How BeProSoftware Helped Launch an Online Marketplace for Specialty Vehicle Listings
This post comes from longtime BeProSoftware customer, Brett Lindenberg, founder of the mobile food entrepreneurship website FoodTruckEmpire.com. Inside this post, you’ll learn how BeProSoftware WordPress plug-ins can be customized to meet your needs, even if you serve a super specific market like the food truck industry. Have a unique project you want to launch? Send us an email to see how we can help.
Two years ago, I had the idea to build an online marketplace that listed mobile food units like food trucks and concession trailers. There were other websites empowering owners to list food trucks for sale online like Craigslist or eBay, but those options weren’t designed for food truck owners. It can be hard to find food trucks on Craigslist and eBay listings didn’t offer prospective buyers the detailed information needed to make a purchase.
When you’re evaluating a food truck purchase there are all kinds of considerations different than a standard vehicle purchase. For example, you need to know what type of cooking equipment (https://www.mr-trailers.com/2015/07/24/food-truck-equipment-checklist/) is installed, the size of the generator, and if a 3-compartment sink or water tank are installed that meet local health requirements. In short, buyers of mobile kitchens need a lot more information then buyers of a mass-produced family sedan.
A Long Search for the Right Platform
While I had a clear vision a food truck marketplace, as a non-technical founder I didn’t have a clue how to pull it off. I started by searching for WordPress plug-ins and researching services that might have the power to create a robust marketplace. Based on my initial searches it appeared there were multiple options that could work based on the glowing product descriptions. I decided to pay for a “premium” plug-in and hire a developer to make some minor customizations. After my initial research I thought launching a marketplace would be easy… I was wrong.
Unfortunately, after installing the plug-in, the tool didn’t function as advertised when it came to customization of listings. Our website requires highly specialized listings that included details about kitchen equipment, photos, and the location of each unit. There also needed to be a way for non-technical website visitors to actually list their food trucks in a simple way. After 2 months of reading technical support articles and searching forum threads, I figured there had to be a better option.
Next, I was referred to a developer by a colleague of mine. After speaking with the developer, we decided to move forward with a custom solution to create the marketplace. The developer had an estimated timeline to launch the food truck marketplace within 2-months and didn’t anticipate any issues with the functionality. Sparing you the brutal details, after four months of waiting there was no functioning marketplace in sight. I finally decided to pull the plug on a fully-custom option and wondered if it was even possible to offer a marketplace our audience.
Finding a Partner
After almost giving up on my marketplace, I came across BeProSoftware. The BeProSoftware Vehicle Listing (https://www.beprosoftware.com/shop/bepro-listings-vehicles/) option in particular showed promise for the future food truck marketplace. Out-of-the-box options like the ability to add photographs, video, maps / location, and detailed vehicle listing information like mileage was exactly what I needed. Additionally, the plug-in was designed to accept front-end or user-generated submissions, which was essential for my marketplace where food truck owners list their vehicles. To boot, the listings were visually attractive and looked great on mobile.
Although everything looked great, I’d been down this road before and was skeptical that the BeProSoftware solution was actually going to work. Still, without any other viable options, I decided to reach out to BeProSoftware by email with a description of my project.
After submitting an email and having a short call with the BeProSoftware team, the development team got to work on my project. Unlike other attempts at creating this marketplace, I quickly discovered there is real value to working on customization with a team that is intimately familiar with the plug-in being used. The speed and accuracy at which the project was completed blew me away. Instead of taking months, the project was wrapped up including some minor revisions in only two weeks. Although hourly rate of BeProSoftware was slightly higher than other developers I had worked with the speed was unmatched, meaning there were much less billable hours than other contractors I’ve worked with. There were way less headaches along the way too, a huge benefit to any small-business owner.
Our Food Truck Marketplace
If you want to see our food truck marketplace in action you can do so here: Food Truck Empire
As you can see there are a variety of ways to locate your ideal food truck or concession trailer. Users can search by location to find trucks located nearby, search by price, or by name if they’re looking for a specific type of unit such as a coffee truck.
If you dive into the individual listings, you’ll see the level of detail for each listing that includes photos, video, equipment list, descriptions, asking price, a map where the vehicle is located, and contact details of the owner. All listings are submitted by users on the website using a form, creating a consistent and attractive listing for each unit.
If you’ve been wanting to put together a custom listing area for your website, but are running into until challenges, I recommend giving BeProSoftware a try. You’ll find that launching even a highly specialized directory listing is possible and that the process can actually be enjoyable.