Buying a semi-truck is a big, expensive, and important decision, and everyone’s needs are different. There are several things to consider when deciding which truck is the best for you. Here are 9 things you should consider before you buy your semi-truck.
Your budget – New or Used
When buying a semi-truck, you will have two options, new or used. There are pros and cons to both. It comes down to your budget and the cost of a new truck versus a used truck for most carriers.
A new truck will come with a higher initial cost but will provide savings down the road with lower maintenance costs and possibly warranties that you won’t get with a used truck. Whereas a used truck will have a lower initial price but will most likely need repairs sooner, and if a warranty is available, it will most likely cover less.
How will you pay for it? Buy or lease
Once you have decided if you will purchase a new or used truck, you must determine how to pay for it. Do you have the cash upfront to buy it, or is leasing a semi-truck a better option?
There are a few pros and cons to buying vs. leasing a semi-truck. For example, if you lease a truck, there is little to no down payment, it is listed as a general business expense which helps your balance sheet stay more attractive, and it is easier to upgrade to a new model when you are ready. Although your monthly payments will generally be less than purchasing, leasing a truck can ultimately be more expensive overall than buying one outright.
Equally important to consider are the pros and cons of buying. Purchasing the truck can be less expensive than leasing, help you build equity, and provide lower insurance premiums. Comparatively, buying a semi-truck can use up all or a good portion of your working capital, which can be particularly challenging if you are just starting out. Additionally, it can be harder to upgrade when you want to, and the maintenance is often more because most carriers need to purchase older trucks due to their budget.
Your personal and business credit can impact your options for how you can pay for the truck as well if you don’t have 100% of the funds. If your credit is questionable due to bad credit or lack of history and you have time to hold off before purchasing a truck, you might consider working with a factoring company. A trucking factoring company can get you paid quickly for the loads you haul, which can help you build your credit score.
What distances will you be driving? Day cab vs. sleeper cab
How far you will be driving to deliver loads and how frequently you plan to be home will determine if you should get a day cab or a sleeper cab. If you plan to drive more locally and be home every night, a day cab will fit your needs. Day cabs are generally less expensive and weigh less, leading to additional fuel savings. However, if you plan on doing long-hauls that don’t allow you to be home every night, a sleeper cab would be the best choice.
What specifications are important to you and your business?
Your personal preferences for a truck and the routes the truck will be running will play a significant role in what specifications will be important. Some people are very particular about the make, model, and year of the truck. Many also prefer certain engine manufacturers, specific transmissions, and various other options. Do you or your driver have a particular preference? If you do, that will undoubtedly guide your decision. If not, doing a little research on some of the top brands such as Paccar (Kenworth and Peterbilt are both owned by Paccar), Freightliner and Volvo could be helpful.
Your personal preference, the types of routes, and the weight of your freight will guide the type of engine, transmission, horsepower, and torque you need. Hilly, mountainous, and heavy loads require more torque and towing power. However, if the routes are flatter with lighter loads, you might want a truck with less power and reduced weight. It is best to select the specifications that align with your routes and loads the best.
Operating cost for the truck – Fuel economy and the cost to insure
When you are looking to buy a semi-truck, you don’t only want to consider what it will cost you to purchase but also what it will cost to operate. With fuel topping the list of expenses for trucking companies, it is crucial to look for a truck with the best fuel economy available to match your needs. There are several design elements that can help improve the fuel economy, from side extenders to mud flaps and wheel covers, and more.
Insurance is another significant expense for trucking companies, and the truck you purchase can impact your premiums. When considering which truck to get and how you will pay for it, it is vital to consider that the truck’s value will affect your premium. Additionally, you will pay a higher premium if you lease the truck instead of buying it.
Since you or your driver will be spending many hours in the truck, it is imperative that the comfort of the cab is a consideration. There are many things to look at when considering comfortability, such as the seat, the layout of the controls, the mattress if you get a sleeper, dashboard design, and cabin size, to name a few.
Type of freight you will haul
The design of some trucks makes them ideal for long haul routes, generally a little shorter wheelbase with the trailer closer to the cabin for fuel-efficiency. Versus flatbed and heavy haul might be longer wheelbase to give more options when hauling dimensional freight like over length or overweight loads.
Repair centers close to your home base
Whether it is routine or not, maintenance for your truck is inevitable. It is essential to know where you will get your truck serviced and worked on near your home base before you purchase your semi-truck. It will also be important to ensure that the truck you are looking to purchase is one that the repair center has experience with.
How will you pay for maintenance issues?
As I mentioned above, maintenance issues are inevitable. As a result, you must have a plan to cover those expenses before they happen. Ensuring you have the funds for these items could be a factor in your decision about what your budget is for your truck. Another option to consider and put into place when purchasing your truck is trucking factoring. A trucking factoring company will help you get paid within hours of hauling loads to ensure you have the funds you need when you need them. They can also help you plan and save funds to cover any emergency maintenance items.
There are many considerations when buying a semi-truck. The most important thing is that you buy one right for you and your business. If improved cash flow and ensuring you are hauling good loads for reliable brokers and shippers and getting paid for them quickly, trucking factoring can help. Call us today at (801) 676-0182 to learn more about how trucking factoring can help you and your business.