Sleeper semi-trucks have a bed in their cab so over-the-road (OTR) drivers do not have to pay for a motel every night. Avoiding motel rooms is a major cost-saving strategy, but purchasing this type of truck requires a sizeable investment. If you want to purchase a sleeper truck for OTR driving, discover some ways to save on the equipment purchase.
Purchase a Used Sleeper Semi-Truck
Limit your search to only used sleeper semi-trucks, for these will be substantially lower than comparable new models. Since the majority of a truck’s depreciation occurs in the first few years of driving, even trucks that are only a few years old can be substantially more affordable than brand-new trucks.
No matter what type of truck you purchase, you will save money by getting a used one. The savings is greatest for sleeper cabs, however, since they tend to be more expensive than day cabs that do not have a bed.
Moreover, purchasing a used truck will provide ongoing savings beyond the initial purchase price. Since used semi-trucks cost less, you will also save on interest and insurance.
Forgo the Fancier Amenities
Some sleeper semi-trucks are essentially mobile hotel rooms, offering much more than just a bed. The nicest sleeper cabs have a couple of beds, a kitchenette, a toilet, and a shower.
While such amenities are certainly nice to have in your cab, they can significantly increase the cost of even a used semi-truck. They also are not strictly necessary, as all truck stops have public restrooms, and many have showers available too. A cooler and small microwave cost much less than a full in-cab kitchenette.
Skip all but the one essential amenity — a bed — and you will save handsomely on your truck’s cost.
Again, the savings that forgoing amenities provide will not just help you spend less on the purchase price. You will also save on interest and insurance since the truck costs less, and you will have fewer systems that could someday need repair.
You will even save a little on fuel costs since each of these amenities adds weight to the cab and decrease fuel efficiency. The reduction in fuel efficiency might seem small, but even a minor reduction can add up if you drive hundreds of miles each day. Your truck will cost a little less to run if it does not have the weight of extra amenities.
Increase Your Down Payment
When you finance a sleeper semi-truck, whatever you do not pay at the time of purchase will accumulate interest over the term of the loan.
Making a larger down payment will not reduce how much you pay at the time of purchase and will actually increase your upfront cost. It will substantially lower the total amount that you pay for the truck, however, since you will save on interest throughout the course of the loan. That results in years of savings with most semi-truck loans.
As an example, consider how much doubling a down payment could save you in the first year alone. Assume you purchase a used sleeper semi-truck for $75,000, and your interest rate is five percent.
If you put $7,500 down at the time of purchase, you will finance $67,500 and pay a total of $3,375 in interest during the first year. If you can increase the down payment to $15,000, you will finance $60,000 and pay $3,000 in interest during that first year. Of course, you will continue to pay less in interest every year thereafter for the length of the loan.
If you are already an owner-operator with your own semi-truck, consider picking up a few extra jobs to save up more for your next truck. If you are an employee, maybe driving a few extra months before purchasing your first truck would be wise.
Improve Your Credit Score
Any company that finances your sleeper semi-truck purchase will run a credit check before underwriting your truck loan. The better your credit score is, the lower the interest rate you can qualify for.
To see how much a lower interest rate could save you, assume the same example as above. If you put $15,000 down on a $75,000 truck, you will finance $60,000. During just the first year, you would pay $3,000 if your interest rate is five percent, and $4,800 if your interest rate were eight percent. Each percent you decrease the interest rate by will save you $600 in year one.
Your credit score is made up of multiple factors, and some of them are difficult to improve quickly. If you are able to quickly pay down debt, however, that could provide a quick boost to your score. How much of your available financing capital is being used — how much debt you have — is one of the major factors that credit scoring agencies consider.
If you want a used sleeper semi-truck, check out the inventory at Arrow Truck Sales.