If you’re thinking about becoming an owner-operator, buying a truck – and the right truck – is a critical first step. It will be a major investment that will affect your future income and prospects, so be sure to take your time, do your research, and think it over carefully.
If you’re feeling some anxiousness over the decision it’s totally normal. Buying a truck is a big deal. It’s not only an investment but it’s also your home away from home. You’ll spend thousands of miles traveling in it over the course of your career so it makes complete sense you want to be sure it’s something you’re really going to enjoy driving.
Here are a few steps you can take to help you in the decision-making process.
When determining the right truck for you, weight and size are extremely important. A Class 8 truck can pull up to 80,000 pounds while a Class 5 can only pull up to 33,000 pounds. If you’re hauling heavy trailers that weigh around 40 tons each (which is common), you will need a larger truck than if you were pulling single trailers weighing only 12 or 15 tons each.
A typical tractor-trailer combination will consist of two separate vehicles: the tractor and trailer combo. To determine if your desired combination will work for your operation, calculate the following:
The GCWR is the amount of weight that both vehicles can safely carry while traveling at highway speeds (typically 55mph). This number should be calculated by adding together all weights listed on manufacturer specifications—for example, manufacturer GVWR + trailer GVWR + cargo capacity = GCWR
Most of these vehicles that are used to carry products over long distances also come with a variety of designs and optional features. Some might be helpful or even necessary for you, but others might not be worth the extra money. Before you start to consider specific makes and models, figure out what size and features will be required for the type of work you want to do. That will help you narrow down your choices and avoid spending money on things you don’t need. If you’re looking for a truck that will meet your needs as an owner-operator–considering what features are most important to you is key. Ask other drivers about their trucks and the features they love or wish they had. This can be helpful in narrowing down your options.
Buying a new truck will be a more expensive option, but the key advantage is that you’ll likely get a warranty that will cover the cost of repairs, at least for the first few years. That can help you avoid large and unexpected bills. On the other hand, a used truck will cost less upfront, but the wrong used truck can cost you more in the long run if it breaks down frequently as repair bills can quickly add up. If you choose to buy a used truck, be sure to shop with a trustworthy source and get as much information as possible about its current condition and maintenance history.
Status Transportation has both OTR and regional employment opportunities for owner-operators in 48 states. We offer competitive rates, weekly settlements, and no forced dispatch. Check out our website for more information and to get started today!
We hope you enjoyed this list of our top tips for buying your first truck as an owner-operator. Keep in mind that these are just some suggestions, and there are many different approaches to buying your first truck. The most important thing is to do your research and make sure you’re putting all the right features into your new vehicle!