Does a landlord need a pickup truck?

113 Replies

My wife and I are planning to get a second vehicle. We've been able to get by with one to save more money. We're planning to buy our first rental property asap and plan to manage it ourselves, at least to start.  I've been thinking that getting a pickup could help our landlord duties since we might have to move couches, washing machines, etc sometimes.  What is your experience if you manage your own properties?  Would you say a truck is a "need" as a landlord?  Thanks.

I'm not sure how anyone gets by without a truck. Not just a LL, but regular homeowner's as well. lol I use my truck as a truck 3-4 times a week. You could get by with an older mid sized truck. Doesn't have to be fancy.  

I don't suggest buying new...the payment on those things are high as mortgage payments. I was getting work done at a  dealership and while I was waiting I decided to go look at new trucks, just for fun. I don't know how people afford them...

@Josh Lyons I used to be the land lord with the F150, and one of my goals for 2018 was to sell the truck and buy a small Toyota. I accomplished that goal early on in 2018, and have been very happy. The truck was enabling me to do work on properties when that was not the highest and best use of my time. I now am forced to find ways to have my contractors use their trucks to take care of the same issues I thought were "my job". 

I think this is a good counter point to the traditional way of looking at land lording. I recently had an appliance die in my Lyons property. If I had my pickup, I would have been there getting a used appliance. Instead, I had to find a really cheap and reliable used appliance guy! Problem solved. The same goes for doing unit renovations. In 2017, I spent tons of time picking up tile, kitchen cabinets, bath tubs, etc from Home Depot for my contractors. As I start projects this year, I will have to find creative ways to not waste my personal time doing these things!

@Josh Lyons I own 22 units and have a Subaru. Get a car that is practical. I can put almost anything on top of my car if need be! It’s low enough where it’s actually easier for me. If i was to get anything else, Id grab a ****** mini van to beat around in. :)

@Josh Lyons I think you should get the property first, and then you'll know if you need it. The first time something comes up and you say "Oh wow, I need a truck" you'll have to rent/borrow and it will be annoying. But what if that only happens twice in the first year? If there's not a need, you can get by with a cheaper second vehicle -- at least until you see the cost/benefit balance switch as you acquire more properties to manage.

My preference has been the combination of a Dodge Caravan with sto-away seats and a utility trailer. This is much more practical than a truck and you will find that every building trade will use a van as opposed to a truck. I have used a van and had a utility trailer since the mid 70s.

The advantage of a van is the ability to leave tools and material secure in it at all times as opposed to continually having to load and unload them from a truck every night. Mine is always fully loaded with tools and material. The Dodge is able to carry a full 4 X 8 sheet of ply or drywall.

I am not only a landlord I also flip homes and do the majority of work myself.

Additional plus is a van can be used as a family vehicle when needed. 

Just don't buy a brand new vehicle. Your work vehicle, the one the tenants see, ought to be a total s***box. If you get a new truck, every time a tenant looks at it they'll be thinking that it's their rent that's paying off your luxury. Your new vehicle becomes a dangerous and stupid liability.

My husband drives an old Dodge truck. I couldn't stand the guts of it and kept telling him to get a "better" car. But when we got our first, then second property, my opinion quickly changed. Both of our properties underwent significant renovations, and having a truck was a big plus for us. 

Once the tenants are in, however, owning a truck doesn't make that much difference.   

A car that is inexpensive and good on gas is fine. Just get a hitch put on it, and a utility trailer will handle whatever you need.

I own 10 properties and have never had a truck. Do have a good PM though. Maybe he has a truck. I dont really know!!

Not a need, but could help you out. Depends on how many family members and friends with trucks you have that can help you out! I needed a load of drywall and a bathroom vanity. I don't own a truck. Paid Home Depot $79 to deliver. And man am I glad! Well worth the effort and labor for $79. If I owned a truck, I would have saved that $79 and picked it all up myself. And then probably spent $150 or more on a chiropractor. 

@Josh Lyons you do not need a pickup truck and as @John Warren pointed out, not having a truck may keep you focused on the best use of your time. I sold my truck ten years ago. I manage nine properties and even do quite a bit of repairs myself but there are things I don't do.

I can't bring a pickup load of junk to the dump, but I can hire a junk hauler for $50 a pickup load. For that price, I save two ours of time and don't have to deal with touching the junk. I can't haul appliances, but my local appliance store delivers for free and charges $10 for haul away. Or I can find scrap people on Craigslist that will take the appliances for free. Pretty much anything I need a truck to do, I shouldn't be doing. 

Some people have the mindset that "easy" jobs like junk hauling is something anyone can do. That is true, but the fact that anyone can do it, means you shouldn't be doing it. Your time is your most valuable resource. You can't claim your time on taxes as an expense, but you can claim the cost if someone else does it. More importantly, as you scale your business, it is not possible to do everything. You need to have other people doing the work. Get used to that now and it will be easier later.

If you do all you own management and repairs, then yes...... it helps, but not required..... a trailer would work too

DO NOT BUY A BRAND NEW TRUCK..... buying any new vehicle is one of the worst investments you can make. And if you actually use it like a real truck, it will get damaged pretty quick

             I have used a Ford E250 utility van for years to haul tools and materials. It is more secure than my pick-up trucks, because you can lock everything up inside, while you are at Lowe's or on the job site. Also, you can fit a lot more material in it that you can in a pick-up, and it will stay dry in a rain storm. Put a rack on the roof to haul your ladders or longer pieces of lumber. You can also put large magnetic signs on the sides, to advertise your real estate business.

I have 33 units and my primary mode of transportation is my Honda civic coupe with a trailer hitch on it. anything bigger, I got a lot of contractors with trucks who can help me move.

my lambo, I drive when I'm meeting real estate agents and bankers so they take care of me hahaha

We have a mid sized SUV with hitch and trailer. There hasnt been anythjng that we have done that required a truck. Ive moced appliances, drywall, plywood, snowblower, etc with the trailer. You can get a new utility trailer from tractor supply for $700.

We have been kickin around getting a truck for a couple years now but they’re $$$$. Once we get 9 years on the SUV we will swap it out with a truck.

If you want a pickup, get one, but you don't need a pickup. I have been working on rentals and flips for years with a Mariner (small SUV) with a trailer hitch. Whenever I need to move something I rent a trailer, but the rest of the time I have the convenience/mpg of a compact SUV. I was going to buy a trailer for $3500 but found that I could rent one from Uhaul for $22 a day. $3500 is 159 rentals and I don't have to worry about storing or depreciating it. Another advantage of a trailer is that you can leave it on site for a trash bin (tongue lock). If you do decide on a pickup I would consider one that weighs over 6000lbs for the tax advantage. (Seek professional accounting advice) 

We got by for years with a 2004 V6 Saturn Vue and a 6 by 10 trailer.  The trailer was great because we only used it if we needed and it cost a whole lot less in taxes, maintenance, and initial investment than a truck.  The trailer was rated for 2000lbs, more than enough for moving couches and other things you mentioned.

A covered trailer is the best bet.  weatherproof storage and no lifting of appliances, just run them up the ramp.  It also serves as a great place to store some parts and tools for turns.   A good trailer won't depreciate as fast as a vehicle.

Originally posted by @Mark Akins :
@Josh Lyons yes, you’ll need a truck.

 Why do they need a truck? 

Without knowing anything about their plans or business model you can’t answer this question.

I own 5 properties and recently completed a remodel but have never had a truck.