Whether you’re in the market for a fully loaded sleeper semi for long haul trucking or a used box truck for sale for running local routes, here are three things you need to do.
1. Ask the Right Questions
Buying used is a good idea, but only if you ask the right questions before signing on the dotted line. Here’s a sampling of the questions – and answers – you need to have in mind before shopping for a used commercial truck:
- Am I ready? Do you personally have all your ducks in a row to be an owner/operator of a trucking business? Do you have a CDL or a non-CDL?
- What will I be using the truck for? What types of routes will I be running? What type of freight will I carry? What terrain do I expect to cover? Am I delivering truck to ground or dock to dock?
- What engine do I need? What are my power and fuel economy requirements?
- What expected life do I need from the used engine to be profitable?
- What are my financing requirements?
- What types of investment protections does the dealer offer? What protections am I looking for?
- What will maintenance and repairs look like for the truck? What’s the availability of parts and service while on the road?
2. Get to Know the Vehicle
Once you’ve assessed your needs, it’s time to look at specific trucks. Look at a lot of trucks before making a purchase. Consider make, model, year, mileage, and price first. Then, once you’ve narrowed your search based on those parameters, start to look at maintenance, condition, upgrades, and other factors. A reputable dealer will provide you with a comprehensive vehicle history which you should read and consider carefully. This report will give you insights about the truck’s condition as well as information about what you can expect as far as maintenance and repairs in the near future.
Look at the truck. Inspect it for damage and take it for a drive. Ask about extended warranties and post-purchase protection options.
3. Make Maintenance a Priority
No matter how great the truck is on the day you purchase it, you have to continue to maintain it to keep it on the road and protect your investment. Your truck is going to need repairs; normal wear and tear is part of the business. Address needs promptly and always follow the suggested maintenance schedule. When making your purchase decision, be sure to factor in maintenance and repair needs into your projected operating costs.
Diligent attention to maintenance will prolong the life of your truck, keep you on the road, and ultimately help you trucking business be profitable.
Are you ready to hit the road?