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10 Essential Factors to Consider Before Buying Your First Truck

Last Updated on  February 16, 2024  By  eformblogadmin
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If you’re a first-time truck owner, here are 10 of the most important factors to consider before purchasing your first truck!

Getting started in the trucking world and buying your first truck is an exciting yet daunting part of the process and can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re committing to buying a truck. 

The decisions you make with this first truck purchase will play a significant role in your professional trucking and driving career, the jobs you accept, and the work you can do. 

The last thing any truck driver wants is to make a long-term commitment to buying a truck they’re not 100% satisfied with, which could ultimately make your life harder and cost you a lot of money. Looking for trucks for sale should be an exciting experience, not a hassle.

In the following article, we’ll be focusing on 10 essential factors to consider before buying your first truck, including:

  • Buying A Truck That Suits Your Lifestyle
  • Financial and Budgetary Considerations
  • New Truck Versus Used Truck
  • Considering Your Cargo
  • Dealer Sales Versus Private Sales
  • Future-Proofing and Maintenance
  • Insurance Costs and Fees
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Networking with Other Truck Drivers
  • Long-Term Goals


1. Buying A Truck That Suits Your Lifestyle

If you’re looking to buy a commercial vehicle, there’s a good chance that you’ve already got a few hours logged as a professional truck driver and know what to expect from choosing driving trucking as a professional career. However, purchasing your first truck adds a few more challenges and commitments to the job you need to be aware of before taking that final financial step toward owning your first truck.

Before you fully commit to a career in the trucking industry, and buy a truck, carefully consider the stress, and pressure you’ll be applying to personal relationships, including friends and family relationships.

Did you know, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average truck driver works nights, weekends, and public holidays and spends approximately 11 hours a day driving, with an average working day being 14 hours, which includes parking, inspections, rest stops, loading, and unloading.

Buying your first truck is a long-term financial commitment to your career as a professional truck driver, so speaking with family and loved ones first to ensure they’re on board and aware of the potential challenges of the future is vital. The last thing you want is to be put in a position where you’re financially committed to a truck purchase but don’t or can’t drive trucks professionally any longer.

2. Financial and Budgetary Considerations

Before investing in your first truck, you must carefully consider all the financial implications of your first truck purchase. According to this article on CNBC, the average cost of a new truck ranges from $150,000 to $200,000, with between 100,000 and 250,000 new semi-trucks sold annually in America.

Along with the initial purchase price, other budgetary factors you need to consider when you buy a truck are insurance, fuel, maintenance and servicing, repairs, fees, and taxes.

According to the 2022 report from the American Trucking Research Institute, the operational costs of running a truck increased from 2021 to its highest level ever, $1.85 per mile. Not only that but the operational cost of running a semi-truck in the United States is expected to rise to almost $2 per mile by 2024.

By taking the time required to carefully research the total costs of owning a truck and ongoing running costs, you won’t run into any unexpected hits to your wallet and avoid leaving yourself with buyer’s regret and a financial hole you can’t find your way out of. Being financially disciplined from the start when you buy a commercial vehicle will give you the best opportunity to be profitable throughout your trucking career while avoiding any nasty surprises.

3. New Truck Versus Used Truck

Choosing whether to buy a truck fresh from the factory versus a used truck could be pivotal in your first-time truck purchasing process. You’ll need to carefully consider the pros and cons of a new truck versus a used truck.

Below, we prepared a table to help you compare the pros and cons of buying a new truck versus a used truck as your first truck purchase. 

New Truck Pros New Truck Cons
Greater Reliability Longer Financial Commitment
Less Maintenance  Bigger Financial Commitment
Extensive Warranty & Longer Warranty Period
More Fuel Efficient (Potentially)
Lower Emission Levels (Potentially)


Used Truck Pros Used Truck Cons
Lower Purchase Price More Maintenance/Repair Costs
Low Mileage Trucks Comparable Quality to New Trucks Limited/No Warranty
Built to Last Unknown History
Less Fuel-Efficient (Potentially)


It’s important to note that these pros and cons are generalized and may not apply to all new or used truck purchases. There’s no guarantee that you won’t purchase a new truck with its own mechanical issues or a used truck that runs flawlessly for thousands of miles.

