The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Moving Truck
Discover the essentials of buying a moving truck for your moving businessBy Nelmie Jane Pardo | Updated March 21, 2023
Choosing the right moving truck is one of the most critical buying decisions for a moving business owner.
Should you buy a used truck to save money or invest in a new one? Where do you buy the best truck for your business needs?
We’ve created this simple guide to help you make a sound financial decision as you grow your moving business.
Table of Contents
Getting a moving truck: Used or new?
A used truck is a smart choice if you want significant cost savings. You don’t have to shell out a large sum for a new vehicle, and you can focus the rest of your budget on moving supplies and other expenses.
- Budget-friendly: A used box truck in good condition can provide many years of service, giving you the best bang for your buck. A quality truck used for four to five years will cost around 40% to 60% less than its original price.
- Lesser depreciation: New vehicles depreciate fast. When you buy a pre-owned truck, you avoid the 20% to 30% initial depreciation associated with new cars during the first year of ownership.
- Lesser insurance costs and fees: You can expect more affordable insurance premiums and lower sales tax for a used moving truck.
A brand-new box truck offers better durability and dependability if you have the budget for it. With a new vehicle in excellent condition, you don’t have to worry about anything breaking down anytime soon.
- Superior, more reliable performance: Fresh-off-the-factory-line models feature cutting-edge technology and the latest safety updates. They come in pristine condition, so there are likely no surprise hidden issues that require costly repairs.
- Warranty coverage: You get warranty coverage for two to three years, and you can purchase an extended warranty after that for extra peace of mind.
- Fresh appearance: A new moving truck undeniably looks more visually appealing than the worn look of a used truck, helping you impress prospective customers.
Ultimately, buy a moving truck you can afford that meets your specific business needs, whether new or used. You should make sure you’re financially capable of making a big purchase to avoid affecting your company’s cash flow.
Pro Tip: Buy new if you’ll need a moving truck for more than five years and expect your moving truck to log more than 25,000 miles annually. Get a used truck if you’re unsure how long you’ll need the truck. When maintained properly, you may be able to sell it for nearly the same amount you bought it if you go in a different direction in the future.
Moving truck costs
So, how much does it cost to buy a moving truck?
Used box truck average costs
The costs of used moving trucks vary significantly, depending on their size, age, mileage, condition, and location.
- One-year-old box trucks with a few thousand miles usually cost $40,000.
- Five-year-old box trucks with up to 100,00 miles cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.
- Ten-year-old box trucks with over 200,000 miles cost $5,000 to $10,000.
New box truck average costs
The price of new box trucks mostly depends on their size.
- Light-duty class 2 to 3 box trucks cost $25,000 to $45,000.
- Medium-duty class 4 box trucks cost between $35,000 and $50,000.
- Medium-duty class 5 and 6 trucks cost around $45,000 to $90,000.
- Brand-new class 8 trucks cost roughly $165,000 to $175,000 or higher.
Considerations before buying a moving vehicle
Pick the right size for efficient moves. The last thing you want is to make several trips when moving numerous pieces of furniture with a small truck, raising the moving costs and reducing your moving company’s profit.
Generally, cargo vans and small trucks are great for moving small studio apartments, whereas larger box trucks have more space for moving bigger homes.
Here’s a quick chart showing the ideal sizes for different moving needs:
|Home size||Moving vehicle type and size|
|Small studio apartments and 1-bedroom homes||Cargo van or 10’, 15’ or 16’ box truck|
|1-to-2-bedroom apartments and homes||15’, 16’, or 18’ box truck|
|3-4 or more bedroom apartments and houses||20’, 22’, or 26’ box truck (the bigger, the better)|
Choose a truck with the correct Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) to meet your moving company’s load needs.
Diesel or gas
- Consider a diesel engine for fuel efficiency if you’re going to drive more than 15,000 miles each year.
- Otherwise, a moving truck with a gas engine is a more affordable choice.
It’s best to find a trusted seasoned mechanic you can rely on for maintenance and repair. Do your research and familiarize yourself with the wear and tear of moving vehicles, whether buying a light-duty moving van or a class 8 heavy-duty box truck.
The truck’s history is the top thing to consider when buying a used vehicle. Don’t be tempted by used trucks on sale at unbelievably low prices.
- Request an extensive history of the used truck, including its repair history, modifications, and traffic and accident records.
Additionally, investigate the entire condition of the truck, from its tires and engine to its body and mileage. And get the expert opinion of a certified truck mechanic, so you know what you’re getting into.
While it can be tough to find slightly used trucks, take your time to find a less-worn truck to avoid headaches down the road. You want a moving truck that doesn’t require frequent repairs in the first few years.
Where to buy a moving truck
Some of the popular sellers of used moving vehicles include:
- Penske (highly recommended)
- Budget Truck Rental
The three major moving truck manufacturers are Freightliner, Hino, and International.
Take your time comparing the pros and cons of different brands before making a final decision.
Consider a rental truck if you urgently need a temporary moving vehicle while buying one for your business.
Renting different moving trucks is also a great idea before making a final purchase, so you and your employees can discover which models you like best.
Whether buying new or used, the right moving truck for your moving business fits your day-to-day operations and financial situation.