Every fleet owner reaches a point where they have to expand their fleet, whether it’s to meet increasing demand or plan for growth. Adding new trucks to your fleet is the only way to scale operations. However, there are several factors that need to be considered, from cost to commercial truck roadside assistance programs.
1. How Many Trucks Do You Really Need?
Expanding your fleet can help you grow your trucking business, but how many trucks do you really need? How many trucks can you truly manage without compromising on safety or maintenance?
Growth should happen organically and slowly as the need arises. Rapid growth may seem like a great thing, but operations can easily become unorganized, chaotic and more difficult to control if growth happens too quickly.
So, consider how many trucks would be a reasonable amount for your fleet expansion. It’s easier to expand your fleet as needed than it is to scale back operations and scramble to get things back under control.
Keep in mind that expanding your fleet means more than just buying new trucks. It also means hiring new drivers, adding support staff and expanding your insurance coverage.
2. Lease, or Purchase?
Cost is one of the most important factors to consider. Where do you get the best deal and everything you need for the most reasonable price?
Another part of the cost equation is how you will pay for your new trucks? Will you lease the new vehicles, or own them? Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Fleet owners have many options when acquiring new trucks. Outright ownership is one option, but finance leasing and full-service leasing are other attractive options.
One advantage of shorter term leasing is that it allows fleet owners to keep up with the ever evolving and expanding equipment technology being added to commercial trucks. New equipment and technology generally equate to greater efficiency and safety.
Smaller fleets may benefit to some degree from outright ownership of trucks. Financing a truck purchase or buying a truck outright allows you to take advantage of the Section 179 tax deduction. With Section 179, you can deduct most or all of the purchase price and borrowing costs in the first year. The deduction can help offset some of the costs of expanding your fleet.
However, ownership does have its disadvantages. Adopting new technologies and equipment will require further investment and may not always be possible without upgrading to a new vehicle.
The size of your fleet and your goals will ultimately determine which option is right for you and your fleet. Weigh the pros and cons of each option carefully before making your decision.
3. Maintenance and Commercial Truck Roadside Assistance
Every new truck that you add to your fleet will need to be maintained to get the best lifetime ROI. In calculating your ROI, besides scheduled maintenance, you also have to plan for breakdowns, accidents and other issues.
Consider your current maintenance regimen and whether it can be easily scaled to meet your growing fleet’s needs. Joining a commercial truck roadside assistance program (if you haven’t already) can help keep your fleet moving when emergencies arise and allow you to flex your fleet size as needed without taking on additional overhead.
Growth is the goal of any fleet owner, and fleet expansion is one of the best ways to achieve that goal. However, it’s important to consider these three important factors before pulling the trigger on buying or leasing new trucks.