So you’ve decided to buy a truck.
You’re eager to get started in hot shot trucking. The only problem is, with so many brands and models to choose from, you don’t quite know how to buy your first truck. Where do you start looking? Well, don’t fret; we’ve got your back. To prevent you from getting lost in a maze of choices, we’ve prepared a simple guide below for making your truck shopping a lot easier.
1. Know Your Budget
Let’s face it: As silly as it sounds, pickup trucks don’t grow on trees. Top-of-line models can cost a fortune. In the US alone, the average sale price for a pickup truck for 2019 is over $44,000, according to the Wall Street Journal. That costs more than a base BMW 3!
Therefore, preparation is critical. Study your budget first before moving to specs selection.
By the way, buying is not the only option. Truck leasing is an excellent option too. Leasing is best if your funds are low and you prefer to drive a new hotshot truck every two or three years.
2. Know What You’ll Carry and Where You’ll Be Heading
As you know, hotshot trucking involves a lot of hauling and towing. That’s why getting a sturdy and reliable truck is a must if you want to save yourself a lot of grief later. But the next step to narrowing your selection is to choose between a truck with a two-wheel or a four-wheel drive.
Question: 2WD or 4WD?
Answer: It depends on you. 2WD is best if you’re going to run on the highway most of the time. Since it’s lighter, it would be more fuel-efficient for you. But if you’ll be traveling a lot to the Northern States or in Canada where snow or off-road conditions are present, get a 4WD. On top of that, the resale value of a 4×4 is higher, since many consider it to be a luxury vehicle.
3. Know Whether to Get a Medium- or Heavy-Duty Truck
Manufacturers divide truck sizes according to three general classes: light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. They are identified with the numbers such as 150, 250, and 300 or 1500, 2500, and 3000. Choosing the right-sized vehicle for your hotshot trucking needs is very important. If you get a truck that turns out to be lighter than the load you’re carrying, the truck would lack power. When that happens, you might have trouble hauling your load. On the other hand, if you select a truck that’s more than what you need, it will cost you more — both on the purchase of the vehicle and the gas to fill it up.
To know whether to get a medium-duty or a heavy-duty truck, you will have to know your load and its weight. Once you know the variables, add the load’s weight to your trailer’s. The sum can guide you in choosing between a medium- or a heavy-duty pick-up truck.
According to most experts, slightly overestimating your requirements is also a good idea. A good rule of thumb is to have about 10% more capacity than you need. During selection, don’t forget to check out your potential truck’s manufacturer website. Most of the time they provide towing guides and the spec sheets for your perusal.
4. Know How to Get the Best Fuel Economy By Choosing the Right Engine Type, Size, and Axle Ratio
It’s every trucker’s dream to have a vehicle that can produce enough power — yet, remains fuel-efficient. For good fuel economy, truckers favor diesel engines. Diesel trucks provide high torque for pulling heavy loads at low speeds. The axle ratio is another factor to consider since it directly affects fuel economy. The higher the axle ratio, the greater the power you’ll have for towing, although it will lower your truck’s fuel efficiency.
5. Know the Best Cab and Bed Size for Your Truck
Cab sizes are often based on a trucker’s preference. Meanwhile, the bed size of a truck would matter, depending on the type of load you are hauling or towing. It is best to have an understanding of both so you can choose well according to your needs.
About Cab Sizes
Manufacturers have three basic cab types. One is the regular cab. It is a classic work truck with a single row of seating and limited space between the seats. Another is the crew cab, a truck with four full-size doors and a roomy backseat for leg comfort. It is suitable for cross-country travels. Other manufacturers offer a larger crew cab, the “mega cab,” with legroom that is almost like a limo. Choosing the right cab size does matter since it will affect your truck’s bed length. If you have a standard vehicle with a larger cab and a long bed, you will have a longer wheelbase. Trucks with a longer wheelbase give owners a harder time parking and maneuvering. If you want a regular-length truck to come with a crew crab, the larger cab will remove a few inches from your truck bed. It would make your cargo room smaller.
About Bed Sizes
The bed sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. On midsize trucks, bed sizes are about 5 or 6 feet long. But full-size trucks’ bed sizes may come in 5.5 feet, 6.5 feet, and 8 feet. A crew cab truck with a bed that offers lots of cargo space may seem like a dream. But it may also mean that you can’t park it in your garage. To add a truck’s bed size, manufacturers offer an optional bed extender. The extender allows owners to lower the tailgate and use that as bed space without adding to their truck’s length.
6. Know Any Special Fees and Regulations From Your State’s Motor Vehicle Department
Laws matter when choosing a truck for your hotshot business. Depending on where you live, owning one might need an exclusive license or entail extra fees. For example, in California, a light-duty pickup truck is considered a commercial vehicle. The more massive the pickup, the more you pay. So, check with your state’s motor vehicle authorities to avoid “surprise” fees.
7. Know the Best Purchase Packages and Interior Options
Once all the other practical concerns are addressed, it’s time to focus on your truck’s interior options. Making a note of your must-have features or packages is a smart move.
There are many possible truck configurations you can create. But sometimes it doesn’t exist. It is best to give to the salesperson at the truck dealership all the truck’s features you need. But you have to be flexible too. If you want those specifics followed to the letter, consider having them special ordered. You may have to delay your hotshot business for a couple of months. Apart from this, you might also check out other truck manufacturing or dealership companies. They offer purchase packages and interior choices that group options together at savings.
One example for this is Ram’s Laramie or their Big Horn Edition. The Laramie has interior options that are bundled into special “editions.” Meanwhile, Ram’s Big Horn Edition has the “premium savings package.” It delivers $4,100 worth of equipment for $900.
The Bottom Line
Now that you’ve walked through these steps, it would be easier to know the exact truck for your needs. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get hotshot trucking!