Golden or at least silver ratio; age, mileage?

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dreamrunnerjt

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I keep reading but not really finding an answer. What would be a good ratio of age and mileage? I frequently see where people have paid just a few thousand for their used box truck but the only thing I find in that range are mechanic specials. Unfortunately I am not mechanical. In 2022, what would you suggest for the age/mileage/cost ratio? Currently Penske seems to have the best options but the prices are higher than I can afford. I would really like to keep my purchase price around 12K, any more than that and I won’t have money for conversion. Are my hopes too high? Please offer suggestions. Please.
 

bullfrog

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It is usually suggested to buy the newest, lowest mileage vehicle you can afford. That doesn’t work below a certain level especially if you are including your emergency fund as part of available funds to purchase with. Also that can change with your skill level so you can have less of an emergency fund as you can provide the labor.
 

Carla618

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I frequently see where people have paid just a few thousand for their used box truck but the only thing I find in that range are mechanic specials. Unfortunately I am not mechanical.
Where are you looking? Just in the southwest? FB Marketplace, Craigslist?
 

bullfrog

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Price an engine/transmission/rear end rebuild/brakes/tires and suspension for whatever truck you find if it has over 100,000 miles figure a minimum of at least 1/2 that amount as an emergency fund. You won’t have much if any left to purchase a truck in my opinion and if that is the case you probably shouldn’t if you plan to travel any distance.
 

maki2

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You are in a situation where new box trucks are not plentiful due to production shortages. That has inflated the price of used trucks thousands of dollars beyond what would be a normal value. Because of those 2 factors companies are hanging onto the trucks for longer than normal.

The other factor is your timing is off. Businesses get new trucks in December to take advantage of the end of the year tax deduction. Summer is not the time to buy used. December and January is the time when the used market has more inventory so hopefully they sell before inventory tax time comes around. Cash speaks very loudly in January the week before tax inventory. Best time to cut a sweet deal is just before tax inventory time. But that is in normal times which is not what we are experiencing.

Other people have told you how to figure out the cost of repairs versus asking price. As you are not experienced you need to find someone in your area who can give honest inspections on the type of vehicle you are shopping for. That is something you can do now.
 

dreamrunnerjt

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Where are you looking? Just in the southwest? FB Marketplace, Craigslist?
Looking in all of those. I really don’t have a way to pick up something outside of my general area. I am in Tucson and I included Phx in my search. Really I included all states around me. NM, CA, NV. I have checked all of the websites of rentals I can think of, market place, Craigslist, …
 

dreamrunnerjt

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You are in a situation where new box trucks are not plentiful due to production shortages. That has inflated the price of used trucks thousands of dollars beyond what would be a normal value. Because of those 2 factors companies are hanging onto the trucks for longer than normal.

The other factor is your timing is off. Businesses get new trucks in December to take advantage of the end of the year tax deduction. Summer is not the time to buy used. December and January is the time when the used market has more inventory so hopefully they sell before inventory tax time comes around. Cash speaks very loudly in January the week before tax inventory. Best time to cut a sweet deal is just before tax inventory time. But that is in normal times which is not what we are experiencing.

Other people have told you how to figure out the cost of repairs versus asking price. As you are not experienced you need to find someone in your area who can give honest inspections on the type of vehicle you are shopping for. That is something you can do now.
Did know about the December and January purchase and selling events. I will be looking hard then. I want to do this as soon as possible but possible may be a year down the road. $$$
 

maki2

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Keep your eyes open, maybe you can spot a local company that has several box trucks in use. Then give them contact information asking that they call you if they decide to sell one of their fleet. In a tight market creative shopping might net you the first chance at a decent price.
 

Carla618

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Looking in all of those. I really don’t have a way to pick up something outside of my general area. I am in Tucson and I included Phx in my search. Really I included all states around me. NM, CA, NV. I have checked all of the websites of rentals I can think of, market place, Craigslist, …
Truckpaper has lots of box trucks (I set max at $12,000):


A few years ago I thought about getting a box truck and noticed that craigslist for Chicago had a ton of them. Looks like they still do. But, if you can't travel to buy one, that won't work.
 

maki2

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Larger cities are where box trucks are getting used for deliveries. There are not a lot of large cities in Arizona, New Mexico, etc. Las Vegas is a good possibility to add to your search. At least you can get flights to there if you needed to or a ride from a Craigslist ride share posting.

But the beginning or end of the winter season might have some showing up for sale in Quartzsite.
 

JeepLiving

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Might be worth delaying the full build-out you have in mind so you can put more toward the truck and/or keep your reserve at a safe level. Just go bare bones to start and do the build over time as finances allow. The other advantage is that your build will be based more on experience and less on theory.
 

Happy Camper

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Are you looking at gas or diesel? Diesel trucks 2010 and earlier are no longer able to be registered in California unless they do expensive retrofitting, and no one is. So people have been dumping them trying to act like it's an amazing gift to the buyer, who will not be able to register it.

That being said, if and I do mean if, you know a good diesel mechanic that is reasonable, it might be worth looking into and registering it in a different state.
 
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