Truck Leasing 101: Complete Guide to Semi Truck Leasing

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For some, the pull of the open road starts early, tugging at them while they’re still kids with the “come hither” appeal of a particularly attractive member of the opposite sex, and millions have answered that call.  For thousands of drivers, driving for the company isn’t nearly enough, and they want the full experience of being in business for themselves.  However, many would-be owner-operators have to face the harsh reality that financial skeletons in their closets have put their dream out of reach until their credit situation improves.

Recognizing the demand for a viable alternative, many trucking companies have put together lease purchase, lease option, and drive-to-own opportunities for drivers unable to pursue their dreams through more traditional financing sources.

The question is: Does leasing a truck from a carrier ever make financial sense for the driver — or should you avoid all of them like the plague?

The answer to that question depends upon your individual circumstances — and whose message you choose to believe.

The Carrier

From the carrier’s perspective, leasing a truck makes perfect sense for those drivers who are credit-challenged or have a lack of down payment money and other start-up costs.

Carriers have heavily marketed lease opportunities to would-drivers as a short-term path to truck ownership, and thousands of drivers have taken the bait.  While the terms vary from carrier to carrier, carriers claim that leases benefit drivers in a variety of ways, including:

  • Low Down Payments (in some cases — no down payment)
  • Low deposits
  • No long-term commitment
  • Opportunity to drive up-spec equipment
  • Pride of Ownership
  • Relaxed credit standards (in some cases no credit checks)
  • Lease completion incentives (cash back, lease buy-outs, etc.)

This gives lease operators the chance to experience first-hand the perks of ownership, while limiting their financial risk.  Many carriers advertise their leases as being “walk-away” leases, meaning that the driver can simply walk away from their lease obligation if for some reason things don’t work out.

Driver Advocacy Groups

Driver advocacy groups have a different take on carrier-sponsored semi truck lease opportunities.  Some, such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have successfully filed class-action lawsuits on behalf of drivers who have fallen prey to unfair or illegal carrier leasing practices.

In recent years OOIDA has successfully won large settlements for drivers in high profile cases against carriers such as C.R. England, Inc., Landstar, Inc., Ledar Express, and Arctic Express, Inc.

Some of the issues raised in these lawsuits have been violations of federal truth in leasing laws, the failure of carriers to return escrowed funds at the end of the lease or when it is terminated, illegal or improper deductions, and in some cases — outright fraud.

Driver Complaints

For many drivers, leasing a truck has been nothing short of a financial disaster.  Instead of allowing them to experience the joys of truck ownership and the fulfillment of a dream, what they have experienced instead has been a protracted nightmare: low miles, unauthorized deductions at the hands of sometimes unscrupulous carriers, and confusing lease contracts written to heavily benefit carriers.

Many drivers have been taken advantage of by these deals and — frequently — the lease drivers are left holding the financial bag, owing their carriers more at the end of the week than they have managed to earn by driving.

Some of the chief complaints that some drivers have about these lease contracts is that most carriers make it nearly impossible to earn a living due to:

  • Large Payments
  • Inflated fees for insurance
  • carriers that over-charge them for fuel taxes
  • carrier-mandated repairs at company-owned repair facilities (with repair rates set by the carrier)
  • Large deposits, escrow, and repair accounts

In addition, some drivers charge that their carriers don’t clearly spell out in the lease agreement under what terms drivers can access tire and repair money — and some carriers make it impossible to access those funds by setting very high minimum spending limits before the funds can be tapped.

Adding insult to injury, many carriers promising drivers that they can walk away from their lease purchase obligations if things don’t work out keep escrowed repair funds and deposits if the driver elects not to complete the lease.  This has caused many drivers to question whether lease opportunities are an opportunity — or a pathway to certain financial ruin.

Some Drivers ARE making money

While there’s very little doubt that leasing a truck may very well be a huge gamble for some drivers, it’s also true that there ARE drivers making money with a truck lease opportunity.  Some earn a very good living.

Since there is no national database available with statistics showing how successful or unsuccessful drivers can be with commercial truck leasing, drivers are left to form their own conclusion.

The best policy is to do your homework

If you’re determined to roll the entrepreneurial dice — and your current credit situation doesn’t allow it — you are basically left with the choices of driving a company truck until your credit situation improves or finding a trustworthy carrier from whom you can lease a truck, as a lease operator.

If you elect to lease a truck, the best advice you can follow is to:

Talk to other drivers — If you’ve spent any time listening to truckers talk on the CB or in a truckstop, you’re very well aware that some drivers love to hear themselves talk.  Some are more reliable than others, so don’t automatically assume that the picture a particular driver paints of their company bears even a faint resemblance to the reality that you’ll experience of you opt to go to work for them.

Some drivers have nothing but venom for their carrier, regardless of how driver-friendly they might be, while others will portray their carrier as heaven on Earth — even if they’re losing their shirt and are on the verge of quitting.  A good report will spell out the good, the bad, and the ugly, but it will ultimately be up to you to piece it all together and decide how accurate each report is.

Carefully research carriers — Since you’re not looking for a company driving job, do a thorough job of researching carriers.  While there are many outstanding companies in this industry, there are also some duds.

Keep in mind, too, that your initial point of contact at most companies will be the recruiting department — and recruiters are under constant pressure to fill seats with quality drivers.  This pressure can bend some to the breaking point, which can lead to recruiters telling applicants what they want to hear in order to get them to orientation.  Once you’ve signed on the dotted line and have begun leasing a truck is a terrible time to find out that a company is a poor fit.  So do your homework — and ask lots of questions, being ever-mindful that the answers that you’re hearing could very well be sweet nothings designed to win your trust and entice you to agree to their sales pitch.

Find out what’s in the contract — The amount of money that you will make leasing a truck from any company or truck leasing company will depend largely on what it costs to operate the truck.  In addition to the cost of the tractor lease payment, many carriers will expect you to pay:

  • A deposit or a down payment (sometimes financed over a short period of time at the beginning of a lease)
  • For Base Plates and permits
  • For deadhead and/or bobtail insurance
  • Pay for cargo insurance
  • Pay for cargo insurance or accept responsibility for freight claims
  • Set money aside for maintenance, towing, repairs, or tires

It’s important to note that just because a carrier has you set money aside for a specific purpose that that’s not necessarily how it will be utilized.  For instance, if your tire escrow account has $1,000 in it, but the carrier requires a tire repair expense to be at least $500 before you can tap into it, you will be forced to pay most tire-related expenses yourself.

The same holds true for breakdowns and repairs not covered by any existing truck warranties.  So find out what the details are before agreeing to contract provisions that could make profitability a pipe dream.

Run the numbers — Finally, before agreeing to any carrier truck lease contract, it’s critically important that you run the numbers and make sure that you will be able to make money.  If you can’t make money on paper, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to make it work in the real world.

The following income and expense budget will help you to decide whether you should be able to make it as a truck lease operator.  While some carriers will pay for certain items, this gives you a good idea of some of the expenses that you might incur.

  • Income
  • linehaul revenue (mileage or percentage-based)
  • fuel surcharges
  • stop pay/unloading/etc.
  • Fixed Expenses
  • Tractor payment
  • Trailer rental
  • BT/DH Insurance
  • Cargo Insurance
  • Licensing
  • Permits
  • Accounting/administrative expenses
  • Variable Expenses
  • Truck fuel
  • Reefer fuel (if refrigerated)
  • Mileage fees
  • Excess mileage fees
  • Tires
  • Repairs
  • Maintenance
  • Truck/trailer washes/trailer washouts
  • Cellular services
  • Tolls
  • Workman’s compensation insurance
  • Road, fuel, usage, mileage taxes
  • Cargo claims
  • Lumpers/gate fees
  • Scale/weight tickets
  • Fines
  • Parking
  • Legal fees
  • Check cashing fees
  • Qualcomm rental/usage fees

When figuring how much you can expect to earn, it’s of critical importance that you have accurate (and realistic) numbers.  For instance, if you base your profitability on your ability to drive an average of 3800 miles week in, week out, you will find that it’s impossible to meet that threshold if you take four or five days off in a given month.

Run several sets of numbers based on varying mileage totals to see if you stand a good chance of meeting your income needs.

While these are the most-commonly seen income and expense items, some carriers may have additional expenses not listed here.  If that is the case, be sure to include those items in your projections to ensure that you’ve taken everything into consideration.

