Owner Operator Seeking advice regarding first purchase of truck

redash

New Member
Hello,

I am currently a truck driver out of Quebec City, Canada. I've been driving for 1.5 years and all I've ever driven is an automatic 2018/2019 Volvo VNL 760 and Freightliner Cascadia. I am looking to purchase my own truck and am seeking advice before diving in.

In preparation of purchasing my own truck I asked my company to drive their older manual trucks and so for 2 weeks now I've been driving a 2013 Freightliner Cascadia with approximately 600k miles on it (approx what I was looking to buy). Here's a few of the things I noticed (lots of rattle all over the place, truly lives up to the Freightshaker moniker)
1. Grinding rattle from under the gear shifter (gets very loud when accelerating or going up hill)
2. Small random rattle from inside the console (sometimes present even when idling)
3. Multiple rattles from the cabinets in the back (have to hit, pull, punch them before they'll let you sleep at night)

I've spoken to my company about the noises but they say its all cosmetic, none of the noises are symptomatic of a deeper issue and there is nothing they can do to fix it.

My question to people who own this truck or a similar model of a similar condition, is this a common thing among all Freightliners or have I just got a lemon here. Is there a way to solve the issue in case it pops up in my own truck?

Secondly, could you please look over my approximate monthly revenue and expenses break down and see if I'm missing anything here;

Insurance and plate fees will be covered by the carrier
Revenue: $14,560
Expenses;
Fuel: $4600
Oil Change: $250
Tires: $150
Truck Payment: $1700
Misc: $300
Monthly Pre-tax income: $7560

P.S all the dollar amounts are in Canadian Dollar.

Here is an example of the kind of truck I am looking to buy
2014 FREIGHTLINER CASCADIA CA125SLP Highway Tractor
# STOCK: C-27436

THE VEHICLES ARE LOCATED AT:
609 PRINCIPALE, SAINT-PAUL-DE L’ÎLE-AUX-NOIX, QUÉBEC, J0J 1G0

Engine: DETROIT DD-15
Liters: 14.8 litre
HP: 505 hp @ 2100 rpm
Odometer: 880,322 KM
Transmission: EATON-FULLER RTLO-18913A
Speeds: 13
Front axle: 13,300
Rear axle: 40,000
GVWR: 52,350 lbs
Suspension: AIRLINER
Tires: 11R22.5 / 11R22.5
Wheels: ALUMINIUM / ALUMINIUM
Brakes: AIR
Wheelbase: 232 “
CA: 88 “
Spead: 52 “
Frame: SIMPLE

Thank you.
 

Ontario Outlaw

Hozer Witta Hood
What type of freight will you be pulling? Dry van?

That sounds like a pretty typical fleet specced plain jane truck.

Older truck interiors rattle. Small strips of rubber or foam in cabinet doors and such improve life. New latches help too.

I wouldn’t buy a Cascadia, but arguably for dry van applications they are the most fuel efficient platform.

Hope you have a thick skin :idiot:
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
I'd stay away from 2010 - 2013 Cascadias due to emissions problems. 2014 and up are much better machines. Those grinding noises are not normal... that alone is a reason to pass on any truck. Rattles in any older truck are to be expected - grinding noises, unexplained vibrations are usually a bad sign.

How does the maintenance done by your carrier rate to your idea of how it should be done? Do they skimp on things, and defer a lot of repairs? That should tell you something about the condition of the truck. Look for reasons to walk away from any given truck purchase.

How does the price you are offered stack up to prices in Truck Paper for similar model years and mileage trucks? Prices should be comparable, since Truck Paper does largely represent the state of the used truck market. Rigdig reports can be had to explore the history of a truck through its VIN number. If you can get a sample of the truck's oil with 20-50k miles on the oil, a full service oil analysis can tell you a lot about what's going on with a truck's engine.

Finances: once you get past 500k miles (US) a lot of stuff starts needing to be replaced due to wear. You need to be able to absorb that, and keep running. Can you survive a $15,000 US repair bill? What happens if you hit a 3 month stretch when your expected revenue gets cut by 60% due to market conditions - can you survive that?

