3 Tips for Small Business Owners
Purchasing a truck is a significant investment for small business owners. How will they use their new asset to make a profit? Entrepreneurs must ensure they pick the best truck for their industry and much of their decision lies in the bed design.
Truck beds come in nearly infinite styles, from specialty cement mixers and reefers for cold goods to the standard pickup. Each has its uses — and detractors. How can small business owners choose the right truck bed for the job? Here are three tips.
The Purpose Is in the Design
Unlike personal vehicle purchases, business owners should worry less about the final sticker price and focus primarily on functionality. Fortunately, the IRS allows deductions for buying such assets. Those who meet the qualifications can write off the purchase price using the Section 179 deduction, but those who don’t still qualify for other assistances, like depreciation.
There are a few basic bed designs broken down into smaller subcategories by type. Which one an owner chooses depends largely on the nature of their enterprise:
- Flatbeds: These beds feature no roofs or walls, letting owners haul cumbersome, oddly-shaped objects.
- Stake-bodies: Similar to flatbeds but with stakes to create a rough enclosure. Good for loose or tall objects.
- Service bodies: Contain drawers, shelving, and other components to organize tools and keep them within easy reach. Enclosed designs also safeguard against theft.
- Specialty bodies: These include specialty applications like cement mixers, extension ladders, and other unique features required by those in the construction and agriculture industries.
In some cases, business owners discover cost savings by repurposing an asset they already own. For example, the right conversion kit can transform a traditional pickup into a dump truck. Such an investment only requires a capital expenditure of a few thousand dollars versus five or more figures for a new vehicle.
New or Used
New vehicles depreciate the second they drive off the lot. Although the value decreases less sharply for work trucks than for luxury or sports cars, it’s still a factor business owners should discuss with their accountants.
There’s a huge aftermarket for used trucks and savvy entrepreneurs can find bargains if they know where to look. For example, Penske auctions used trucks on eBay — often for far less than a dealer.
Business owners might have to travel for the right asset at the right price. Scores of B2B auctions exist nationwide, but shipping a truck from Pennsylvania to Arizona can get pricey. Run the numbers — flying and driving the new vehicle to its destination might be more cost-effective.
A Truck Is More Than a Bed
Choosing the right truck bed is only part of the equation. Savvy business owners know they must evaluate the totality of the vehicle — and the circumstances.
What other uses might this asset address beyond the immediate need? How hard would it be to convert it to that use? How hard is it to fix when it breaks down? Here are four additional factors entrepreneurs should consider when choosing the right truck and bed for the job.
1. Engine Capacity
A vehicle’s engine capacity determines many things, including how it traverses steep grades while carrying heavy equipment. Although it isn’t synonymous with towing capacity, a bigger engine can make for a more comfortable ride when there’s a trailer hooked to the back. Manufacturers often express it in CCs or cubic centimeters.
Business owners can do the math to calculate the requisite engine capacity to carry the loads they need. However, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Engine capacity refers to how much air and fuel the vehicle can mix to make the truck go, and larger engines result in limited fuel economy. Therefore, savvy entrepreneurs figure out the lowest capacity that still does the job.
2. Cab Size
Many business owners overlook cab size when purchasing trucks. Although it may seem minor, it becomes important quickly if three burly workers struggle to fit inside for a long-distance trek. People are getting bigger on average and there aren’t any signs of a downward trend.
Furthermore, owners should consider the long haul. Will crews frequently use the vehicle for traveling to out-of-town job sites? If so, does the cab contain a sleeper compartment to save costs on lodging? Some models even include basic bathroom facilities.
3. Towing Considerations
Heavy equipment often has to do double or triple duty for multiple job site tasks. It’s smart to ask about the towing capacity of a potential new truck. Occasionally, a job site might require extra equipment or the truck might have to aid a fellow fleet mate that blew a rod.
4. Ease of Repair and Parts Acquisition
Some manufacturers make repairs easier than others. In general, it’s also quicker to order parts made close to home versus foreign truck makers that take forever to order from overseas. Read reviews and talk to repair industry professionals to get their recommendations before making a final purchase decision.
Taking Care of the Investment
Finding the right truck bed for the job is only the first half of the equation. Any heavy equipment used for work is sure to take a beating. How can intelligent business owners protect the value of their investments?
One method is to use the proper protective coat. For example, Rhino liner has a longstanding reputation for protecting truck beds from damage from sharp metal edges and countless scratches.
However, it’s not only for beds. Savvy entrepreneurs can apply this to their equipment anywhere that the extra weight won’t cause too much headache — it’s virtually indestructible. It prevents rust even if the fleet doesn’t get a thorough wash after every job.
Choosing the Right Truck Bed for the Job
A new truck is a substantial business investment. Savvy owners must ensure they choose the right bed for the job, so use this handy guide to select the perfect vehicle.
The right truck can increase profitability and boost an enterprise’s bottom line. It can also save considerable headaches by getting the job done quickly and right the first time.