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 vehicle you need.
If buying a truck is not a practical step, there are options like leasing and renting that provide the opportunity to have a truck without a sizeable down payment.
If you’re looking to see whether leasing a tractor trailer or truck for your commercial purpose, or even renting a truck is the best option for you, you will want to read on.
In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each option – both commercial truck lease and renting – so you can make the best decision.
Leasing 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.
Leasing a Tractor Trailer or Truck
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.
Tractor Trailer or Truck 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.
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.
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.
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 costs.
These 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.
Truck 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:
- Swift Transportation
- SFI Truck and Financing
- JB Hunt
- Penske Leasing & Rental
Renting a truck is another option to consider if you cannot afford to purchase a truck outrightly.
Whether you need it to make some moves or you’re hauling for a project, it is an excellent short-term solution for your seasonal needs. View our weekly fees for rental!
Truck Rental Requirements
Truck rental companies have their different requirements, but most will require:
- The driver is at least 21 years old (or 18 years old in some states)
- A valid driver’s license
- A CDL license for heavy duty trucks with GVWR greater than 26,001 lbs.
- A major credit card in the driver’s name
- USDOT number
- Motor carrier number
- No down payment required
Most truck rentals do not require you to make any down payment, so you don’t need to have a fortune to get a truck.
- Low monthly payment
The monthly payment for renting a truck is lower than taking a loan to buy one. Once you add the cost of registration and insurance, the latter increases astronomically.
- Repairs and maintenance
The rental company usually covers the truck’s repairs and maintenance.
They provide a replacement truck while your original truck is undergoing repairs, ensuring your business continues as usual.
- Short-term commitment
If you’re looking to use a truck for a short period, like a few weeks or months, a truck rental affords you a shorter commitment period compared to a lease.
- High long-term cost
The rate of renting a truck is higher than that of leasing. The cost adds up, so you should not use it as a long-term solution.
It can quickly run down your finances and swallow your profits. View financing bad credit about box truck here!
- No option to own
Unlike leasing your truck, there is no option to own the truck you rented at the end of the rental agreement.
Truck Rental Companies
There are a good number of truck rental companies in the U.S. Some of the top companies based on their terms, affordability, and popularity among drivers include:
- Budget Truck 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.