Tax and insurance considerations

As a company driver, many carriers have fringe benefits — health, dental, vision, and life insurance — available for their drivers.  However, most carriers will not offer the same benefits to you as a lease operator, and if they do, you won’t be able to get them nearly as cheaply as you would as a company driver.  In addition, as a lease operator you will be responsible for your own retirement planning, which will come out of the ever-dwindling pool of money left over at the end of each week.

Taxes, too, will be your responsibility.  Instead of your carrier deducting money from your settlement checks to cover federal and state withholding requirements, you will be required to file quarterly federal and state income tax returns, as well as to make estimated tax payments based upon those returns.  Remember, too, that as a self-employed entrepreneur, you will also be responsible for paying self-employment taxes, which reflects the employer’s share of social security and Medicare taxes.

The bottom line

When you add it all up, leasing a truck will be a daunting financial endeavor under the best of circumstances.  However, times are tough in the transportation industry.  Some drivers have the business savvy, perseverance, and the luck it will take to survive — and thrive — in today’s trucking environment.

Unless you go into a truck lease arrangement with your eyes wide open, are aware of every minute detail, and can manage your business like a true professional, then you don’t stand a chance.

However, if you can, you might be one of the extraordinary drivers that proves that some people can succeed even in very difficult circumstances with sheer determination and a can-do spirit.

Are you one of them?  If you are, this might be the deal for you.  If not, or you’re not sure, your best bet is to stay behind the wheel of a company truck and take the safer, less risky path to your destination.

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100 comments. Add a comment.

  1. cedrick tr sr .handle BIGG SMOKIE says

    this is so very true .i have gone down that road twice and i am still holding on to my dream .dream of one day becomming a true owner operator .i love trucking its in my soul ,i also love flat bed but have yet to find a good company that will pay and not rip the driver off at the sametime . i understand that everyone is out to make money but not by ripping off the driver that is trying to make the money.

  2. Joe says

    A major correction on your OOIDA lawsuits: OOIDA has not won “large settlements” against many of the carriers whom they sue…they may have had contract language changed in carrier lease agreements but cash awards for drivers is only wishful thinking……..

  3. RONNIE says


    get your owm authority

  4. Mike Mowat says

    This is a good article as far as it goes. I would strongly recommend that anyone planning on going into the trucking business [regardless of the years they’ve “been around”] join a good association [such as OOIDA] that can provide support and information along the way. Being a single truck owner operator can be a very scary [and lonely] experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Join with others who will be out there ahead of you keeping you informed.

    Also read some good industry publications {Fleet Owner is excellent and it’s free] and as the article said, don’t spend too much time listening to those who wax on. Try to apply some balance to whatever you hear.

    And lastly, but most important, know that you will have to work harder and smarter at this then any job you’ve ever had. You’ll need to feel a real passion in order to sustain the energy it will take.

  5. steven says

    I have been thinking about leasing a truck but it scares the hell out of me.Does anyone know if the John Christner lease program is a good one or not?

    • Eric says

      I dont know if they are or not but I was wondering about it too. If you hear anything let me know please. email me at…..I heard CALARK was pretty good, some guy i ran into said he bought 4 trucks from calark, whether this is a lie or not i dont know but if you email me and i hear something on my end then i will definantly let you know. Good luck, Eric J. handle (FREEWAY)

    • Bill says

      Leased from England for a couple of years and I did really well. And they had a lot of drivers that did well. BUT I feel the biggest problem with many people getting into these types of leases (should really call them rentals because few buy them at the end) is that the weekly/monthly is so high. You are looking at $900+ per week in fixed expenses when you start. That is a lot of miles that you need to run before break even. And in the past couple of years that was hard to do.

      The other issue is that you can be a great driver and terrible business person. And when you are starting as an O/O this way, you need to be a great business person first and a good, safe driver second. If you do not know your weekly fixed, what your mileage expenses are and how many miles you have to drive before you break even then you letting the business run you. At any point and time I can tell you how far I am away from break even in a week or what my profit is. At the end of the week I can tell you to the penny what my settlement is.

      Over the years I never met (and talked to a lot to them) a lease purchase that was unhappy that could give me the numbers for their truck. They could tell what they did or didn’t make but not the basic business numbers that they needed to run that business.

      Now also remember these past couple of years have been awful. And there are companies that could not get their people miles but kept leasing trucks. Others that stopped hiring and are just now getting back into it.

      • Tommy Tbones says

        I’ve been looking at John Christner, Herschbach, and National Carriers. JTC ad Herschbach both have $1.00 buyout at the end of the lease which is very attractive but JTC is 4 to 5 1/2 years and Herschbach is 4 years. That’s a long time to wait before you own the truck and if you start with a truck that has 300 to 500,000 miles, well you do the math. National Carriers is only a 1 year lease with a $29 to 35k buyout at the end. Now I’ve got a truck with 500 to 650k miles and if I’m lucky I’ll get one to three more years out of it. If I get 2500 to 3300 miles a week I should be able to put a few dollars in my pocket. One fact that didn’t come up in the article is that the lease payment is a business expense which is deductible where a loan pay is only partially deductible. I’m still trying to decide which I go with but I’m leaning toward National Carriers 1 year lease. The trucks available at JCT and National Carriers are basically the same W9, T600, 389, 378, Freightliner Classic, and others.

        I’ve also join OOIDA for the simple reason that this is going to be my first lease and I know I’ll need assistance and I don’t want to count on the company to be the only one I go to for advice and help.

        Be Safe Driver

        • says

          What year is the truck you are looking at with National Carriers? Reason I ask is if the buyout is 29K to 35K you will have to be saving some serious money every week in order to achieve that, unless you plan to seek outside financing.

    • says

      Listen Guy I just sat through 5 days of bullshit orientation after I flew my self there. After I picked out an07 Pete with 700 k on it and no warrenty left on it the bluebook on the thing was 43000 after I would have finished paying. It out I would have paid get this 97234.50. I was asking questions in front of the group that was raising. Eyebrows.later I was asked to leave cause I was honest. Mr. Shannon the operations manager will try and sell you on a line of bullshit that they are the best. Wrong. They’ll. Be going down in flames just like landstar soon enough.stay company save you 5 grand find a contract and go get you your own shit. That’s what I’ll be glad you did. Good luck man

    • hergie says

      no its not like the article says lots of hidden fees and third accounting department is not good. maintenance department charges for maintenance performed. in the end you will owe Stay away.

  6. Tom White says

    CR.England. has one of the fastes revolving doors Ive ever seen. First week of November I started their lease program which took 2wks before I got into a truck, from that point on it was road time.My payment was $2,000.00 per month and then you have to add in all other expenses. Long story short I didnt make any money, I turned the unit back in as of 1st wk in January. Beware to a lease that pays .90 pm you will not make it unless your single and dont want or need to go home.

    • Linda says

      Tom…We know exactly what you are saying. My husband and step-son started the Monday after Thanksgiving and got their truck on Dec 23. They have grossed almost $100,000 as a team but have only received checks (to split) of $22,000…for 5 1/2 months! To add injury to insult they have been on the road 140 days of 152 days this year.They also lied to us and told us that they had a great health insurance package for owner-operators. They actually have none except an Aflac type of insurance. What I would like to ask you is if you turned in your leased truck and if so, how does it affect your credit.

      • Brian says

        in 2001 i went though the lease too, walk away they are not holding up to their part of the contract. i walked away before i got in to deep. they came after me for lease payment and repairs done within the 30 days i was their, bit the big one.but it could have been worst.i never took draws to pay my bills and a lot of guys did and before they knew it they owed thousands. in 4 weeks i bought home a pay of $38.00 & $58.00 the rest of it went to Cr England.we ended up paying them a fraction of what they said i owed and my credit is great.

      • C. C. says

        If you do turn in your truck to C. R. England and don’t pay what they say you owe (In my case on a 2010 Freightliner it was better than $3000) it will be placed against your credit. Don’t count on getting any money back like escrow, maintenance, or tire funds they say they have saved for you. They will flat out beat you out of it and will not provide any documentation to where the funds went.
        I would advise seeking legal help in ending the lease with C. R. England and make sure the attorney makes them provide documentation. Also I would check the DAC report to make sure they do not try to mess up your driving record. You can order a free copy of the DAC report once a year. You can get the request form here;

        • LINDA says

          We did turn in the truck around the 7th of July. We just flat could not do it anymore. They were so angry at my husband. We have heard nothing from them…not even for the miles they had driven in the past week (which wasn’t much). I did some reading ont he contract and it states that we should hear something within 45 days…we will see. My husband had almost $4,500 in reserve, plus the miles for that week and the overpayment of fuel tax for the 2nd quarter. I am a tax accountant and I will get a breakdown from them or I will be writing to the IRS informing them that I cannot do our tax return without that information and that they refuse to give it to us. Thank you for your comments, I guess we all live and learn. My husband now has a good driving job with health, dental and life insurance. What were we thinking?

