by Shane Adair, Marketing Manager
As a small-business owner in the world of trucking, your vehicles and equipment are the lifeblood of your company. More than anything else, you need to have dependable semi trucks and trailers to reliably carry freight from its origin to intended destination. How can you make sure your organization replaces equipment in the most effective way possible, balancing financial and operational needs? Use this advice to get started.
Understanding when you need to replace your trucking equipment
There are a number of factors in play when it comes to developing a schedule for equipment replacement, including your preferences as a business owner. You may want to be conservative in an effort to minimize unplanned downtime and related complications by developing a set timeline for replacement, or a similar limit based on total mileage. On the other hand, you may want your trucks for a longer period of time, possibly by moving older vehicles to less strenuous tasks or short-haul work that keeps them nearby and ready to be quickly replaced, if needed.
Whether you take a more aggressive or conservative approach, it’s critical to establish your criteria for replacing your vehicles and related equipment. Keep these factors in mind as you develop a plan for repair, reassignment and replacement:
Repair and maintenance costs
As vehicles get older, they require more attention, time and money to continue to operate smoothly and efficiently. Although the exact costs will change from one vehicle to the next, you can use your records to calculate average maintenance costs for your own fleet. That can help you determine exactly when you’ll stop using a older semi truck and purchase or lease a new one.
Without taking this information into account, you can easily reach a point where repair and maintenance costs become a significant financial burden. Trucks that regularly need work done, whether expensive replacement of major parts of the engine or regular preventative maintenance, are also in service for shorter periods. That’s a major drawback compared to a newer vehicle that requires less attention.
Replacement and reassignment
Although not all trucking companies operate in a way that makes reassigning older trucks feasible, it’s an important consideration for businesses where such a strategy makes sense. By putting older semi trucks to work on shorter routes that stay closer to your offices and maintenance facilities, it’s easier to get more value from them while addressing the potential need to send out a replacement if the truck breaks down. Keep this option in mind if it fits into your business model.
Emissions and environmental standards
Manufacturers have to meet certain emissions and environmental standards as they produce new automobiles, and certain states have their own, stricter policies for allowing trucks and other vehicles within their borders. Meeting those standards is an important consideration for companies that want to operate across the country, and can play a major role in determining when to purchase new trucks.
Mileage and efficiency
New vehicles offer advantages beyond lower repair and maintenance costs in their first several years of operation. Although not a guarantee from one model year to the next, the general trend for vehicles over time is to offer better gas mileage and more efficient operation. Replacing vehicles can lead to lowered costs in the context of long-term fuel purchasing and similar considerations.
Finding a dependable financing and lending partner for your trucking needs
No matter when you choose to acquire new trucks, TAB Bank is here to help you secure the financing or loan you need to make it happen. To learn more, get in touch with us today.
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