Should I Buy My Own Semi-trailer truck?

A lot of truck drivers dream of becoming an owner/operator. Whether you’re a rookie driver or a grizzled veteran with millions of miles under your belt, taking a serious look into buying your own truck is something you have to put serious thought into. In order to put yourself on the road to success as an owner-operator, you’ll need to make a number of critical decisions and self-assessments. If you take into full consideration all of the variables, and give yourself an honest assessment, and come out saying yes, then buying your own truck may be the best thing that ever happened for your career.

A Personal Assessment

It all starts with being honest with yourself. Take a good, hard look at your work ethic, habits, and commitment to personal and professional growth. Ask others in your life that your trust to give you an honest assessment about these characteristics. Owning a truck is much more than just driving a truck. Consider the following:

  • Driving Preferences – Do you prefer maximizing your available hours so you can run as many hours as possible, or is getting a lockdown on the best parking spot so you can catch the game more important?
  • Home Time – If spending weekends at home regardless of what time off means to your pay, you’re probably better remaining a company driver.
  • Family – Do you have special family considerations like a spouse with a difficult work schedule or shared child custody that restricts your driving availability? While you may be able to manage these issues, they can take a toll on your profitability as an owner/operator.
  • Health – Are you in generally good health? Being in good health and maintaining your health is critical to running a business, as sick days take a direct toll on your pocket.
  • Career Goals – What are your short and long-term career goals? Do you want to drive for life or eventually move into a non-driving position? If you build your owner/operator business, you can hire drivers and eventually take a role off the road and just focus on running your business and drivers.

Financial Assessment

If you end up deciding to own a truck is what you want, the next step is looking at your current financial situation.  Take an honest and thorough look at your finances. If things don’t look great, that doesn’t mean the dream is over. You can quickly get yourself into a position to buy or lease to purchase a truck with a focused and disciplined strategy.

  • Personal Budget – Get a handle on all of your income and expense items and track them using a spreadsheet or software. If you can’t control your own finances, you’ll have a hard time dealing with the finances involved with being an owner.
  • Eliminate Debt and Build Credit – Setting yourself up for success as an owner/operator is difficult if you’re carrying a heavy debt burden. Start by eliminating your credit card debt or getting your balances below 30%. You’ll save money on interest payments and improve your credit score when applying for a truck loan.
  • Emergency Fund – What is your plan if you get sick, have a financial emergency, or need to access cash fast? Setting aside 3 to 6 months of your living expenses can get you through a lot of unexpected life surprises. Your emergency fund can save you when you’re out on the road over a holiday weekend, and your dispatcher is nowhere to be found.

Go Independent or try a Lease Purchase Program?

Because no two truckers are alike, you have to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for you and your goals. Some truckers value full independence above all else and are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain it. Others prefer the security of knowing they will have a more consistent base of freight to get loads.

Should You Buy Your Own Truck?

That’s only a question you can answer. Just make sure to weigh all of your options and see how they align with your goals and lifestyle. If you’re not in a position to buy a truck with cash and don’t want to deal with a loan, then a lease-purchase program can be a great option. The combination of comfortable payments, support, and consistent runs makes a lease-purchase program the perfect transition to becoming an owner/operator.

Discover how the Hill Bros. Lease Purchase Program works, and see if it’s right for you.

What to Look for in a Trucking Lease Purchase Program

For many truck drivers, becoming an owner-operator is the gold standard in the trucking industry. Lease purchase programs are a great way to move toward that goal. If you’re considering a lease purchase program, always make sure to “read the fine print.” The details can be the difference between a life-changing experience and a massive headache. This article will cover what you need to know when looking for a great lease purchase program to take the next step in your trucking career.

Why Do Drivers Love Lease Purchase Programs?

A lease purchase program is one of the paths of least resistance to owning your own truck. If you’re not ready to buy a truck outright, a lease purchase can be a great option. At the end of your lease, you will own a truck while avoiding the large down payments when buying a truck directly. Monthly payments for a lease purchase program range from $300 – $1,200 per month, making the option accessible for most professional drivers. Because the program is through a carrier, you don’t need to establish an individual line of credit.

Choose Your Own Truck

Lease purchase programs are the first step to taking ownership of your trucking career. Part of that process is deciding which type of truck to purchase. The type of hauls you want to do will determine the truck that’s best for you. Choose a truck that fits your career direction and meets your personal equipment preferences.

As you navigate your options, make sure the lease purchase company has enough loads for you. You must get enough miles to support yourself, so only choose a program that can prove they have a sufficient number of loads for you.

Build Your Reputation

As an owner operator your most important asset becomes your reputation. Carrying freight for a lease purchase company sets the foundation for your reputation. You can start building your connections while working under the lease purchase agreement. By the time your own the truck, you’ll be able to apply for new contracts with confidence and a good name.

Enjoy the Perks

A great lease purchase program comes with service and maintenance benefits. Good companies will even keep a maintenance account for you. They may fully or partially cover the cost of preventive maintenance, training, and performance reporting. Ask about and read the fine print on the contract about maintenance costs and perks closely. If you are responsible for footing the maintenance costs on your own, plan on setting aside 15-25% of each paycheck to offset the cost.

Common Red Flags

If the lease purchase contract seems off, get a second opinion. Here are some common red flags you should look for:

  • Unreasonably high missed payment penalties
  • If the company is putting on the hard sell and pushing you to make a quick decision or won’t allow you to get a second opinion
  • It’s unclear if the company can provide you with enough miles
  • There’s a balloon payment at the end of the contract that will make you stay on with the same company instead of pursuing new opportunities

 Is a Lease Purchase Program Right for You?

A lease purchase program can be a great way to take the leap to become an operator. At the end of the day, it’s a very personal decision. The main thing you want to do when choosing the right company is making sure they’re transparent with you. Understand what you want going into it, and make sure the company checks your boxes. The program should be flexible. The company should allow you to talk to drivers that have completed or are in the program currently so you can get their opinion.

Discover how the Hill Bros. Lease Purchase Program works, and see if it’s right for you.