Should you get a used or new truck?

First of all, if you already have a truck — especially if it’s already paid off — then it’s totally fine to start with what you currently have just to get off the ground and have the money start rolling in. That’s actually the best way to start because you get to figure out a lot of stuff right away.

But what if you don’t have a truck and need to get a loan to buy a truck for hotshot trucking? Should you buy a used truck or should you buy a new one?

Let us say from the outset that we generally recommend a lease. The right kind of lease actually saves you money in the long run. So we’re not talking about just any ordinary kind of lease. We recommend you lease from Enterprise Truck Rental in Elkhart, Indiana. Why? Because it’s only 21 cents a mile — that’s it. There’s no extra charge and no extra fees.

But what if don’t have a truck and you don’t want to lease, for whatever reason? Which one should you buy — should you take a loan for a used truck or a new truck?

Here’s the thing: Usually, used trucks are too close in price to new ones. Perhaps you can find a used truck with roughly 64,000 miles. And how much is a used truck? Let’s say a year or two years old. How much does that cost compare to a new one? Maybe your savings are like 8 or 9 grand? So let’s say a used truck is $48,000 with 64,000 miles. A new one would probably have been $57,000. Here’s the problem: Had you driven those miles even at $1.50, you would have grossed $96,000. So by buying a used truck with 64,000 miles, you’re actually giving up $96,000.

This is why we generally recommend leasing from Enterprise Truck Rental. That’s such a good deal. That would be your first option. But next to leasing, you should buy a new truck. The worst way to get into hotshotting, in our opinion, is to buy used. It’s the worst way to get started.

If you already own a truck — maybe you had a different business that failed — that’s OK; this doesn’t apply to you. Yes, you can definitely use that existing truck. This recommendation is for somebody who doesn’t yet have a truck — somebody that has okay credit and can get a loan.

So do you get a loan for a used or a new truck? Our advice — a new truck every time. If you want to buy a used truck with 160,000 miles and that costs $33,600, you’re giving up $240,000 in gross revenue. So buying used does not really make sense. Not to mention the loan that you can get on a new truck usually has a lower APR than the loan that you can get on a used truck.

When you buy a truck and you’re going to use it for interstate commerce, most states allow you to not pay any sales tax. So keep that in mind — that’s a pro tip. So if you’re going to go out and buy a truck, save yourself at least five grand by looking up the laws for your state. In general, you don’t have to pay sales tax in most states if you’re gonna use the truck for interstate commerce. The same thing goes for your trailer if it will also be used for interstate commerce.

The Bottom Line

If you already have a truck, just start with that. If you don’t yet have a truck, we recommend a lease with Enterprise. But if you don’t want to get a lease for some reason, we recommend getting a new truck over a used truck. It will save you a lot of headaches down the road.