Guide About Leasing A Tractor Trailer for Commercial Semi Truck!

Trailer Vs Truck Lease and Commercial Rental!

Being an owner-operator is one of the most profitable positions in the trucking business. The benefits will be worth the risk if you manage your business correctly. 

One primary concern starting is the cost of purchasing the equipment such as tractor trailer, you need.

If buying a truck or tractor is not a practical step, there are options like leasing and renting that provide the opportunity to have a vehicle without a sizeable down payment.

If you’re looking to see whether to lease tractor trailer for your commercial purpose, or even renting is the best option for you, you will want to read on.

In this short guide, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each option – to lease a tractor and renting trucking options.

Graphic of a truck head

Lease A Tractor vs Rental

Leasing involves a contractual agreement between two parties.

The lessor (the owner) allows the lessee (customer) to use the vehicle – from small pickup to medium box truck lease and huge rig such as 53 foot semis leasing / financing – for an agreed period, accepting periodic monthly payments.

On the other hand, a rental is also a contractual agreement between parties but usually for a shorter period compared to a lease.

Although they each have their benefits and downsides, these two options give you the flexibility that comes with owning a truck compared to being a company driver.

Why You Should Lease Tractor Trailer?

A tractor trailer unit (semi-truck) is an expensive investment to make, so a lot of self-employed drivers usually look to leasing one.

A used semi truck has a price range between $30,000 and $80,000, while the price of a new one can be as high as $200,000. The prices of trucks depend on the size and manufacturer.

The average cost of owning a new truck is $125,000 to $150,000. A used truck is cheaper, but still has a starting price of $45,000.

Leasing is a great way to start your trucking business, even if you don’t have a large sum at hand. It is usually for three to five years, with low payment cost, making it a long-term solution.

30-wheel heavy-duty trailer truck

What are Tractor Lease Requirements?

To get a lease, you will need:

  • A business plan
  • Motor carrier number
  • Truck insurance


  • Available without good credit

Some leasing companies do not require you to have a perfect credit score before signing a contract with you. However, they may require a larger down payment than another driver with a good credit score.

  • Requires less down payment

Leasing a truck will require less down payment than buying it outrightly. This gives you a chance to start your self-employed trucking journey at the earliest than if you had to save up or wait to process a loan.

There are also lease companies that require no down payment, although most will need you to have a good credit score.

  • Flexible payment plan

Depending on the kind of leasing company you decide to use, private leasing companies give you the option of a step-up payment plan where you can increase payment over time.

The 3 back axles of a trailer truck

  • Lease to own

Most lease agreements will allow you to buy out the truck at the end of the lease period.

The buy-out price is usually agreed upon and included in the contract. The cost will depend on how high or low the monthly payment is.

  • Short-term commitment

If you’re unsure whether you want to be an owner-operator, leasing provides you the option to commit to it for only a short while. Of course, this would be more complicated if you had already invested in buying a new truck.

  • Upgrade option

With a lease, you’re free to upgrade your vehicle once the initial lease agreement has expired.


  • Cost of maintenance and repairs

Many lease agreements require the lessee to cover repairs and maintenance costsThese costs can be so high; they may affect your ability to make your monthly payment.

In a full service lease where the company agrees to cover the cost of maintenance and repairs, your monthly payment will be higher.

  • Long-term cost

Leasing usually requires no or little down payment, but if you plan to buy the tractor trailer or truck after the leasing period, you will end up spending more money than if you had bought it at first.

  • Limitations during use

Some leasing companies are strict with their mileage limitation to ensure the truck remains in good condition until the end of the lease period.

Also, since you do not own the vehicle, you cannot alter any part of it.

Top Truck and Tractor Leasing Companies

Leasing companies have different rates and terms and conditions. You may have to shop around to find the best one for you.

Whether you’re leasing straight trucks, heavy-duty trucks, or you need semi-truck leasing, the top semi lessor companies in the U.S to check are:

  1. Ryder
  2. Swift Transportation
  3. SFI Truck and Financing
  4. JB Hunt
  5. U-Haul
  6. Penske Leasing & Rental


Whether you choose to sign up for a lease program or a rental, both options are great for your new truck business.

First, make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions in the contract before accepting them. Then, take stock of the benefit of each option and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Don’t make it guesswork, but instead run the numbers to determine the cash flow. That way, you know which payment plan you can keep up with and which will be more profitable for you.

new tractor fleet