Commercial Truck Sales Overview
Box trucks provide an affordable, versatile way to transport products or supplies. Businesses of all sizes use these common vehicles for a wide variety of tasks such as delivering products to customers, moving inventory between warehouses and retail stores, or bringing equipment to job sites.
Also called cube trucks, cube vans, or box vans, box trucks consist of a cab - the passenger compartment and engine - and a separate box for cargo. This two-piece construction is what differentiates them from cargo vans, which are more like passenger vans with one-piece construction.
Gasoline vs. diesel engines
One basic decision to make before buying a box truck is whether you want a gasoline or diesel engine. Both are fairly common in trucks of this size, with diesel holding a slight edge.
Diesel engines provide a few important advantages for box trucks. Their design gives them more power at low RPMs, making it easier to start from a standstill with a heavy load. In addition, they run cooler and are built with stronger components than gasoline engines, improving their longevity.
Gasoline engines, on the other hand, are quieter and less polluting than diesels. However, that advantage is somewhat less than it used to be thanks to improved diesel technology. It's also easier to get parts and fuel for gas engines than diesel, and at high RPMs, they provide more power.
One important consideration is the cost of fuel. Historically, diesel fuel was generally less expensive than gasoline - but no longer. Soaring oil costs have raised prices on both to the point where they're more or less equal in many parts of the country. Diesel engines get marginally better mileage than gas, but their somewhat higher initial purchase cost will largely offset this advantage.
- Bottom Line: All of these points make it a pretty even match between the two. By some estimates, with all factors weighed equal, a diesel box truck may be slightly cheaper than a gas truck… but only by about $15 per week. That’s less than $800 in savings per year. The single most important consideration, then, is if you already have diesel or gasoline vehicles in your fleet. Sticking to one type of engine will simplify your maintenance and fuel storage needs, so it can be an easy way to make the choice.
Box truck options
Box trucks are generally measured by the length of the cargo area. The most common sizes are from 14' to 26'. Small, midrange, and larger vehicles can be found. But the larger versions are rare - they’re typically much more expensive and harder to drive. Plus, smaller trucks provide the capacity most businesses are looking for.
In general the three sizes break down by their class ratings:
- Light duty trucks (classes 1, 2, and 3) – 12' to 14'
- Medium duty trucks (classes 4, 5, and 6) - 16' to 18'
- Heavy duty trucks (classes 7 and 8) - 24' to 26'
Almost all box trucks have roll-up gates in the back similar to garage doors. One option you may want to invest in is a lift gate, a powered platform that raises and lowers your cargo from the street to the back of the truck. If you'll be using your truck mainly at loading docks, you won't need them, but for on-street deliveries it's a huge timesaver.
One expensive option for the cargo area is refrigeration. A very small minority of box truck buyers need refrigerated trucks, but if you're one of those few, it's essential. Be prepared to spend extra cash on both the up-front purchase and additional operating costs.
Other extras in the cargo area can include translucent ceilings for light, electric lights, pass-through doors into the cab, and rail systems along the walls that make it easy to secure cargo when needed.
In the operator's cab, you have a range of familiar options to choose from. Automatic or manual transmission, A/C, bucket seats, CD players, and other comfort and convenience options are similar to those available in new cars.
Prices for new and used box trucks
If your truck is going to be an essential part of your daily activities, it can make sense to buy new. However, if the truck is going to less central to your business, buying used is often a smart way to save money.
- New box truck prices vary according to the size of the truck and the options you select. Smaller light duty trucks (class 1 to 3), in the 12' to 14' range, can go for $29,000 to $54,000, with most falling in the $32,000 to $36,000 range. In comparison, medium duty trucks (class 4 to 6) from 16' to 18' vary from $35,000 to $62,000 - more if you really load them up with extras. And for a heavy-duty truck (class 7 to 8), from 24' to 26', you’ll pay anywhere from $80,000 to $114,000.
- Used truck pricing spans a huge range, just like used cars do. A 16' truck that's only a year old, with only a few thousand miles on it, may go for $26,000 instead of its $40,000 new price. But if you choose a truck that's 4 to 5 years old, with 50,000 or even 100,000 miles on it, you can expect to see prices between $20,000 and $57,000.
Older trucks go for even less. You can find 10 or 15 year old box trucks that still run for as little as $5,000, but you can expect them to have 300,000 or 400,000 miles on them. In general, you won't find these kind of commercial truck sale prices at dealerships you'll find them in classified ads and online commercial truck sales.
This brings up the element of "buyer beware" when considering any used box truck for sale. Only buy from a dealer who offers at least some warranty to make sure your money isn't wasted on a lemon. Because of the longevity benefits, diesel trucks are often a better choice if you're buying an older vehicle.Ready to Compare Box Trucks Price Quotes?