How to Choose the Right Used Semi Truck For You
An important part of every owner-operator’s start-up plan is deciding what type of semi truck you need to purchase and how to finance it. Purchasing a used semi truck can provide a bigger bang for your buck than purchasing a new semi truck – especially if you are careful about your purchasing decision and select a great used truck warranty to keep your used commercial truck protected.
Choosing Your Truck
When investigating the type of semi truck they want to purchase, many operators analyze Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). TCO consists of examining the costs of the commercial truck throughout its life cycle, and includes purchase price, fuel, maintenance, warranty, downtime and resale value.
An understanding of TCO analysis is vital to purchasers of used commercial trucks. Freightliner Trucks takes this concept a step further with Real Cost of Ownership (RCO). RCO expands the traditional TCO analysis by considering both the hard and soft costs calculator, like monthly diesel expenses. This is typically what is found in Total Cost of Ownership calculations.
Other factors — like comfort, safety and connectivity options — are more difficult to express in dollars and cents; these are the “soft” costs. And these real-life costs factor into the real cost of owning used trucks, as much as an increase in the price of tires.
So, what used semi truck should you be looking at in order to minimize your real cost of ownership? If your business is a long haul, highway operation, then a used Freightliner Cascadia sleeper truck might fit your bill perfectly. The Cascadia stands on six pillars of ownership: Driver Experience, Quality, Uptime, Connectivity, Fuel Efficiency and Safety.
It is known in the industry for excellent fuel economy, which is a key factor for used truck operators as they get more and more miles on their used semi truck. The Cascadia’s aerodynamic design, especially when coupled with a Detroit engine, can save used truck owners thousands of dollars in fuel expenses over the life of the truck. And if the Detroit DT12 transmission is part of the drivetrain, owners can expect to vastly improve their driving experience, along with more fuel savings, reducing their Real Cost of Ownership compared to other used truck options.
Your SelecTrucks sales representative can help you find the right truck for you.
Financing Your Truck
When you purchase your truck, you will mostly need a vehicle loan, just like when you purchase a car and finance it. When you finance a truck, you end up owning it when the loan is paid off. This can be a benefit if you have maintained your used semi truck well and it is in good condition at the time of the trade-in.
Down Payments and Monthly Payments
Average drivers spend approximately $1,200 to $1,900 per month on their truck payments. Down payments for a truck usually range from $6,000 to $15,000. Some lending companies have special programs with low down payments to help drivers get behind the wheel. Even so, careful budgeting will help you set aside money for your down payment.
More and more lenders offer a pre-approved process for truck financing. Just like pre-approvals when buying a house, obtaining a pre-approval from your financial institution for a truck loan helps set the stage for the truck and payment expectations. Your SelecTrucks sales professional can help you with this. Once you have a pre-approval, you’ll know the price range of the used semi truck that you can finance, and you can search for it with confidence.
Are You Ready to Purchase Your Used Truck?
Here are five key elements you need to consider when you are ready to purchase your used truck.
- Do you have two years of verifiable driving experience?
- Have you set aside funds for your down payment (10% to 30%)?
- Have you set aside funds for your start-up costs ($5,000 to $7,000)?
- Have you obtained finance pre-approval before you shop for your used truck?
- Do you either have your own trucking authority documented and in place, or a full-term agreement in place with the company you’re hiring on with?
Once you can answer “yes” to these five questions, you are ready to purchase your truck.
Work with People Who Can Help
It’s difficult to become a successful owner-operator without the help of some key individuals. Here are some ideas to consider when surrounding yourself with people who can help you.
The support of your spouse/family is essential. Starting a new trucking business is tough. The moral support and other assistance family can provide will definitely help you down the road.
You need a good record keeper who takes every receipt and ledgers the money that is coming in and going out. This person should be the one who gets your income statements ready and files them in monthly envelopes to give to your accountant at tax time. Many spouses assist drivers with bookkeeping. It’s a great way to “share the load” of your trucking business.
Trucking Tax Accountant
A tax accountant who specializes in trucking can help you get set up to pay your taxes and organize your business. Build money into your budget for accounting assistance and advice, because it will pay for itself time and time again.
SelecTrucks Sales Professional
SelecTrucks sales professionals do more than just “sell” you a truck. They will be a great help in walking you through the entire process of becoming an owner-operator. They can help with titles, insurance, paperwork, finding good financing, and of course, getting you into the right used semi truck for you with the best financing options for your budget.
Whatever you do, remember that you are preparing to run a business and preparing for success. Best wishes from your friends at SelecTrucks.