How much does a truck really cost?

Jason Cannon

May 15, 2013

You’re probably well familiar with the term “sticker shock” when it comes to buying and selling a truck.

But Patrick Gaskins, AmeriQuest Transportation Services Vice President of Financial Services, says factors beyond the purchase price will determine the value in adding a vehicle to fleets.

“Make sure you also include the choice of vehicle financing, tax implications, expected utilization, and resale value in your estimating,” he says. “To determine the most realistic cost, you should view the buy-use-sell phases as a single continuum.”

Gaskins explains that different people within a truck fleet will have different perspectives about what aspect of the process is most important.

“If you’re in procurement, you may think getting the lowest price and best financing has the biggest impact,” he says. “For the fleet manager, it might be all about getting the best fuel efficiency and keeping repair costs down. And if you’re responsible for remarketing, you might think the best resale price is most significant.”

For those looking to sell these vehicles to prospective customers, having the proper information condensed and available can be key.

“It’s unfortunate that in many fleet management scenarios operate in silos, with the finance manager having little understanding of day-to-day operations and what specs are needed to run one truck 120,000 miles a year on highway, while another runs short delivery runs in an urban area,” Gaskins says. “In an ideal scenario, procurement, operations, and remarketing departments should collaborate fully to help the fleet accomplish its end goal, which should be to run at the lowest possible cost-per-mile.”

Using this kind of data-driven intelligence, Gaskins says in his blog post, you can determine how to most cost-effectively buy, use, and sell a commercial truck before choosing a financing option that will work best for that truck, and the solution may not be the same for each asset in the fleet.

“When evaluating true life cycle operating costs, remember to keep three small words in mind…buy, use, and sell,” he says. “These three stages of a commercial truck’s life are inextricably linked and should always be viewed together when making any calculations that will affect a fleet’s profitability.”

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