VW Mobile Bar - Image by Travel Away
A bar car is an excellent way to mobilize your business, allowing you to travel to weddings, parties, and business events. If you want to open one, consider purchasing a used vehicle — they’re often more affordable and can be reliable for years to come.
However, it's important to do your research and check for potential problems before purchasing. This blog post will discuss six things you should always check before buying a used bar car. By following these tips, you can rest assured that you're getting a quality vehicle that meets your needs and budget!
1. Used Car Websites
If you're looking for a used mobile bar, you want to explore some used car websites or truck sites such as usedvending.com, karpatiatruck.com, and eBay.com.
You can also search on social buying sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Likewise, follow local restaurants and bars' websites and social media to see when they sell used catering vans or trucks.
When purchasing from a private seller, thoroughly vet them by looking at reviews and investigating any claims. It’s best to see any vehicle not sold by a reputable dealer in person before committing to the purchase.
2. Market Price
Once you find a car, truck, or dealer you’re interested in, determine if the seller wants a fair price for the one that interests you.
Search online listings to see similar vehicles and use them to judge whether or not you can get a better deal elsewhere. A bar van or truck is a major investment, so you want the best deal possible.
3. Vehicle History
Before negotiating its price, you must consider many aspects of a bar vehicle’s history. You’ll want to give thought to several factors, including:
- Year: This refers to the year the car hit the market. Manufacturers release new models yearly, so the older a model is, the less value it will typically have.
- Make: Some car brands, such as Cadillac, BMW, and Audi, are more high-end than others. They retain their value over time better than lower-end makes. That’s not to say other brands are bad vehicles — they just aren’t marketed as luxury.
- Model: This is the vehicle’s version from a brand. Subaru models include Legacy, Forester, and Crosstrek, which have varying factors, such as size, fuel source, and intended purpose.
- Optional Features: Another factor in a used vehicle’s value is the features. This includes notable additions, such as heated seats, blind spot detection, and an upgraded audio suite.
- Mileage: The mileage on a car can be a significant factor in its price. The more miles a used car has, the more wear and tear it has likely received.
- Condition: A vehicle in excellent condition will sell for more than one in poor shape. This includes the body and interior condition and any after-effects from accidents or rough driving.
Before buying a used bar car, see if it has enough space for your business needs. For example, if you cater large parties or receptions and offer many drink options, you likely don't want a small van that can accommodate only a cart's worth of supplies.
You also want to ensure you have enough room to move around, safely secure items to the walls, and have room for storage. All these considerations are necessary to protect your bartending supplies while giving you a safe ride.
Before purchasing a used vehicle, it’s best to drive it and see for yourself any potential issues. Do a basic inspection of the car to ensure it’s safe to operate, paying close attention to the oil pressure, brakes, airbag, and engine lights. If you notice these lights don’t come on or fail to turn off, turn the car off and conduct a further investigation.
When you take the car out, pay attention to the following:
- Acceleration: Does the car feel good when accelerating, or are you fighting it? Poor acceleration could indicate an engine problem.
- Visibility: Are there any blind spots to worry about? What is the condition of the windshield and mirrors? Do the headlights work in all settings?
- Brakes: Do they respond well with easy-to-predict deceleration?
- Sounds: Are there any strange noises, such as clicks, bangs, pops, or vibrations?
- Ergonomics: How does it feel to drive? Are the controls well within your reach? Are you able to adjust the seat properly?
- Electronics: If your car can connect to your phone via Bluetooth, ensure it does. You can also check out the radio, electric doors, and moon roof at the end of your drive.
6. Licenses and Permits
Finding a safe and reliable used bar vehicle is an exciting feat, and it's tempting to go ahead and make an offer. However, you must consider a few things before signing on the dotted line.
Even if someone previously used it commercially, you need to know you can get a liquor license completed. You must conduct proper research and know the vehicle you purchase meets the qualifications.
You also need to have your vehicle inspected — your health department does this. Speak with them beforehand to know what would disqualify a car from a health inspection.
No matter the used vehicle, you will likely need to put in work to get it up to standard, but you don't want to purchase something that isn't going to pan out.
Purchasing a Used Bar Car
For many, a used bar car is more practical than purchasing a new one. They’re more affordable, and you might be able to find more models than exploring new alternatives.
Whether you’re looking for your first bar car or upgrading to a newer model, knowing what to look for is essential. By following these tips, you can avoid making a costly mistake and end up with the perfect used bar car for your needs.
Have you bought a used bar car before? What tips would you add to this list?