Once you have embarked on investigating the possibility of becoming an owner-operator, the various elements of the process can get you bogged down at some point. However, one of the highlights for many drivers is the opportunity to choose and purchase their own vehicle. Buying a truck is obviously a major investment and one you do not want to mess up! Try using this checklist to help you navigate your purchase and make sure all the necessary details are checked. |
Where to Go
Probably the best investment for a first-time buyer will be found amongst the used truck lots. Lorries and HGVs aren’t built like your average Kia or Citroen. Heavy duty vehicles are built for durability and consequently have a longer shelf live. However, buying a truck can be just as fraught with shady dealers and those trying to get rid of inadequate vehicles.
Start by talking to friends, co-workers, or local industry contacts. Word of mouth may be your most valuable source of reliable information and referral in this field. Try to buy locally – this way, you will have the advantage of being able to see the truck in action and it is likely that you will get a full maintenance history to boot.
What to Look For
Once you have set your sights on a particular vehicle, follow this checklist while you inspect it:
Is there a warranty? At a minimum, ask for a 3 month seller warranty drive line.
Money, Money, Money
- What is the make of the truck? Buying a truck is just the beginning, but keep in mind future parts purchases and make sure there is a dealer locally.
- How old is it? Make sure the truck is new enough to qualify for entry into London’s Low Emission Zones.
- Full service history – look for one that goes back as far as possible.
- Does the truck suit your needs? What is the truck payload?
- Check the interior for wear and tear.
- Check the tyres – replacing them anytime soon will be another major investment.
- Engine – check the heart of the truck. Is it too noisy or smoky? Always test drive the vehicle and pay attention to sound, feel, smell and manoeuvrability of the truck as a whole.
Most new owner-operators consider buying a truck to be the biggest expense of their endeavour. However, the peripheral costs that need to be considered can mount up fast. Most of this money, once paid, cannot be refunded, so ample financing is important to get you rolling on the road. Consider:
Patience and a Steely Constitution
- The truck itself
- A licence
- Road fund license
- Fuel costs
- Repairs and maintenance down the line
Buying a truck and starting your own small business enterprise is not for the faint-hearted. Many fees and licence application require upfront payment and the approval, which is never guaranteed. However, once you start leaping the bureaucratic obstacles, the others will begin to fall into place. Secure your funding, file all applicable authorisation forms and then go shopping! Purchasing your own truck, which may be the first of many more, can be the step that finally seals the deal to make your business-owning dreams a reality.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange offers a valuable service providing information on things like fuel costs, buying a truck and the other latest news from the industry. Matching delivery work with available vehicles, over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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