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The Nationwide Caterers Association
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Buying a

New or Used Catering Unit

Which one is right for you?

Do you buy brand new? Or do you get one second hand from E-bay, the local paper or somewhere else?

Your decision will depend on many factors...

  • How much money do you have?

  • What kind of work would you like to do?

  • How much risk are you willing to take?

Buying Brand New

Buying a brand new unit can be a big investment as prices range from a few hundred to many thousands of Pounds.

With a new unit you're buying peace of mind. You know it is legal and safe, and it should be lovely to work in. In addition, you can tailor it specifically to how you want it to be, both in terms of equipment and branding. 

Our advice is to go to an NCASS approved trailer manufacturer, as they cannot sell you something that is illegal or unsafe, and will make sure that it comes with all the correct documentation.

Take a look at our list of NCASS approved trailer manufacturers > Click here

Buying your first Mobile Catering Trailer

Buying Second Hand

Second hand units are obviously considerably cheaper than new ones, however many of them are sold for a reason. That's not to say that you shouldn't buy them, just beware!

Remember, there are legal requirements for trailers and for the way they are kitted out, and it will need to pass a gas and electrical inspection before you can operate. Many second hand trailers will require a significant amount of work to bring them to a standard where they are legally compliant. 

That said, for many people a second hand unit is an excellent way to set up their business on a budget, and you can find many units in our Buy / Sell section of this website > Click here

Our advice to you is similar to when buying a used car:

1. Do your research - know and understand what it needs to have in order to be legal. Find out the 'normal' prices for the unit you want.

2. Go and visit it - have a good look around and spend time looking at it.

3. Don't buy on impulse - like any big purchase, you shouldn't be pressurised into buying it. Remember, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.


Obviously our main priority is our members, but we are more than happy to have a 5 minute chat - it could stop you from making a costly mistake or reassure you that you're on the right track.

> Click here to find out more



Many people call us inquiring about renting a catering unit. Unfortunately very few organisations provide this option, as units can often get damaged and companies don't want to take the risk.