The price of choosing the wrong truck can be a costly mistake. Bottom line, there is nothing more important than taking the time and carefully selecting your equipment. Getting the right equipment for your particular route should be job number 1. So, before you talk to any salesperson, determine your requirements. Rather than being influenced by a salesperson, tell your salesperson what you want. Don't let the salesperson tell you what you need without being educated beforehand. Here area a few suggestions to help you choose the right equipment for the job.
What type of truck do you need?
What type of truck do you need for your job? Will you need a roll-off, a front loader, rear loader or a side loader? Will automated or manual capabilities be better for your route?
What makes and model do you prefer or currently run?
Do you have any preferences on makes and models? It's always important to take into consideration what types your mechanics are most familiar with. As a general rule, standardizing your fleet usually promotes lower parts costs and lower maintenance costs.
Do you need top-end speed or pulling power?
Are you running on flat land or mountains? Do you want top-end speed or pulling power? Answering these two questions will help to determine what horsepower and rear differential ratio you need.
What size body do you need?
Bodies range from 6 yard to 40 yard. What size do you need? Typically, the size of the body is based upon the size of the route as well as taking into consideration the travel distance to the landfill or dumping facility.
What compaction body do you need?
Frequently, bodies are available in low, medium or high compaction models. The low compaction models are normally the lowest priced. However, the lowest price may not represent the best value. For example, a 20-yard low compaction rear load body may only hold approximately 6 tons of garbage. On the other hand, a high compaction 20-yard rear loader may hold up to ten tons of garbage. Before saying "yes" when purchasing your truck, make sure that you know the different models that are available to you and whether or not they are low or high compaction.
Commercial trash versus residential trash?
Are you picking up commercial or residential? What commodity are you going to be packing (garbage, paper, yard debris, demolition, etc)? This has a big impact on the type of body you'll need.
Will you be picking up containers?
Will you need to have attachments on your truck to handle containers? Will you need to purchase containers?
Who was the previous owner?
Knowing who the previous owner was can tell you a lot about how the truck was taken care of. Generally, trucks coming from cities or municipalities are in better condition than units previously owned by large public waste companies.
Consider future growth
Plan for the future. Make sure the truck and body you need now allows you the opportunity for growth in the future. You'll want to make sure your body is big enough and has enough compaction. You'll also want to make sure that the gross GVW of the truck chassis is legal to operate in your state now and in the future (speculating that at some point you might want to put a bigger body on the current chassis that you own).
Local dealer support
Do you have local truck or body dealers in your area? Who can help to provide repair, maintenance or parts support, when needed?
Know what the company you're buying from can do for you.
Does the company you're purchasing from know garbage trucks as well as truck parts and packer body parts? Does the company you're buying from have the facilities and the parts support to back you up down the road? Is the company you're purchasing from a "one stop shopping" facility that can offer you trucks, and also, new, used and rebuilt truck parts, as well as complementary products?