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Showing posts with label tips & tricks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips & tricks. Show all posts

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck

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Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck
Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck
Buying a new vehicle is a hassle. Whether you’re buying a sedan for the family, or that hot rod you’ve always dreamt of, you’re gonna face some kind of trouble.

But what about when you want to buy a new semi-truck?

Choosing Your Truck


Your first determination will be, do you want a new truck or a used truck? In order to figure that out, you need to think about what you will be doing with your truck. Unfortunately, new trucks run between $80,000 and $150,000. With all the bells and whistles out there, you could sit right near $200,000.

Of course, getting a new truck usually means you’re getting a warranty, too. That will offset costly repairs, at least!

If you’re running local freight and one day jobs, getting your hands on a used semi-truck could be a better option.

Whichever option you pursue, you need to figure out your margins and set a budget. This should not only include what you can afford to buy, but it should also factor in what your fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs will be with said truck.


Related Blog: HVUT Credits: Selling & Purchasing Vehicles

How Do You Pay For It?


That’s the most important question, isn’t it? There are basically two payment routes you can take when it comes to purchasing your truck - financing and outright purchasing.

We’ll have to break this down into two categories: Why you should seek out financing, and why you shouldn’t.

If you own a trucking business, some of the costs of the vehicle and the depreciation can be deducted from your taxes - make sure you keep detailed records. However, on the plus side, many loans don’t require an initial payment, so there’s

However, there are some disadvantages to financing your truck. First, if your loan payments are high, you’re gonna feel it in your wallet. On top of that, you’re still responsible for your own truck maintenance, including parts! Plus, the truck isn’t technically yours until you’re done paying it off.

After all of that, some financiers will only supply financing if you already own multiple trucks, making this harder for single truck owner-operators!

If You Go Used, Get Inspected


While buying a used truck might be the most affordable option for you, you need to make sure you’re not throwing money into a lemon.

So when you buy a used vehicle, make sure you get the truck thoroughly inspected.

While they may swear the truck works great, and you may know your way under the hood of a truck, getting an independent mechanic to inspect the vehicle can save you in the long run.

It might cost you around $100 now, but if it saves you thousands in repairs down the road, where’s the loss?

When you get an inspection, the key points you want to have examined are axle configuration, truck horsepower and capacity, engine condition, brake systems, cab condition, and the maintenance logs.

If all clears, you found yourself a good investment!

Once you have your new truck on the road, you’re going to need to e-file Form 2290. Head to ExpressTruckTax and sign up for a free account - you won’t have to pay until you transmit your heavy vehicle use tax!


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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

4 Legs and 18 Wheels: Truckers With Pets

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We’re always talking about trucker health, but we’ve missed one key factor that can help your well being.

Get a pet! Cat or dog, doesn’t matter—having a furry friend in your cab can have major benefits.

Okay, we know that truck cabs are a tight fit, but with so many different pet breeds and temperaments, there has to be something that can fit your lifestyle.

Whatever pet you choose, just make sure they don’t take the wheel!



The Benefits of Pets

Why a pet? Well, studies have illuminated this for us. One study found a reduction in minor health problems after the subjects acquired a cat or a dog. On top of that, dog owners get considerably more exercise thanks to the constant need for walks.

Now, we’re not saying not having a dog or a cat will hurt you—we’re just saying there are some benefits. Plus, you won’t be lonely anymore if your four legged friend is chilling out with you every day.

For example, numerous studies have found that just owning or petting a dog can lower your blood pressure.

Well how should you get a dog? We’re big proponents of adopting from shelters and pet rescues around here, since it’s usually more affordable and you’re saving a life!

Tips for a Happy & Healthy Co-Pilot

What’s next? Make sure you pet proof your rig! While your new pet is getting accustomed to the rig, block access to your clutch and brakes. You can lighten up once they are familiar with your truck.

Make sure your pets can’t hide under seats or in other dangerous areas.

Keep your medicine, food, and trash secure and away from a curious pet. Both cats and dogs can dig their way into some trash, so keep an eye out for it.

Make sure you have adequate water, food, and medicine (if necessary) for your pets. Dogs are pretty good about not using the bathroom where they sleep, so keep an eye out for clues they need to go.

Safety First for Your Pets

Also, pets living in trucks will get used to certain noises—like rumbling engines and horns—so make sure you keep them leashed while outside. The last thing you want is a truckstop funeral for your dog!

