Author Topic: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?  (Read 6376 times)

Left Bank

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Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« on: October 07, 2014, 04:42:34 PM »
Hi All,
My wife and I are moving across country in the near future and I looked into renting a moving truck.  $>2300!!!

I thought, well, hell, why don't we just buy one and resell once we're done with it (or convert to an RV (insert evil laugh))
I could buy a decent one on CL for anywhere between $5500 and $10K.  As long as we don't sell for less than cost it is a win!

Then I got to wondering if this is such a good idea, why have I not heard of anyone doing this before?
Anyone who has done this, please chime in or if you have though about it and realized "that was a dumb idea" please let me know why.
What am I missing?
Thanks,
LB 

lakemom

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2014, 06:44:07 PM »
What you are missing is how long it will take you to sell and the cost of insurance while you own it.  If you sell within a few weeks of buying you will most likely come out ahead.  If you take months to sell, you'll be kicking yourself for doing it that way.  But kudos to you for thinking outside the box!

innkeeper77

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2014, 06:47:08 PM »
You should talk to your insurance company and see if they do anything like temporary insurance, explaining what you want to do. Then you will only have to pay for it on the days (and days surrounding) you actually driving it. Reactivate insurance before test drives, and then sell it. If you do this, the only major concern is making sure that it is reliable enough for your move, and that you will be able to store it and sell it quickly enough.

Primm

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 07:34:10 PM »
You've never heard of it before because you've never moved across country, maybe?

There's a huge second hand market here in Australia for campervans (small RVs) that are bought and sold to backpackers. They come from Europe and north America, buy a campervan, drive it around the country for 6 months and then sell it to the next lot of backpackers. It costs some money, but far less than renting the equivalent vehicle for the same amount of time.

I don't see why the same thing can't be done for a moving van. The only thing, like lakemon suggested, is the time taken to sell it at the end. If you have the spare cash and are happy to wait for a buyer (maybe check out the market online in your destination to see if it's oversupplied) then go for it, I say!

windypig

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2014, 07:37:36 PM »
I have heard of not only someone doing this but making money on the deal. It all depends on where you are moving from and moving to. It is a very viable option and something you should absolutely consider. I would do the same if I were doing a big move.

Left Bank

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 08:40:29 PM »
You should talk to your insurance company and see if they do anything like temporary insurance, explaining what you want to do. Then you will only have to pay for it on the days (and days surrounding) you actually driving it. Reactivate insurance before test drives, and then sell it. If you do this, the only major concern is making sure that it is reliable enough for your move, and that you will be able to store it and sell it quickly enough.

IK77 - Good idea about the temporary insurance.  Def ask about that.

The other glitch is that I might need commercial plates and I have no idea what that may entail $-wise and the motor vehicle website is no help.  Surprised aren't you?

Primm- moved across the country before and moved oversees before but never owned anything worth keeping (wife's opinion, not mine)


Primm

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2014, 08:44:21 PM »
Hahaha! Yep, same when I moved from one end of the country to the other. I looked at  my stuff, counted how much it would cost to move it, piled the valuables into my car and left the rest for the Salvos to pick up. Cheaper to buy more at the other end than pay for a mover.

BeanCounter

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2014, 07:15:05 AM »
You have probably already thought of this, but have you looked at ABF and the other u pack we drive companies? We used moveamerica.com and it worked great. The brought a big semi trailer to us. We packed it and locked it up and then they brought it to our new location, left it for a certain amount of time and then while we unloaded it. It was a long time ago, but it was pretty cheap.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2014, 07:25:38 AM »
First, shop around.  You might be able to get a better rate.

Second, forget about the idea of buying a truck and selling it again.  There's too much risk, plus there's licensing/unlicencing across state lines, commercial insuring/uninsuring, paying sales tax.  Spend your time on more productive things.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2014, 07:26:19 AM »
You have probably already thought of this, but have you looked at ABF and the other u pack we drive companies? We used moveamerica.com and it worked great. The brought a big semi trailer to us. We packed it and locked it up and then they brought it to our new location, left it for a certain amount of time and then while we unloaded it. It was a long time ago, but it was pretty cheap.

yep, I love your idea and would definitely look into it but if it doesn't pan out, we used ABF for our move in 2012. you pay by the linear foot. it was pretty cheap compared to other options and we had a good experience.

Eric

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2014, 08:29:30 AM »
You should talk to your insurance company and see if they do anything like temporary insurance, explaining what you want to do. Then you will only have to pay for it on the days (and days surrounding) you actually driving it. Reactivate insurance before test drives, and then sell it. If you do this, the only major concern is making sure that it is reliable enough for your move, and that you will be able to store it and sell it quickly enough.