        • John says

          I am turning my lease in this week for cr england, they seem to be ok with it because I brought up discrepensies in the lease including thier service writer telling me I had no busness bringing my truck into the salt lake shop to be fixed 2000 in the whole and 4 weeks of compaining about the same problem and Detriot Desil Fixes it at no cost to me time to move to the next company..

  7. mike..(mouse) on the road says

    I heard JCT was a pretty straight lease program, I called them..ask a lot of questions and the more they talked the more they stumbled. I think I have called them all and it’s the same old thing…Have a list of least fifty and watch how they start to squirm after about ten…they will try to wiggle around questions and offer big packages and bonuses trying to get you mind off the real ain’t gonna make any money running a truck for .90 a mile plus surcharge…it’s bullsh.. set down and add things up and make sure you have at least the cost of a new motor setting in the bank..

    • Jason says

      ran for JCT… you are exactly right, same as the rest. Did get some good miles, but because the fixed cost was so high (about $3400/month) I didn’t make any money.

      • Daniel says

        If your fixed rate is $3400 a month it seems like you should bring in that much per week. If you don’t mind me asking how many miles were you driving a week? How much were you getting per mile? I’m looking and buying a truck and doing the o/o thing.

        PS most people I’ve heard from says that JCT is a good company for a lease purchase program.

  8. southernpride says

    good mourning all: now i just got thrue reading this artical and for the most part it was all true along with some good advice but id like to comment on a few things in hopes of keeping some of you out of troubel and losing money.

    i am an owner opedrator and have been for over 45 yrs and i am very familure with most of the get rich quick schemes out there, i have my own authority and i dont lease to anyone period , aint gonna happen.been there done that aint gonna happen again.

    now let me say that it is never a good thing to lease , you might as well be a company driver just no future in it and not much money, hard to pay for a truck with any kind of lease the company makes the money NOT YOU.

    lease purchase to get started? that my friends is a fools game it almost never works and again the company makes the money NOT YOU your paying for there truck period and bear in mind there is not a trucking company out there that will not lie to you. and none have your best interest at heart just the opasite.

    if you have the dream go for it you can make it and you can make money but just be cautious, keep your overhead down, dont bite off more then you can chew such as a shiney new truck with the high payments o you will look good but for how long and let me tell you that losing a truck is a big heart ache that will take a long time to get over if ever.

    join a good assotian such as O.O.I.D.A IT COST LITTLE and you can get advice along the way they may not be the best but they wont lie to you and they can give you a lotof advice along the way im a life member and i have never known them to lie to anyone .

    do your research befor you buy and you will find that it is not all that hard to make it as long as you dont mind working, it does take a lot of work.

    dont pay any attention to all the gloom and doom you hear out there decide for your self what to do and what not to do its really not all that hard, learn to truck for yourself you are the one who will win or lose,

    i wouldnt do anything else and i have six of the damn things and i wouldnt t trade a one of them and by the way none of them are new but there all mine .

    follow the dream if you really want it just go for it you can make it happen.

    best of luck to all. southernpride

    • Buck says

      That sounds like the best advice I have heard on here. I am a long time driver but I have never bought my own truck before as I was always running someone else’s. I am going to look into OOIDA right now. Thanks man I appreciate it.

  9. Leidel Ramos says

    Well, it is all good to hear the well of information that you provide. It is all about business. I did it on my own, and I can tell, it was the best experience ever. I just made a couple of mistakes that cost me a lot of money and headache. Will I do it again? Of course if I could get a good deal.
    For example US Express offers a good lease program. New equipment means fewer breakdowns. No Money down. Paid base plate and permits. A lot of good stuff, but like I always say, too good to be true.
    Now the question remains if I will be making enough money to pay my lease. Averaging about $ 1.30 per mile adding fuel surcharge and on average mile distance of about 450 miles a day. Working about 6 day a week, I can on average make 2700 mile a week. Those multiply by 4 make 10800 miles a month. At $1.35 per mile equal $14,500 a month. Very good so far!!! Now about $ 3.00 per gallons of diesel and on average of 5.5 mile per gallon on 10800 % 5.5 I will need1964 gallons and $5890.90 but I will rather say $6000.00 and you all know why. That together will the lease payment of about $ 2000.00 will give you a head start on your expenses of $8000.00.
    Then so far I am making $6500.00 a month. But, remember there are other expenses that you have to add up to the list. In this particular case the company will pay for insurance. General cargo and liability. I have to check if I need to provide other type of insurance for the equipment but those my friends are the real heavy ones. If that is the case it still looks a good deal to me. Like I always say it depends on everyone particular situation. You will have to pay special attention when signing your contract because the more you add to the contract the less you will be making. In few words you will be taking home about $5000.00. That is on average. It could go op or down depending on how good the business is doing.
    If you are just a company driver the number will be about the same. Just you will never be owner operator. And once the equipment is yours you will start doing a lot better.
    I will do the numbers for you 450 x 6 = 2700 mile a week then 2700 x 4 = 10800 miles a week 10800 x 0.37 cent = $3996.00 a month.
    There are good and bad companies out there trying to make money. But it is up to us to make the best deals possible. And know what to expect. If you think you will get rich it is not trucking where you should be working.
    Thank you, if any have a comment or any idea for me please send a message:

    • nate says

      well i am currently in a lease with us xpress and can tell you that you need to run at least 3500 miles to se a profit. PERIOD. They do not pay for any of your insurance with the lease program. they are self-insured and over inflate insurance payments on the lease program to pay for the company’s accidents

      short story, i am getting my own trucks outright. The lease programs really are a win-win, for the COMPANY. you will get loads of miles when you are in the hole, but the miles will stop when you are about to build your paycheck. happens to me, EVERY MONTH.

  10. says

    Steelman Transport has a good lease purchase program. I lost my truck because of the insurance company that handled my medical insurance that I purchased through the company. The dispatch of Steelman will somewhat blackball ya if you don’t run the way they want you too. The company is good has good management and the lease purchase does work. Patroll mistakes are there and as an owner operator you have to watch the statements real close. But if ther is a mistake there are plenty of people on your side to make things work. Lease purchase does work and if I can help please feel free to contact me at my E-mail of phone number 4172088167

  11. crazyhunter says

    can anyone tell me anything about TRANSAM TRUCKING CO. my friend started leasing from them about 3 months ago and says hes doing good. so i am thinking about getting my CDL and starting leasing from them also. i know he says he gets about 3600-3800 miles a week. gets .84 cents per mile plus some compensation for fuel (not sure how much). pays $2400 a month for a 2009 Kenworth. gets paid deadhead and lumper reimbusement. he says after all expenses he averages around $700 a week. comes home 2 days every three months so hes been home once recently. that is not a problem for me nor the hard work as i have been a commercial fisherman and construction worker my whole life. at 45 i really want to do this and am looking for advise. if anyone can help i would appreciate it. thanks a lot

    • Sharon says

      Crazyhunter, If that sounds good to you, you are crazy. Every company I have seen is paying at least 90 cents a mile and if your friend said he gets 3600-3800 each week, he must be doing some fast loads to get that many miles. I don’t buy it. I don’t believe anyone is averaging 3600 miles a week and running legally. Who wants a life that gts you home 2 days every 3 months? Who would work for 84 cents a mile? Schneider pays 92 cents a mile (plus15 cents a mile performance bonus) and offers .427 cents for fuel surcharge. You will want to know ahead of time what any company offers for fuel surcharge.

      Forward Air is offering 93 cents a mile with .473 cent fuel surcharge. Look and see what the company offers for base plates, insurance and how they handle their maintenance. Will you be required to take your truck into their shop?

      Good luck with your travels. I think if you are willing to be out on the road a long time (long haul trucker) I’d figure out how to run on my own authority.

    • michael says

      Do not lease with transam 600+ a week for trk payment alone. I went to them after school only 7 days of training dont give u miles only pay .84 cpm so ur truck rich paycheck poor got hurt on job came and got my truck wouldnt let me get it back and slapped me with a 4500 bill on a walk away lease

  12. Travis says

    I have been off the road for about six years now. Swift and FFE is the only two companies that will
    let me come out and do a refresher course to get me back to driving. Before i quit driving i was
    thinking of trying to buy me a truck. Can anyone tell whether swift or ffe has the better lease program.

