Most owner-operator truckers will finance their trucks because the cost to outright purchase a semi-truck is extreme. The good news is that there are multiple purchase options for potential owners to choose from when purchasing a semi-truck. Semi-trucks can be leased, rented or purchased.
Let’s take a deep dive into the benefits and disadvantages of each option.
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How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Semi Truck Outright?
First, keep in mind that semi-truck costs can vary greatly from one manufacturer to the next. Features will add to the overall cost, and you’ll pay more for a newer truck than an older model. We’re going to take a look at the general pricing options for new and used models along with the prices of some of the largest manufacturers in the industry.
New Semi-Trucks For Sale Pricing
New semi-trucks offer the latest and greatest features, confidence on the road and fewer initial risks compared to a used semi-truck. Costs vary greatly from model-to-model, with a major variable being the features you opt for when making your purchase.
Tesla Semi Truck Cost
Tesla’s semi-truck promises to be the safest truck in the world. As a new player in semi-trucks, the company is in the spotlight and is going to be one of the most in-demand semi-trucks on the road.
The semi can go from zero to sixty in twenty seconds and offers greater power than most other models on the market.
Tesla’s price is:
- $150,000 base price (300 range model)
- $180,000 base price (500 range model)
- $200,000 for the Founder’s Series
Tesla’s model does not use gas, so it’s estimated to save $200,000+ in fuel costs. The vehicle’s advanced collision detection and autopilot options have the potential to make this the road’s safest semi-truck.
The company plans to offer a two-year buyback period, so if you don’t find their semi-truck up to your standards, you will have the option to sell it back to the company.
Kenworth offers a few trucks, but the company’s main rig is the 2020 T680. We’ve seen new models selling for between $127,000 and $159,000, depending primarily on location and features.
You’ll also find the 2021 T880 for sale for between $170,000 and $205,000.
The T370 is a lower-priced model and the model that also comes with the least features and power. You can expect to pay around $74,000 for new 2020 models of this rig.
Peterbilt prices are difficult to find due to the majority of dealers requiring that you call them for a price. The call is an attempt to get you on the phone with a sales agent so that the dealer can try selling you on their vehicles.
We were able to find some price points for new 2021 Peterbilt 579 models.
The price for these models ranges from $149,000 to $164,000.
Sleeper models will cost around $30,000 more than their non-sleeper counterparts. You’ll be able to find 2020 models that are new and didn’t sell in the $115,000 to $130,000 price range.
A lot of dealers have “special” e-prices for their models, so it’s definitely worth your time if you shop around and try to find the best price.
Volvo is another industry leader known for offering long-lasting rigs that are reliable and at the upper price range.
The cost of Volvo semi-trucks is around $147,000 to $149,000 for the 2020 VNL64T760 with 425 HP.
Just like purchasing your own vehicle, when you purchase a semi-truck, there are a lot of features and packages offered at a higher cost. You may be able to choose a rig with a more robust engine or transmissions options that can make a big difference especially if you’re hauling goods primarily in mountainous areas.
A few of the features that will make a difference in the semi truck’s price are:
- Horsepower – A major option is the amount of horsepower of your rig. Standard horsepower ranges are 400 to 600. If you do purchase a rig with more horsepower, they will often last longer. The extra horsepower allows for less strain on the engine and will add to the lifespan of the truck.
- Transmission – A lot of rigs will have a 10 to 12 gear transmission. The higher the gears, the better. When you have a higher gear transmission, you’ll notice that the vehicle is more fuel efficient and will run smoother.
- Radiator – The larger the radiator, the more cooling will be supplied to the engine. Smaller radiators obviously cost less, but they will put more strain on the rig’s engine.
- Axles – Some semi trucks will have more axles than others. Extra axles will cost more money in road fees, but you’ll be able to carry larger loads. The trade off is that the extra axles will add to the price tag of the semi truck.
Freightliner requires you to go through a quote process to learn about the company’s prices or to contact a dealer. You’ll want to look at the prices in your local area and at your local dealer to see what your prices will be.
Local prices near me have the 2020 Cascadia selling at $150,974. The model in question is a 12-speed automatic. But there are some models that are in the $125,000 to $155,00 range.
Lease rates for a semi-truck vary on the base price of the truck and the interest rate on the lease. Newer semi-trucks can cost $80,000 to $200,000 for top-end models with all of the latest features.
You’ll obviously pay more for a lease on a $200,000 truck versus an $80,000 model.
Leases are available for older models, so you’re likely to find models that are in your price range. Credit score will also play a role in your rates, so there are a lot of variables that go into a lease and how much you can expect to pay monthly.
A few factors that will also go into the overall monthly rate are:
- Truck age
- Business plan
If you’re an experienced owner-operator who can prove that you have a solid business plan and earn sufficient money, you’ll be able to secure better rates. Even if you have bad credit but have experience, you’ll often be able to lease but at a slightly higher cost.
What can you expect to pay in commercial truck leasing prices?
Prices are typically:
- $800 to $1,600 for a used truck
- $1,600 to $2,500 for a new truck
You’ll want to discuss your leasing options with your loan provider. The longer the lease term, the lower the monthly payment, but you’ll pay more in interest costs. You’ll need to judge the best option for you and your current financial situation. As an owner-operator, you’ll be able to write-off your costs in either case.
But you need to make sure that you can comfortably afford the lease payments and may have to choose a cheaper semi-truck if you cannot confidently afford the monthly payment.
Insurance will often cost $1,000 a month and you will have to put down a similar down payment on the rig.
You may pay slightly less for insurance if your truck is older, or you may pay as much as $1,500 per month in insurance for a new rig. All of these costs must be considered when purchasing a rig to ensure that you make enough revenue to cover all of your monthly costs.
The average owner-operator earns $2,730 per week, according to data provided by 3rd-party salary aggregators. Annual revenue for an owner-operator averages $204,000, but this figure can be much higher in some cases.
Team drivers earn more since they can be on the road more often. Even if you consider your monthly leasing costs, less than a week’s revenue, owner-operators earn significantly more than company drivers.
The biggest difference is that you’ll also take on significantly more costs, including maintenance costs, fuel costs and taxes that employers often cover on your behalf. If you don’t mind needing to handle managerial tasks, being an owner-operator allows for more freedom and much higher revenue.
Semi-truck rental rates vary, and most truckers or owner-operators will only opt to rent a rig when their rig has broken down or they need to haul one or two loads of freight without any other options available.
Renting does offer fewer expenses and hassles than leasing a truck.
The cost to rent is typically:
- $175 – $215 per day
It’s far cheaper to lease a truck than it is to rent a truck for the entire month.
When you choose to rent, you’ll find that the prices above are for an average semi-truck rather than a high-end model.
You will also want to discuss the potential for insurance with your insurance company and rental company.
If you have your own insurance, it’s important to inquire about the rental semi’s insurance to ensure that the truck and freight are both insured. If you’re in an accident and the freight is not insured, you may have a major liability on your hands.
Trailers can also be rented at a price of $45 to $110.
Again, keep in mind that different semi-trucks will have different rental rates.
Based off of the standard, most common models, you can expect to pay:
- Single Axle Day Cab – $170 to $200 daily
- Tandem Axle Day Cab – $185 to $200 daily
- Tandem Axle Sleeper – $210 to $215 daily
Rentals are on a day-to-day contract, and you may be able to negotiate a lower rental rate if you’re willing to commit to a longer rental period.
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