Fraud: Buyer Beware when purchasing Hot Dog Carts

hot dog cart fraudFraud happens. It’s unfortunate, but true. There are many cases of fraud related to the hot dog business every year. Here is one of the more egregious cases of hot dog cart fraud I have seen. It’s a few years old, but it serves as a warning so you don’t get victimized by fraud.


This story about fraud appeared in December, 2010:

An Orange County company that says it sells hot-dog vending carts is under investigation after consumers have reported that they paid for the carts online but never received them.

The Better Business Bureau in Central Virginia said Tuesday it has received more than a dozen complaints of fraud  since August 2009 from around the country about a company that purports to operate from Barboursville under two names: Virginia Hot Dog Cart Company and New World Hot Dog Cart Company. The BBB says two individuals’ names have been associated with the business: Carlos Rios and Carl Reading.

BBB chief executive Tom Gallagher says the carts were advertised on eBay for $1,500 and $4,300 but were never delivered.

Gallagher says his group plans to contact federal and county authorities.

Here’s the follow-up story in March, 2011:

The Lake Monticello man accused of selling high-end hot dog carts online, taking the money and then not delivering the goods has been indicted for fraud.

Carlos Rios has been charged with five counts of fraud. The indictments went before a grand jury February 7 and they found probable cause in the case.

More than a dozen people nationwide filed complaints in December with the Better Business Bureau, claiming that Rios’ Orange County-based New World Hot Dog Cart Company scammed them.

The carts, which were advertised on eBay, sell for anywhere between $1,500 and $4,300.

In response, Rios writes, “I was going to make sure everyone I owed a cart got their cart. And they now are. These complaints are over a period of three years are a small percentage of my sales.”

Despite his defense, the BBB found grounds for legal action.

Rios will be in Albemarle County Circuit Court for a hearing March 31. He has been released on an unsecured $5,000 bond.

REMEMBER TO DUE YOUR DUE DILIGENCE WHEN BUYING A HOT DOG CART. Buy local if you can and only deal with reputable companies.

There are many hot dog cart manufacturers in the USA and abroad. If you buy new, make sure the carts are MADE IN THE USA! Some of the so-called “biggest and best” hot dog cart manufacturers dance around the “Made in the USA” claim. Making that claim and using components from China assembled in the USA is a kind of fraud too!

THE ONLY CART MANUFACTURER I ENDORSE IS DreamMaker Hot Dog Carts. I watched them being made with my own eyes and I was definitely in the USA! They are great people to work with too.

Watch the video!

Top Ten Reasons to Start a Hot Dog Business

reasons to start a hot dog businessThere are more than ten reasons to start a hot dog business, but I like top ten lists, so I wrote one about the Top Ten Reasons to Start a Hot Dog Business. I have a list of Top Ten Success Tips for starting a hot dog business that will help you be successful, but you need a REASON to get into the business in the first place.

Selling hot dogs is the best business for independent business people. You work hard, but I always had a blast doing it. I enjoyed getting up each day and going to work. That was my personal favorite reason: my work was like play!

Not many people enjoy their work the way I did when I had my hot dog business. I had a lot of reasons for starting a hot dog business, but enjoying my work was tops for me.

Whatever your reasons for starting a hot dog business, make sure it’s for you before you jump in. That’s why I made this site – to help people decide if the hot dog business is right for them. If you have what it takes, then maybe this could be your dream business too!

Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Start a Hot Dog Business

10.  You get to be your own boss.

9.  You can start part-time.

8.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to get started.

7.  You get to deal with people who like Hot Dogs and people who like Hot Dogs are 99.9% ALL RIGHT!

6.  You can make good money.

5.  You might get featured on Hot Dog Stories!

4.  Seven words: ALL THE HOT DOGS YOU CAN EAT.

3.  If you live in a Northern Climate, you can take winters off.

2.  The Hot Dog Business is a SIMPLE BUSINESS.

1. The Hot Dog Business is a CASH BUSINESS and CA$H IS KING!


The Most Comprehensive Hot Dog Vendor Courses


Hot Dog Cart Financing

Hot dog cart Financing Hot Dog Cart financing is no easy task. They aren’t very expensive, so most leasing companies won’t touch them. Some new cart manufacturers offer leasing options, but most just want to sell you the hot dog cart outright. They aren’t in the hot dog cart financing business and they don’t want to be.

It’s possible to get a business loan, but it’s a hassle for the small amount of money you’ll spend. If you are looking at a used hot dog cart financing, nobody will finance you (except maybe that rich uncle of yours). Personal loans are the quickest way to go, especially for a used cart.

Hot Dog Cart Financing Options

Sometimes you can get a quick signature loan at wherever you do your banking. A passbook loan is another way to get some quick cash too.

If your credit is in the dumps and you have no money in the bank, you can get up to $1500 INSTANTLY online from CashNetUSA. You can pick up a good used cart and enough supplies to get you started for $1500 and earn enough money in a week or two (or even a day) to pay the loan off – then you are on your way to earning a nice income in the hot dog business!

This is an easy way to get started when there are no other hot dog cart financing options available to you, but you MUST make sure you pay the loan back. These loans are high interest, short-term loans, so putting your earnings right back into paying it off is very important.

