Trying to decide what type of truck to get?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by burtonridr, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. burtonridr

    burtonridr Bobtail Member

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    Feb 8, 2012
    SW Idaho
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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm interested in the trucking industry and have a ton of questions, but the one I'm having some trouble with is, what type of truck might be the best to look into.

    A little about me, live in SW Idaho, married, kid is almost out of the house, no debt, currently work a 8-5 behind a desk and looking for a change of pace. I like the idea of getting into trucking as an owner operator, with CDL, under my own authority. I like it because it seems like it offers great flexibility in when and who you work for, plus the pay is decent. I'm really looking for more control over my time, I would like to maybe work this seasonally and use the other parts of the year to take care of other things in life.

    Hot shot truck?
    -I was initially interested in this type of truck, I think in part because I'm not familiar with semi-trucks. After some research, I kinda settled on a F450 or F550 with about 100k miles. I was thinking I would run the truck up to 200k miles then resell it and buy another with around 100k miles. But when I look at the load boards, there is A LOT more opportunity for a Semi with a flatbed.

    Semi with a flat bed?
    -I'm now a little interested in just making the jump into a semi with a flat bed because there is more opportunity for work. But, for me at least there seems like there are a lot more unknowns. For example, I can work on a pickup truck, but I'm sure I can learn to work on a semi. I may need a few new tools and there will be a learning curve, but I'm sure I can figure most maintenance items out.
    -It looks like I could get a decent running semi truck for about $25k, would a semi in this range be asking for trouble?
    -If you do your own maintenance, are the maintenance cost very much more on a semi vs a p/u truck?


    What are some of the pros and cons of hotshot vs semi truck?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
     
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  3. Atlaw4u

    Atlaw4u Heavy Load Member

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    Jun 8, 2018
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    Do you already have your CDL? If not, insurance for a new entrant can be outrageously expensive.
     
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  4. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

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    You can sleep in a semi, in a real bed.
     
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  5. burtonridr

    burtonridr Bobtail Member

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    Feb 8, 2012
    SW Idaho
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    I dont have my CDL yet, when you say outrageous, what are we talking?

    Thats a plus:thumbleft:
     
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  6. Deshano

    Deshano Bobtail Member

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    Jan 3, 2020
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    I work for a 100% Owner Operator carrier, you don't have to have your own authority if you have your own truck. There are some benefits to leasing onto a carrier instead of getting your own authority as well. But typically I see a lot of guys drop their authority because of insurance rates that are through the roof.

    Being an owner-operator is really sink or swim. You have to really manage your business, it's not all just trucking. A lot of behind the scenes action, ducks ought to be in a row.
     
  7. PoleCrusher

    PoleCrusher Road Train Member

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    A brand new CDL and a brand new MC#, probably $25k+ just for cargo insurance, if anyone will actually write it.

    How are you going to obtain your CDL? How are you going to learn the basics of cargo securement? Do you understand UCR, POC-3, IFTA?

    If you buy a $25k truck, plan on spending a lot of time working on it, at least for the first year or two. And, how about a trailer?
     
  8. burtonridr

    burtonridr Bobtail Member

    6
    1
    Feb 8, 2012
    SW Idaho
    0
    How does the leasing work? I havent looked into it, but could you just take off for a couple months? Then come jump back into the game again? How much say do you have in what loads you take and where you drive? How about how often you drive?

    You bring up some really good points to think about, I dont really have everything figured out yet, so I really appreciate the questions.

    Wow thats steep for insurance, we are talking big rig right? What about for hotshot? I've seen annual premium of 8-12k thrown around, does that sound about right? Or maybe I misunderstood that a being brand new would be a lot more.

    I plan to study and take the CDL written, then practice for the practical driving portion either by finding someone locally with a CDL that I could pay for the training, or if going the hotshot route just practice with my own rig.

    I've transported a few things in my life, and my dad use to move freight a little and has taught me a few things, I feel comfortable securing a load. But I wouldnt accept or pursue a load that made me uncomfortable, I like to play things safe.

    I've heard of all the 3 and 4 letter acronyms listed, but dont fully understand them yet, I've got some reading and studying to do still.

    How about after the first year or two? Are you just assuming at that point that I should have the kinks worked out and maintenance back up to standard? I've always worked on my own vehicles, how much different are Semi trucks?

    For a trailer, for a hot shot trailer, I've seen a few used in good condition 40ft trailers with tandem 12k axles in the $10k price range. For a semi truck, I havent looked very hard at it, but do remember seeing a few in the same price range (no idea on the actual condition).
     
  9. Deshano

    Deshano Bobtail Member

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    Jan 3, 2020
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  10. Deshano

    Deshano Bobtail Member

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    You typically wouldn't want to take a bunch off. You end up leaving your truck doing nothing for a while, you start building up deductions depending on what you have going on. You come back #### near broke all depending of course. That's why we recommend guys who have a bunch of trucks to cancel their lease until they find a driver, otherwise you start building up deductions and starting on a bad foot.

    At the end of the day, I'm not sure how other companies work but I'm sure it's similar. You have your own say, I mean hell, you're the owner-op if we didn't have you, we'd just have freight. There's guys that will wait for a great load, or stay loaded down from one of their local terminals. It's all about how you operate.

    Often as you want to be honest. Companies when they hire you on, typically look where your located, see if their freight makes sense to keep you loaded and you will be out as long as you want to be out. But favoritism exists, and so do customers needs. So they obviously don't want you home everyday (again depending what you're doing and where you lease to)

    Most companies have load boards when you lease on you have access to, and you can bring your own freight if you have it, and get paid a higher percentage for that. But it all depends again with how you operate at the end of the day.
     
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  11. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

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    Jumping right into ownership is like buying a restaurant because you know how to microwave a pre-made dinner.
     
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