There are more goods than ever being delivered all around the country with the rise of e-commerce, creating big opportunities for those in the trucking industry. Many people may wonder about the cost to purchase a semi-truck outright and if it’s a lucrative option to become their own boss as an owner-operator.
Semi-trucks come in a wide range of prices, depending mainly on the size and features. The make and model, hauling capacity, fuel efficiency, and engine specs may also impact the price. If you’re buying a new semi-truck, you should expect to pay anywhere between $80,000 and $200,000.
- How Much Does a New Semi-Truck Cost?
- Types of Semi-Trucks
- Other Types of Semi-Trucks
- How Much Does a Sleeper Semi-Truck Cost?
- Factors That Impact the Price of a Semi-Truck
- How Much Does a New Volvo Semi-Truck Cost?
- How Much Does a New Peterbilt Semi-Truck Cost?
- Buying a New Semi-Truck Versus a Used Semi-Truck
- How Much Does a Used Semi-Truck Cost?
- Things to Consider When Buying a New Semi-Truck
- Can You Lease a Semi-Truck?
- Can You Rent a Semi-Truck?
- Is It Worth It To Buy a New Semi-Truck?
- Related Guides
How Much Does a New Semi-Truck Cost?
A new semi-truck is a big investment that requires a lot of capital upfront, whether it’s cash or through financing. However, it can pay off for the owner in the long run.
The price of a brand new semi-truck will depend on the manufacturer, size, and features first and foremost. You should plan to spend a minimum of around $100,000 for a standard rig, and closer to $140,000 for better features. A high-end semi-truck may cost $180,000-$200,000.
Average Price Ranges for Semi-Trucks
|Type of Semi-Truck||Average Price|
One of the biggest factors in the price of your semi-truck will be the manufacturer. Just like regular cars, certain brand names come with a higher price tag. However, the adage that “you get what you pay for” usually ends up being accurate. The tradeoff is that you may end up with better features, a better warranty, or just a better operating truck with certain manufacturers.
Average Price by Manufacturer
|Manufacturer||Base Price||Max Price|
Types of Semi-Trucks
Semi-trucks are typically identified as either sleeper cabs or day cabs. A truck with a sleeper will cost more than one without, but there are advantages to being able to hop in the back and get some shut-eye during a long haul.
Day cabs are for truckers that go on quick hauls and single-day trips. The cab is smaller and doesn’t have features like insulation and soundproofing, and they typically are not as comfort-focused as sleeper cabs. Because of these specifications, they also come with a lower price tag.
Sleepers are great for long drives. They serve as a home away from home for many long-haul truckers. These cabs feature comfortable sleeping quarters, bathrooms, and even small kitchens in some units. These trucks will be significantly more expensive than a day cab, and they may not have as much room for cargo. The benefit, however, is that you wouldn’t have to spend money on hotels and rest areas which could save you in the long run.
Other Types of Semi-Trucks
There are also sub-categories of semi-trucks that are broken down by the type of roof and front end of the rig. These include:
These have a traditional hood length allowing for easy access to the engine. This is the standard, classic design for a semi-truck.
In these trucks, the cab sits above or in front of the front axle, and the shape is more round and shorter. This allows for a longer trailer, but the placement of the cab can result in a rougher drive.
These include a lowered roof to improve fuel efficiency through better aerodynamics.
These trucks have extra room (usually 12-18 inches in height) to allow for an extra bed or more storage in the cab.
How Much Does a Sleeper Semi-Truck Cost?
Sleeper cabs do cost more than day cabs, but the price difference can be well worth it when you consider the money saved over the years on paying for lodging and eating out. Not to mention the increased productivity and comfort of making space your own. Of course, the biggest advantage is that sleeper cabs promote safety on the road by giving drivers a convenient place to rest and recharge.
A new sleeper cab has an average cost of $55,000 (not including the tractor), and a new sleeper semi-truck may cost anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000 depending on the size and amenities. You may even find some options under $200,000, like the Kenworth W900L ($172,235).
There are additional costs for a sleeper, including a mattress, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to as much as $2,000. For a built-in bathroom, you can expect to add another $2,500 or more. Many drivers prefer a soundproofed cab, which also costs an additional $1,000 to $2,000.
Some owners opt for custom sleepers, especially those who spend a significant amount of time on the road and truly need to make it a home away from home. A new semi-truck with a custom Sleeper can cost anywhere between $200,000-$300,000. That kind of investment is generally not for someone who is just starting out in the industry.
Custom sleepers are larger than standard sleeper cabs, so they can reduce the cargo capacity. These cabs can be anywhere from 96 inches to 168 inches. These luxury cabs can include larger kitchens, stoves, cabinet space, satellite TV systems, bathrooms, custom flooring, and larger beds.
How Big Are Sleeper Cabs?
Sleeper cabs come in a variety of sizes, and you can expect to pay a premium for more space. Manufacturers typically offer standard models and more expensive options with upgraded features and a larger sleeper.