I know one vendor who got his hot dog cart financing this way. He picked up a used hot dog cart on Craigslist for $800, took out a $1,200 CashNetUSA loan and paid it off in one weekend from working a youth sports tournament.

I know many vendors who started this way, YOU COULD TOO!

Free Listings for Hot Dog Vendors

Hot dog vendorsHot dog vendors, take note! If you own a hot dog truck, hot dog trailer, or hot dog cart you need to list your hot dog business on a new site I am starting; it’s a registry site for hot dog vendors anywhere in the USA.If you are one of the thousands of hot dog vendors who caters and does events, you can make it easier for people to find you. Every day, I get emails from people all over the USA looking to hire a Hot Dog man (or woman) to cater all kinds of events. When someone local contacts me, if I know someone in their area, I will recommend them.

Hot Dog Vendors get FREE Listings!

Recently, a person seeking a hot dog caterer suggested I create some kind of directory website so people could find hot dog vendors easily, so that’s what I am going to do. Go to and enter your business information. Be sure to include your website, facebook page, twitter account and any other information you want available to potential catering customers (there’s a nifty form for you to fill out).

The site is still in its formative stages and there are only a dozen or so hot dog vendors aboard. The Hot Dog Truck sends a good bit of traffic to the site when people look for “hot dog vendors for hire” or some such term on Google. As I build the site out,there will be some content explaining the site to potential customers and a state by state listing of hot dog vendors offering their catering services.

This project has lain dormant for about a year, and I am working on the site again in earnest. I know of several people who got catering gigs from the site last summer, so it can work. The worst thing that can happen is your website or Facebook page will get a little link juice.

The best thing is, the price is right: FREE! Check it out!

Top 10 Success Tips

TOP-10 success tipsI was a Hotdogman for 6 years, now I speak with thousands of hot dog vendors every year. From my own experience and from asking different hot dog vendors what it takes to be successful, I have compiled this list of the Top 10 Things you need to be Successful in the Hot Dog Business. Many of these success tips can be applied to any business, but we’re talking about the Hot Dog Business!

Most people who think they want to be in this business don’t know what they are in for. By following some simple success tips, you’ll have a more realistic view of what it takes.

Here are the Top 10 Success Tips to be a WINNER in the Hot Dog Business:

10. Persistence- you can be a slave to the weather in this business, you have to stick with it!

9. Support- without the support of your family, you will fail.

8. Work Ethic- the hot dog business is more than showing up and cooking hot dogs, you need a good plan and you need to work your plan.

7. Cleanliness- keep things clean and wear gloves, nothing turns off customers (or pisses off  health inspectors) more than a “dirty dog.”

6. Consistency- you need to be open when you say you’ll be open; the “occasional vendor” will not succeed.

5. A quality cart, trailer or truck- if you can’t rely on your equipment, you can’t be consistent.

4. A Cute Server- not a necessity, but it can’t hurt!

3. A good personality- this is a people business, ‘nuf said.

2. Quality food- you must serve premium hot dogs, cook them hot and serve them on fresh (or grilled) rolls with fresh toppings. You must serve a product that people want to come back for or you won’t be in business long.

And the number one TOP 10 success tips you need to succeed in the hot dog business:


Get started to owning Your Own Hot Dog Business TODAY!

Time to Make a Business Plan

business planIt’s time to make your business plan for your hot dog business. In the fall and winter, many seasonal hot dog stands in the northeast (and other chilly climates) close for the season. Some may not ever open again.

If you are thinking about getting into the hot dog business, NOW is the time to plan. During the fall and winter, many good bargains can be had on used carts, trailers and trucks. Check Ebay, Craigslist and local sources too.

It’s also a good time to scout locations for the Spring and get all your permits and hot dog business insurance in place. I always recommend getting permits and a location BEFORE spending money on a cart, trailer or truck. Nothing is worse than having a new hot dog rig and nowhere to sell. The hot dog business is a simple business, but it’s not an easy business; it IS work.

The best time to start your business plan is NOW!

The best thing you can do if you are considering getting into the hot dog business is to plan and planning should start NOW. Write down a list of tasks to get your business plan started. Talk to property owners about setting up on their property and discuss rents (many businesses welcome mobile vendors as they draw traffic and provide a service for their customers), scout public locations and make sure your city or town will allow you to set up.

Speak with your local Board of Health and zoning officials to see what permits are required. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS- remember, public officials are there to serve YOU, not the other way around. That being said, be polite, be courteous, and make that Board of Health or zoning official feel like an “expert.” I know one vendor who melted the icy exterior of a notorious local Board of health official by doing just that. Remember, you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar!

If you find you are being stonewalled by local officials, don’t lose heart. You DO have a right to work and many local laws that restrict mobile vending have been found to be Unconstitutional. There are ways to get through prohibitive regulations, but that takes time. Decide if you want to expend the effort to “fight city hall” or if it just makes sense to move  on to a more mobile food friendly location.

If you are thinking seriously about your own hot dog business, a helpful guide may be just the thing. CLICK HERE for the best hot dog courses on the market today.

Good luck with your business plan. Remember, the most important thing you can do is to GET STARTED!