If you want to buy a truck for your business, you want to buy the one you need. What you want and what you need are not always the same thing.
You might want the cherry red one with all the bells and whistles showing, but that may not do anything for your business. So, you need to do some self-examination and business analysis before you start shopping.
As Inc.com says, “It’s important to add up the cost of fuel, insurance, and even consider intangibles like resale value.”
10 questions to ask before choosing the right truck for your business:
- Who needs a truck, anyhow? If your car has become your office, delivery vehicle, and repair shop, you need the right truck for your business. If you deliver flowers or pizzas, heavy equipment or delicate antiques, frozen foods or hazardous chemicals, you need a class and model that suits your business needs.
Your business may need a pickup, panel truck, enclosed van, refrigerated truck, dump truck, or vehicle for construction or agriculture. You may need a tow truck, carrier, or food truck. Or, you may need something unique to your business. Only you understand what your business needs.
- Who will drive the truck? If you will be the only driver and will be using it as your mobile office, it’s one thing. If you expect other employees to drive, they need utility without luxury.
If you will be spending your workday in the truck, you may want to add comfort features to the cab like seating, temperature control, and entertainment/infotainment functionality. You’ll need Bluetooth connectivity and even the ability to perform some office functions. But, if you’re leaving the driving to others, the only features they need are the ones that drive the business like phones, GPS, and security.
Your other drivers need a minimal functionality, but you can add features if you want to keep them comfortable and engaged. Making the driving easier for them makes them more customer-centric.
- What’s a truck mean to your customers? If customers will be passengers in your truck during your routine business, it should be comfortable for them in terms of seating and climate control. The cabin should be accessible and easy to clean.
But, if they are not passengers, customers form impressions of your business by the way your truck or trucks look. The truck is a whiteboard, a billboard, and a rolling advertisement for the business. So, when shopping for trucks, you must consider its shape and suitability for advertising and imaging. You want your vehicle to deliver a message as well as a product or service.
- How much damage can it take? You or your drivers will put significant mileage on a business truck. And, scores of miles exposes it to the risk of frequent damage, mild or serious. In either case, you want to repair the damage at a reasonable cost.
One way to reduce those inevitable costs is to select a vehicle without external frills. Avoid fancy grill work and unnecessary trim. Your business doesn’t need exotic finishes or materials. Even where you want to make an impression, you should think utility first.
- How much do you want to spend on truck maintenance? If you’re the sole proprietor and only driver, you want a truck you can maintain yourself. You’re better off with a truck that lets you change the oil, spark plugs, air and oil filters, and other basic main problems.
But, there isn’t much you can do yourself on contemporary vehicles. With the advancing technology, it’s tough to do even basic maintenance. But, where you have the choice and where you are the real fleet manager for your business transport, you still want to shop for low maintenance commercial vehicles.
Conversely, contemporary vehicles are better made, and they require less maintenance, perform better, and put on mileage than older vehicles. So, you want to shop with maintenance and durability in mind. You should consider the miles between oil changes, brake linings, and tire replacements.
- How many trucks do you need? There’s no one answer. If you and your business do your job in one half-back truck with an extended cabin, fine. Perhaps, you need two panel trucks to deliver your floral arrangements. Or, maybe you depend on three haulers to move housing goods.
You might need a larger fleet of trucks with bellows covers, aluminum roll-up doors, or the accessories and parts available through Dynatect.
- How much will the truck travel? You should go into shopping with some fix on how often the truck will be used and how much it will range.
If your business calls for one vehicle in your part of town, you don’t need major horsepower or torque even though durability is always a plus. If you have several vehicles on the road and depending on their load and configuration, you might consider fuel efficiency and hybrids.
- What duty will the truck perform? City traffic can be hard on any vehicle. Stops and starts tax the driver and vehicle. But, if your city is dense, your vehicle may have to navigate tight corners, narrow streets and alleys, and low overhangs.
If the truck travels long distances, it may encounter various challenges. But, if it rides country roads, it must handle rough conditions, off-road hurdles, and bad weather conditions. You’ll need all-weather tires, road clearance, and mudflaps.
- How easy is to work? A business truck does more than take you places. If it is a working vehicle, you need to consider eternal accessories like ramps, hitches, and winches.
If you deliver products, you may need shelving, sliding or roll-up doors, or built-in tool closets and cabinets. If you transport hot or cold goods, you need trucks outfitted for such needs.
- Is the truck you? Your truck says may say more about you and your business than you know. It shouldn’t say more than you want. You don’t want to deliver groceries in a top of the line deluxe model of anything.
The truck should make a clean but modest statement about you, the business, and what you put into it. Quality and name brands make more impression than something exotic and over the top.
Tailored to your needs
Small Biz Blog reminds you, “While you probably think of trucks as reliable in a general sense, it’s important to do your homework before purchasing one for the company. Remember these are assets and might one day need to be liquidated.”
“Tailored” takes some study and research, some time and good sense. But, any business purchase takes capital and commitment.