The cost of owning a commercial truck is a lot higher than you might think. There are two separate ways to do this. First, truck drivers can own their own trucks, or secondly, they can partner with companies who own them. In this article, we’ll take a look at the cost of owning a truck and the reasons why and why not you might consider being an owner/operator of your own commercial trucking rig.
The Cost of a Commercial Truck
I’m talking mostly from the perspective of a commercial truck driver, but the cost of owning a truck is big for companies, too. There are many different types of cabs, and the average cost of a new truck is a hair over $100,000. This price can vary due to a number of factors. If buying a used rig, independent salesman will often inflate the price in order to negotiate down to a higher selling point. So, companies and owner/operators first have to do their research to find a trustworthy seller.
In addition to the upfront cost ($100,000 for a cab, around $125,00 for a sleeper), companies have other costs they must pay, too. The biggest, of course, is fuel. Well-used trucks can easily drink 20,000 gallons of diesel in a year. Over the past 6 months, diesel has averaged about $3.20/gallon. This average stretched out over a year would add up to about $64,000 in a given year. And we’re just getting started!
Repairs for a commercial truck are generally even more expensive than regular car repairs. There are two reasons for this. The first, obvious one is that commercial truck repairs require specialized repairmen to fix them. Secondly, commercial trucks break down a lot. Most truck companies have gotten pretty good at designing their trucks to stay on the road instead of being in the shop. Still, if a driver travels over 100,000 miles a year, the truck is going to break down eventually. Over a year, this cost comes close to $15,000.
Commercial Truck Costs for Companies
In addition, companies that buy their own fleet also have to pay for insurance on trucks, which costs about $8,000-$12,000 per year. In a fleet of 50 trucks, that cost averages another $500,000 per year. For truckers looking for work in the field, this is important to know. Companies don’t want to pay for drivers with a spotty record. If they don’t follow DOT rules, the DOT can fine the company a hefty amount.
Companies who invest in their own trucking fleet usually have a couple of extra costs. One major cost is the salary of the driver. In most companies, the person or group of people who own the trucks are not the ones driving them. The average salary paid to truck drivers is roughly $40,000 to $50,000 a year. Tanker and HAZMAT endorsed drivers can up that average to around $65,000 a year and maybe even closer to $100,000 per year.
For example, if a company doesn’t use a drug test to screen drivers, they can be out anywhere from a couple thousand to $25,000. Driving more than the 14 hours a day can cost the company as much as $135,000. These costs quickly add up if they don’t pick drivers who are passionate about driving in the right lanes. Companies do everything they can to cut this kind of cost.
Commercial Truck Costs for Individuals
While companies have costs that they have to pay to operate a trucking fleet, the same goes for Owner/Operators. The cost to attain a CDL license, for example, is about $3,000. This raises up to around $7,000 if you want a Class B CDL with all of your endorsements. Most companies will not pay for you to get your license, though some will pay to help you get certain endorsements.
Keeping up a commercial truck is very similar to keeping up a car. Like all cars, you need to register and inspect it regularly. Not doing this on time can result in a fine, as you might have suspected.
Whether or not you want to have your own truck is left up to you. In either case, it’s important to know whether or not you want to front the cost on your own or leave that to a larger company. For both truckers who don’t own their own rigs and owner/operators, UES Solutions offers job opportunities. Oil companies, especially in the Midland area, are having trouble finding drivers to expand their business. To read more about that shortage, follow our blog! One of our articles later this week will talk about that very thing.