Looking to buy a semi-truck for your business? Here are some excellent tips on doing so.
- Do Your Homework
Sit down and scrutinize the facts. If it’s direct from the dealer, you are going to save yourself money by paying the fee for a local mechanic to do a full 60 point inspection. This will give you all the facts on what needs to be repaired or replaced which gives you the upper hand in striking a deal on the price. Find used semi trucks for sale. A few personal viewpoints are as follows:
– Give serious thought to the inspection but do take it with a pinch of salt at the same time.
– If you are buying directly from the seller, a diagnostic link inspection will also be useful. It will give you a pretty close look picture of the unit’s history or problems you will potentially face in the next 100,000 miles.
– Do not be rushed into a purchase, it really doesn’t matter if the seller has a story about wanting to get out of the industry, you should still take your time.
– Look for rust on any of the major components and check the upholstery too. For instance, if the rims are rusted or chipped it is a pretty telltale sign that the seller hasn’t fully taken care of the unit but rather has patched things up from the start.
– Make sure you test drive, this is a necessity
– A used unit that has a different colour hood has more than likely been involved in an incident. Look behind the hood and fenders for any signs of discolouration, an indication that it has been painted over following an incident.
If you see welding in the frame it’s curtains instantly. A truck that has a cracked frame is a waste of time in my opinion unless I am in the mood to have a spotlight put on me by the DOT. As well as the standard DOT and mechanical inspection you should also make sure that the title of the unit is clean if you are purchasing from the seller directly instead of a dealership (I recommend the latter for first-time buyers since discounts on parts from the dealership are more readily available, as well as finance options).
If it’s a brand new unit that you are purchasing you will sign a 5-year contract. It is true that you will gain peace of mind this way to some extent, however, all trucks have mechanical problems, new or used.
We have one very useful theory that fleets never sell working trucks, they sell problems. This means you need to accept the fact that a company is generally going to try to get the worst of their trucks off their books so that is the one that will be for sale.
- Protect Yourself
Trucking is a risky business and you add to that risk when you start with a used truck. At any given time you can be sure there will be an issue with the truck, you, your driver, or your workflow. To give yourself the best chance of making a profit, it is best to set up a little assurance in advance.
By having that realistic approach of expecting the worst but hoping for the best, you put yourself in a good place. Right from the jump, you need to be proactive if you want to be successful in the trucking industry and have the right industrial equipment.
The old hands in the industry know one simple fact; if your truck is parked up you are hardly going to make any money. Each day those wheels don’t turn is a day of lost profit. This means that you need to create a good network with local shippers that are also involved in your area of business.
Your trailer type will play a significant role. When you start out you need to sign up for freight load boards. My suggestion would be www.Dat.com this is the most common choice for freight brokers. It will also help you to get used to industry trends and help you to identify the hot spots within the US market. if you are only going to have one membership, make it this one as it will provide a stable stream of loads.
Setting a fuel account is another task you should do before you even clock in a mile. Running with Pilot directly is my strong recommendation, however, whatever your choice is you will get a fuel discount which can add up to a nice sum at the end of the month. You can also make sure that downtime is the least amount possible by joining a tire and mechanic program.
- Have An Emergency Piggy Bank
Have you heard that old saying yet that you will lose hair trucking? Make sure you adhere to Murphy’s Law (if you give it a chance, things will go wrong regardless of the situation). This means that even if you have purchased a new truck, you can still run into problems. Keep adding to that emergency piggy bank.
Trucking may be high risk but it is also high reward. You will be able to be consistent if you have an emergency fund and consistency leads to success. It’s all about who can last the longest in trucking. Truckers come and truckers go but those that have invested in their future career and planned for emergencies are the ones that will be here to stay.
During your owner’s journey, you will also learn this lesson: that load that you secure for in excess of $4 a mile is the one you need to put straight into your piggy bank as it’s the same fee that will get you your clutch replaced down the line.
- Know Your Industry
Usually, it is an experienced CDL driver who is venturing into the mission of buying their first unit. The roads from 1-10 through California and 1-90 through New York are going to be your backyard by now, that being said, owning a company comes with its own challenges.
That is one of the main reasons I started this blog, future owners do not need to be stung with third party fees, government requirements, and contract clauses. You need to be at the top of the game and know what the factors are that can make your truck stop making a profit for you. Read, read, read! https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations will give you everything you need to know about your rights and requirements as a trucking company owner.
If you do not have a paid for and up-to-date International Registration plan (IFTA) you can be sure that you will be pulled in at the very first weight station you encounter and that will be you out of action and needing a tow to the local impound.
Be serious about keeping a strict record of your money in and money out and what fees companies are charging you, as well as your initial note when you purchased the semi-truck. Keep a check on the local market and know where you are going and when is the best time to get the right rate and keep moving forward.
Get to know which companies are the best ones to form relationships with. Remember, it is not just the rate that matters, other hidden fees can be part of contracts too. My recommendation is https://otrcapital.com since while the initial rate is higher, transparency is guaranteed, a rare commodity in trucking.
You will pay companies to give you this knowledge. For me it has been a prickly learning curve, being stung especially by those I gave a chance to (remember that old Murphy’s Law!)
- Preparation Is Key
You cannot take trucking lightly. It’s not a quick route to getting rich. The industry can be cutthroat and everyone vies for a slice of your profit pie. Other companies are not only going to eye up your line hauls but they will snatch them away from you if they are given the chance.
Buying a truck as a hobby is not my recommendation, as is not the idea of buying it with a plan to send it off on its travels without worrying about the details. We are not dealing in real estate here.
If you are serious about the trucking industry and want to invest, not only in a truck but also in your future career then I recommend that you follow the above steps closely. Wishing you success!
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