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.