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Planning and Paying for Your Custom Fire Truck


Purchasing fire truck requires a hefty investment, and it isn’t always feasible to pay for it all at once. If your department is planning to purchase a new fire truck and you’re considering working with Metalfab, you’ll want to know what to expect. In this article, we outline the entire ordering process for your custom fire truck, from configuration to delivery, and highlight the payment options available to you throughout.

What to Expect

The process of purchasing a custom fire truck typically involves a bidding and ordering process, a contract and order review session, an approval package and preconstruction visit, detailed engineering, and attentive manufacturing followed by the final inspection.

The bidding and ordering process comprises communication between all those involved in the purchase of the truck, including members of the fire department, community representatives, group purchasing organizations, and various manufacturers. The process starts with a request for proposal and ends with a signed contract and/or a purchase order to the preferred manufacturer, which we hope is Metalfab!

A fire truck request for proposal details the design and the features desired by your fire department. It includes critical information such as the mission and use of the vehicle, pump size, aerial reach, tank size, length restrictions, overall height, and other critical needs. This document also outlines the responsibilities of the manufacturer such as submission dates, question periods, delivery, bonds, penalties, and insurance requirements.

Each request for proposal includes a rendering which showcases the intricate engineering details for every part of the fire truck. This allows manufacturers to determine if they can meet the needs of your department. Once the request for proposal is complete, your fire department sends it off to the desired manufacturers to obtain a formal proposal for the production of the apparatus. This process sometimes involves advertising the design requirements and inviting any interested manufacturers to submit their proposal to the purchasing committee.

For more information on writing a request for proposal, we invite you to read our how-to on preparing to draft a request for proposal.

When Metalfab receives a request for proposal from your fire department, we then draft our proposal to meet your specifications. Before the proposal can be finalized, a number of items will be reviewed by both you and us, including any special clauses in the contract such as penalties or specific delivery dates. These might also include requests for performance, bid, or payment bonds or other special options. They will also include your requirements for height, length, and weight; angle of approach and departure restrictions; aerial tip load calculation, where applicable; 4×4 driveline, where applicable; and any other special needs your department may have for the new apparatus.

Once these items have been reviewed, the final proposal—including required certifications and warranties—is formally submitted to your department for validation and approval. If you award the contract to Metalfab, everyone signs, a purchase order is issued, and payment options are discussed.


Payment Options

The average price of a custom fire truck is $400,000 plus tax. This is a substantial investment for any department, so Metalfab makes it easier by offering a series of payment options to help you disperse your obligations throughout the manufacturing process as needed.

Chassis Net 10, Body and Equipment COD

Using this method, payment for the chassis is made upon its arrival at the Metalfab factory. The remainder is paid upon delivery. Our customers often enjoy this option because it is cost-effective and frees up cash flow later on in the process. However, some customers find it difficult to arrange two separate payments and opt to pay a lump sum instead.

Chassis, Body and Equipment COD

With this option, payment is made all at once at the time of delivery. It’s convenient in that it’s a one-time payment. However, we do require a small amount of interest on the carrying cost of the chassis from the time of its arrival in our facility to delivery.


Metalfab’s fire truck lease option is not what you think it is. Leasing is commonly understood as borrowing an asset, which is often associated with high borrowing costs and returning the asset after a predetermined period of time. At Metalfab, we do things differently. We offer a flexible payment plan, a variety of terms, and lease options that span for about 10 years followed by a buyout where the apparatus is transferred into your department’s name.


Some of our chiefs opt to pay a small amount at the time the order is signed to make for smaller payments in the end. This is often preferred by departments who have done fundraising for the new apparatus in advance.


With a holdback, a percentage of cost is held back at the time of delivery and paid at a later date. We determine the percentage and rate of interest on a case-by-case basis, so talk to us to learn more about what we can offer for your situation.

As a leading manufacturer of custom fire apparatus, we embrace the responsibility of making payments easy for our customers. By offering a flexible ordering process and a variety of payment options, we aim to help you get your hands on your next custom fire truck sooner. Call us today at 1-800-561-0012 to get started.