Totally Triumphing in the Trucking Trade

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I have always been an entrepreneur, and I am serious about starting my own businesses. I’m the guy who would sell the most candy bars for our class field trip. My latest side hustle is moving people out of their apartments. I have a cheap pickup truck, and a bunch of friends from the hockey team. We get together to move people’s apartments. What can I say? It’s easy money, and people have a great deal of stuff they need moved; not just in the college, town, but throughout the year, as well. I’m thinking of upgrading my truck to something big, like a box truck. I even have a lead on a box truck that can run both biodiesel and normal diesel (I see it as a marketing thing – “Green Movers,” as well as a way to do good). I’ve never made a big purchase like this before. What are some things I should know before I do it?

 

Wow! You’ve got quite the ambition. That’s great that you want to grow your business, and employ your friends, to boot. If buying a box truck is the logical next step, it seems like a smart one. You can haul much more stuff more efficiently. You could even haul other people’s cars! Buying a heavy vehicle alsooffers tax advantages. However, before you make this purchase, you should study up on logistics, warranty, and insurance, as well as create a business plan.

 

It seems like you thought through it a little, and you have experience with money. Still, you want to be sure you have all the logistics sorted. For example, where are you going to store the truck when you aren’t driving it? How often are you going to use it? Do you have somewhere nearby to get it repaired? The last thing you want is for the truck to take up so much of your time and energy that you can’t focus on your business, let alone your school work.

 

What type of warranty do you think you’ll need? Look at this site for Chrysler Warranty Direct, a company dealing in car warranty in Hudson, MI—the options are manifold. If you’re making a big business investment like a truck, you want to be sure that if it breaks down, cracks an axel, or enters any of innumerable other nightmare scenarios, those basics are taken care of. If you are buying it from a third party—off of a used car lot or from another business—you might not have the assurance of a warranty from them. You want to be sure you know where you can get one.

 

You also have to take insurance into account. You can’t insure a commercial truck like you could a normal car. Not only will you need to insure the truck, but, if you look at this website for American Insurance Brokers, a commercial truck insurance company, you will see that commercial insurers offer options for workers compensation, cargo, and even on-hook towing. This type of insurance can be expensive, so you have to take that into account for your monthly expenses.

 

You should also research your liabilities if you decide to purchase a box truck. According to Erik J. Conrad of Conrad Law Offices, and accident attorney in Stroudsburg, PA, commercial trucks of over 10,000 pounds are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act. A ten or fourteen-foot box truck can tip those when they’re full. Your truck would be subject to a higher standard of maintenance and inspection, which means that you would be the one making sure it is safe.

 

You mentioned something interesting and cool, and that is the fact that the truck runs on biodiesel. Biodiesel is, in essence, diesel fuel made out of old grease. This page from SeQuential biodiesel lays out the process. The biodiesel processor collects used oil, fat, and grease from anywhere with a fryer. The oil is then taken to a refinery, where it is filtered and then blended with other chemicals to produce crude biodiesel in a process called transesterification (you can read about it on theUS Department of Energy’s site). The processors then refine the crude biodiesel, just like they would crude oil, which is then shipped out to pumps and individual customers. The other bi-products include glycerin, used in everything from soap to heir gel to antifreeze.

 

Biodiesel is one of the greenest fuels out there—barring an electric truck—one that will help your company live up to its namesake. It can be hard to come by.Drive Biodiesel has a database of biodiesel gas stations in the United States. That said, most biodiesel you purchase is a mix of biodiesel and normal fuels. Any diesel truck can run biodiesel (sorry if that bursts your bubble!). If you see a fuel with a label that reads “B##,” that number describes the percentage of biodiesel mixed with normal petrol diesel. Most pumps won’t have pure biodiesel; however, some pumps will. That is, if there is a pump to begin with. If one isn’t close by, you may want to ask your university’s transportation services. They might have some alternative ideas for alternative fuels.

 

Last, you want to think about money. Box trucks are expensive, which means that you may have to borrow money. Do you think you can afford to pay off a loan?Inc.com has some great advice for looking at small business loans. As they mention, the first place you should look is at lenders backed by the Small Business Administration. However, most SBA loans require you to come up with a business plan, which you will have to write. Who are your customers? Just students? Students and people in town? How much are they willing to pay, and how much do you think you will need to earn? You may be a natural businessman, which is great, but even born big wheels need to realize that knowledge and planning are success multipliers.

 

“The important thing is not the miles you’ve driven, but what you’ve driven into your head with those miles.” – My Truck-it List, Book 1: Ice Road Trucking

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