Is Leasing a Truck with a Carrier a Good Idea?

Commercial truck driving can be a lucrative career and can be even more so when you own your own rig. In order to do that; however, you must be able to purchase a rig. Even a pre-owned rig can be expensive, meaning that most people need to finance the purchase of a rig.

A number of trucking companies offer lease options, lease purchases, and drive-to-own opportunities. With these options, drivers can pursue the opportunity to purchase their own rig. While leasing a truck from a carrier can make a lot of financial sense, it depends on your particular situation.

One of the most important factors to consider in trying to decide whether you should take advantage of a lease option is what the carrier is offering. Many drivers are attracted to this option when they have credit problems or do not have the down payment required to purchase a rig on their own.

Leasing a Truck with a Carrier

Among the benefits that can be available through a lease opportunity, include:

• Low down payment or no down payment
• Low deposit
• No long-term commitment
• Pride of ownership
• Opportunity to drive newer equipment
• Easier credit standards
• Incentives for completing leases, such as cash back

Perhaps one of the best advantages of being a lease operator is that you have the chance to enjoy the benefits of owning your own rig while at the same time limiting the amount of financial risk you incur. In shopping around for a lease opportunity, you may find that some carriers advertise what is known as a walk-away lease. What this means is that if things do not work out, you can simply walk away from your lease obligation.

Of course, as is the case with anything else, there are possible drawbacks to leasing a truck. Among the most common complaints of such leases include unauthorized deductions, low miles, and confusing contracts. Drivers have also complained being required to pay large fees for insurance and being overcharged for fuel taxes. In other cases, carriers may require drivers to have repairs performed at repair facilities owned by the company. This can be problematic as repair fees are set by the carrier.

If you do decide to pursue a truck lease, the best way to do so is to make sure you do your homework. Speak to other drivers who have worked for that carrier and find out what they have to say. Remember to talk to more than one driver to ensure you get an accurate picture of what you can expect if you decide to lease a truck with that carrier.

Ensure you know exactly what is contained in the lease contract. Keep in mind that the amount of money you will earn as a lease operator will depend heavily on the amount it costs to operate your truck. This means you must know what you will be responsible for paying for under your lease contract. Along with the actual cost of the equipment lease payment, carriers may also require you to pay a down payment or deposit, permits, bobtail or deadhead insurance, and cargo insurance. Additionally, some carriers may also require that you set money aside in an escrow account to pay for towing, maintenance, tires, and repairs.

Also, be aware that simply because a trucking carrier requires you to put money aside for repairs or tires that does not necessarily mean this is how those funds will be used. Other possible expenses you might face include:

• Fuel surcharges
• Stop pay
• Licensing
• Truck fuel
• Excess mileage fees
• Truck and trailer washes
• Toll fees
• Cellular services
• Workman’s comp insurance
• Fines
• Parking fees
• Scale/weight tickets
• Gate fees

Think carefully and analyze the numbers before you agree to sign any carrier lease. Ultimately, you need to make sure that the lease makes sense financially for you and that you will be able to make money. If the numbers do not look good on paper, there is a good chance that you will not be able to make money after you sign the lease.