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Buying a new work truck is not too much different than a consumer buying a new car. That is, we start with what features we need for that truck. Then we shop around and settle for the dealer and/or manufacturer that will give us the best value for our money. The internet gives us a lot of information, especially with the pickup trucks. Fleet manager Bob Perry spends a lot of time with the various dealers acquiring information and price quotes.
For the heavy duty trucks, we typically will look at Freightliner, International and Kenworth for manufacturers. We require certain specifications. For example, our lumber trucks typically have heavy duty axles, tires, engines, suspension and transmission to better handle heavy loads over rough, jobsite terrain.
We also put a high value on driver comfort and safety. Some trucks have noisier cabs than others, and some have smaller cabs than others. We need trucks that have a big wide-open windshield for driver visibility. And, with the small jobsites, a tight turning radius is always best.
For the last 4-5 years, Freightliner has meet our expectations regarding specifications at a fair price. So, we have gone with them on the last seven of our lumber trucks. On the pickup trucks, Ford gives us the best value.
How do you as a contractor determine what you need? And what brands or dealers do you favor?