Given the difficult economic times, many movers (and other trucking companies) are keeping their vehicles longer. When a movers’ fleet gets old the choice becomes purchase new, purchase used or repair. There are pro’s and con’s to each depending on the movers’ financial stability, credit worthiness, and downtime tolerance. We’ll take a look at each.
Purchasing a New Moving Truck
Purchasing a new moving truck is a popular choice if the moving company can pay for (or secure financing for) the new vehicle. New vehicles consistently have better fuel mileage and lower maintenance costs. However, when repairs do occur with newer vehicles they can be more expensive than their older counterparts. Warranties can be purchased so while a new vehicle may have a payment involved, the costs are usually more predictable than on an older vehicle. New vehicles are often best for long haul applications or for moving companies that can’t afford to have a vehicle down all the time or for an extended period of time. One last thing to remember about purchasing new is financing rates are lower now than ever.
Purchasing a Used Moving Truck
The second option for a moving company in need of another vehicle is to purchase a use moving truck. Many people will tell you that used vehicle pricing has gone up in recent years because of demand (more people are buying used versus new), but there are still deals out there to be had if you look hard enough. Remember to have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic you trust, not only to verify things like overall motor health and transmission health but also other wear items that can really add up; items like brake life, clutch life, and the tire wear can add thousands and thousands to a vehicle that appears to be good from the outside. A good idea is to get a complete history file on all work performed on the vehicle (anyone who cannot provide this for a vehicle should be avoided); this way you can see if certain parts or systems have been repaired or serviced or if they could be potentially be up for repair soon. Items like fuel injectors fall into this category. A truck with about 100,000 miles either has had some injector work or will need it soon. Keep these things in mind when purchasing a used moving truck. A used truck is perfectly fine for a mover with a fleet where one truck down for a week or two doesn’t cripple the operation.
Repair the Moving Truck
The third option a mover has in the purchase versus repair decision. This option too has become very popular because of economic times and movers’ resistance or inability to purchase another vehicle. One thing is to look at when weighing options is to look at the overall cost to operate a vehicle for a year. For instance, calculate payment (or not), and all repairs associated with a truck over a given 12 month period. Although an older vehicle many times doesn’t have a fixed monthly payment the variable and unpredictable cost of repairs can make an older vehicle more expensive than a newer one. Once you do the math, the decision becomes easier. Sometimes a repair like a rebuilt motor on a truck with other possible future large ticket repairs makes it easier to just go out and purchase another vehicle. Like with new trucks, financing rates are lower now than in the past. The last thing to remember with multiple repairs and downtime is the potential cost of rental vehicles, this is an expense some moving companies forget to put into the equation when evaluating the purchase versus repair decision.
Hopefully, this helps add a little insight when making moving truck decisions. Remember, it’s always best to gather as much information as possible and bounce it off coworkers, peers or friends in a similar industry when making a big decision like moving truck purchase versus repair.