  13. keith says

    my last lease was with national carriers when the price of fuel was over 4 buck a gallon lost my arse. lasted 2 months there other had made it.
    i will not lease purchase a truck with a escrow for anything nor will i lease a truck when only making less then 1.12 a mile.
    better to lease start your own trucking company then it is to sign on with a known company.

    will let you know how my plan works out. have been out of trucking for 3 yrs sick of it all ,to many restrictions about insurance regs,start my own then with my clean record i can hire myself quicker.

    • Bill says

      How can you loose your arse when fuel is high? Did they not pay you FSC?

      6.5MPG minimum for O/O or don’t bother being in the business these days. As fuel prices go up I get even more concervative in my driving becasue I know I am making more money.

  14. jeff says

    hey u can make that much being a company driver. if i was u get ur cdl and drive for 6 months. then keep track of the avg. mileage per week. sit down with a owner operator and ask him about all of his expenses. i would not do it for .84 cpm. that is not enough. if he was getting 3600 miles and his average is 700 take home. then he is only making .195 cpm.

  15. Kevin Allen says

    Boyd Brothers Transportation has a really straight forward lease program, my truck payment is $145.00 a week for a 06 international with a CAT engine. It is equipped with a Carrier APU. My fixed costs per week is $ 415.00. I get $.94 cpm, avg. $.35 cpm fuel surcharge, tarp pay, free trailer, $ 45.00 a week for BC/BS insurance(health,vision,dental, disability). I run 2800-3000 miles per week and am home every to every other weekend. not getting rich but making money and at the end of 48 months i will have paid $30,160 for my truck, yes thats right when i make the last payment they hand me a title to my truck with no ballon payment. Insurance is 4% of the value of the tractor annualy. So far its been a good program for me.

    • Tom says

      Hello Kevin,
      I am glad to hear a good story like yours. So, you leased the truck in 2006 and paid off in 2010. But that was a brand new truck and you only paid a total of $30,160. Am I missing anything?
      Please let know,

  16. RBtrucking says

    Does anyone know about Hendrickson, so far I think my hubbie is getting ripped off. He’s putting in the miles and he made a costly mistake already, but when we looked at his printout they are charging him for his registration fees that have already been paid on the truck from a prior owner, not sure but maybe twice and they say that legal!? Anyone know about this? I don’t think it’s legal to get paid for them more than once and the contract states he pays the balance of the current year’s prepaid registration, which is nothing if another driver has already paid it? Anyone know, I wish I read this article first before he went into this lease!

    • Bill says

      How most trucking companies work is that they paid all the fees then the person driving the truck (leasing the truck) pays for the time they are in the truck. The other way I have heard of it being done is that your money is going into escrow for next years fees so that you dont have a big bill you can’t afford.

  17. TominGeorgia says

    anyone knows is lease program @ ats worth trying? I’m also looking @ us xpress. talk to several drivers fro us xpress, quite a few saying they are averaging 1200 to 1500 take home. just wanted some advice on some good companies to lease from. Also would like to know about Dart and Greatwide thier lease programs. I am currently a company driver and thinking going to lease January 1st. I stay out 3 to 4 weeks any given time, Thanks to Y’all for any advise reference leasing. my credit isnt the greatest or i would purchse my own.

  18. Tx Ghost says

    I ran a 10 month lease with England and there were weeks where my costs ate my lunch and weeks where I was rolling in the money. I was there in May 06 till May 07. when they changed the Lease and I think is was alot better than when I leased. I took some time off to figure out if this was what I waned I was out two months at a time three days off and Back out for two months. I tried my hand as a Company driver for Arrow Trucking in 08 glad to leave there some of this depends on how you run. I liked flatbed-ding but not so sure about leasing Old equipment but when it is said and done I think that the y Boyd Bros deal above might be all right if he can sell his truck for $20 K as a Down payment for his own truck

  19. says

    Great article, and great responses. All lease programs are NOT created equal, and you must do your homework. Here’s what you must ask yourself, does the carrier do anything that doesn’t make them money? No. So, when a carrier starts leasing equipment, they WILL make money on that, which will make the deal “unfair” for the lessee. If you cannot afford to purchase your own truck through normal financing (current economic conditions notwithstanding), then a lease deal is not a quick road to riches. You are probably better off keeping the employee status and finding a good carrier to work for. I’ve see far more good paying driving jobs than fair lease programs

    Trust me, as a fellow entrepreneur, I get the desire to be fully self employed. But most business deals only have enough profit for one party. Owner-operator leasing is no different.

  20. says

    If they make you have an escrow account and a maintenance account with them in which they control I don’t think its worth it! I have been down that road and it wasn’t any fun. I can’t say it’s impossible to be successful just because I failed! The only problem with lease purchase is that they do not allow you to have full control of your financial situation! They take all control of your finances by holding back money! Which is somewhat understandable for those who might not be able to handle their finances so might not have the money to fix the truck if it broke down. During lease purchase I was getting check anywhere between 800 and 1500! As an owner operator your checks should be between $2000 and $4000 minimum. My advice would be to avoid lease purchase if you cannot guarantee that you are going to be at that same company for at least 3 years to stick it out through all the ups and downs of your lease that are inevitable! Good luck and get truck financing through a bank or a dealership! Not from the company that controls your loads!

    • Timekeeper says

      I agree. The dealerships have better, and more affordable options. The company is making plenty of money from YOUR hard work. It makes no sense to further line their pockets with YOUR hard earned cash via their lease/purchase programs.

  21. Slowpoke says

    I’ve been a driver for most of my life, last 11 yrs. with the same company. This year they fired me 2 times, both times got my job back. Needless to say this gave me alot of bad feelings for them. I’m looking at leasing a new truck through a dealer and getting my own authority. Looking at various methods of getting money up(grants, loans, and so on). I figure if I buy a used truck, I’ll be potentially buying anothers problems, and wind up paying more with the truck payment AND maintenance, by leasing straight from the dealer I’ll have the warranty on my side. I’m doing lots of research on various load boards, ins. providers, ins. rules and regs. in my home state, also going to take small business refreshers at local college. Just make sure you learn what you need to know before you get into it, and I feel you’ll be fine. If you already drive you have a good feel for what you’re getting into. Don’t kid yourself, it’s alot of HARD ASS WORK! But it’s better than letting someone else screw you over and losing the 15k I’m out so far this year, at least if I lose money and it’s my truck I only have myself to blame. I grew up in this industry, it has evolved alot over the last 40 yrs., but I wouldn’t do anything else, I guess I just like getting paid to play with trucks! HAHA! There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll make it, so long as you watch your expenses, don’t go apeshit buying stuff you don’t need(that made my cousin lose the company my grandfather spent 40 yrs. building!), and aren’t afraid to work your ass off, you too can be YOUR OWN DAMN BOSS, it helps to have a good woman too, gotta have a hot assistant to sit on your lap once in awhile! Y’all stay safe!

  22. Mark says

    This was some great information.Ive been a company driver for over a decade and I was wondering what were some of the things you had to face becoming an O/OP. I love trucking,I love the freedom, but I don’t think I could be dedicated that much to being an O/OP.I will say your article has given me a new found respect for the O/Op.

  23. mike (full Moon) says

    my friend saved some cash as a company driver. went to freightliner 1st time buyer program. leased on with a company that pulls loads less than 25000 lbs. gets home every night . avg 1.80mi . once a week he gets shuttle runs pays him 100.00 a load does ten of them a day. and only drives 40mi round trip.he avg 3200 3500.00 a week. Home every night. he doing awesome. there are opportunities out there research is the key. SUCCESS IS NOT A DESTINATION. ITS A JOURNEY

  24. mike (full Moon) says


  25. Harold says

    This was a great article. I am currently in the process of signing on with Central Refrigerated for their training program. I look forward to getting my CDL and hitting the road. I have been dreaming about getting into the lease program their and working towards being my own boss. They pay beginning company drivers .28 cpm and lease operators .85 cpm. After reading this article and all of the comments, I will go forward with the training but I will remain a company driver until I’m in the position to finance my truck through normal channels.
    Thanks to all of you for a fair and balanced perspective.