Finally, never leave your pet unattended in a rig, especially in extreme weather conditions! If you do have to in an emergency, make sure it’s only for a few minutes and that the truck is at a decent, comfortable temperature.

Until your dog learns how to e-file your HVUT 2290s, we know you’ll need us around. We’re here to answer any of your questions about e-filing, VIN corrections, and 2290 amendments.

Our dedicated customer support team can be reached by live chat on our website, by phone at 704.234.6005, and by email at support@ExpressTruckTax.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Do you keep a cat or a dog with you in the cab? Let us know about your fuzzy co-driver in the comments!


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Friday, February 12, 2016

Love on the Long Haul

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There’s a special bond between a driver and their rig – one which takes constant maintenance and consideration. It’s almost like a long term relationship for some OTR drivers out there! But don’t worry, Trucking Nation, we’re not here to judge.

But let’s examine the other relationship in your life. Whether it’s a spouse or a long time partner, having someone back home can make the road warrior life a lot easier. But it can also complicate things. Constant absence can be hard on a relationship and a family. What’s a trucker to do?

How can you make your relationship work?

Communication is the Key

In order to have a successful relationship, it takes constant work. But it doesn’t have to be exhausting. With the level of technology we have today, communicating with your significant other is pretty easy. You still need to follow the rules of the road, but being able to call and text your spouse lets them know they’re on your mind. And similar to watching your favorite movies on the road, a good WiFi setup can help you feel close by letting you video chat with someone back home.

Set Goals for the Future

Why do you haul? If you’ve stuck around with it for a while, you know you can make a solid living from it. But what are you building towards? A great way to keep your relationship moving is to set goals with your better half for the future. That can be anything from saving up for the house you’ve always wanted, to starting a college fund for your young ones, or even for a once in a lifetime dream vacation. Goals will also make you feel accomplished and appreciate each other.

Hit the Road Together

Now, we know this option isn’t for every couple out there – but team driving does work for some. You’ll hear some drivers praise spouse team driving, and some hate it more than they hate dispatchers. So what are some of the benefits? Well, first off, you drive together and make more money as a team. Also, you won’t be as lonely with your partner with you. And finally, sharing a cab with a romantic partner instead of a business partner erases some issues normal team drivers face.

But you can also find yourself with less time, if one of you sleeps while the other drives. And you have to make sure both of you love driving and spending time together, or else you could end up resenting each other. This option isn’t for every couple, and we understand that, but it is still something to consider!

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re happy and healthy, you’ll find this reflected in your relationships. I mean, there’s nothing better than being on home time and spending quality time with your loved one. So

stay healthy by creating a fitness routine, eating healthy, managing your stress, and taking care of your body!

Fallen in Love with a New Truck?

Okay, so maybe you’re happy being single and just watching out for yourself. That’s fine! And hey, if you just got a new truck and THAT’S the love of your life, you need to take care of your heavy vehicle use tax, then! But you already paid your HVUT? Remember this, when you buy a rig from another owner who already paid their HVUT fees, you're covered until after the month of sale. From the first day of the following month, it’s up to you, the new owner, to pay the HVUT 2290 from the first day of that month to the end of the tax year.

Basically, the seller gets credited for the taxes they paid before they sold you the vehicle, and then you owe the difference. And if you have questions about filing that 2290, call us at 704.234.6005, email us, or hit us up with a live chat from our website!



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Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Driving Tips for Truckers

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We’ve all seen it – you’re headed down a snowy highway and there’s a rig jackknifed into a ditch, clearly underestimating the dangers of an icy road. We talk a lot about filing your 2290s around here at ExpressTruckTax, but sometimes we need to talk safety.

Specifically, winter safety! If you’re new to the Trucking Nation, we suggest you winterize your rig this season. I mean, your route might take you all over the country, even into Canada – so it’s best you prepare for icy roads. While seasoned truckers may have their own routine, it never hurts to have a refresher.

Driving Dangers


While you’re on an icy road, make sure you approach driving with caution! Sure, we could probably write a book on roadside safety for the winter, but we decided to boil it down to a few key points.


