Buying a truck is a huge commitment for owner operators but one they must make. As tempting as it is to run out and get the newest, nicest truck you can find, it’s crucial that you suppress that urge and do some homework first. Consider whether you can afford to buy new, or if you should buy a used truck when just starting out.
Your budget is your first consideration. Never buy more truck than you can reasonably afford. Remember that owner operatorship will be a new opportunity and you will need time to adjust to setting your own work schedule, yet that truck payment will still need to be paid. Keep that in mind.
The next thing to consider is your niche. What fits you best? Hauling oversized loads? Refrigerated? Straight loads? Running? Figure out what you are best at and happiest doing and get a truck that fits those requirements. Even hot shot owner operators should find a niche.
Once you are armed with this information, start shopping. Don’t even think of buying sight unseen, and if you are considering buying used from a private owner, insist on putting it though a thorough inspection by a mechanic you trust before agreeing to the deal. If you are going through a dealership, resist high-pressure sales tactics and do a test drive. If you’re buying used, find out as much as you can about the truck’s history before you sign on the dotted line.
Once you’ve found the right truck, treat it well and make sure it’s kept in top shape, because it truly does represent your livelihood. Unless you’ve opted to lease through a carrier, you’re going to be responsible for inspections and upkeep so make sure you do it right!