When you are getting ready to purchase your first semi truck, it is often easy to fall in love with the looks of the truck. Unfortunately, just because the truck is your favorite color, or has a lot of bells and whistles, does not mean it is the right truck for you. Buying a semi truck is not like buying a personal vehicle, it is as much of a business decision as it is a personal decision. There are several things you must first do before making your purchase.
Create A Business Plan
If you are new to trucking, or have been running under an authority belonging to someone else, you will find that owning your own truck is a different world. You will now be responsible for all of the expenses associated with your truck. These expenses vary greatly based on the number of miles you will drive your truck, as well as the cost of fuel at any given time. It is estimated that the average yearly cost of operating a commercial truck is approximately $180,000 or $1.38 per mile. These costs include:
- Purchase of your truck and trailer
- Your salary
- Repairs and maintenance
- Permits, licenses and tolls
- Fuel taxes
- Coffee and more
Do not be alarmed by these numbers. There are ways to limit or reduce some of these costs. For example, you can significantly reduce the cost of your truck and trailer by buying these items used, but you will still need a plan to pay for what you purchase.
Creating a business plan will require you to describe your business in detail. It will require you to define your reasons for starting your business, as well as the types of freight you hope to haul and the companies you hope to work for in the future.
Your business plan will require you to list out all of your finances. These should include:
- Your projected business costs
- Your current capital reserves on hand
- Anticipated or projected income, and more
This part of your plan will give you a good idea of if it is a financially sound decision to proceed with purchasing your truck and going into business. You will also need these numbers if you choose to seek additional financial resources from outside lenders.
Other parts of your business plan will include describing how your business will run, and how you will acquire and maintain the various required licensing. You need to think about, and be able to describe how you will market your services, and create, implement, and maintain all of the safety standards.
Shop For A Loan
Once you have completed your business plan, you will be ready to shop for a loan. Depending on where you choose to purchase your truck from, you may be able to find financing on site at the dealership. This will often allow you to pick out your truck and drive it home the same day. But be aware, you may, or may not, be able to get a better rate elsewhere.
If you have already established a business relationship with a bank, you may want to inquire as to whether or not they will be willing to finance your truck. If you have an established relationship, you may be able to be approved quicker, as well as get a better rate. This will also allow you to have all of your finances at one location.
Pick Out Your Truck
Although you may be tempted to buy a new truck, you owe it to yourself, as well as to your bottom line to consider all of the many used trucks you can find on the market. Semi trucks are designed to work hard, and run for many miles. You can find a host of used trucks with low miles that have just been barely broke in and when you buy used, you do not have to worry about immediate depreciation. Pick out the right truck for you and your business, and get ready to run the road.
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