Here are some of the largest sleeper cabs available on the market that are not custom-made:
Sleeper Cab Size by Manufacturer
|Kenworth||T680||40 - 76|
Factors That Impact the Price of a Semi-Truck
The things that are the biggest influencers on the price of a semi-truck are also some of the most important features and components that you’ll need to take into consideration.
These factors include
- Fuel efficiency
- Cargo capacity
- Sleeper vs. day cab
Other Costs of Owning a Semi-Truck
There are other costs to consider when you decide to purchase a semi-truck, and they vary from vehicle to vehicle. You’ll need to budget for these added expenses along with your truck payment:
- Fuel costs
- Maintenance costs
- Oil changes
- Required inspections and certifications
- Repair and breakdown costs
- Lost time costs
You should also remember that you may need to purchase a trailer for your semi-truck. If so, a new trailer can cost around $50,000 for standard size and weight capacity.
Total Cost to Own (TCO)
Just like a car, semi-trucks have an operating cost. The total cost to own includes all of the maintenance, repairs, fuel, licenses, tolls, and so on. The cost to operate a big rig is significantly higher than owning other types of vehicles, so you need to budget for these long-term expenses as well.
It’s estimated that it costs around $180,000 per year to operate a semi-truck or approximately $1.38 per mile. That does not include the initial purchase price of the vehicle.
Fuel Costs ($70k/year)
It should come as no surprise that fuel is the single biggest operating cost for drivers. An eighteen-wheeler truck will take approximately $71,000 per year in fuel. This number could be higher depending on the actual miles driven, the load types, and the fuel efficiency of the truck.
Semi-trucks that are more fuel-efficient, especially hybrid vehicles, can cost more upfront but there can be big savings in the long run. Not to mention that there are several rebate programs around the country that offer credits for fuel-efficient trucks.
Routine and regularly scheduled maintenance is essential to the life of your truck. However, these jumbo-sized vehicles usually require specialized service centers and a higher volume of components like motor oil, which costs more money.
Keeping up with maintenance is the best way to keep your truck on the road. When you depend on your rig for your livelihood, the extra cost and time to take care of her are more than worth it. That being said, you should budget at least $15,000 annually for maintenance and simple repairs.
Insurance costs vary depending on your coverage, but typically premiums are lower than many people expect. The base coverage will protect your rig and your haul in the case of an accident, but you may want to invest in more coverage than the minimum required by law.
Other Expenses ($5k/year)
It’s a good idea to budget for miscellaneous costs like tolls, licenses and permits, parking fees, and other operational costs that you may not remember. You can also use this fund for a bit of a cushion if one of the other categories exceeds your planned budget. You should also remember that the prices of everything go up when the size of your truck goes up.
How Much Does a New Volvo Semi-Truck Cost?
A new Volvo semi-truck costs between $147,000 and $149,000 for one of their popular models, the VNLT760. This truck has 425 horsepower. It’s difficult to find Volvo’s standard pricing information online because they typically require that you speak with the dealer and learn about their options.
Volvo is a trusted manufacturer of both commuter vehicles and semi-trucks. They are known to be reliable and last for a long time. According to Volvo, their trucks have 24% reduced average repair time, 71% reduced average diagnostic time, and 91% increased ability to make repairs correctly on the first try, thanks to their Remote Diagnostics service.
This can provide a significant added value to an owner because downtime costs (on average) about $1,100 per day.
Volvo also touts their increased fuel efficiency which they claim saves up to 7.5% in consumption, and the truck is optimized to improve safety by preventing accidents or minimizing damage. Volvo also makes the claim that their trucks are “built for resale,” meaning that they may hold their value better and be more easily sold when you’re looking to get a new truck.
How Much Does a New Peterbilt Semi-Truck Cost?
A brand new Peterbilt semi-truck costs between $125,000 and $147,600. The sleeper cab (567 models) is on the higher end of the price range, while the day cab (567 models) is on the lower end. The 389-day cab tractor is priced at around $144,800.
Average Price Range for Peterbilt Semi-Trucks
Peterbilt is a trusted name in trucking, and for good reason. Their trucks range in horsepower between 455 and 565 on standard models.
Peterbilt Cab Types by Model
|389||Sleeper cab (small)|
Buying a New Semi-Truck Versus a Used Semi-Truck
The biggest consideration for most people when purchasing a new semi-truck versus a used one is price. New semi-trucks cost significantly more, but they also may have fewer mechanical issues and you will have fewer options for features and specifications that you may prefer.
How Much Does a Used Semi-Truck Cost?
Just like new trucks, a used semi will vary in price based on many factors. Manufacturer, model, size, specification, sleeper vs. day cab, age, and mileage will all play a big role in determining the final price tag.
You should expect to pay anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 or more for a used semi-truck, depending on the specifics of the vehicle and its features.
