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5 Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Heavy Haul Semi-Truck

You don’t have to be in the trucking industry to know that Heavy Haul Big Rigs are cool. But cool isn’t why a trucker should become a heavy hauler. There are many factors to consider before you jump into purchasing a Heavy spec’d truck.

Demand in recent years (even with Covid) for heavy haul trucking solutions have been steady. Many experts believe Heavy Haul truck sales and jobs will increase with the implementation of the new Infrastructure Bill and the need for producing more domestic oil.

Another good reason to consider Heavy Haul trucking is that the drivers of these big rigs are considered the best of the best. They use all their skills and are adept at both off-road and on on-road highway driving.  Operating a heavy haul with oversized loads requires excellent math skills to make sure you a legal and safe. Heavy Haul truckers have a passion for detail, as well as being safety conscious.

Driving a heavy haul can be a fulfilling career. But before you jump in the heavy Hauler game, you might want to take these 5 things into consideration.

1. Specs Are King

Take the specifications for your heavy haul semi-truck seriously.

What are the best specs for a Heavy Haul semi-truck? I would say the best specs are the ones that are going to get you the most work.  We apologize for being so vague but spec’ing a heavy haul is extremely personal. But here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Know the state restrictions and Overweight Permits necessary for where you are hauling, especially if you are running a long haul in multiple states. These include:
    • Weight restrictions
    • Width restrictions
    • Height restrictions
    • Length restrictions
    • Axle restrictions
  • How Much Horsepower will you need? Overkill on the horsepower and you will waste fuel (money). Spec’ing a truck with too little horsepower puts extra strain on your engine and other components and will cause increased maintenance expenses.
  • Wheelbase – A shorter wheelbase will allow you to go to more places, which in the trucking business means more potential income.
  • Transmission – While most Heavy Haul truck drivers prefer an 18-speed transmission, many of todays CDL drivers can only drive automatics (sad but true). If you are fighting for drivers, you need every advantage you can get.
  • Make Sure Your Trailer Works For What You Are Hauling.
2. Advantages and Disadvantages  of Purchasing A New Heavy Haul Semi-Truck
  • Advantages of purchasing a New Truck:
    • You can order the exact specifications you are looking for
    • There is usually truck financing at the dealerships
    • A factory warranty is included in most new semi-trucks
    • It is much easier to compare purchase prices from one dealer to the next
    • A solid choice of manufacturer includes: Peterbilt, Kenworth, Mack, International, Volvo, Frieghtliner, Western and Volvo.
      • Tip: Don’t buy strictly on price. Having a reputable truck dealer close by to service your Heavy Haul is important.  
  • Disadvantages of Purchasing A New Heavy Haul
    • Price – Heavy Hauls are not cheap, new Heavy Hauls can cost a fortune
    • Waiting – Wait times vary for commercial trucks from weeks, to months, to even a year
    • Financing Options – A new truck is going to take a good credit score to finance. And if your credit is less then perfect, how much of a down payment will you need to qualify for a loan.
3. Things to Consider When Purchasing a Used Heavy Haul Semi-Truck
  • Advantages of Purchasing a used Commercial Vehicle
    • The purchase price of a used semi truck (especially a heavy haul) is going to be thousands of dollars cheaper.
    • Many more Lenders to choose from, so you have more financing options.
    • You can get more for your money. Many options do not add value to the resale price of your commercial vehicle. Basically, the previous owner is paying for your upgrades.
  • Things To Consider If You Purchase From A Private Party
    • Ask To see maintenance history for the truck. Many trucking companies will not be able to give you the records but they may let you look them over.
    • Ask If It is okay to have a thorough inspection done on the truck by a third party
    • It may be more difficult to find financing for a private party sale
    • Make sure there are no liens against the truck and if the truck is financed that it is clear how the transaction is going to take place.
  • Things To Consider If You Purchase from an Auction
    • Heavy Hauls are popular trucks, don’t get caught up in out bidding the competition. You may end up spending more than you would if you bought retail.
    • Make sure you include other costs such as fees and pick up and delivery before you bid on a used semi truck.
    • If you can’t make it to the auction, try to verify important specs.
  • Things To Consider When Purchasing From A  Used Truck Dealership
    • Besides asking for a test drive, see if the dealer will show you their inspection sheet. Buying a used semi-truck is always a risk.  Most reputable dealers will also allow you to take your Heavy Haul for a third party inspection.
    • While many dealers will be upfront on where the truck came from, they probably won’t be able to supply you Maintenance records.
    • Many Used Commercial Dealers have various financing options depending up your circumstances.
    • Make sure you have a trusted shop nearby. Used equipment will need more maintenance. If you can’t work on your truck and there is no shop nearby, owning a pre-owned heavy haul could be costly.
4. Should You Consider Purchasing A Warranty?
  • From A New Truck Dealer –  Yes, It’s a big investment but if you can afford it, it may save you money in the long run.
  • From An Auction – Yes, many auction houses such as Ritchie Bros. have warranties available. Chances are you will use it.
  • From A Used Heavy Duty Trucks Dealer – Yes, in most cases you can finance the warranty with the truck. Buying anything pre-owned has risks, minimize them as much as possible.
5.  Don’t Forget The Math –

Buying a heavy haul is the easy part. Make sure you can keep it working and running is the hard part. Not factoring in down time and the cost of repairs is a common mistake. We don’t recommend going into the heavy haul business if everything has to go perfect to make it work.

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