Buy the Right Diesel Truck
Why You Need to Buy the Right Truck the First Time
Thinking about investing in a diesel truck for your business? That’s exciting, but it’s also a decision you’ll need to consider from several different angles. You’ve probably already made a list of requirements and put together a budget. But we would also encourage you to talk to a trusted dealer, visit a few colleagues, and even check on details like financing, insurance, and maintenance.
We advise all of this caution because it’s important to get the diesel truck you need on the first attempt. There are a lot of decisions in your business that can be changed or reconsidered later, but buying heavy equipment is a bit different. If you can make the right call the first time, it’s going to not only provide you with better value, but also make everything that comes later much easier.
Lots of business owners think about short-term considerations (like sticker price) when buying a truck. That can leave them focused on the wrong things. Once they have taken delivery of their equipment, however, they can find that they are essentially locked into it.
To help you understand why, and to illustrate the need to make a good buying decision from the outset, let’s look at some of the reasons that it’s difficult to reverse a diesel truck purchase later.
Familiarity Makes It Hard to Change
The biggest reason it’s hard to undo the wrong diesel truck purchase is simple momentum. After you have invested in one truck, you’ll begin to become familiar with the way it operates, particularly if you are an owner who drives within the company.
Think about how many things there are in your life that you purchase again and again without thought. In some cases, it might be because you feel these products or brands are “the best.” But in many instances, you probably make the decisions unconsciously, or because you are familiar with a particular choice and don’t want to relearn something new.
We tend to behave this way in many areas of our lives, and particularly in our businesses, where large dollars are involved. If you invest money in a diesel truck, you are much more likely to buy that same truck again… even if it turns out to be not quite right for your needs. The thought of learning to operate another one can seem too overwhelming.
You might think you wouldn’t fall for this kind of mental trap, but it’s incredibly common. Also, you should consider that it could take you several weeks or months to properly evaluate a new truck in your fleet. In other words, it probably won’t be apparent that you could’ve made a better choice right away. That realization will only arrive much later once you have settled into a new routine. At that point, you’ll be more likely to purchase another model of the same truck, or something close, than you will be to start the process over from scratch.
The best way to cut this inertia off is by simply doing your research from the beginning. Talk to an experienced dealer and let them guide you so you end up with the right equipment at the right price.
You’ll Accumulate Parts and Personnel
If you have a large company, or one that’s growing, then you might buy more than one truck at the same time. That means you’ll be investing in a fleet and all that comes with it – including spare parts, technicians, and/or maintenance agreements.
Going against your own habits and momentum is hard enough. Making the switch to a different model of truck can be virtually impossible when you have already paid for several of them, along with spares, components, labor, and insurance.
In some ways, this is true of all capital projects. Once you have chosen a course of action and committed a large sum of money, going backwards is virtually impossible. You simply have to keep moving forward and hope for the best.
With trucking and transportation, though, it’s important to get things right from the start. Not only will your operations be affected, but so will your ongoing cost structure. After all, those trucks are going to require fuel and servicing. Eventually, you’ll have to replace one or more. Once that happens you might feel forced to make the same decision as you have in the past. That’s because you’ll already have drivers that know the trucks, maintenance people who are used to them, and a big inventory of parts to account for.
Most business owners and operations managers realize the scale of this commitment, of course, but it’s still worth reiterating that you shouldn’t make a fleet buying decision without doing a great deal of research. Talk to your dealer, explain your plans, and look at all the relevant facts and figures. Don’t give up until you’re sure you’re making the right decision – both for today and the future of your business.
When you choose to buy a diesel truck (or several), you aren’t just selecting that model; you are also choosing fuel, maintenance, and so much more for years to come.
Manufacturers Offer Rebates and Trade-in Programs
Some business owners make mistakes when buying diesel trucks and assume they can overcome them later. For example, they might not properly anticipate their long-term needs but plan to make a change when they start their next round of investments. Then they are confronted with the fact that some manufacturers offer rebates and trade-in programs. So they are faced with the choice of keeping something close to what they have or forgoing all those extra incentives.
On paper, what you need from your truck is always the most important thing. If it doesn’t help you and your employees move products, make deliveries, or do whatever else you get paid for, then it isn’t a valuable business asset. In reality, though, it can be difficult to make a switch when doing so might cost you tens of thousands of dollars more for each unit.
