New purchase: Independent jump-starts transition with 2018 Pete

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Previously in this series: New purchase: Trucking under warranty until retirement

Having factory-extended warranties was a big factor in Salvador Solis’ decision to buy a new Peterbilt 389.Having factory-extended warranties was a big factor in Salvador Solis’ decision to buy a new Peterbilt 389.

Albuquerque, New Mexico-based owner-operator Salvador Solis bought his 15-liter Cummins-powered 2018 Peterbilt 389 just this year, putting down 15 percent after saving it to go toward the purchase price of around $150,000. The purchase followed two decades and more behind the wheels of trucks in a variety of operations: cement mixers, roll-offs, dumps, oil tankers and more.

He speaks to the attraction of a new vehicle for the peace of mind that comes with factory-extended warranties on offer from truck makers and their dealer partners. As an object lesson, Solis said in late February that his business was sidelined as he awaited brake-related repairs on a used Wabash reefer trailer he’d recently purchased. “We drove from Albuquerque to Phoenix to pick up the trailer … and we’re not going anywhere now.”

The ultimate considerations are the availability of cash for a down payment and expectations of future revenue to cover payments and leave plenty of profit. “Everybody does what they can within their means,” Solis says.

The 389, purchased from the Rush Truck Centers location in Albuquerque, is his first truck, though his trucking experience helped him get bank financing that was “better than what the dealer wanted to do on the interest rate.” Being able to put down 15 percent helped demonstrate his commitment to the purchase and his business’ future.

Before buying the used reefer, he was pulling another company’s dry van and “could’ve bought a brand-new van for the price” he paid for the reefer, “and I wouldn’t be sitting and waiting,” he says. “I thought I’d get out of my comfort zone” and go after better rates as an independent hauling reefer freight.

With his 18-year-old son on the truck to learn the business, Solis was planning to start out using DAT load boards for spot reefer loads. Spot market reefer rates climbed year over year by almost 18 percent as of February, but the effect is muted a bit if you consider the rise in fuel costs.

“It’s never too late to start your own business,” says Solis, 46. “I’m hearing good things right now” about rates and general conditions “and hoping for the best.”

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