Considerations When Buying a Vocational Truck Application

By Product Expert | Posted in Buying Advice, Vocational on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 2:42 pm

By Jeremy Trapp
Vocational Sales Manager
Allstate Peterbilt Group
There are many points to consider when purchasing a truck for a vocational application. Whether it’s a dump truck, a mixer, or a refuse truck, here are few suggestions to get you started.
Know your state regulations for weight restrictions.
Bridge Laws aren’t about complying with weight restrictions of driving over a bridge, they are about “bridging” or distributing the weight over the number of axles on your truck. Generally speaking, the more axles you have, the less impact you have on the road.

Trucking entities that have high payload goals, truck dispatchers, farm truck owners and operators, and any company representative who influences the purchase or alteration of new truck, should be aware of county and state weight laws in which they operate.
You don’t want to spec or operate a truck that does not comply with your payload goals and state laws.
Many state universities have continuing education programs that will keep you up to speed. Here’s an example of a program in Minnesota, Minnesota Truck Weight Compliance Program.
Power isn’t the only factor when choosing an engine.
One of the key components of your new vehicle is the engine. The obvious criteria for choosing an engine is the power need. You will want to make sure that you have appropriate engine power to operate efficiently and effectively with your application and your payload goals. For example, if you require mountain driving or carry greater than 80,000 lbs. you will likely need a 15 liter engine. If you drive on flat highways you could probably spec a lighter engine.
The not so obvious consideration for engine selection is location of operation. You want to make sure that you have certified engine service conveniently located in your area of operation. Certified technicians are the only ones that can perform warranty work. If you operate in out-state areas, this is a very important point as not all engine manufacturers have dealerships and/or distributors with service technicians located near you.
Think about the driver.
Do you want to reduce driver training time? You may want to consider automatic transmission. One of the hardest things to learn in driver school is shifting. And if you are running in the city with a lot of starts and stops, your drivers may prefer vehicles with automatic transition. Automatic transmission takes a bad or average driver and makes them good. It’s just easier to drive.
Is driver safety a priority for your company? Electronic stability, anti-rollover and air-disc brakes are options you might consider. Electronic stability increases traction and keeps the vehicle from spinning out of control. Anti-rollover helps truckers maintain control in emergencies by keeping the wheels on the ground and the trailers from swinging. (It will be mandatory in trucks made after Aug. 1, 2017) and air disc brakes helps you stop quicker.
Should you custom-build or buy a work -ready truck?
If you are one person needing one truck consider purchasing a work-ready truck. Chassis manufacturers who have established relationships with body-builders often have finished trucks for sale. Work-ready trucks are built with the most common specification for the application. Work-ready trucks are also a great option for supplementing your fleet with unexpected up-ticks in business. Either way, there will be no wait time for build; you can put it to work as soon as the ink is dry.
If you need a fleet of trucks, custom building is recommended. Find a knowledgeable sales representative who knows the requirements of your application, the body-builder options and specifications, and the chassis manufacturer. Building a custom fleet provides you with a uniform product that makes it easier to train drivers, stock parts, and perform service.
Consider contract maintenance.
It’s easy to manage your monthly truck payment; but it is not always easy to budget for service and maintenance – especially if you have an unexpected breakdown. One way to manage your monthly costs is to purchase a contract maintenance plan. In addition to regular maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations, the plan may also include warranty, vehicle storage, back-up rental, and parking options.
Know your payload goals, your area of operation, conditions of vehicle operation, and your driver population and you will be prepared when you work with your sales representative to purchase a custom or work-ready truck for your vocational application.
Learn more about the latest trends in Vocational Truck Specing.

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