Keep in mind what you're proposing is jumping from trucking as employment to trucking as a business with one employee - yourself. That's a completely different way of approaching trucking. Do you have any business management experience? How about basic accounting? Can you construct a monthly profit/loss sheet on your own? Your settlement checks are cash flow into your company: your paycheck is an expense against your business"s profit/loss sheet.

Have you done everything you can to shed recurring personal expenses? Your first year or two as a small business trucker are likely to be financially painful. Many of us have as much as a 50% personal revenue decrease (that's not at the settlement/cash flow end) until you get your feet on solid financial ground. Getting your personal expenses under control before you jump in the deep end will help a lot.

Remember, if the truck isn't running, you won't get paid. If it's a choice between a needed 3 axle alignment and a new TV, you have to choose the alignment to forestall the expense of early tire replacement due to accelerated wear.
 
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redash

New Member
What type of freight will you be pulling? Dry van?

That sounds like a pretty typical fleet specced plain jane truck.

Older truck interiors rattle. Small strips of rubber or foam in cabinet doors and such improve life. New latches help too.

I wouldn’t buy a Cascadia, but arguably for dry van applications they are the most fuel efficient platform.

Hope you have a thick skin :idiot:
Yes, I'd be pulling dry van general freight. After getting some advice on another forum I am now considering Kenworth and Peterbilt as well.

I'd stay away from 2010 - 2013 Cascadias due to emissions problems. 2014 and up are much better machines. Those grinding noises are not normal... that alone is a reason to pass on any truck. Rattles in any older truck are to be expected - grinding noises, unexplained vibrations are usually a bad sign.

How does the maintenance done by your carrier rate to your idea of how it should be done? Do they skimp on things, and defer a lot of repairs? That should tell you something about the condition of the truck. Look for reasons to walk away from any given truck purchase.

How does the price you are offered stack up to prices in Truck Paper for similar model years and mileage trucks? Prices should be comparable, since Truck Paper does largely represent the state of the used truck market. Rigdig reports can be had to explore the history of a truck through its VIN number. If you can get a sample of the truck's oil with 20-50k miles on the oil, a full service oil analysis can tell you a lot about what's going on with a truck's engine.

Finances: once you get past 500k miles (US) a lot of stuff starts needing to be replaced due to wear. You need to be able to absorb that, and keep running. Can you survive a $15,000 US repair bill? What happens if you hit a 3 month stretch when your expected revenue gets cut by 60% due to market conditions - can you survive that?

Keep in mind what you're proposing is jumping from trucking as employment to trucking as a business with one employee - yourself. That's a completely different way of approaching trucking. Do you have any business management experience? How about basic accounting? Can you construct a monthly profit/loss sheet on your own? Your settlement checks are cash flow into your company: your paycheck is an expense against your business"s profit/loss sheet.

Have you done everything you can to shed recurring personal expenses? Your first year or two as a small business trucker are likely to be financially painful. Many of us have as much as a 50% personal revenue decrease (that's not at the settlement/cash flow end) until you get your feet on solid financial ground. Getting your personal expenses under control before you jump in the deep end will help a lot.

Remember, if the truck isn't running, you won't get paid. If it's a choice between a needed 3 axle alignment and a new TV, you have to choose the alignment to forestall the expense of early tire replacement due to accelerated wear.
The pricing on the dealer websites and online marketplaces like truckandtrailer.ca are competitive with Truck Paper so I am not too worried about that, my best bet right now is to get something from a reputable dealer like Arrow Truck Sales or Pride Truck Sales which is most likely come with some sort of warranty.

Right now I am trying to find where the balance is, how much should I spend so that I minimize my risk of buying things at their breaking point and how much is too much where I'll instead lose money to excessive depreciation. I was budgeting 60,000 but after some advice it seems that I should up it a little and try to get a slightly newer model so that 500,000mile window isn't right around the corner.

Thank you for you input.
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
Yes, I'd be pulling dry van general freight. After getting some advice on another forum I am now considering Kenworth and Peterbilt as well.