The positive side of rebates and trade-ins is that you can end up shrinking your budget when you have to re-invest in quality equipment. The negative side is that it can leave you locked in to a certain brand. To make this dynamic work in your favor you should do everything possible to make a right decision from the start.
Of course, a good diesel dealership is going to show you the models you need from high-quality brands, which should make this less of an issue. However, if you’re the kind of business owner who is tempted to cut corners (and who isn’t from time to time?) then this is a risk to watch out for. You don’t want to find yourself in a cycle of buying that keeps you tied to equipment that isn’t reliable enough.
The Wrong Truck Will Have a Low Resale Value
Although we’ve already touched on what can happen when you renew your fleet of diesel trucks, it’s worth visiting another scenario. Imagine for a moment that you purchase a truck, or perhaps several, and find that they aren’t right for your needs. You might think you could recoup your investment by selling them on to another business or dealer.
That might be possible, but there are a couple of problems with this approach. The first is that any vehicle or piece of heavy equipment is going to lose value the moment you take possession of it. If it’s new then some of the equity disappears the moment you accept delivery. You may also have specific warranties that are tied to the original purchase. So, you won’t be able to get anything close to equal value in exchange.
Another challenge will come from the fact that if a certain truck isn’t right for you, then it might not be a great choice for another business owner, either. In other words, if you buy a brand that isn’t known or trusted, then that is going to be reflected in its value in the market. No one else is going to give you top dollar for a truck that isn’t considered to be leading in its class.
And finally, if you try to sell the truck quickly, then others will wonder why. It’s rare for a low-mileage model to go on the market, so you might fetch lowball offers from dealers or business owners who wonder what kinds of problems are being concealed. Conversely, if you keep the truck for a long time, then mileage and depreciation will only increase. The value will go down. It’s a no-win proposition.
The only reliable way to profit from a diesel truck purchase is to choose the right model, use it appropriately, and get plenty of value from its utility. Reselling the unit, or claiming rebates, can help mitigate the costs but won’t save you from a poor buying decision.
Bad Decisions Create Uncertainty
Finally, we come to something that is much harder to quantify but can have a huge impact on your business. Namely, that when you make one incorrect diesel truck purchase, you are likely to make others.
This might seem counterintuitive. After all, business owners tend to “learn their lessons” from mistakes and move on. However, if you waste a big part of your operating budget on a piece of equipment that doesn’t serve your company well, it’s going to plant doubts in your mind. You’ll be even more hesitant and tentative to make a decision the next time around, further increasing the odds that you’ll get something that isn’t quite right.
Ask yourself: how many great business decisions have you made out of fear? You probably can’t think of many. It’s always better to be operating from a place of confidence and clarity.
You never want to buy a diesel truck when you’re feeling rushed, don’t have enough information, or need to make a deal of bargain-basement prices. And yet these are all the things that can happen when you’ve already made a mistake the first time.
So how do you keep this cycle from beginning in the first place? We’re glad you asked.
The Real Secret to Diesel Truck Buying
There are a lot of things you should do before buying a diesel truck, including making a list of your needs and priorities (for both the present and the future). But far and away, the one thing you can do to guarantee your own success is to work with a trusted dealer.
At a company like ours you’ll find dozens of people with extensive industry experience and a reputation for service. Those aren’t just buzzwords. They mean you get access to men and women who understand diesel engines, know how different trucks work in different operating environments, and can help you find the right solutions for your use case and budget. Even better, you can get all of this for free.
For all the information that’s out there on webpages and tech sheets, it’s surprisingly easy to end up buying the wrong diesel truck or generator for your company. Do yourself a favor and get help from a team of experts who will put themselves on your side and answer all your questions.
It’s very easy to spend money and make an agreement, and much harder to undo that decision if things don’t work out as planned. Let us help guide you toward the equipment you need to keep your business moving.
Need a Trusted Team to Guide You Through the Diesel Buying Process?
At Valley Power we have decades of experience with diesel trucks, generators, and other equipment. That includes sales and service for several leading international brands. So, if you’re looking to find the right equipment or piece together a power and transportation strategy for your business, we can help.
Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our work and products.