Becoming an Owner Operator: Trucking Equipment

If you read last month’s post on financial considerations of becoming an owner operator, we assume you’re now trying to figure out how to buy–or afford–trucking equipment. Purchasing trucking equipment is arguably one of the most frustrating and exciting aspects of becoming an owner operator. Not only does one need to consider his or her financials when it comes to purchasing a truck, but also the type of operation he or she hopes to run. This post aims to help those, who are looking to purchase trucking equipment, carefully consider what they need for their specific operation.

Intrastate or Interstate Operation?

The type of trucking operation you choose to run will impact the type of equipment you buy in more ways than one. To start, consider what you will haul. You don’t want to come home just having purchased a flatbed when you are going to be transporting livestock.

Also, do you plan to drive intrastate or interstate? If you are planning to drive intrastate, then you probably don’t need to be too concerned with the cab size or sleeper options. However, if you are looking to work interstate, then you definitely will want a truck with a large enough cab to comfortably live out of, as many nights will be spent on the road.

Those who plan to drive interstate will also want to be more aware of the fuel economy of the truck. You will oftentimes be driving on stretches of freeway where gas stations are few and far between. While a truck with decent fuel economy will cost you more upfront, you will be rewarded overtime in savings and the peace of mind generated from not having to constantly be on the lookout for a fueling station.

Unlike interstate drivers, intrastate drivers will be better off buying a used truck. If you don’t plan on becoming a million mile trucker, then you don’t need to be as concerned as those drivers looking to drive cross country.

Should I Buy New or Used Trucking Equipment?

Your operation largely determines which type of trucking equipment you will end up purchasing. However, personal preferences can also play a role in whether an owner operator chooses to buy new or used equipment.

New

In our experience, a lot of owner operators don’t want to foot the bill for a new truck. With today’s new trucks starting between $75,000 and $100,000, it’s sometimes hard to see the benefits that come along with buying new.

The biggest benefit of buying new trucking equipment is the peace of mind that comes along with it. By choosing to buy new, you don’t have to ask questions such as Who owned the truck before me? and Did they follow the recommended maintenance plan?

Used

Not everyone can afford to get new trucking equipment or, as mentioned previously, you might be running an intrastate operation and don’t see the value of buying new. If you choose to buy used, then first consider the age of the truck. Don’t only look at the model year, but be sure to factor in mileage as well as wear and tear. If you find a truck that can meet the needs of your operation and results in lower overhead, then by all means buy used.

**Buyers beware: If a truck has low miles and a low price, remain cautious. Odds are somethings not quite right with the truck.

Should I Buy or Lease My Trucking Equipment?

Buy

The price tag of a tractor/trailer can be intimidating. That being said, it is recommended that owner operators buy their trucking equipment instead of leasing it. The reason being, your truck can be traded back in to a dealer in the future to possibly cover the down payment of a new truck.

Lease

Leasing equipment would be recommended to owner operators who have been driving for 10+ years. Having some experience will most likely reduce your lease payments; however, you will still need to have good credit.

Like any new vehicle, you will need license plates for both your tractor and trailer. Next month’s Becoming an Owner Operator blog post will focus on licensing and registering your new trucking equipment.

For more information about Truck Writers’ owner operator program, call 1-800-634-8612 or visit www.icontrucker.com .

One comment on “Becoming an Owner Operator: Trucking Equipment

  1. These are some great considerations to take into account if you want to become an owner operator. I don’t think many people mention things like what type of operation to choose when you start out. That could probably affect the way you plan to do things.

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