  26. Gator says

    Lease purchase is a way for the uninformed to make a unwise and costly decision. Give you an example.
    I leased a truck from a Quality truck sales straight lease. payments are 460 per week incl insurance. and 7cents per dispatched mile for maintainance. simple enough based on 2500 miles per week maintainance is 175 total lease 635. I pay company I am leased to 63 per week plus fuel. they provide tags tolls and prepasss I of course pay for fuel. my pay is .90 cents + FSC currently .28 so lets run the numbers 2500 x 1.18 = 2950 revenue fuel cost is based on 6mpg @ 3.50 per gallon that would be 467 gallons plus 10% for actual miles so 500 gallons x 3.50 = $1750.00 for fuel
    the total for 2500 miles is 2950 – 1750 – 635 – 63 = $502.00 gross so is it worth it ? If I was a company driver @ .25 same miles $625 my last company job was .36 pm $900.00 so who’s the fool? yes I can turn down loads and yes I dont have do anything I dont want but I am married to the truck. So reality check is this run all the numbers not just the ones the recruiter gives you ask for the finance dept talk real numbers get specific if they won’t run don’t walk to the exit btw I am returning my truck next week and trying to salvage my company driving job. Those who desire a good thing must sacrifice to achive thier dream and be willing to accept failing as a lesson not an ending. Peace to all

  27. Sourthern Star says

    So you want to know what its like to lease a truck?

    Become a company driver and pretend the damned thing is yours. Out of each paycheck, take half of it and stick it in the bank and pretend its for your expenses for the truck. You pay your household bills with the other half. At the end of the year, go FINANCE a truck with the money you have in the bank. Financing a truck through the bank is much better than leasing a truck through a carrier. The carrier leases are designed to benefit the carrier. Basically, if you lease on with a carrier, you are a slave to the truck (and the carrier). Do you want to be a slave? Do you want to be on the road for a month at a time? Believe me, if you drive solo, that solitary confinement WILL start to affect you. And when you DO get let out for 30 minutes at Christmas (ie you get to come home for a day), you’re going to HATE going back into solitary confinement again. If you finance a truck through a bank, the payments are usually much lower than leasing. If you can save up 10k to put down on a late model truck, have about 5k for expenses, 3k for fuel, 2k for miscellaneous, that’s about 20k. If you make 40k a year as a company driver, and put away half pretending its your truck, you’ll get to see what its like to lease a truck.

  28. Bluffin says

    I currently lease a truck from Success Leasing, which is owned by Rob Lowe, the owner of New Prime, Inc. My weekly fixed costs are 1498.55 and my weekly fuel runs on average 1850. I see others paying less and just wonder if Prime is a raw deal or what. I am making some money, but again I have to save 30% a week for taxes, so it’s not as much as it first seems. My best week in 8 months was $2,853.17 my worst week has been -$825. I’m not sure wether to stay or go. I would like to save up enough money to purchase my own truck, but don’t want to leave and find out that the grass is just as brown on the other side.

    • Ronnie Peck says

      PRIME is a raw deal. I went 2 months hauling ice cream loads in the northeast and didn’t break even the whole time. I gave it 6 months I think and finally walked away from it.

  29. READ THIS says

    This was a good article. I’ve sold 1000’s of trucks to people with good credit and bad credit. Here is my take: The failure rate for people with bad credit is 90%. While the failure rate for people with good credit is olny 10%. Keep in mind these people buy the same trucks, same fuel, same insurance, haul the same freight down the same roads for the same carriers. What is the diffrence? Is it genetics? Look in the mirror. Most of you would NOT work for someone who doesnt manage money well, pay’s his bills slow or not at all. Would you work for a guy who was broke and didnt have the resources to fix a broken down truck in the middle of the night? Again look in the mirror do you have the resources to be a business owner? Please don’t tell me about why it’s not your fault your broke or your credit sucks. Frankly it doesnt matter. The bottom line is if you buy a truck you will still be working for the broke guy you see in the mirror. 90% of you with bad credit will be disappointed. You have better odds at most casino’s. Fix your personal finances before you buy a truck. Sorry for the blunt honesty.

  30. Greg says

    The company base lease is a just a joke. As your self if they offer a lease and they have company trucks who is getting loaded?
    No company I have ever heard of tells you 10% of there lease end up with a truck. Less than 1% do, if they can do the force out. the last 6 month of the lease dispatchers cut miles so the driver leaves. when the driver walks they keep all the money in payments. so they can sell the truck for a true price and still make money off the driver.
    Stevens, landstar, us, all have this crap.
    dont fall for it.
    If you want a truck get one, but not with a company. it is modern day slavery. you can not leave with your truck as they are the owners your not. a lease is not a buy. dont get played.

  31. anthony willis says

    If i was working for a company and quit…can i keep the ifta sticker and base apportion plates if the took the money out of my check.

  32. Jake Tysma says

    IFTA,is there’s and I beleave that if you layed for your base plates in full you should be able to take them with you,after all you layed for them!!!

  33. tpsens says

    if your lease is more than 18 months you will get streched to make it-the lease truck is the ultimate puzzle box-those who actually can make it work,-dont need the job.-imagine playing football with no protective equipment and your hands tied behind your back. I have heard of some drivers who made it by accessing some of their companies dirty tricks. NEVER threaten any action-just act. a fuel float you dump in several creditors laps can get you the truck but rips holes in your credit. putting everything in a hobo’s name and letting him take the fall for it can work out too.after all,that is exactly what your boss is doing to you,isnt it? this is a stay away from deal-if you cant find the mark in the con-YOU are the mark. lease trucks should be illegal. never bet with your heart in the market place unless you want to lose your balls-hey i have an idea.why not find a junk yard for semi trucks and make a deal with them? same lessons but less painfull. AND why would you want to own something that makes 3 percent of gross figured over a 20 year time span? Can you live on 3000 to 6000 a year? to just keep the truck ready to go any time you want ,costs 7500 a year. in short-if you have what it takes to do this you dont need to lean on a bunch of hucksters in monkey suits-who ever you need the most will own you. DONT get suckered=all that money draining out of small bizz,is YOUR money.

  34. Jose says

    Well, the information provide in this article fail to highly the fact behind those drivers making it, only the husband and wife team under a dedicated account with no less that 4000 x week can make a lease work with out logging illegal . So, I ask, how many H&W team running under those condition you know ? There is a very small fraction of the true represented here, less that 2% of lease driver log legal. That open the question of, how much are you willing to risk to own a old truck. Yes,you will be leasing a use old truck the have been remove from you or some other company working line. Now you are owner! Well, let review the key point, you own a old truck, if you do not get a newer truck you got no warranties, that mean you need a $17,000 to $25,000 repair only fund before you get that truck. You also need to have breakdown insurance,the make that truck payment and provide you with income to pass a truck breakdown. You got only one week to recover before things start spinning out of control with out those 2 basic safety guards you are warranty to fail. You lifestyle will change at the moment you sign that lease, you need you other half to be onboard , the are no more luxuries in the lease period ,all extra money belong to the truck. Failure begin for all driver leasing ,when they go and buy other things on credit ,new car,new motorcycle ,new house….. just enough to create a deficit on the truck budget. That open the door to illegal logging ,yes now either you run illegal or loose all. The truch note and all the items associated with it have priority. Well, there are 1000 more reasons , before you try this make sure you and you other half can survive the unbelievable nightmare this will be. Maybe been Company driver is not that bad. Ask you self this, WHAT LOGICAL REASON A TRUCKING COMPANY HAVE TO MAKE YOU THERE COMPETITION?

  35. John Doe says

    I lease with Trans Am Trucking, Im 23 years old. I avg $900.00 a week with there lease program. 2010 KW T660, I get home once a month for a few days. $575 a week lease payment plus insurance, Sat Comm, Fuel. 0.84 Cents a mile and FSC of avg 43 Cents per mile. Now there are alot of horror stories about leasing well do this and you will be sucessful.

    1. Accept all loads
    2. Dont drive faster then 60-62MPH. 4-5 MPGs x’s 3000 miles a week @65-67 equals 1/3 more fuel spent then driving @ 60mph and getting 6.5-7.5 MPG’S.
    3. Be nice to everyone shippers recievers driver managers.
    4. Work hard. Dont fool around at truck stops.
    5. When on 10 hour break, only take a 10 hour break.
    6. Deliever and pick up as soon as you can.
    7. Asess personal finances before doing this, I found most people fail because they have inadaquate training to be a sucessful lease oparator.

