and government-issued ID number. The person’s job title doesn’t matter here.

6. Get one employee per unit to complete a food manager certificate.

You’ll need to include their name and date of birth on the application.

7. Decide where you’ll operate the mobile unit.

A vendor may only work in the jurisdiction or region listed on their mobile vending permit. You can work inside City limits or contracted municipalities, or inside Travis County but not within City limits.

8. Contract with a central prep facility.

9. Decide on your operating hours and locations.

You’ll need to provide this information on the itinerary sheet (PDF, 158 KB).

10. Decide on restroom arrangements.

You can arrange to share facilities with a fixed establishment or get a portable restroom. Include a completed mobile retail restroom facility agreement in your application.

11. If you use propane, learn about fire inspections and safety requirements.

12. Learn about all other requirements for safely operating your mobile unit.

Food Trucks and Trailers

If your mobile food unit is a motor vehicle or trailer, you’ll also need to:

  • Buy insurance. The State of Texas requires that you buy at least minimum coverage.
  • Register it with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll need to provide a license plate number and VIN on the operational permit application.