Should You Own
Or Lease A Truck?

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Owning your own truck is almost every trucker’s dream. You have more independence as you’re essentially your own boss. Owner operator trucking rates per mile are generally much higher than company employed drivers, 

 

However, a word of caution: owner operator trucking is not for everyone. It’s more than a simple upgrade in equipment. It’s comparable to starting your own business. Jumping headfirst into becoming an owner-operator can have devastating results. To begin with, a truck is a huge investment of your savings. You need to wisely begin saving now and start paying off debts.

Stack Your Chips


The price of of a Decent truck will vary based on the year, brand, and specs. You can expect to finance $60,000-$200,000 for just purchasing the vehicle.

 

Having a good savings isn’t just for the purchase. On top of the base purchase, you must include all maintenance costs, fueling, permits, and insurances. In all, the "total annual cost" of operating your own rig could costs upwards of $180,000. Also as an owner operator, you’ll need to save for your own retirement and health insurance. You’ll also want an emergency fund in case of vehicle breakdowns or unexpected problems.

If you have a bad credit score, you’ll have a near impossible time finding a good lender down the road. Start fixing your credit score now. Make smart purchases that you can afford. Most of all, be patient! It takes time to accumulate good credit and a good savings.

Prepare Your Family

You should also prepare personally by making plans with your family and loved ones. While you have the freedom to take on more miles as an owner-operator than a company driver, work always comes at an emotional cost. When you spend less time at home, tensions and conflicts can develop in your relationships. Try to be open about your plans with your spouse and children and discuss how they might be effected by your decision.

 

If you’re not business savvy, you better start learning the basics of financing now. Maybe take some online classes and get a partner to split the responsibilities and costs.

Seek Legal Advice

Before you get serious, get legal help to weave your way through the process completing all the necessary paperwork. This step is especially important now with the ELD mandate. You’re going to need to educate yourself on all the compliance issues involved in owner operator trucking jobs, including decals, HOS, vehicle insurance, and cabin equipment. You might find everything too overwhelming and conclude it’s not for. Later on, you might also want an accountant to help you budget your expenses, contact the bank, lenders, and the dealer; and advise you the best investments. you.

Choose the Right Truck

There’s a lot of popular trucks used throughout North America. You’ve got Freightliner, Volvo, Kenworth, Western Star, and many more! How do you choose the right one for you?  Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all truck. Picking your first truck comes down to personal preference and the type of work the truck will be doing.

 

Here are a few things to consider before purchasing your first truck as an owner operator. Before anything else, map out some of the factors that will influence what you’ll need from your truck. If you have a set route then you’ll be able to answer these questions more easily.

  • Are you going long-haul, short-haul or local?

  • What style of cab will you want?

  • Does the truck need to meet emissions testing?

  • How heavy are the loads you’ll be hauling?

  • Are you buying new or used?

  • Are you financing or paying up-front?

Every owner operator out there will swear by a different manufacturer. Some truck drivers won’t think of owning anything other than a Kenworth or a Peterbilt, while some swear by a Volvo or a Freightliner. It will pay off in the long run, to take the time to consider your choices carefully. Keep in mind the specifications that may influence which make or model is best for your needs. This first truck will be the beginning of a new chapter in your trucking career.  Do it right.

Find a Lender

Most of the time you’re not going to be able to fork over the full cost of your semi truck in cash, so you’ll have to find a reliable lender to credit you the money. Some lenders are highly skeptical of owner-operator trucking businesses because they often fail after only a year. So, even if you have a good credit score, you might find a difficult time getting a loan approved by a bank.

The lender may also  require you to make a down payment. Between 15-20% is usually a reasonable amount. Even if they don’t require one of you, it’s still a good idea to reduce the principal of the loan with an upfront payment. Buying a commercial vehicle should give you greater collateral than a non-commercial one since you’re using it for business purposes. If you’re patient and confident, you should find a great deal. Be ready to present your CDL, history of driving experience, proof of consistent income, and reliable information on the vehicle you’re interested in buying. This will give your lender more assurance and expedite the process.

For more info on Truck Financing check out: 

 "10 PRACTICAL TIPS TO FINANCING A SEMI TRUCK"

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