If you want to switch from driving for other companies to driving for yourself, leasing semi trucks is one way to become an owner-operator. Being an owner-operator with a leased truck is different than driving a truck for a company, however. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the truck leasing market.
#1 Lease and Haul for Different Companies
Do not lease a semi truck from a company and then haul loads for the same company. Oftentimes, when you lease and haul from the same company, you get paid a much lower percentage for hauling loads for them while paying them for the vehicle at the same time. It sets up a relationship where the company you are making your monthly payments to is the same company that you are earning your money for.
A much healthier relationship is to rent a semi truck from one company and haul loads for a different company or companies. That way, you are not depending on making money from the same company that you are paying for your truck.
#2 Work with a Leasing Company That Lets You Set Your Rates
When setting up a lease for a semi truck, some companies will dictate what you can charge for freight and what types of loads you can haul. If you want to maximize your flexibility and independence as an owner-operator, make sure that your leasing terms allow you to set the rates for the freight you will haul as well as what type of freight you will haul. Make sure that your leasing terms give you the greatest degree of freedom as possible.
#3 Be Picky with the Loads You Accept
There is a ton of freight that needs to be moved around the country every day, as well as a huge demand for truck drivers and owner-operators. Remember that as an owner-operator, you can choose who you want to work for and when you want to work. Choose loads and routes that work with your schedule and your lifestyle. Don't ever feel pressured into taking a load that you don't want to carry or run a route that you don't feel comfortable driving.
Remember as well that the more you drive and the more experience you gain, the better access you will have to better paying routes. Choose to work with agents and companies that show you respect and that offer you career advancements down the road. As you establish relationships with agents and companies, you can gain access to higher level assignments.
As you move into the owner-operator world, remember to put your needs first. Find a leasing company that allows you to set your own rates and terms for hauling loads, and work with agents and companies that respect and value your time and contributions.