  • Go slow! While your freight is important, your life matters most. You might think a road is good to go, but you won’t know if you’ve hit black ice until it is too late. Take it slow, at least until you know the roads are clear.
  • Top off your fuel tanks for extra weight. Not only will the extra weight help slow you down and give you more friction on the icy roads, but you never know when fuel will be hard to come by during a winter storm.
  • Tail lights can be deceiving. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles! If you’re tailing another truck’s lights for guidance, you might follow a vehicle off the road. On the same note, your lights might confuse other drivers during low visibility. Keep your distance!
  • Don’t pull over to the shoulder if visibility is low. Oncoming traffic might mistake your rig for an off ramp, a side road, or they might fail to see you altogether. Make it to a truck stop or a motel, instead.
  • Follow brake standards. Braking a rig always takes expertise, but make sure you approach it with extra care during a winter storm. Also, remember that Jake brakes are designed for dry roads – it’s best not to ride them on the ice.
  • Choose CB over Sirius. During winter storms, it’s best to keep your CB radio on and turn the satellite radio off. Sometimes we get into the habit of listening to music or talk radio, but it’s safer to stay in communication with your fellow drivers during dangerous conditions.



Preparation is Key


Before you head out, take time to prepare your rig for the colder months. Stock up on winter supplies, and inspect your rig! While you’ve hauled plenty of loads by now, take a look at your truck with fresh eyes. Check to see if your lights are in working order, look for accumulated ice, and have a plan for de-icing your truck. And don’t forget to check for low tire pressure. Not only will under-inflated tires decrease your fuel efficiency, but they also reduce road control as well!

After you winterize your truck, stock up on supplies!

  • As the cold sets in, it’s best to have plenty of warm clothing, insulated socks, and top quality boots. It’s better to have extras than to go without! 
  • Consider bringing extra blankets, or even a sleeping bag for the cold nights ahead. 
  • Make sure you have some nonperishable food on hand, since restaurants and stores might close down or become hard to reach. It’s not a bad idea to have mixed nuts, dried fruit, jerky, and an extra water supply stashed away for emergencies. 
  • And don’t forget to keep your phone fully charged, or carry a backup phone charger/spare battery. The last thing you want is to lose contact during an emergency! 


At the end of the day, you know your truck and the roads better than anyone else. Use your best judgement, and if it’s too bad out there, DON’T BE A HERO! Nobody will hold it against you for taking the safe route.


While we can’t thaw the roads ourselves, we’re here if you need help e-filing your 2290s. If you have questions about filing your HVUT, our US-based support team is available to assist you by phone at 704.234.6005, by email at support@expresstrucktax.com, and by live chat at our website.



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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

#TruckTechTuesday: Cell Phone Tips for Truckers

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Cell phones are everywhere. We’ve come to rely upon them, and expect ours to be available whenever we need it. For truckers, however, the cell phone picture can be quite contradictory. While you need your phones to communicate with dispatchers and get directions, among other things, your cell phone use is often tightly restricted.

Most importantly, there are specific regulations regarding cell phone use while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Essentially, truckers must only use a hands-free phone that is in close proximity while driving, and texting at any time behind the wheel is not allowed.

This being said, you still need to be able to use your phone, whether at a truck or rest stop, or just while parked. And cell phone costs can make up a significant part of any trucker’s budget. The savvy trucker can keep these costs to a minimum with a little research.

Avoid High Roaming Fees

Roaming fees can add up quickly. If your runs take you across the country, it’s worth it to pay a little extra for a plan with a company that has a wide reach so that you avoid roaming fees. Also, be sure that your cell phone company doesn’t charge connection fees when using other companies’ towers; some companies will do this under the name of “free roaming.”

Coverage Can Make or Break You

Coverage is another important consideration when choosing a wireless plan if you drive in a wide area. The important thing about coverage is keeping spots without coverage on your plan to a minimum. The last thing you need is to be stranded in an area without cell phone signal when you have important business to take care of. Many truckers agree that Verizon and AT&T have the best coverage available in the U.S.

Keep the Data Flowing

Also, how much data your plan provides may come into play for you, especially if you stream any type of video in your down time. GPS use on your phone can also eat up data. It may be worth the added expense to have a large amount or unlimited data on your plan, since data overages can add up quickly.

These are just some ways that you can get the most out of your cell phone dollar. By knowing the ins and outs of OTR cell phone use, your cell phone can be more about what you’re getting rather than what you’re giving.


Our ExpressTruckTax support team is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have over the phone at 704.234.6005, and any time by email at support@expresstrucktax.com.

And don’t forget to join the conversation on our Facebook page, and on Twitter. You can post about your experience with cell phones on the road, or Tweet about any tips or tricks you might have that would help The Trucking Nation with their cell phone needs.

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ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.