The initial purchase price is the most significant implication of purchasing a used truck versus a new truck. You could save a lot of money buying a used truck versus a new one, but you’ll need to carefully weigh all the risks of purchasing a used versus a new one.

While buying used can save you a lot of money upfront, it could end up costing you more money in the long term, so keep that in mind when you are browsing trucks for sale in the classifieds or online. When you buy a commercial truck it’s a long-term investment, so you need to be prepared to be in it long-term.

4. Considering Your Cargo

While it’s nice to think you’ll always be carrying the same cargo for the same clients, times change, and your cargo will change, also. 

You need to buy a truck or buy a commercial vehicle that will ultimately align with your cargo specialization while also being flexible enough to change as your cargo changes. Are you going to be transporting perishable goods that require refrigeration, construction equipment, and vehicles that need a large flatbed, or just general freight and containers?

If you purchase a truck that limits what sort of cargo you can transport, you’re potentially limiting the jobs you can accept. Did you know that the trucking industry transports over 70% of all freight in the USA and that dry goods make up over 80% of all shipments?

It’s essential to choose a truck that offers you flexibility in what you transport while also not limiting yourself to just one type of cargo. While you’re still looking at trucks for sale, remember to keep one eye on the future. The more flexible your truck is when you’re buying a truck, the more room you’ll have pivot should the need arise in the future.

5. Dealer Sales Versus Private Sales

Like used versus new truck purchases, there are a variety of pros and cons when you’re making a dealer purchase or private purchase for your first truck. Before you buy a truck, carefully weigh up your options and choose one that best suits your financial position. 

Buying your truck from a reputable truck dealership will offer you:

  • Warranties.
  • Financing Options.
  • After Sales Services and Servicing Options.

Making a private truck purchase will offer you the following:

  • A lower purchase price.
  • More ability to negotiate on price.

Regardless of whether you choose to buy a commercial vehicle from a dealership or through a private sale, you need to carefully investigate the truck’s history, get a mechanical inspection if it’s used, and do your due diligence on the person/company making the sale.

Buying a new truck from a dealership typically gives you greater peace of mind, knowing that your purchase is backed up by their warranties and reputation. Still, it doesn’t provide you as much flexibility when it comes time to negotiate the price. However, some dealerships will offer a little flexibility on price and add-ons, depending on whether or not you’re buying the truck outright or financing your purchase.

If you plan on buying your first truck outright, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate on the price, especially when you’re dealing with a dealership. It gives you a strong bargaining position as you search for trucks for sale when you already have finance. However, some dealerships also offer competitive prices and special deals when you take advantage of their in-house financing options.

6. Future-Proofing and Maintenance

Being proactive about your truck maintenance, repairs, and servicing is the backbone of any profitable trucking endeavor. You’ll need to carefully evaluate your ability to manage routine maintenance and any minor repairs against the cost of professional services. 

If you’re buying a new truck, you may be obligated to conduct regular maintenance and servicing through the dealership, which will come with its own costs.

Consider where you’re planning on driving your truck. Will you be in a hot climate, a cold climate, or a mix of both climates? Some trucks may perform better in cold or hot weather, while others will perform well in all environments. 

You also need to consider the future of the trucking industry, especially how environmental concerns such as emissions reductions are influencing trucking policies and regulations. It’s much harder to modify an older truck to comply with new regulations compared to new models, which are more adaptable.

While you can’t predict the future of the trucking industry and the environmental issues it faces, you can position yourself and your vehicle to be ready to meet these challenges.

7. Insurance Costs and Fees

Insurance is an ongoing cost associated with owning and operating a truck. There are a variety of different insurance options and costs you’ll need to consider when you own your own truck, including:

  • Liability Coverage
  • Cargo Insurance
  • Comprehensive Coverage 

According to Forerunner Insurance, the average insurance cost for an owner operator in the trucking industry in the United States is between $9,000 – $12,000 per year

How much you pay for trucking insurance will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • What you’re transporting.
  • How far you’re typically driving.
  • The total value of your truck.
  • Your age and experience.
  • Your credit history.
  • What type of payment plan you use.

