Buying A Truck

Topic 13445 | Page 1

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Gator F.'s Comment
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I'm going to retire from Active Duty AF in a few years and want to get into trucking. I plan to start out as a company driver, learn the business a bit and then buy my own truck. If I play my cards right my military retirement will cover the truck payment. I'm looking at trucks a couple years old with around 250k miles and in the $60K- $70K range. What do you think? I really want to be my own boss and run as much or as little as I want. I feel like having a military retirement coming in and living within my means can make this possible. I would assume the biggest thing is making that payment each month which like I said that should be darn near made without even having to run a mile if I can strech my retirement money after I pay the morgage. Go ahead and pick apart my plan and tell me what I haven't thought of!!! I have no experience in this business so let me have it!

JayB's Comment
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Sounds good but dont forget as a owner operator. You will have to cover your own repairs.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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If you were purchasing right now, you'd find some good deals being that it's a buyers market. In reality though, for the price range you're talking about, you won't get much truck. I'm not sure what kind of truck you're looking for but at only a couple years old and low mileage, you're realistically looking at the $80-90k range for a truck you'll enjoy and still retain resale value down the road.

Rick S.'s Comment
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Having goals is a good thing - don't set them in stone just yet though.

Nothing to pick apart - aside from what you already know - go out and drive company for at least a year, so you can get the driving part down. Then perhaps, you might want to try a "walk-away-lease" from the company you're working for, just to get a feel for the "business/paperwork side" of the industry.

$60-70K for a 2 year old, 250K miles lease, is probably a little less than the current market for a unit that new (and 250K miles is still considered "new", and likely still has some miles left on the original warranty).

Like I said - good to have a plan, but that plan will mature as you get more information and get out working in the industry.


murderspolywog's Comment
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Most of the trucks on the marked are ex fleet trucks. Your looking at probably closer to 450k in miles. These trucks can be hit or miss. And you need a big bank account to cover expenses that come up. Things that you should look at going wrong are tubo, injectors, wheel seals, leef springs, tires, shocks. AC components. And that's only if you don't get a truck with a def system.

Old School's Comment
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Gator, I was a business owner for thirty years before I started driving a truck for a second career - I had a small fleet of trucks. For God's sake, don't squander your retirement money on an asset that depreciates faster than anything I ever owned.

We have made a new commitment in our forum to not discuss owning or leasing trucks - our focus is on helping new drivers get started in the industry. We gave you some advice anyway, but look, here's what I would do if I were you: Save the money you have earned for retirement, and get yourself a job as a driver and enjoy all the perks without any of the responsibilities of ownership. Their is precious little profit in owning trucks, and many times that precious little turns to negative numbers on the unsuspecting. All the major carriers have leasing programs in place because that is a way for them to get out of the high costs of maintaining a piece of machinery that is both aging and depreciating in value while it is being used to move freight.

What do you think? I really want to be my own boss and run as much or as little as I want.

You can accomplish those things as a company driver. Anybody in this business is as close to being their own boss as you can get without all the financial commitment. I have likened it to be very much like being self-employed many times in this forum. I should know, I was the boss for thirty years, That is what I love about this career - I call the shots, I make as much money or as little as I choose.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Gator F.'s Comment
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Thank you!!

Steve L.'s Comment
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One issue to consider is the possible increase (and it can be exponential) in fuel cost. Granted it's gonna depend on how many miles you're driving, but here's what I wonder that you didn't talk about;

What are your fixed costs outside of trucking? I.e. will you have a home mortgage, utilities, family expenses, etc.?

Having your military retirement check coming definitely gives you an advantage, but I recommend you try to plan on that military check to only cover trucking expenses for a specific period of time. Otherwise you're using the military check to cover a loss in the trucking business. My personal opinion is that it's okay for that military check to act as "seed" money to get the business going, but if you're relying on it long term, you're not profiting from the trucking business you are starting.

Good luck and thanks for your service.

Belluavir's Comment
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On top of all that you've got market fluctuations to worry about. Big carriers have the capital as well as big contracts to ride out the hard times. I've been reading lately that aling with fuel prices dropping, freight prices have also dropped significantly and small companies and O/Os are having a really tough time and some are pulling out or seriously considering it.

That seems like a hell of a lot of stress for retirement. You dont want that truck driving you into an early grave.

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