Jun 13, 2009

How To Avoid Losing Your Shirt With A Lease Purchase

Being A Company Driver

Because this article is mainly about A Trucking Lease / Trucking Lease Purchase, I'm only going to touch briefly on the benefits in being a company driver.

Becoming a company driver is just like being an employee at any other job, really. (In a employee-type sense)

Typically, employees are eligible for a vast array of benefits such as legal protection, health, vision, dental, family counseling, etc. These are the top ones offered usually. Employees are also eligible for a paid vacation at the end of each year, often progressing in length as you stay with the company longer.

This is where being a company driver vs lease purchase/owner operator gets kind of difficult, Because there are so many different directions and earnings really go either way.

I've known owner operators who stay out for months on end, and make over $80k a year. I've also known company drivers who stay out for 2 months at a time and make $80k a year. But the exception comes when you get into specifics, of what they're hauling, how often, etc.

A perfect example was a owner operator I knew that pulled flatbed for five years or so then switched over to strictly heavy-haul, and tripled his income.

Because of driver personalities, and different work ethics/habits, it's safe to say that some drivers will naturally excel in one position or the other. The opposite is also safe to say: That some drivers will fail at whatever they choose, company or owner operator.

Here are some general tips for succeeding in a trucking lease purchase:

  • Do not lease a truck if you are brand new to trucking - You are new to this industry. See how long times out and waiting will make you react. You must be patient to be a trucker. See how you like showering in public truck stops or having hookers knock on your doors at night, If you're inexperienced, Become a company driver.
  • Start a Trucking Lease with money in hand - Do not go into a lease purchase broke, there are a ton of fees and momentum is required to get moving and making money. You do not want to be in the situation where you are advancing your money to live on, If you have no money, start as a company driver. The VERY minimum I would have to do a trucking lease would be $5k.
  • If Possible, Lease or Purchase From Someone other than your Company - I don't recommend leasing from whoever you pull freight for, (e.g. Don't lease a truck from C.R. England if you Pull freight for C.R. England) Why? It's cheaper to lease or purchase from a place like Empire Truck Sales, (A months payment from Empire would be about one of your weekly payments at your company) Somewhere like Empire has one incentive - To give you a truck to buy so you'll be back to buy another one later on. You are Empires customer. Your company wants their customer to be happy. (e.g. Whoevers freight is in the trailer)
  • Being Faster Isn't Always Better - I wouldn't suggest running 80mph everywhere simply because you can. You'll find savings in gas purchases if you go the speed limit, or right under the speed limit, which will increase the money you earn on your settlements.
  • Don't Sit Simply Because You Can - You still have a dispatcher, I wouldn't refuse short loads because you can. Miles are better than no miles. Your dispatcher will typically give you longer runs once he/she sees you like to keep moving.

The main object is this: Use Common Sense. If you know that eating in a truck stop every day will make you late on a load, get your food to go. Deal with the annoyance for the next few days that you're on the load.

Back to Part One