  36. Bob Johnston says

    I leased with Swift. I had no problems and always made good money. Like with any endeavour, you have to do your job. It is not playtime, it is a business. Some people are not cut out to drive OTR whether it is company, L/O, or O/O. Yes you can make more with ownership and your own authority, but still there are pitfalls if you don’t take care of your responsibilities. There will always be escrows for maintenance, What do you do if you need an overhead done and have no money to pay for it. What happens when warranties run out, you blow a motor and can’t pay the $20k or so to foot the bill. Leasing anyway you look at it thru a company or on your own with authority always make more sense because with leasing equipment everything is 100% writeoff. With ownership amortization runs out in 3 years and where the heck do your writeoffs go? Then there is your personal debt ratio. If it is high be weary, you will have to rob peter to pay paul no matter if you lease or own. My debt ratio is next to nil. With Swift I was successful with their lease because I am single and basically have no highend obligations. John Doe above is correct, do what he also recommends and you will be successful with a lease. Remember you want to own the trucking business but lease your equipment and have a maintence escrow acct.

  37. Joe Campbell says

    I have heard and seen good things from the CRST lease program, how ever the only way to be successful is to train new drivers coming into the industry. They have low truck payments a 2 yr warranty that you pay for but, takes the worry out of break downs, I personally know 3 people who have finished at least one lease, and own there trucks out right, I do know 1 other person who owns 2 trucks from crst and is currently on his third… Again all is about training, if you wanna run solo all I hear is horror stories… Def worth looking into, If i am not mistaken you total deductions is about 500- 600 per week thats everything but your taxes and fuel.. Again I have never done this only postin what I have heard from other drivers….

  38. ANUMBERONE says

    You’re making a whole $900/wk? I was bringing home $1000+/wk as a company driver and home 2 days/wk.

    There is only one time that a lease purchase plan makes sense. When you are the one leasing the truck out to someone else.

    I’m a third generation truck driver and the first owner operator.

    I started down my path with a lease purchase and lost my ass, hard.

    After that failure I decided to figure out what went wrong, and why.

    The first problem was pay. While most o/o were making 1.05+/mile, I was making a measly .90. I didn’t do my home work.

    Next problem was truck payment. I was paying the cost of a new truck, but driving a used one. 2320/mo is a lot of money for a truck that’s 5 years old.

    Next problem was fuel cost. Or, more importantly, fuel mileage. I drove like a company driver and got 5.7 mpg.

    I learned my lesson well. Naturally, all the other little bs things a company does hurt me as well, but that was the big hitters.

    If you want a truck, do this. STOP!

    Are you financially stable right now? How are you with finances? If you are bad with money, then don’t buy a truck. You will fail!

    Having enough money for a down payment is not enough. You need the down payment +$10,000 to cover all the possible bullshit that could happen, and that’s a minimum.

    You will not make a lot of money your first year, so plan for that. Most average $50,000 bring home their first year.

    You need to learn to split up your money, so different checking accounts.

    Pay yourself as an employee. $800/wk. The rest is for truck.

    I currently have accounts set up with the following amounts.

    Major breakdown acct. (Engine repairs, mostly): $24,000

    Minor breakdown acct. (Tires, a/c, heater core, belts, etc): $5000

    Maintenance acct. (Oil changes, tires, grease, etc.): $5000

    Taxes: $15,000

    I built these up over the course of two years.

  39. TaserTot says

    It all depends on who you lease from. I leased a truck a few years ago and I made very good money. Alot more than I was making as a company driver. The problem I ran into was that I got burned out working 20 hour days. You can only legally work 14… If you think you’re going to make money sitting at the truck stop everyday you’ve got another thing coming. You will need to sleep while you’re unloading, get food while you’re fueling and eat it driving down the road. Like I said I did well and in one year I saved enough money to get out of trucking and find a regular job and be comfortable. The company I leased from was trying to get rid of it’s aging fleet so they offered their truck really cheap and eveything about the lease was very fair. That’s the only way to go. Right now is a good time to lease if you can find a company like that and if you can work the hours it takes to make it.

  40. jaydubtech says

    Hello fellow drivers and well-intentioned “wanna-be’s”,

    The advice given by all seemed to have been true, based upon my personal experiences. This is a cut-throat business, with everyone in the pipe-line looking at the driver as the ultimate “mark”.

    Before I begin my list, beware that one must have a good, reasonable disposition, and good work ethic in order for this, or any business, to work successfully:

    1. Don’t get into any situation that doesn’t show you a clear, reasonable “entry” and “exit” point, should the relationship/business takes an unexpected turn.

    2. KNOW the business. As it relates to trucking, understand how this business runs. If you cannot save enough money to handle the unexpected events that will occur in any trucking business (living expenses, truck payments, maintenance, insurance, permits, tag fees, ect…), you will not survive this, or any other business long enough to see any real profits. If you are not one of the lucky few that has the money to really be in this business (1 out of a 1000), then opt for being a company driver. Save your money, and then tackle being a business owner in the trucking industry.

    3. Find a REASONABLE alternate financing option that will enable you to pay off your leasing contract if you are presently in an bad deal with a carrier. Google the key word(s)” Peer-To-Peer Lending”, and “Angel Investors”, and “Factoring Companies “.

    4. Don’t enter into a lease-purchase agreement with the same company that books your loads! This has been reiterated above! EVER!!

    5. The trucking business, as a whole, is not designed for a married person. As such, don’t get into this business (OTR Trucker), thinking that you are going to be going home when you want.

    6. Follow the ‘ applicable ‘ advice of every participant in this section. You will save yourself a lot of heartache, time and money if you heed their advice…

    Take care,


  41. wayne says

    if you are a lease op you should be with a company that has a driving school. That way you can be a trainer otr and the student makes minimal but you make 1.20 every mile the truck rolls….do the math. However you need to realize that turning down loads does not work and going home more than 2-3 days every 6-7 weeks will not work. Guys and Ladies, trucking is a buisness and a buisness must be moving or it folds. On teh other hand if you were to interview many major company owners right now they would say they should have stayed as a company employee. If you are not willing tyo sacrife and work hard you cannot make it in any buisness.

  42. ENCHANTED says


  43. says

    Leased truck with CREngland , could not get more than enough miles just to cover costs. As a solo, got an average of 1100-1300, miles/ wk., as team trainer, never more than 2100/wk.. As snooping about offices of CREngland , saw a company memo directed at office personnel, laying out weekly mileage requirements for lease drivers. In this memo, was stated solo lease drivers should get 1200/ wk, and team lease drivers, nearly 2500. At these rates CREngland was sure to receive enough revenue, to cover the weekly charges for trucks. I was astonish at this and realized, all my efforts to be a successful business was to naught, and I was duped to only making trick payments, and company charges. They could care less wether you were successful in your effort. CREngland just used you to keep their fleet new, have the expenses covered by the drivers. At my ending time, leaving without a break even week, much less a profitable one, when trying to sell off items I brought or purchased ( chains, comfort items, etc. ) , they suggested I try to sell them to other drivers. Other drivers as well as myself knew the truth, neither of us had made any money, and were surviving on modest cash advances, week to week. My tenure at CREngland, a total of twelve weeks, with me having a payout of 450.00 , that’s twelve weeks. My advice just say no to CREngland, both as a company driver and as a lease driver. If you need schooling go elsewhere. You will receive better traing, and get paid a better rate. Company drivers get .14/ mile tops. NUFF SAID.

  44. Brandon says

    If you can’t make at least $1,500 profit a week, it’s not even worth it, IMO, I would rather get my own authority and work off of broker loads rather than be on someone’s lease program, at least I could get more miles if I wanted them, even if it means taking a lower rate. I make 45cpm as a company driver right now as it is, 2000-2200 miles a week and home every Friday.

    I was actually looking for information on leasing a truck FROM Ryder, or Penske, and not leasing TO a company. Anyways, I found some useful info on this webpage, so thanks.

  45. sickofbolts says

    Be a company driver, save money and buy a NEW truck for cash, never finance, if you cant forsee yourself saving that kind of money, you will fail as an owner. Having a business is all about money management. If you cant truthfully imagine having $100 grand in savings, you dont have what it takes. Fianancing puts you behind the eight ball from day 1. Truck leasing from these trucking companies is a SCAM!!!

    Also keep in mind all the new emissions laws coming out that will make many of these older trucks illegal. ie; 2010 and older.

  46. Trucknmom says

    Well i just recently found out that not all carriers setup their lease to benefit the drivers. After only 4 wks of it i walked away worse than i went in. The 2 checks i did make combined equalled what i cleared as a company driver. I signed a lease w/ Thunderbird Trucking formerly Palmentere Bros. out of Kansas City, Mo. Boy was that by far the worst thing i could’ve done. It’s no way leasing a 2012 Kenworth T660 any driver should b in the hole. The notes were $640 a wk plus insurance. Not only weren’t the miles there, but often times there was no fuel money. Let’s not talk about payroll. Even though u signed a lease to purchase the truck, paying for fuel and all they still ran the truck as a company truck. U could tell which broker loads were paying the most b/c u were forced to take even thou it paid u the driver nothing. Whatever money issues that company is having trust the drivers felt it. That lease purchase they setup wasn’t for a driver to succeed it clearly was a way to rip off drivers. I have ran into more than my share of diisgruntle drivers that have left the conpany and trust it’s something not right going on there.

