A popular certified work truck, a blue 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, is shown from the front parked on a salt flat.

Everything You Need to Know About Work Trucks

You’ve likely noticed that trucks are becoming increasingly fancy. It’s hard not to see it. Gone are the days when every pickup you saw looked like it just came off a long day at a construction site or ranch, rickety, dirty, and basic in design. Today, beautiful workhorses pull up that look like living rooms on wheels. They’re powerful like you expect trucks to be, but they’re also comfortable, stunning, high-tech, and all-around luxurious. In fact, you’ve probably noticed that “luxury trucks” are a category on many dealers’ websites now.

It is generally a positive thing that truck manufacturers have recognized that truck drivers deserve the finer things as well and recognize that many are willing to pay for them. However, it has left some who just need a work truck slightly in the dust. If you are seeking a truck that skips the eye-catching, striking features and is instead just a powerful, useful tool for the job site, you’re probably looking for a certified work truck dealer. Before you step foot onto a dealership’s lot, it’s important to know what exactly a work truck is, how it’s different from other trucks, and whether or not it’s right for you. Here’s everything you need to know about work trucks and what they offer.

What Makes a Work Truck Different

There was a time when one wouldn’t even have to ask what makes a work truck different from other trucks because there were no other trucks. But today, with so many manufacturers creating trucks that can double as family haulers and commuter vehicles, many people have forgotten about the good old-fashioned work truck. So for those who need a refresher, here are some things that make it different:

It Has a Customizable Bed

True work trucks are made to do a specific job, like plowing snow, dumping materials, cleaning streets, or even using cranes. For that reason, many work trucks have customizable beds that make it easy to attach equipment or even incorporate a permanent toolbox. Some have no bed but rather a customizable chassis that you can attach equipment to. If you’ve ever seen a truck come around to empty your building’s large recycling dumpster, you probably noticed that its cab looked normal, but in place of a bed, it had a forklift-like mechanical device that could grab and lift a dumpster. That’s an example of a work truck.

It’s Typically a Barebones Design

Because work trucks are designed specifically for jobs and not for long road trips or commutes, they don’t need the comfort features that luxury trucks do, so they are very stripped down. Don’t expect heated seats, premium audio systems, upscale upholstery, or massage features. Typically, companies order these in mass for their employees to use, so they aren’t filled with the luxury features you’d find in typical consumer trucks.

They Have Larger Engines

Work trucks often have to do tough jobs. Some have to tow and haul major equipment or loads. For this reason, they have large engines capable of the towing and hauling capabilities needed for the job. It’s not uncommon to find a V8 under the hood of a typical work truck.

They’re Affordable

Work trucks will typically cost less than other trucks because they lack the luxury features found in many modern pickups. You won’t find leather seats, a large infotainment touchscreen, or any other innovative tech in a work truck. Because the priority is capability, work trucks do not need the fancier features to demonstrate their value, thus making them less expensive than your typical truck.

There’s No Extended Cab Option

You’re going to find work trucks with crew or standard cabs, but not extended, as these aren’t meant to be people haulers.

A green 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD is shown parked on a dirt road after leaving a certified work truck dealer.

How Work Trucks Are Manufactured

Even the way work trucks are manufactured is different from other trucks. While many pickups you see today are made on massive assembly lines, with all parts coming from one place, that’s not the case with many work trucks. Many are often ordered to strict specifications and must abide by a unique design tailored to specific jobs. For that reason, there needs to be impeccable communication between the manufacturers of the engine, truck body, and chassis as each part must work together flawlessly with the other to do the truck’s intended job.

The Pros and Cons of a Work Truck

Work trucks are perfect for certain drivers, and a hindrance for others. So here are the pros and cons to consider:

The Pros:

As mentioned, their sheer power is their biggest advantage. They have large engines that are made to offer huge towing and hauling capabilities.They’re affordable, and when you skip the Bose audio system and leather seats, you can actually see some significant discounts. Maintenance records are easy to find on used ones, and since work trucks are typically used by companies, they often undergo routine maintenance that has been well-documented and is easy to track.

The Cons:

They don’t have the best fuel economy. Generally speaking, the larger the engine, the lesser the fuel efficiency. However, work trucks aren’t designed to go on long trips but rather to tow and haul materials over short distances across work sites. They’re stripped down, and when we say these are bare-bones vehicles, we mean it. If you plan to use your work truck for anything other than work, you’ll be quickly frustrated by the lack of features. Used ones are going to have their share of wear and tear. If you are going to buy a used work truck, it’s going to be hard to find one in pristine condition. They are used in tough environments, so they’ll have scratches and dings that reflect that.

A black 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD is shown parked in a field towing a trailer filled with hay.

Where to Shop for a Work Truck

If you decide a work truck is for you, know that major truck manufacturers like Chevrolet, Ram, and Ford have work-truck-specific websites specifically designed for fleet and business trucks. So be sure to bypass their regular websites and search for those. You can also look up dealerships that specialize in commercial and fleet vehicles. If you really want to see savings, some drivers look into government auctions where fleets of trucks go up for sale at deep discounts.

Tackle the Challenges of the Job Site With Confidence

Many people today say they want a work truck, but they really mean that they want an everyday commuter car that can also tow their boat out to the lake on weekends or haul some items for their DIY project at home. A work truck won’t be right for these individuals, as they’ll likely miss the luxury and comfort features of most modern trucks.

The work truck is suited for someone who needs a purely utilitarian vehicle made for…work. Many drivers find those hard to come by today because the market has put such an emphasis on luxury trucks. Contractors, farmers, and other business owners who need a vehicle that can haul equipment and handle tough jobs often complain about the need for more affordable, bare-bones trucks. When you need a fleet of trucks for your snow plow business, you don’t want to pay extra for a 12-speaker audio system or wood veneer paneling; that’s where a true work truck comes in.

Understanding these key differences between work trucks and regular trucks is important before you begin your search. The work truck is perfect for some buyers but will leave others wanting more. However, they are powerful, affordable trucks that have helped build this country. We hope the truck manufacturing industry continues making them even in light of luxury truck popularity, as they are a crucial component to many businesses across the country and beyond.