We’ve put together this article to help owner-operators and small fleet managers who may be struggling with that age-old question: “Should I buy a used or a new truck?”
The decision of whether to buy a used or new truck is mostly a matter of expense. Buying a new rig is obviously significantly more expensive than buying a used one. Besides the higher truck cost, you may be paying for warranty costs and interest costs built into your payment plan. The question you must answer is: Is that higher expense worth it?
So what are the pros of buying new? A few of the major pros are:
One could make the argument that buying a new truck, although it’s obviously a lot more money, makes up for that cost in saving the money on maintenance that you’d have with a used truck. Buying a used truck is always a bit of a gamble, and this is why a lot of people prefer new.
But gambles can be smart, too. Let’s look at some pros of buying used.
Buying used is very popular for owner-operators, especially new owner-operators. Let’s look at the major pros:
Of course buying used has its downsides, too, as we’ve mentioned. It’s always a bit of a gamble and you can never be completely sure what has happened in a truck’s past. But if you do your research and do your best to verify a truck’s quality, there’s a good chance you’ll get a good truck.
Buying used is the more popular choice for owner-operators, especially for newer owner-operators. Ray Haight, a former owner-operator who’s now a transportation consultant, had this to say on the subject: “I know plenty of owner-operators who have done very well buying a brand new truck, but the majority of them do very well with a used truck.” (Source: 2011 YouTube video from TruckNews.com)
So who buys new trucks? A new truck might make sense if either of the following are true:
Basically, if you want to buy a new truck, you have to be in it for the long haul (no pun intended!). If you have doubts about whether you’re definitely going to stay in the business, or doubts about whether the income will be there, you should probably take the safer bet and go with used.
If you decide to buy used, you should do your homework and research the truck extensively. This includes researching the model of truck online for potential issues as well as checking out the truck in person. In another article we wrote, we go into detail on some of the checks and tests you can do on used trucks to verify their quality.
Another factor can be fuel efficiency. Newer models of truck generally get better miles per gallon. The science is always improving, not just in terms of engine efficiency but also in terms of aerodynamics. If you are going to be running a lot of models, it’s worth considering the money you may be able to save by getting a new, fuel-efficient truck.
Hopefully this article has been helpful in your truck-buying process. In future articles, we’ll discuss some specific strategies for owner-operators who are in the truck-buying stage.
If you have any comments or questions about this article, or want to learn more about how our software, Rigbooks, can help you with your owner-operator business, send us a message on our Contact Page.
My name is Jason Forrest, and I’m the creator of Rigbooks. Rigbooks is a cloud-based software that makes it easier for small and medium-sized trucking companies run their business while keeping organized. We’ve been around since 2010.
A little about me: I grew up in a trucking family and from an early age I learned about the day-to-day problems that truck owner/operators have to deal with. I was into computers and programming as a kid so over the years I helped write small computer programs that helped my parents run their company better. Eventually that led to the idea of putting all those tools together in one package. And Rigbooks was born.
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