  47. Shannon says

    My husband spoke with over 20 lease drivers for Prime before he made the switch. They all said on bad weeks they make $1000 after all expenses. We finally decided to make the switch. They say they pay 72% of the load to the driver and their fleet managers only make money if you make money. Lol. Not so true. 3 mths later and my husband makes $5000 dollars for one week his expenses are $5000 or more. We have seen 6 weeks where he has actually gotten a paycheck out of them the average has been around $200.00. There is a lot of charges that don’t make sense. They make their paystubs so hard to read so you have no clue what you are being charged for on expenses. You have to pay lumpers at every stop and you have to write out a ComCheck then they charge you a $1 for every “advance”. You do not get reimbursed for lumpers either. They say they do but we have only seen a few reimbursed. You pay for everything. So you make nothing and if you make nothing how is your fleet manager making anything. They must get paid on what you do before your expenses. I want their job. Truckers are the heartbeat of America and they are treated and paid horribly.

    My tip: Don’t drive for Prime no matter what their drivers say.

  48. mitch says

    You cant make money at 90 cents a mile,,,it will cost approximately 65 cents a mile for fuel,,,approximately 5 cents a mile for insurance,another 5cents a mile for license plates,,if you run into tolls,,,or other fees,,wear and tear on your truck,oil changez,tirez,,,,ypu will be making nothing ! Call a trucking conpany,ask how much they charge to haul a full load ,,per mile,,,it will be more like 250-300 or more,,,,why do they think 90 cents a mile is fair for you? Greed ! ! ! You will not make it on 90 cents a mile ! !

  49. babydinky says

    there are a few major things too remember before starting into being an o/o. H ow hard do you want to work. How well do you manage money. Will you or someone else be doing your paperwork. IFTA,HEAVY ROAD USE TAX AND SO ON. My husband and myself own 4 trucks. there are days i would gladly sell them all, husband agrees. We have our own athurity, pay for everything. Each truck makes a diffrent amount each week. but on average 850 a week. the trucks run monday – friday, all weekends and holidays off. After exspences and drivers pay we make 200 a week per truck. Amd pray we dont blow out a tire cause that means no profit. All our trucks are 2001-2003 we get 7.5 mpg average thats why we keep the trucks we do. They all have overhauls, new trannys. when you own a truck free and clear you make the most money. choosing between over the road or more home time. making money means less time at home. prepair to put money away there is nothing worse than 8500 for a tranny and your 4 states away from home cause they will rip you off. We purchase all of our trucks from someone other than whose we drive for. If your not sure ask around. If you choose to lease or purchase a truck remember chrome dont get you home and it will make you broke fast. save that for when its all payed for. newer isnt always better. trust me third generation driver. first one too own. it’s alot of work and requires the right kind of person to stand beside you. and with almost any business owner theres a wife that works in town, trucking,ranching,farming, etc. good luck out there and happy trucking. maybe all wave to you on the road.

  50. Dee says

    The failure rate is so high, why do so many even risk it ?

    Shannon, hope you folks make out OK.

    Prime would be the last place to try, unless you can signup enough referals……

  51. Coffeeclue says

    If you plan to drive for a company as a lease operator, you are NOT an entrepreneur. You are working the job just like the company owns the truck, but probably being paid less. If you really want to be on your own, get a used truck for about $20K, trailer for about $10K, get your own authority and start booking your own freight. If you don’t have $40K start-up capital, don’t even think of trying to go on your own.

    You can factor your receivables, so you will have good cash flow. The trick is selecting the right routes and right rates. Most newbies will be happy driving for $1.50/mile and that will kill them. Don’t be fooled by high rates going to places you like (such as Miami). You will be going back out empty or for a rate that’ll barely pay for fuel.

  52. says

    I am semi new to trucking ( no pun intended) My problem is I have a drug felony from 1997. Also, I have less than 6 months experience. No one will seem to take a chance with me. Even though I have excellent work ref… I do have gaps in employment die to lay-offs or seasonal work. I beat down the door to go to school, I have an excellent driving record, good work ref. But.. Its nearly impossible to get passed this felony thing. So.. I am wondering if leasing is an option for me. any thoughts?

  53. Rob says

    I’m 23 years old. My dad told my brother and I when we were kids we were going to have our own trucks. I trained with my cousin for over a year, 4am to whenever. No pay at all, what I was getting in knowledge was insurmountable, and the lunch was always 4 stars or better. I bought my truck March of 2012. She was a 2007 Freightliner Century Red 10 speed 475hp 12.7 detroit 700k miles.. Cost me $12,000 down, $25,000 in total. With the help of my father, all the time I put into it, I was rolling. Everything was fine until Hurricane Sandy. Water level reached my windshield, she had no shot. Since then I got back money from insurance, which was not even as much as what I put down on the truck. Credits gotten even worst since then due to unpaid school loans, finance companies see my name and probably laugh. I have few options now. One being to purchase a cheap run down truck, and cross my fingers, work for a company, IDK. One thing is for sure though, I am an Owner Operator. Bred from drivers, gentlemen of the highway, who only know the right way to do things. Crazy you know, one second its here, then it’s like it was never even there

  54. Mikey says

    LEASE means “Lease PAYMENT”. If you lease a truck from the company you drive for, you are making the payments for that truck for THEM, not you, plus paying the expenses of owning that truck. You are buying the truck for that company, and they will NEVER allow you to own it, you bought it for them after all. Go to Hertz, rent their car for 5 years, and then try to get the title. Hello? Do you watch TV, car commercials for brand new cars AS LOW AS $150 per month for 48 months (that is $7200 for a $30,000 car), and you are left with nothing. That is a lease folks, you are only renting the VEHICLE and fixing it, and now they sell a used car for $20,000, nice deal. If you want to be a O/O, you need to BUY the vehicle, leasing it from your company is only a way to buy it FOR them. You buy the fuel, pay for the repairs, buy the insurance/tags/titles/authorities/passes/insurances/etc., but you are only RENTING the truck and thinking you are a business person. Language is important, if you want to OWN a truck, then BUY a truck, and do it through a bank (if your company really cares about you, they will help you BUY their truck through a bank, if not…lease/lose). Owning a truck takes a business person, and your financial institution will help you find the people that will make sure the BANKS investment is successful. Their investment is in YOU. If you fail, after leasing to own from a trucking company after 9 months, CONGRATULATIONS you just made 9 months of truck payments for your former employer. I am a company driver, I see posted all the time from O/O that are so happy because they clear $800 to $1200/mo. I do that without even having to bitch to my dispatcher, and I don’t break down in tears when I fill up for $500 at the pump. I am home EVERY weekend, and at least 2 times in the week (only for a 10hr as I live where I roll from). Never mind the pitfalls of being a small business owner. I roll 2800mi/wk, plus extra stops/detention, etc. and I don’t worry about my truck, when it breaks down I get another. It really is all about who you are with.

  55. Teri says

    Oh my God! My husband is a truck driver working for a company right now making $12.50 an hr. He wants to go on a Lease program and go on the road. He says he’s not making enough for who he’s working for. I say he needs to just find someone else to drive for. The stories here that I’ve read are not good concerning the truckers expenses, and the pay they end up with. Truck Drivers are not respected enough that’s for sure. My husband David has always drove for someone else ,and at some time or another has always had a complaint after driving for them. I hope he changes his mind very soon.

