I'm thinking hard about buying a used car hauler. It supposedly is in good shape, and ready to work. It is $22,000 I have $5,000 on me. So, obviously I'd need financing. I have a number of questions about this.
Here's a quick description of my situation. I'm a single, no kids 30 yo male. I currently drive local for Sysco Food service. It's a good union job, that has amazing benefits. But I asked myself after working here two and a half years, will I retire with this company? I told myself, no... My back is killing me, and I have tendonitis in my shoulders, and hips from this job already. So, I'd like to get back to car hauling. I'd like to have my own truck, and lease on with someone.
Is this crazy? (Should be the first question).
Is this a horrible time? (Weak economy, but looks like it is picking up a bit).
Who would finance me? How much am I looking at for payments?
Should I look at newer car haulers instead? (I like the low price of this truck, but it could be a shop queen).
You don't need necessarily need to spend big bucks to get a good truck. I would expect there are some good buys around. There are a few things that should be checked on a car hauler such as the general condition of the trailer, ramps and hydraulics. You still need to check the usual mechanical items on the truck. I haven't checked car hauling rates lately, but I would expect them to be low like the rest of the freight business, especially with the downturn in the auto industry. Business could be good for those hauling repos to the auctions. Financing may be the most difficult issue. Lenders look for a good credit rating and experience in the industry. I would start with your bank first. There are also leasing companies who specialize in class 8 equipment. You may find it more difficult to finance a car hauler than a regular otr truck. It may require more leg work to find suitable financing.
As far as with my bank goes, would it be a buisness loan, or a vehicle loan? And I told the seller I want as many photo's of all the decks up and down, in and out, to look for cracks, and rust. But you never really see them till your in person. I've been pondering just a conv sleeper truck purchase as well, and I found a nice T600 with 600k for $19k. Also says to be in good shape, ready to work. I wonder which would be the best route to go.
Before doing anything I would check with some of the car hauling companies to see how rates and business is holding up and see what their requirements are concerning equipment. I remember several years ago Fleetcar required all new owner operators to paint their truck and trailer their corporate blue color within a short time after leasing on. It isn't cheap having a car hauler painted. I have seen a couple of car haulers who will lease purchase a truck to drivers. It isn't something that I recommend. If you know someone who has a subscription to Central Dispatch you could also look around at some of the rates. Van rates are really low. I do see some improvement in rates lately. They aren't were we need them but they are better than the first quarter.
If you can't find a carrier you can lease on with then you can always get your own authority. I think most of them are more concerned with the condition of your equipment. If you have an older truck that looks good then it is likely going to be easier to lease on to a carrier than one that looks ragged and has a lot of rust. When I hauled cars I hauled under my own authority.
I think that I paid about $8,200 for insurance when I hauled cars. I had $1MM in liability and $250M cargo. I had some car dealers with whom I worked as well as using some brokers. We didn't have the internet back then. A friend of mine was hauling cars until about 8 months ago and he primarily used one load board. My insurance company told me that some of these insurance companies are charging less for insurance with so many going out of business. They are trying to keep what business they have. She also told me that as soon as the economy improves the rates should start to go back up. I don't think it will be that easy regardless of which way you decide to go. Personally, I prefer running my authority. I know of others who prefer leasing to a carrier. Not all insurance companies cover automobiles. You might check around to see what rates you can get on insurance. I think my friend paid over $10,000/year for his insurance. It would probably be an easier transition if you lease to a carrier.