IK77 - Good idea about the temporary insurance.  Def ask about that.

The other glitch is that I might need commercial plates and I have no idea what that may entail $-wise and the motor vehicle website is no help.  Surprised aren't you?


Why would you need commercial plates for a vehicle that isn't planned for commercial use?  I realize all states are probably different, but in general, aren't commercial plates for vehicles used in businesses?  Don't start a moving company and I would think that you're covered.

I think this is a pretty good idea overall.  As long as the sales tax + registration + insurance is going to be less than a rental fee, it could definitely be worth it.  The key seems to be to keep the sales tax low, which means buying a cheaper one, but of course balancing that with reliability needed to drive across the country.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2014, 09:16:36 AM »
I wouldn't do it due to the already mentioned transaction costs and risk of major repair along the way (truck parts are expensive).  But if you are still gun-ho, be sure to check the market where you are buying vs where you are selling. Markets for things like this vary across the country, probably not more than 10-15% but it could be enough to influence your decision.  Your pruchase price is just as important as your selling price.  Don't forget moving expenses can be tax deductible (don't even need to itemize) http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html.  Documentation of the moving expenses would probably be a lot easier with a rental vs a buy/sell/insure/tag/tax arrangement. 

I'm in the sell everything on craigslist, then buy off of craigslist when you get there.  This works real well as long as you don't have fancy stuff, and you can take your time buying new stuff once you get there so you can find good deals.  Do you have a vehicle that can tow something?  Trailers are much cheaper to rent and if you have to drive the vehicle out there anyway.         

Mrs. The Butler

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2014, 09:18:14 AM »
Some neighbors of ours a couple houses back bought an old moving truck for their cross-country move; they didn't re-sell it, though, and actually haven't bothered registering it in-state yet, it's just parked in a storage lot.

When my husband and I did a cross-country move a couple years ago, we rented a moving truck (I didn't even think of buying and re-selling one), and even now that we've seen neighbors buy one and use it, I'm not sure I'm gutsy enough to do that.  We got a good deal on a Penske truck (I think it was around $1300 to go FL to CA with their largest size truck, plus a car trailer and their insurance package that covered any and all damage done to the truck/trailer).  The truck we got was almost brand new and it was nice knowing we didn't have to worry about the past maintenance or anything like that - we could just pack up and go.

We had some luck getting the price down by price-matching different companies against each other (Penske, U-Haul, and Budget).  Based on online reviews we'd seen, we knew we wanted to go with Penske, but we used the other companies to knock at least a couple hundred off the price.

GetItRight

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2014, 09:45:01 AM »
Get an idea of insurance cost for a week or a few weeks as well as what your road tax will be (probably end up paying a years worth unless you can do a temp/transport tag). As long as your total investment into the truck minus the sale price is less than the >2300 it would cost to rent you're money ahead. Important thing would be having room to store the truck for free at your destination as it might sell in a day, a month, or more. If you look at it as "I can lose up to $2300 on this truck and still be saving money" You can afford to price it to sell or take lowball offers.

Also if you have a truck or van consider buying a used trailer. They aren't cheap but are always in high demand and if in good condition usually sell quick on CL or bay. Probably easier to sell a trailer than a box truck.

Other outside the box options may be selling anything you can't fit in your regular vehicle(s) then starting fresh and decluttered, or palletizing stuff and shipping it if you have someone to help with storage/logistics while you get set up in the new location.

nedwin

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2014, 10:08:42 AM »
It can, and has, been done.  I did the same thing when moving from Alaska to Colorado.  I bought a 14 foot enclosed trailer and sold it after the move (already had a pickup to tow it).  One upshot with the trailer is I was able to use it for free storage for a period of time.  It cost me about $1,500 between the purchase price and sale price, and registration, title, tax and insurance, but that was MUCH cheaper than any other method of moving our stuff.  I registered it in Alaska and did not register it in Colorado, so I only paid registration once.  There are MANY instances in Alaska of people moving there and selling an enclosed trailer for more than they paid for it in the 48.

So the primary question would be what can the truck be sold for in your destination?  Is there a significant difference between the two markets?  Also consider if you want to go to the hassle of registering and insuring the truck, and consider the risk of maintenance/repair for the truck.  Those available on CL have probably been used commercially, and may not have been treated very well.

GoldenStache

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Re: Good Idea/Bad Idea - buy a box truck for move?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2014, 11:19:29 AM »
You can write off the $2300 if you are moving for work.  You will not be able to write off the loss of buying a truck (if you don't gain).