Buying a new work truck can be overwhelming – there is quite a bit to consider to make sure that you are getting the right vehicle for the job. This work truck buying guide will make the process easier for you – whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced commercial owner looking to expand your utility truck fleet.
We’ll break this article into two parts.
Part 1 will cover the questions you need to ask yourself to pick the right work truck for you.
Part 2 will cover the concrete steps needed to purchase the right work truck.
Consider the following questions when choosing your work truck:
What Is The Maximum Load Your Work Truck Will Need To Haul Or Tow?
First and foremost, what will you be using your work vehicle for? Will you be primarily putting payloads in the back? Or will you need to have towing capability? For either payloads or towing, how much weight will you need to carry? Ultimately, these questions will help you identify what type of work truck you will need.
Typically, work trucks are divided into three separate categories based on hauling capability:
These categories reflect the maximum load-carrying capacity of the vehicle, determined by what is known as the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (or GVWR for short). The GVWR includes not only the weight of the payload loaded onto the vehicle (in the cab and in the truck bed), but also the weight of the truck itself, fuel, and any passengers that may be inside the vehicle.
This is the maximum load the truck will still safely operate as intended, and should not be exceeded. That’s why it is so important to purchase a work truck with your weight-carrying requirements accurately listed out. GVWR is divided into eight weight classes, as listed below:
Class 1: GVWR of 0 to 6,000 pounds
Class 2: GVWR of 6,001 to 10,000 pounds
Class 3: GVWR of 10,001 to 14,000
Class 4: GVWR of 14,001 to 16,000 pounds
Class 5: GVWR of 16,001 to 19,500 pounds
Class 6: GVWR of 19,501 to 26,000 pounds
Class 7: GVWR of 26,001 to 33,000 pounds
Class 8: GVWR of 33,001 pounds or more
It’s important to note that GVWR is different from your towing capacity. Think about it – the weight pushing down on the vehicle frame vertically when loaded with cargo differs from the amount of load the frame can pull horizontally when towing. The tow weight will vary depending on the specific vehicle you purchase, since it depends on things like the engine, transmission and suspension.
For example, a new Ford F-150 will typically fall between class 1 and class 2 depending on the engine configuration that you use.
Where Can I Find The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating?
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of a vehicle is shown on the vehicle’s Safety Compliance Certification Label, located on the driver’s side door lock facing or the door latch post pillar. You should also be able to find it in your truck’s user manual.
Where Can I Find A Truck’s Towing Capacity?
When buying a work truck, there may be a sticker on the door noting the tow capacity. At a minimum, the value will be listed in the owner’s manual. If you are unsure, always ask the dealership if the truck you want to buy is rated for the weight you plan on towing. In general, most light-duty trucks can tow anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 lbs. A heavy-duty pickup truck can tow upwards of 30,000 lbs.
Do I Need A Two-Wheel Or 4-Wheel Drive Truck?
Most light-duty trucks (many pickups, delivery vans, cargo trucks, etc.) tend to be two-wheel drive. These vehicles typically have better gas mileage, a lower likelihood of transmission problems, and are cheaper. However, you should consider your driving conditions when selecting a 2WD truck vs a 4WD truck.
If you are driving offroad, or working somewhere with a lot of snow and ice, a 4WD vehicle will be the better option for you. A 4WD work truck will also be a better option if you plan to tow very heavy loads, since it will provide more stability, especially in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Just be sure to consider the added cost of a 4WD.
What Size Work Bed Truck Do I Need?
Your truck bed size is directly related to how much cargo you plan on hauling. Take note of the type of payloads you plan on carrying with your truck and the dimensions of these items. Truck bed lengths are typically divided into:
Short bed: 5’5” to 5’8”
Standard bed: 6’3” to 6’6”
Long bed: 8’ to 8’1”
Truck beds can be open or closed, referring to whether or not the bed is enclosed with a roof and walls. This will depend on the type of payload you plan on carrying and perhaps the weather conditions where you typically work.
How Much Space In The Truck Cab Do I Need For Passengers?
The type of cab you need will depend on the number of passengers you plan on carrying. Cab styles are divided into the following categories:
Standard cab: This traditional truck typically only has two seats. Sometimes a third middle seat is provided, but does not offer a lot of comfortability.
Extended cab: These trucks have jump seats behind the front row. Based on the small size, these may not be comfortable for a normal-sized adult to use on a regular basis. These vehicles only have two doors.
Crew cab: These work trucks can accommodate up to 6 people in the front and rear seats. They have four doors, and are a great option for work crews that need to travel to the job together.
Do I Need A Gas, Or Diesel Engine?
When choosing between gas or diesel, the main factors to consider are towing power, payload required, and cost. Gasoline work trucks are cheaper to buy and maintain, while also having a higher payload capacity. On the other hand, diesel trucks have a higher towing capability thanks to their high torque, and are more durable and long-lasting.
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what types of trucks you should be looking for, here’s how we recommend you initiate the buying process.
Step 1: Decide On How Much You Want To Spend
The first crucial step in acquiring a work truck for your business is to determine how much you want to spend. Beyond the initial purchase price, it’s essential to consider the total cost of ownership. This encompasses regular maintenance, service costs, and unforeseen expenses that may arise during the vehicle’s lifespan. However, keep in mind that your budget should extend beyond the sales price; factor in additional costs like taxes, registration fees, and any potential modifications or upgrades required to tailor the vehicle to your specific needs.
You may also want to consider whether or not a used work truck makes sense for your budget. A used truck may cost less, but a new truck will typically have a longer effective life and will typically require less maintenance upfront.
Step 2: Look Into Financing / Insurance Options
Once you’ve established your budget, it’s time to delve into financing and insurance options, which constitute the second step in the process. Lakeland Ford can help you with financing options for commercial vehicles.
There are a number of considerations for commercial truck financing. Before applying for financing, check your credit, as it can significantly impact your interest rates and loan terms, potentially influencing your overall expenses in the long run.
Step 3: Talk With Your Accountant
Step three involves consulting with your accountant to discuss the financial implications of acquiring a work truck for your business. Your accountant can provide valuable insights into potential tax benefits or deductions associated with the purchase. For example, specific depreciation rules may apply to equipment that could affect your tax liability. It’s essential to comprehend the tax ramifications of buying a vehicle for business use, including possible deductions and credits, as these can have a substantial impact on your overall financial picture. Additionally, be sure to review any tax rules that may be specific to SUVs and trucks, as they can differ from those governing regular passenger vehicles.
Step 4: Purchase The Work Truck
The final step is to proceed with the purchase of your work truck, taking into account your previously defined budget and financial considerations. Begin by documenting your business’s truck requirements to ensure that the vehicle you select aligns with your operational needs. As a cost-effective alternative, consider investigating decommissioned rental trucks, which may offer a viable solution for your business needs. When inspecting a potential truck purchase, pay close attention to key components such as tires, rims, windshields, and mirrors for any signs of damage or wear. Lastly, weigh the pros and cons of buying versus leasing based on your fleet’s turnover rate and usage patterns, as buying may be the preferable option if your vehicles undergo significant wear and tear during their service life.
When choosing a work truck, there are plenty of factors to take into account. The above questions will help steer you in the right direction.
In general, when it comes to work trucks, the Ford brand has long been a top choice among buyers. Great for personal projects and commercial applications alike, Ford work trucks provide durability, reliability, and safety for drivers. Check out our offerings at Lakeland Ford today!