The pricing on the dealer websites and online marketplaces like truckandtrailer.ca are competitive with Truck Paper so I am not too worried about that, my best bet right now is to get something from a reputable dealer like Arrow Truck Sales or Pride Truck Sales which is most likely come with some sort of warranty.

Right now I am trying to find where the balance is, how much should I spend so that I minimize my risk of buying things at their breaking point and how much is too much where I'll instead lose money to excessive depreciation. I was budgeting 60,000 but after some advice it seems that I should up it a little and try to get a slightly newer model so that 500,000mile window isn't right around the corner.

Thank you for you input.
Trucking is an expensive business. It doesn't matter what year you buy, breakdowns occur. Most dealers will do everything they can to avoid paying out on a warranty claim. The same advice applies. Have the cash reserves to weather a $15,000 repair bill.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
Go price out the actual service on a cascadia with a dd13 or dd15 engine.

Then go do the same for an ISX 15.

Then go talk to different shops and ask them which engine tends to come in for more rebuilds and at what kind of miles.

What you'll find is engines are being junked out as early as 300,000 miles, max of 600,000 because they are tearing themselves apart from carbon build up.

Mainly from increased service intervals, emissions systems and excessive idling.

Brakes are the same regardless of make/model. Same with tires. Figure a set of tires will generally have to be replaced before their third winter. If you do your part, brakes about the same.
 

Electric Chicken

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I'd want $30,000 in cash above and beyond the purchase of the truck before I set out on my own.

Whatcha gonna do when you need an overhaul and you got a load to deliver. That's the biggy. And it could happen your first day out, when you haven't earned a penny.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
your statement of "$30,000 cash"....

I barely got home 10 days into owning my truck, 4 mechanics looked at it. One I paid to go to the dealer and do a complete DOT inspection on it prior to me leaving for Portland Or to look at it. The Dealership did an inspection. I had a MN DOT inspection done on it and then a 4th mechanic looked at it because it was wearing steer tires funny.

$4000 later. not even 10 days into ownership, I am paying for steer tires, kingpins and a ton of front end work.

It's not just about having the "Cash on hand."....

It's about having the ability to leverage your resources to cover your equipment. Even if you build equity in your equipment and not have "free cash" on hand.

Opportunity costs apparently are ignored by many. Often they are more expensive than an actual break down.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
Insurance and plate fees will be covered by the carrier
Revenue: $14,560 Probably a bit low. But its a good place to start.
Expenses;
Fuel: $4600 definitely low
Oil Change: $250
Tires: $150
Truck Payment: $1700 my finanace guy on my first truck was happier to see me with about $1000 for a truck and $500-600 for a trailer to begin with. As you get more experience and better freight, that number can go up.
Misc: $300
Monthly Pre-tax income: $7560 Definitely too high to begin with.

Most will tell you to be at $2/mile for freight. I am not even going to begin with where the errors are in that but I am sure there are a bunch of smart folks that will tell me how wrong I am. I've never figured my rates that way and I'm not going to start now.

Fuel and Maintenance after 7 years in business are about $0.76 per mile. You can adjust that based on the fuel efficiency of the truck you run and the DOE fuel prices for the week.


Just remember. You are selling a service that's based on you completing that service in the smallest amount of time. Not how many miles you haul their crap.
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
There's a reason I had extra money thrown in on the loan, good at the chain of dealers. Bought the truck, things are fine. Literally drive away and it needed a pile of stuff as a 700 mile shakedown drive is going to find things a local test drive ain't. Then more stuff surfaced on the way to lease on.

Things are going to rattle, but there's a difference between rattling and grinding. Grinding bad.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
There's a reason I had extra money thrown in on the loan, good at the chain of dealers. Bought the truck, things are fine. Literally drive away and it needed a pile of stuff as a 700 mile shakedown drive is going to find things a local test drive ain't. Then more stuff surfaced on the way to lease on.

Things are going to rattle, but there's a difference between rattling and grinding. Grinding bad.
uuugh. That was a trip.
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
Most will tell you to be at $2/mile for freight. I am not even going to begin with where the errors are in that but I am sure there are a bunch of smart folks that will tell me how wrong I am. I've never figured my rates that way and I'm not going to start now.