All of these factors will ultimately influence how much you pay for your truck insurance, making it either higher or lower than the average. Below is a breakdown of the different types of liability you may need to get an idea of the average cost of your insurance.

  • Primary Liability – $5000-7000
  • General Liability – $500-600
  • Umbrella Policy – $500-700
  • Physical Damages – $1000-3000
  • Bobtail Insurance – $400-450
  • Uninsured/Under-Insured Driver – $50-100
  • Occupational Accident – $1600-2000
  • Cargo Insurance – Varies Depending on Cargo.

When it comes to truck insurance, like any other motor vehicle insurance, it pays to shop around and get a variety of quotes before committing to one insurance carrier. It’s also important to consider how much the insurance carrier regularly deals with trucking insurance policies and claims and how much they will work for you when it comes to offering competitive prices and customer service in dealing with any potential claims.

8. Licensing Requirements

Not just anyone can jump into a truck and start driving it around, let alone operate it as a professional truck driver. The operation of commercial vehicles is strictly controlled by licensing requirements, permits, and certifications, which are all mandated by the state in which you’re operating. So, carefully consider that when you’re planning on buying a commercial vehicle.

If you’re planning on operating between different countries, such as Mexico or Canada, you’ll also need to ensure you comply with all their licensing and permit requirements.

This article by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration further breaks down the agreements and licensing requirements for American truck drivers planning on carrying loads into Canada.

Carrying cargo into Canada or Mexico from the United States may also have insurance implications you’ll need to consider if you’re planning on owning and operating your own truck.

9. Networking with Other Truck Drivers

Cultivating friendships and professional networks with other truck drivers, particularly experienced truck drivers who have already been involved in the trucking industry for several years, will give you priceless information, tips, tricks, and pitfalls to avoid while you’re navigating your first steps into the trucking industry.

Not only can they help you make the right decisions, but their advice could also potentially save you a lot of time and money making the wrong ones.

Along with helpful advice, building a network around you can also identify potential job opportunities and provide you with a support network. There’s nothing better than a friendly and understanding ear when times are tough or when need you need assistance getting out of a tight spot. You never know when you’ll need a lift, spare part, or just some helpful advice on the side of a lonely highway.

10. Long-Term Goals

Finally, what are your long-term goals in the trucking industry? Do you plan on establishing your own trucking company later on, or are you just looking for a reliable long-term truck for yourself as a professional truck driver?

Did you know that the trucking industry employs, on average, 7,000,000 people in the USA?

If you’re planning on owning and operating your own trucking company, look at trucks that offer you greater ability to create a fleet of vehicles. If you’re operating the same make and model trucks, it’ll be much easier and cheaper to operate and maintain them.

If you just want a truck for yourself, choose the best model that suits your needs and the cargo you’ll be typically carrying. That truck may not be the best truck if you’re planning on scaling up to a full-sized transportation company, but it could be a much better personal choice for you and your needs.

10 Essential Factors to Consider Before Buying Your First Truck – Conclusion

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to buying your first truck. Everyone will need to consider their own needs and requirements when carefully researching their first truck purchase. Once you sign on the dotted line, trying to get out of your truck purchase or contract can be a very complicated and expensive process.

By carefully considering each of the ten factors we’ve covered above, you’ll be better prepared and informed when making your first truck purchase. Buying a new truck, especially your first truck, should be an exciting and life-changing moment, so don’t rush into it and make a decision you may end up regretting for many years to come.

During your research and pre-purchasing reconnaissance, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Talk to friends and family in the trucking industry other drivers or reach out to aquatintists involved in the trucking industry, especially those who own and operate their own trucks, to get their opinions.

If you have any questions about buying your first truck or would like to learn more about factors to consider when purchasing your first new truck, don’t hesitate to comment below or contact us directly. Our friendly and professional team will be more than happy to do our best to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.

Remember, take your time, do your homework, and make your first new truck purchase one to remember for all the right reasons.