After graduating from college, I found the economy was bad enough (and being nearly 40 by then, found a lot of entry-level positions were only for 20-something graduates), I reluctantly went back into transportation, but this time as a road breakdown agent for a 48-state and Canada OTR hauler, which I believe at the time was about the 20th largest in the field. We had essentially an amalgamation of 4 or 5 different smaller OTR companies joined together. A couple of those smaller carriers had some lean years, and regular maintenance was often skipped.
We had a whole bunch of Freightliners with DD series 60 motors that had not been given regular oil changes, and these engines came to pieces regularly at between 600k-700k. We probably had 3 or 4 dozen of these units. So, what did we do with them? We leased them to all the 'problem drivers', as a way for them to convince them that they could make more money. Not one of these guys ever took the truck they were being pressured into leasing for an oil test or a mechanic's check, and none of them understood that your lease meant that you owned NOTHING until the day you made your last payment.
Well, as you can guess, these motors started blowing 1 by one. Each time this happened, the guy either walked away from his 'investment', or else borrowed so much money fixing it that it would never pay off in the long run Several guys ended up bankrupt. Sometimes death threats were uttered. Being an office employee, I couldn't warn the drivers of the mistake they were making. When the company went bankrupt a couple years later, yup, you guessed it, these guy's leases meant that they had zero equity, and the trucks were sold off.
To this day, I still don't understand why ANYBODY would go for a company lease.
Lease story from around 20 years ago
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I worked for a fleet that the bean counters could not figure out why the Detroit 60's were scattering at 700-800k. I mean 25k plus oil changes and 191% driver turn over in 2004 probably had nothing to do with it. Nor did they listened to the mechanics working in the shop 18 hours a day. We didn't know anything.
Another company I started at in 97,98 was the only decent LP that I've seen.
They would order a batch of W900's, you could pick engine. But they all would be one color, same wheelbase. You got a new East trailer, you could pick how many axles. The truck was 20k less than individual price. Trailer was under individual price, but I dont recall savings. Service and repairs had to follow company schedule like company trucks till completion. You had no choice, if it needed brakes, tires. It got them. You even could take the truck to another carrier. But you couldn't return to them for 12 months. They would keep you financed.
Only 50% of the leases were complete. Those 50% actually did really well and it propelled them to a long career.
The other 50% went broke.
But most I've seen was a set up, just as you described.
I also had success with a lease purchase . But it was a looong time ago .
In the early 90s .
two year lease, finish the two years and the truck is yours .
$500 down ,
Certain amount per month for the truck
Certain amount for the ins
Some for the reserve fund etc
I wrecked mine with one payment left .
But by then I had saved plenty of money to pay cash for a good used tractor.
I started with nothing , was working in a dead end job slightly above min wage , no savings , no college degree or education , so I had nothing to lose .
I was making $900 a month at my job .
First month trucking I made $5k after all expenses . so I had no problem stacking cash
I guess a lot of it depends on if the company wants you to succeed or not .
the company I was with was expanding and needed O/Os desperately and wanted them to succeed and stick around .
Hit a brakes a little too hard in the rain with an empty trailer and Jack knifed in a flash.
drivers side door was bent and wouldn’t open ,
Was on a busy four lane so a group of folks gathered pretty quick , they were standing back away from
The rig and pointing .
So I climbed out the window , and reached for the ladder that was no longer there , and I fell to the ground .
As soon as I hit the ground several people rushed up grabbed my
Arms and legs and dragged me away
After they stopped dragging me I looked back and saw what they were all pointing at .
I had hit a power pole and the transformer was sitting on the roof of the truck , complete with sparks and a small fire on the roof .
mat least they were apart enough to stay back away from the rig , but it would have been nice if they had communicated to me that I had live wires on the roof .
The company I was doing the lease purchase with had endless freight with direct their own customers. And they were paying local drayage companies a lot lot more than they were paying the owner operators who leased on . So the company WANTED the new o/o’s to succeed since it was so
Much cheaper than hiring local drayage companies
although the third week I got two roadside inspections in one day .
Where they checked the travel of slack adjusters , checked the air pressure buildup time etc etc.
The second inspection they found a loose U bolt where a leaf spring had recently been replaced , and I got put out of service.
Had to call a road service for that .
but in two years of making a thousand a week when I was used to earning $200 a week , I was able to save like $50k
So writing a $9k check to add to the $7k I got from my insurance for the wrecked one , for a used rig to replace the wrecked one , was no biggie.
second rig was a Ford LTL-9000 with a big cam 400 and 13 speed .
It had leaf
Springs too, I had never ridden in a rig with air suspension so I didn’t know what I was missing , the ford had power steering , which my first rig didn’t have so I thought that was awesome .
same drivetrain as a Pete or KW but half price since Ford wasn’t a status rig .
I built a shower and toilet and fridge in the big Ford , and after about 18 months some offered me too much money for it and I sold it , and bought a IH 9700 cabover with the set back steer axle and air ride drive suspension and a double length sleeper .
loved loved loved that rig .
Rode like it was on a cloud and the short wheelbase would fit anywhereLast edited: May 18, 2023
Back in the 90's I answered an ad in the truck paper. It was a lease purchase running for McKesson. The truck was a Dick Simon FLD with a K19 Cummins, and the Eaton equivalent of a two speed power glide transmission. The schedule was so tight that even time spent shifting could compromise the load so they developed the transmission just for Mckesson. That K19 would do rolling burnouts going up Monteagle and still get 7.5 mpg.
The truck came complete with IV bags filled with sweet tea mounted overhead and a sackful of Krystals every trip. The loads paid well, but there was a caveat, it was a team lease. One driver had to man the mini-gun in the trailer to protect the freight at all times. That's where I met @Jubal Early Times.
We ran the ammunition belt through the man door on the front of the van trailer into the cab. Since we were often ambushed, and he would get hungry during a shootout, i would place the Krystals on the belt to feed him as he fired rounds at would be thieves. The sweet tea was pto driven to his IV for hydration.
I won't brag and say how much we made back then, but Jubal had a time share in Branson and front row seats to the Hatfields and McCoy's show.
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