Fuel and Maintenance after 7 years in business are about $0.76 per mile. You can adjust that based on the fuel efficiency of the truck you run and the DOE fuel prices for the week.


Just remember. You are selling a service that's based on you completing that service in the smallest amount of time. Not how many miles you haul their crap.
Not in Canada, remember how I was like NONONONO... It's like 4 bucks plus a gallon up there if you math it out, and the Canadian Rockies are wider and meaner than CO/WY. Canada doesn't bother with a brake check area until you're dealing with >8% grades.


And yeah, that was "Fun" with things ****ting themselves out the gate. It's ok though, since I had the same thing happen with my brand new 2016 200 miles on it Prostar at Knight. "That's Truckin'..."
 

Electric Chicken

Well-Known Member
Supporter
your statement of "$30,000 cash"....

I barely got home 10 days into owning my truck, 4 mechanics looked at it. One I paid to go to the dealer and do a complete DOT inspection on it prior to me leaving for Portland Or to look at it. The Dealership did an inspection. I had a MN DOT inspection done on it and then a 4th mechanic looked at it because it was wearing steer tires funny.

$4000 later. not even 10 days into ownership, I am paying for steer tires, kingpins and a ton of front end work.

It's not just about having the "Cash on hand."....

It's about having the ability to leverage your resources to cover your equipment. Even if you build equity in your equipment and not have "free cash" on hand.

Opportunity costs apparently are ignored by many. Often they are more expensive than an actual break down.
So to summarize, you rolled your eyes at me to start an argument for absolutely no good reason. Simply because I'm the one who typed it.

30 grand is what I would personally want to have on hand to cover the worst and still keep my house.

Do whatever you want, but I'd rather write a check and keep going than start putting stuff up for collateral.

It's not much different from going out for this shoulder. I saved up my cash so I wouldn't have to start selling everything.
 
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ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
So to summarize, you rolled your eyes at me to start an argument for absolutely no good reason. Simply because I'm the one who typed it.

30 grand is what I would personally want to have on hand to cover the worst and still keep my house.
Depends on how bad you got bent over at the used truck lot...

Whatever it is you have stashed away, eventually you'll wish you had more.
 
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Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
So to summarize, you rolled your eyes at me to start an argument for absolutely no good reason. Simply because I'm the one who typed it.

30 grand is what I would personally want to have on hand to cover the worst and still keep my house.

You don't have equity in your equipment on day 1 unless you paid cash for it. I would not borrow against my own truck to fix the truck. You can if you want to, but I'd rather have the money in the bank and write a check.

If you have 30k cash on hand you're better off getting more down into the truck, or outright buying it vs paying for it. Preventing interest costs ends up being more valuable than keeping it in the bank.
 

Electric Chicken

Well-Known Member
Supporter
If you have 30k cash on hand you're better off getting more down into the truck, or outright buying it vs paying for it. Preventing interest costs ends up being more valuable than keeping it in the bank.
Above and beyond the truck. Already said this.

What's the point of having a dead truck with zero to no interest and no way to pay for repairs. Now you just lost yourself everything but hey, low interest!

It's stupid to tap yourself out just buying the truck.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
So to summarize, you rolled your eyes at me to start an argument for absolutely no good reason. Simply because I'm the one who typed it.

30 grand is what I would personally want to have on hand to cover the worst and still keep my house.

Do whatever you want, but I'd rather write a check and keep going than start putting stuff up for collateral.

It's not much different from going out for this shoulder. I saved up my cash so I wouldn't have to start selling everything.
I rolled my eyes at you because again, you have yet to put skin in the O/O game and yet make it seem like you know it all.

Running this business is more than just simple, "I got $30G in my bank account.".....

It's understanding what a lease purchase is versus a "lease purchase" vs being leased on to someone.

It's understanding that you can do everything wrong. And still win.

It's understanding you can do everything RIGHT. And still loose.


and what really matters is how flexible you truly are.
 
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