Things to Consider When Buying a New Semi-Truck
When you purchase a brand-new semi, you’ll be the first and only owner. That means that you won’t have to wonder (or worry) if the previous owner kept up with maintenance or what kinds of problems they may have been hiding.
New trucks are less likely to have major problems or break down, and if they do, they’re usually under warranty or even a service contract. New trucks typically come with a warranty on the engine and drivetrain system, so you won’t have to worry about things like transmission problems, drive shafts, or engine failure.
When you buy a new semi-truck, you can also purchase exactly what you need for your uses. You can opt for more power if you typically haul larger, heavier loads, or you can upgrade engine specs or axles.
When you buy a used semi-truck you are only able to select from what’s available, which means you’re purchasing for other owners’ specifications, not your own.
As a general rule, if you’re not completely sure that you’ll continue to drive the truck for at least the next five years, it may make more sense to purchase a less-expensive used truck.
Things to Consider When Buying a Used Semi-Truck
You’ll always be able to find a better deal if you shop for a used semi-truck versus a brand new one. Most new drivers opt for a used truck because you will be able to pay it off faster, and it’s easier to come up with the down payment for a lower-priced rig. Just remember, you are always taking a risk when buying any used vehicle.
There are some benefits to older trucks. For example, trucks built in the early 2000s may have been built before the new, stricter emissions standards were put into place. Those trucks are typically easier and cheaper to repair.
However, newer trucks typically have better fuel efficiency and with that being your biggest expense, it’s a good idea to take it into consideration when purchasing a used truck.
The biggest things you need to look for are good fuel efficiency and low maintenance costs. As long as the rig can meet the needs of your business, it doesn’t matter so much if every single specification meets your ideal preferences. If you want to get each and every component exactly how you want, then it would be better to buy a new truck.
Always have a used semi-truck inspected thoroughly before making a purchase, and have inspections done by someone other than the dealer. There are some specific inspections that you should do to make sure you’re getting a good-quality vehicle.
- Engine Inspection: Have the engine inspected by an official garage for the manufacturer. For example, if it’s a Peterbilt truck, take it to a certified Peterbilt garage. They will inspect whether the condition of the engine is in line with its mileage. That will tell you how the truck has been handled and cared for.
- Front-end Assembly Inspection: This inspection will give you an idea of the overall condition of the vehicle and if it’s suffered any particular damage.
- Bumper-to-Mudflap Inspection: This will involve a thorough once-over from the front of the vehicle to the back, looking for the condition of systems, evidence of damage, and the presence of rust. Rust would indicate that the truck hasn’t been well-maintained.
Can You Lease a Semi-Truck?
You can lease a semi-truck if purchasing a new or used rig doesn’t suit your needs. However, leases can sometimes cost more than purchasing a truck, so a lot of owners and drivers don’t select this option.
Leasing can be a good idea if you’re unsure whether you want to make a long-term commitment to trucking, or if you’re in the process of making a purchase but need to be able to work in the meantime.
Leasing offers a lower up-front cost with little to no down payment, and the monthly payment is typically less than a purchase agreement payment. Many lease conditions also include maintenance on the truck. However, if you plan to drive for more than 3-5 years, buying is a better investment.
Leasing rates vary based on the model and features of the truck, just like buying. An older truck without as many upgrades will have a lower price than a brand new “top-of-the-line” rig. Your credit rating will also impact your leasing rate.
Average Monthly Lease Payment
|Truck Type||Low-End Estimate||High-End Estimate|
The monthly lease rate will not include insurance or your down payment on the truck, so you’ll need to budget for those expenses. You should also read your lease agreement carefully, as some conditions may limit mileage and have other rules that you need to know.
Can You Rent a Semi-Truck?
It is possible to rent a semi-truck, but most people only look into this option if their primary vehicle is out of service for repairs. If you don’t need a truck for more than a few days, renting may be an option.
Rental fees typically will not include insurance unless you add it, so it’s important to check with your insurance company to verify your coverage. If you need a trailer, you’ll have to pay rental fees for those as well.
Average Rental Fees for a Semi-Truck
|Truck Type||Daily Rate|
|Single axle - day cab||$170 - $200|
|Tandem axle - day cab||$185 - $200|
|Tandem axle - sleeper||$210 - $215|
As you can see, the rates to rent a semi-truck by the day can add up quickly, so if you will need the rig for more than a few days, it may be better to lease for a month, instead.
Is It Worth It To Buy a New Semi-Truck?
To understand if the cost of buying a semi-truck is worth it, you need to carefully budget out your expenses and potential earnings. Using this guide, you can have a better understanding of the cost to buy a new versus used semi-truck, and what size or type of truck is best for your needs and your budget.
You should plan to spend at least around $140,000 for a new semi-truck, plus the additional cost to own it. Salaries vary greatly, but owner-operators earn significantly more than company drivers.
According to a survey reported on truckdriversalary.com, owner-operators earn an average salary of $220,591. That means that the purchase can be well worth it if you plan and budget accordingly. You may be interested in our guide on truck stretching costs.