Landlords have different needs based on how many rentals they have, the type and frequency of work / repairs they perform themselves, and what type of rentals they have.
Pickup trucks are a very popular choice for landlords but they aren't always the best tool for the job. In this article we'll discuss the factors most landlords consider when choosing a vehicle.
Not just for landlords, reliability is an important factor for any driver. The less time and money you spend on keeping your vehicle running the better. Landlords tend to be more focused on getting good returns on their investments so reliability ranks higher than it might for a typical driver that would trade reliability for style and comfort. Toyotas are a common favorite for reliability.
A landlord's vehicle is going to do more than just transport the driver from A to B. Landlords commonly carry tools and supplies to and from their rentals and often do repairs and renovations that require a truck or van.
A vehicle that can fit 4 foot by 8 foot sheets of wood, siding, or other material is a common requirement for landlords. Not being able to carry materials of this size means you'll have have the materials delivered (if available), rent a vehicle (adding to your costs), or use a tailer. Trailers add costs and they are harder to drive with, park, back up, and you have to plan ahead for when you will need it and have a place to store it.
Doors & Other Large Items
Landlords commonly have to transport doors or lumber that can be lengthly. Other large items include refrigerators, washers and dryers, furniture, tools, and landscaping supplies.
Security & Protection
Enclosed vehicles like vans and trucks with camper shells can provide security for tools and supplies since the items can be locked inside. Items are also protected from the weather which is important as some supplies can be ruined from getting wet.
Items in an open truck bed can blow out when traveling at higher speeds if the load isn't secured. This isn't a concern in a van or covered trailer.
Trailers can provide many benefits so having a vehicle that can pull one will give you more options. Trailers can be useful for hauling larger amounts of material such as flooring or roofing as the payload capacities of vehicles can be maxed out much easier. Trailers also come in handy when moving big items or dirty items, like taking trash or left over tenant items to the dump.
In some areas you can buy a house for less than what you could spend on a brand new truck. Landlords generally prefer to buy assets that produce money rather than ones that cost money and quickly lose value.
Used vehicles save you a lot of money and if you are going to use it as a tool it just makes sense to not buy new. Moving tools and materials in a vehicle is going to cause wear and tear which is less impactful in an older, used vehicle. Wear and tear on a new vehicle will reduce the value very quickly.
For some landlords their vehicle just needs to carry themselves, but others might need more seating. Couples, families, or teams will need more seating. Since many landlords only landlord part time, their vehicle needs to serve multiple purposes.
Wether you care or not, what vehicle you drive will give an impression to anybody you do business with. People in a similar situation as you will likely understand your choice but others might not.
Some people will think you're not doing well if you drive an older beat up vehicle and others might think you're a rich snob if your vehicle is much more expensive than theirs. Some people don't wont' care about your vehicle at all, others will.
Ultimately its up to you as a landlord to decide which vehicle better serves your needs.
What We Like
We have a very old truck we picked up for $1,500. It does well for quickly moving things around town or going to the dump.
We purchased a used GMC Yukon for $10k. It has plenty of seats for people when needed, can hold full sheets of material when needed, and has a powerful V8 motor for pulling trailers. This is ideal when we need to go out of town or on longer trips to get appliances, furniture, or supplies and still be comfortable.
This car was close to $20k but it's cost per mile is much lower than the other vehicles so we commonly use this vehicle when we have to travel a lot but don't need to carry much.
The Do It All
You don't need multiple vehicles. Each one adds costs so it's best if you can find one to fit most of your needs.
A good mid sized SUV has served us well. It has a lot of seating, large cargo capacity, decent gas mileage with a v6 engine, and enough power to pull most trailer loads that a landlord will encounter.
In rare cases where your vehicle isn't up for the task you can borrow or rent a vehicle that is up to the task.