BHX Logistics

Should I buy a cargo van or a straight truck?

Hey, this is Aldin from BHX.

Many drivers have recently asked me if they should upgrade from a Cargo Van to a Straight Truck.

In this article, we will compare:

  • Pricing
  • Longevity
  • Cost of Repairs and Maintenance
  • Quality of life
  • Amount and quality of available loads for each
  • Barrier to entry
  • Earning potential



OK, so a used cargo van will cost you between $30K and $40K, while a used Straight Truck will cost you between $60K and $70K. If we only focus on the upfront cost, the winner is Cargo Van.


Next, let’s discuss “longevity”. 

After purchasing one of these used vehicles, how long will they last? Let’s think about this in terms of “how many miles” rather than “how many years”?


A used Cargo Van that costs between 30 and 40 thousand dollars is going to have about 100,000 miles on it. It should run well for another 200-400 hundred thousand miles.

A $60-70K Straight Truck is going to have around 300-400 hundred thousand miles and will be able to run well for another 400-600 thousand miles.  Straight Trucks are true commercial vehicles and are built to last longer.

Winner: Straight Truck

Repairs and Maintenance

Moving on to “Cost of Repairs and Maintenance”… 

R&M for a Cargo Van is 8 cents per mile, and for a Straight Truck, it’s 12 cents per mile. So, per 100,000 miles, a Cargo Van costs $8000 and a Straight Truck costs $12,000 for Repairs and Maintenance. 

Winner: Cargo Van

Life Quality

How about “Life Quality”? 

In fact, many drivers spend way more time in their vehicles than in their homes. Quality of life while on the road is important.


While a Cargo Van is easier to drive and park, the Straight Truck easily wins this category because of its sleeper area. Most Cargo Van drivers have to make their own sleeping arrangements inside the cargo area, which sometimes means just throwing a mattress on the van’s floor.


Straight Truck drivers enjoy a fully equipped sleeper area with beds, a fridge, storage area, tables, and even a sink in some.

Winner: Straight Truck

Available Work

Next, let’s consider which type of vehicle has more available work.

There are more loads and less competition for Straight Trucks. The Cargo Van freight market is much more competitive. Plus with a Straight Truck, you can haul loads for Straight Truck as well as loads for Cargo Van.

Winner: Straight Truck

Barriers to Entry

As for the “barriers to entry”, which just means “how difficult is it to start working with a Cargo Van vs Straight Truck?”

The Cargo Van has a clear advantage because it’s not regulated by DOT, doesn’t require any special driver’s license, ELD, or permits.

Getting a Cargo Van and hauling freight is simple. A Straight Truck on the other hand is regulated by DOT, requires ELDs, and a Class B CDL license.


Winner: Cargo Van

Earning Potential

Last, but not least, let’s talk about rates per mile and how much you can expect to earn with each vehicle. 

The mileage and rates I will be mentioning are for over the road, solo owner-operator. On average, Cargo Van loads pay between $1 and $1.25 per mile, while Straight Truck loads pay between $2 and $2.50 per mile. 

Annually, Cargo Van Owner Operators can earn between $100,000 and $140,000 before expenses, while Straight Truck Owner Operators can earn between $240,000 and $280,000 before expenses, with similar mileage.


Winner: Straight Truck

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the verdict?  Should you get a Cargo Van or a Straight Truck?


I hope the information I shared in this video helps you make the right decision. The Cargo Van is a wonderful option for new drivers because of its low barriers to entry, as it is cheaper to buy and doesn’t require special licenses.

The advantages of a Straight Truck are that it provides a significantly more comfortable ride, better living conditions, lasts longer, and doubles your earning potential. This is a major decision, therefore I advise everyone to do their own research.  We all have different priorities and different needs.


For me, it’s a simple choice. Although a Straight Truck costs more, it will last twice as long and you can earn twice as much. Having a factory-built sleeper and living space makes life on the road easier. Getting a Class B CDL and being regulated by the DOT is a small price to pay for these advantages.


For those interested in a Straight Truck, BHX works closely with a company that can help facilitate a way for you to get a Straight Truck.  They do a great job at finding a way to get you approved, and they even offer lease-to-purchase options.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information.

That’s all for today. Thanks for watching and STAY SAFE!

  Cargo Van Straight Truck
Price (Used) $30,000 – $40,000 $60,000 – $70,000
Remaining life span 200,000 – 400,000 miles 600,000 – 700,000 miles
Cost of repairs and maintenance $.08 per mile$8,000 per 100,000 miles $.12 per mile$12,000 per 100,000 miles
Quality of life   Sleeper and more comfortable seats
Amount of available work Only Cargo Van Loads Cargo Van loads AND Straight Truck loads
Barrier to entry No special license or permits Requires Class B CDL and E-Logs
Money Gross annual ~ $120,000 Gross annual ~ $260,000

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