Is A Semi Truck Lease Worth It?

Is Leasing A Semi Truck A Good Idea or Not?

There is constant debate on whether leasing a semi truck is better than buying one.

Both sides seem to have solid arguments so it’s hard to know who is right. 

How does down payment work for big semi rig?

Leasing has always been an alternative to purchasing a vehicle but it has become more popular.

Instead of saving up to buy a semi truck, you can sign a lease agreement and make monthly payments throughout your lease period.

This sounds great and it is but the most critical variable to consider is you.

So we’ll look at all you need to know about leasing a semi-truck and those details will help you decide if it’s a good idea or not. 

Understanding the Basics of Leasing a Semi truck

Before you consider leasing any vehicle, you must understand what exactly you’re getting into.

Knowing some standard terms used will help you understand better.

  • Monthly Payment

Some companies require weekly or biweekly payment but most agree with monthly payments.

Your monthly payment is the predetermined amount you will pay throughout your lease period. Check out htese top lessors – Ryder leasing agreement and Penske Lease arrangement terms!

It depends on how new the truck is, the lease period, penalties for early lease termination, and if you are purchasing the semi-truck at the end of the lease period.

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  • Down payment

This is the amount you pay upfront for your lease. Not all semi leasing companies require a down payment unless you have bad credit.

Whether you make a down payment or not, the cost of leasing the semi-truck remains the same.

A high down payment would only make for low monthly payments.

  • Residual value

The residual value of the semi-truck is the estimated value of the truck after the lease ends.

This is usually predetermined at the start of the lease and determines how much you pay if you decide to buy the truck. It also influences the cost of leasing the truck.

  • Lease period

This is the fixed length of time for the lease and is in the lease contract.

For semi-trucks, it is usually between 3-5 years but can be less depending on your agreement with the leasing company.

  • Early termination

Sometimes, you may want to terminate your lease before the date in the signed contract.

An early termination fee is the fee required by the provider for you to drop off the semi-truck earlier than the end date signed in the contract.

Early termination can be costly so think hard before choosing your lease period. View our tractor trailer lease deals!

  • Default Charge

A default charge, also known as a late charge, is the amount required to pay for making a late monthly payment.

It is usually 5% of the monthly payment.

  • Mileage allowance

This is a yearly mileage limit set by the leasing company.

Once you exceed it, you start to incur a mileage charge which is usually at a set rate per mile.

  • Open-end lease

In this type of lease, you must make a payment at the end of the lease that amounts to the difference between the residual value and the current market value and then keep the vehicle.

  • Closed-end lease

This type of lease does not require you to purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease period. It is the most common type of lease given.

Is Leasing A Semi Truck A Good Idea Worth It?

Pros of leasing for semi trucking

  • Leasing a semi-truck is not as financially risky as buying one.
  • Your monthly payments are fixed, helping you budget ahead.
  • Lease agreements are flexible. Several rental companies have different options you can choose from, helping you sign deals that suit you best.
  • Since you don’t have a semi-truck as a depreciating asset, your balance sheet is attractive to prospective lenders if you’re looking to expand your business.
  • There are little to no upfront costs, improving your business’ cash flow.
  • Lease agreements include maintenance costs. The rental company is in charge of your maintenance and repair costs, except for intentional damage.
  • You don’t have to bother looking for a buyer or disposing of the truck at the end of your lease agreement. The leasing company takes care of it.
  • You can upgrade to a newer semi-truck with better features.

And the Cons are…

  • At the end of the lease, the truck is not yours even though you make monthly payments.
  • Signing an open-ended lease makes you eligible to pay for the truck. Nevertheless, you may end up paying more for the truck than if you had bought it outrightly. 
  • You can’t modify the truck as you would if it was your own. 

When is it a bad idea to lease a semi?

Now that you know the many benefits of leasing a semi truck and its downsides, it’s time to know whether to make that decision.

Generally, leasing a semi truck is a bad idea in the following cases:

  • You will likely substantially exceed the mileage allowance. The miles will add up and with a high mileage charge, your out-of-pocket expenses will significantly increase.
  • You do not have a well-thought-out plan for your truck business. Before leasing a truck, you must have a plan to make the monthly payments and other expenses.
  • You do not have a contingency fund. Things don’t always go as planned, so a plan B for making the monthly payment is necessary. What happens if you’re too sick to drive the truck or the weather is terrible?
  • You cannot afford insurance. Driving a leased semi-truck is a risk you do not want to take as it can ruin your finances in a moment.


After considering the pros and cons of leasing a semi-truck, it is safe to say that leasing a semi-truck can be a good idea.

Ensure you understand what you’re committing to by reading the terms and conditions of your lease agreement before signing.