  56. Tory says

    After 8 years trying to make it as a company driver for Swift, May, Schneider, Greatwide, Comcar, Conway, and some small companies too, my husband decided he wanted to try making the real money on the road. He got into a lease purchase with O&S and they really talked a good talk. they contract through Prime so his driver manager used Prime jobs boards to get his loads. His breakeven was they told us $1.20/mi. they showed him several driver’s settlement statements showing $1500/week and more net. It sounded good. They tell you the breakeven is one amount and then of course send you on many loads that don’t pay thhat but the driver manager will tell you need to “average” the breakeven and you need to take every load and trust them. Here are some of our weekly fixed costs:
    Weekly least amount Comdata card fee 1.25/use
    tractor insurance Qualcomm rent fee
    plates fuel card fee 1.50/use
    permit fees prepass fees
    Transflow fee DOT tax
    Then we had variable costs:
    lumper fees (not always reimbursed) toll costs (never reimbursed)
    washout fees(not always reimbursed) maintenance/bond account .13/mi
    repairs fuel

    They make is sound doable nevertheless. They tell you that you will get 70% of the revenue and to quit worrying about miles……….trust them. They will never tell you what the full revenue was on a load just what your share is. They tell you that will get 95% of the fuel surcharge. They assess fuel surcharge for shipper at 6/mpg, they pay you at 8.4/mpg so they are skimming off the top plus they get 5% and don’t even use the fuel.
    You get nothing for deadhead miles so you think they won’t deadhead you? Think again, he drove many miles to pick up empty trailers so he would have a trailer to deliver for a drop and hook. Once he deadheaded 395 to pick up a new Prime trailer only to get to his delivery site, offload that trailer and then find the trailer he was picking up had a blown reefer and was full of fresh meat. He sat for a day and half sorting that out between O&S, Prime, and the shipper, without pay.
    His weekly gross pay was $4500 and up and average net pay was -$440 to $560. He was making a lot of money for someone but we are nearly banckrupt. They told him to calm down and he needs to drive for a few more months and then average his settelements and look at the big picture………………Don’t do it. They are smooth and will make it look possible but it isn’t.

  57. william says

    Hi I am thinking about getting in the trucking over the road I keep looking at all the reviews of trucking company’s and everything not so good on any of them but yet there is alot of good ones too well I am thinking going owner operator leasing but I want to know if my math is somewhat accurate so far I am baseing all this on 2500 week seems like the average for everyone
    15 cents per mile on maintenance
    5 cents a mile for fuel
    5 cents a mile for insurance
    5 cents a mile for tires
    30 cents per mile for the driver
    and another 4 cents a mile for the payments which is based on 2500 miles a week 1000 a week
    if that’s the case how is 90 cents a mile not enough to run and operate a truck what other expanses to fully work it out do I need to know because before I sign anywhere that contract I sign is gonna have my stipulation I don’t let anyone pull a fast on till I can properly read ever detail before hand

  58. william says

    Ok I been doing more research and do have a question what are tags and what do you do with them plus I also been looking at everything I can find possible about owner operator and company driver and truthfully they both have pros and cons I am just wondering if its possible to be an owner operator and work for more then one company I am pretty sure its probably a hush thing but if its possible can a driver have their own qual com machine or is that not possible and if I can own and hire drivers to make more money if that’s possible I see few comments about few having more then one truck but with one company but if I own a truck I just don’t want one I want as many as I can get I am also the same William posted the question about how is 90 cents per mile not enough I forgot to figure taxes so I understand 95 cpm for all expanses and additional 20 cpm for taxes based on 15% of your pay

  59. Rich says

    Find a non bias truck leasing Company w a 1.00 buyout and do not attach yourself to any Co w a truck ever. Thats why these revolving doors stay in biz screwing you guys. Your not an independent contractor if your locked into deoending on a Company for a vehicle. Theyll will and youll go broke. Company leasing trucks,have one thing in mind. To design a leading program to make money and ask urself…. How many guys u know who ever see a title to a lease truck from a trucking co….. Go to a independent leasing co. Then u have options. Very simple.

  60. Josh says

    I am currently a company driver, possibly looking to lease with ATS. Does anyone know if this is a good company to lease for? I’m flatbed, right now I work for Prime, not sure I would want to trust the lease program here due to how they treat the company drivers to begin with. Any information at all will be greatly appreciated!!

  61. ACES says

    I did a 3 year lease with CR England and I finished the purchase program. I own the truck free and clear now. So it’s possible to do it. I made very good money and was never anyone’s pet.
    1. You need to know your numbers and have a plan.
    2. Never be afraid of confrontation. Turn down the crappy loads and remind them that it’s illegal to punish and independent contractor. True story.
    3. Find out which markets hold good freight and stay in those lanes.
    4. Work whatever angle the company has. CR England is a training company. That’s their angle. If you don’t want to train, CRE is not going to work for you.
    5. Never drink the company Kool Aid. Most people in the office are merely parroting what the company propaganda announces. Fuel dept personnel won’t even know how their own surcharge program works. Study your profit and loss sheets and figure it out for yourself.
    6. Don’t and never use the company shops for any type of engine repairs. You’ll be down forever. Most companies and one master mechanic and a room full of elves. It will be more cost effective to take your truck to for example Detroit Diesel and pay more but get done faster by a master mechanic.
    7. Stop thinking in terms of “saving money”. Start thinking in terms of “making money”. Production is everything. First you have to earn before you try to save.
    8. Never play by the rules. This is an important, if not THE most important rule of all. Never be afraid to throw people under the bus. Record conversations without telling. There is no expectation of privacy in any communications with the companies employees. Make notes, go over people’s heads, make allies in customer service. Be devious, cunning and selfish. You are in business for YOU! I feed my own and myself. I honor my responsibilities to my family and everyone else can take a long run on a short pier… This is cut throat business. They don’t play fair and neither should you.

    • says

      I’ve read plenty of comments over the years from people who have had their lives destroyed by trying to survive a CR England lease-purchase program, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of someone completing it. Full credit to Aces for getting it done, but anyone who is thinking of following in his footsteps should know that the odds are tremendously against you.

  62. Jeff L. says

    Not sure why everyone is looking to lease purchase when you can buy a good used fleet owned truck with 700,000 miles for between $15,000 – $20,000 straight out less than a car payment. If you are handy enough to do general maintenance and minor repair work, then a used truck is the way to go. Seen more brand new trucks break down than older ones. Even at an auto freight level of $1.30 – $1.45/mile you are doing well esp with a good fuel surcharge. And if you are organized enough to keep a folder or notes of all the paperwork you need to renew or taxes to pay, you should be ok. If you set aside plenty of money for any maintenance you should also do well. Hell, if that used tractor can get you by for a year, you can have enough money saved to buy a newer upgraded model. $400/month truck payment when doing simple maintenance on a good used truck should make you money.

  63. Moglar says

    Lease purchase’s are nothing but a bait and switch tactic to provide carriers with more profit.

    I am a company driver and pull a flat bed and make more than $5,ooo per month.

    If you cant take the truck where you want to ….its not yours.

  64. says

    The best way to handle it is have (“1/2”) or (“1/3”) of the total amount of the total amount saved up in the bank. Save up the money as a company driver then approach the carrier, That way you will be able to make payment’s when the freight is in the peek of the slowest periods to do business such as the months right after Christmas (“January, February, March”)….
    (((“it depends on what your hauling too, every truck industry slow period depends on what you deal with on a regular. Car hauling and hauling stuff in dry van have two different slow periods”)))

    It’s also not a good idea in my professional opinion and observation to try and take home time while your stacking this money up during these months of building a fund for you truck for hard times to come. The more you stay out on the road, the more money you can save if you budget and no its not easy saving but if you don’t have a house or and apartment, a car note, and a bunch of kids running around its do able.

    I hear a lot of people crying about you can’t do good with lease purchase and if you have a lot of bills to be spending your money on that not related to your business expenses, you probably cant afford to be out and about doing lease purchase… Your truly Rob Payne III

  65. Justin Ferguson says

    to whom it may concern

    I need some guidance on being an owner op. I have a class A, just looking for a rough estimate within a few thousand dollars either way of what it would take to operate a business yearly doing it part time I have a decent job but I work 7 on and 7 off I’m looking to work on my off week to make extra money I’m looking at a business loan of say $40k, 20 or so for truck and trailer and the rest for maintenance on truck I’m very mechanically inclined worked in a shop for 3yr serviced trucks, brakes, clutch, engine, turbo, etc. I will be buy just parts my labor is free. I’m looking for a day cab truck and log trailer around say 6mpg, have an insurance quote for $200 a month. for $1 mill. coverage I’m unsure of taxes, tags, fees to get going, and how much it cost to pay the heavy use tax for form 2290 I’m not sure if I have listed everything but I will greatly appreciate your help to help me to see if this is workable and worth my time if you have anymore to add please feel free to do so thanks. justin

  66. Scott says

    Never do a lease with a company always keep your truck separated from the company so if you don’t like it you can leave … go through a truck leasing company low payments is key

  67. Michael A Castillo says

    I have a question. Mostly opinion, which truck? Brand? Engine? Is the most cost effective as owner operator? From fuel to maintaining the truck

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