Have you noticed those trucks with a big cargo box behind the driver's cabin driving within your city?
These types of trucks are called box trucks and are one of the most popular vehicles used for the transportation of all kinds of freight within local areas.
Let's dive in.
So, what is a box truck?
Box trucks are named as such due to their box-shaped cargo compartment.
A box truck has its driver cab and cargo area attached to the same frame. Besides that, these two compartments are separated from each other and the cargo area isn't accessible from the inside of the cab.
Also, they have ramps that provide them with the ability to load the freight from the ground.
If the box truck doesn't have a ramp, it needs to back up into a loading dock for loading and unloading.
What is another name for a box truck?
The name "box truck" comes from the cuboid-shaped cargo area.
Sometimes, people use another name for this vehicle but meaning a box truck.
Is a box truck a commercial box truck?
Adding the word commercial to the phrase "box truck" doesn't change the nature of the vehicle. The word "commercial" changes only the nature of its activity.
A commercial box truck refers to any type of box truck that is used for commercial purposes. That means using it for regular work activities, for commercial goods carrying, or for providing commercial services, etc.
In the United States, a person can rent or drive the longest 26 ft box truck without needing a CDL.
The main condition for that is that the box truck has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or less.
A vehicle’s GVWR is the most weight, including cargo, that it can carry while still being operational.
This rating refers only to how much weight the box truck is rated to carry.
To find the GVWR of the box truck, look inside the door jam.
The inside sticker lists the Gross Axle Weight Rating for both the front and rear axles. Add both numbers and you should get your box truck’s GVWR.
Do you need authority for box truck?
If you intend to cross state boundaries or to carry goods for delivery purposes with a box truck, you need a trucking authority from the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA).
In other words, owning a trucking authority gives you permission provided by the government to transport goods in exchange for profit.
The Motor Carrier Authority is a mandatory requirement for any vehicle exceeding the 10,000 GVWR mark and intending to cross state lines.
What is the total length of a box truck?
You can find a variety of box truck lengths. They normally range from 10 feet to 26 feet.
The most popular box truck dimensions are:
- 18-ft box truck
- 22-ft box truck
- 24-ft box truck
- 26-ft box truck
What is a box truck classified as?
The Transit Cargo van and simple cargo van are classified as light commercial trucks with a class of 1 to 3.
When it comes to a box truck weight classification, it is a medium-duty commercial vehicle that classifies with a class of 4 to 6.
If the box truck's GVWR exceeds the 26,000 mark then this type of box truck is classified as a heavy-duty commercial vehicle.
Box truck vs straight truck
Box truck and straight truck are closely related terms but they don't mean the same things.
So, the difference between a straight truck and a box truck is this:
- The name straight trucks relate to the entire group of trucks that have one common characteristic. That characteristic is having all vehicle axles attached to a single frame.
To understand what straight trucks are, you need to understand the opposite category of straight trucks - articulated vehicles.
Articulated vehicles consist of two or more separate frames connected to each over by couplings.
- Box trucks are a subcategory of vehicles that are part of a bigger category of straight trucks.
Types of box trucks
Let's assume that you are accustomed with the box truck benefits and you are want to start a business.
For this type of business, any type of straight truck with a cargo box in the back would work.
In this case, you have three options to choose from: a sprinter van, a cargo van, and a regular box truck.
1. Sprinter cargo van
When we think of Sprinter vans, the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van comes with many model types. For example, they have the Sprinter Cargo Van, Sprinter Crew Van, Sprinter Passenger Van, etc.
For the sake of our delivery-type business, we are interested in Sprinter Cargo Vans.
So, Sprinter Cargo Vans benefits are:
- It is reliable.
- It has low emission performance.
- It has a high rooftop, which may handle high pallets of freight.
2. Cargo van
A cargo van is a one-piece vehicle where the cargo area can be accessed from the inside of the vehicle.
So, typically, a cargo van is similar in design to a Sprinter Cargo Van from the exterior. And it also has a sliding side door and rear doors for loading and unloading.
So, when we talk cargo vans, we mean a smaller size vehicle than a Sprinter Cargo Van.
Here are the pros and cons of cargo vans:
- It is easy to drive and park.
- It is more affordable.
- It is fuel efficient.
The driver is not required to have a CDL as long as the weight is not exceeding 26,000 pounds.
- It provides a smaller storage area.
- Less payload capacity.
- It has a lower roof.
- Limited cargo space and income potential.
3. Regular box trucks
A box truck gets its name from the box sitting in the back of the driver's cab.
In the case of a box truck, the cargo area is completely separated from the cab and can't be accessed through the interior.
Due to their size, box trucks tend to carry more than cargo vans.
They are often used by moving companies to carry large items and they are more suitable for long-distance transportation.
At the same time, box trucks can be of two types depending on the location of the engine:
- Conventional: A conventional cab design features a standard truck nose with the engine placed in front of the steering wheel.
- Cabover: A cabover has a flat front and the engine is placed under the seats of the cab.
Here are some box truck advantages and disadvantages:
- Superior cargo capacity - potentially more money.
- Easier loading and unloading.
- Additional space for advertising.
- Worse fuel economy.
- More expensive.
- Difficult to park and maneuver.
What are box trucks used for?
There are many ways to use a box truck to make money.
Box trucks are used to transport non-perishable and dry goods such as retail and consumer products, electronics, machine parts, and palletized freight.
Because most box trucks are equipped with lift gates, they can only be used on cargo that can be loaded from the back via forklift, pallet jack, or by hand.
Below is a small list of ideas of what are box trucks used for.
Residential and commercial moves
One of the most common uses for a box truck is for residential and commercial moving.
The box truck's protected cargo box is a perfect fit for moving furniture, boxes, and fragile goods.
In many cases, a box truck provides a great storage option.
So, if you are a plumber, you can store your tools safely in a box truck and then have them stored in your house.
The rise of the e-commerce market increases the need for box truck deliveries.
Box trucks transport packages from one warehouse to another, where the parcels are loaded into delivery vans.
Businesses that sell appliances need to provide their customers a door-side delivery service.
A box truck is the best choice for local appliance delivery.
Newspaper and magazine delivery
For years, box trucks have been the go-to choice for paper publications.
These trucks offer the perfect space to quickly load newspapers and magazines for store-to-store delivery.
Starting a box truck business
The above business ideas may look profitable on paper, but it doesn't transfer into real profit as long as you take the steps to start a box truck business and execute your financial plan.
A box truck is a medium-heavy vehicle that is often used for short-distance deliveries.
There is a variety of box trucks but, unfortunately, many owner operators are not aware about the solutions of making money with a box truck.
More so, many have issues understanding what to look for when buying a box truck.