Starting Your Own Trucking Business? What To Know About Buying Your First Semi Truck

Posted on: 30 August 2017

Sending out resumes and filling out applications does not guarantee success in today's difficult job market. In fact, in some areas, even having the right degree and verifiable work experience is not enough to land a great job. This is why many people are now deciding to step off the job search treadmill and create their own dream job by bootstrapping their own small trucking business. If you are considering this option and preparing to purchase your first truck, the following tips can help you choose one that is dependable and affordable. 

Opt for used instead of new

While the thought of a brand new semi truck can be very appealing to a fledgling trucking company owner, the amount of debt it is likely to create could become a major liability. According to a leading price comparison site, new semi trucks currently cost $80,000 to $200,000, depending on the make, model, and custom features desired.

Most new trucking company owners have limited budgets that will need to cover fuel, permits, insurance, training, repairs, and maintenance, as well as the cost of the actual truck purchase. This is why opting for a more affordable used semi truck is usually the smarter move. 

Remember, however, that purchasing a used semi truck can have risks, so it is important to work only with a reputable used truck dealer when doing so. In many cases, used semi truck dealerships have access to quality used trucks from corporate fleets that have been regularly maintained. In addition, many used semi truck dealerships offer attractive financing options and warranty options on the trucks they sell. This coverage can be especially helpful to novice trucking company owners who are operating on a tight budget as they build their companies.  

Check for mechanical and structural soundness

In a business where semi trucks must rack up hundreds of thousands of miles each year in order to keep a new company profitable, maintenance and repair cost can be devasting. This is why it is crucial that new trucking company owners work diligently to make sure that any used truck they purchase is mechanically sound, with no developing structural issues, before they agree to purchase it. 

A good policy is to take an experienced diesel mechanic along when looking at used trucks. In addition to checking out the engine, a diesel mechanic will be able to check the drive train, transmission, axles, and other components to make sure that they are working properly, as well as examine the truck's frame for structural integrity. While this type of inspection cannot guarantee that any used truck will not need repairs or maintenance after you purchase it, it will greatly reduce the risk. 

Verify all documentation and service records

Whether your new trucking company will be operating locally or driving cost-to-coast, the owner must make sure that each truck is properly inspected, registered, and licensed for the type of load they will carry and the states in which they plan to operate. All of this documentation must identify the truck by its vehicle identification number, as well as other information. This is why it is critical that new trucking company owners take time to verify all documentation on each truck they purchase, as well as trailers. Even a simple typo on a title or past registration form can stall or even stop the purchase process. 

Protect the investment with insurance

Once you have found a truck that is in good condition and meets your needs, new trucking company owners will need to protect their investment by adequately insuring it. While most automobile insurance carriers are able to provide commercial trucking insurance, it may be possible to find better rates and coverage by working with a company that specializes in this type of insurance. A used freightliner truck dealer may be able to refer you to one or more trucking insurance companies, as well as helping you locate good options for maintenance needs after the purchase. Check out sites like to get started.