More and more, I hear brand new truck drivers contemplating the lease purchase programs many companies are now advocating. It never ceases to amaze me how these companies will target new drivers. Swift Transportation and Prime Trucking are two of the most aggressive lease purchase companies out there, but it seems all of the companies have jumped on the band wagon.

After all, why wouldn't a trucking company want to pass along the costs of fuel, purchasing a truck, truck maintenance, truck insurance, permits and health insurance? Not to mention, they no longer are expected to provide a 401k plan with company match. And they get to charge the driver much higher prices than market value for a truck that won't be worth much at the end of the lease.

I have heard of drivers buying a used, plain-jane Freightliner century or classic through lease purchase programs and paying in the range of $700 per week. That's $2,800 per month. If you talk to owners of big bunks (the large custom sleepers with showers, toilets, and bells and whistles the average truck driver would never think of), they're paying the same per month- and that's with very little down. Keep in mind, there's a huge difference between a brand new big bunk and a late model truck with a factory sleeper.

1. Trucking is unpredictable. If you don't have the cash or credit to buy a truck on your own, what makes you think you will be able to float through the rough times? Accidents, injuries and illnesses happen. And when they do, you're payments won't stop to wait for you. Trucking companies are in the business of making money, not providing charity.

2. You don't own your truck. If you're leasing your truck from a company, THEY own it- which means you can't leave. It means that no matter what they do to you- drop your miles, load around you, lie to you, charge you more and more for "incidentals"- you can't just leave. If you get a loan from the bank, you can change your company. If you get a loan from the company, you can't.

3. You are signing a contract. You need to understand the terms of the agreement. If you get screwed, it's your own fault. You cannot trust what the company rep tells you to your face- if it's not in writing, it just doesn't count. Always, always, always have a lawyer review the contract and explain to you the upside and the downside. If you've already signed, still take it to a lawyer so that you know your options.

4. Others have been there. Talk to owner operators and ask about the lease purchase deals. You will find that a lot of them started out with one and learned about them the hard way. Many of them were unable to complete the lease. Many of them completed the lease only to find they had worked like dogs to buy a truck that now had a million miles and no value. Learn from their mistakes.

5. These companies tend to target new drivers. Why? Because new drivers simply don't know better. If you haven't been in the industry for at least a few years (and spent those years asking a lot of questions of a lot of drivers) you just don't know enough about trucking to make an educated decision.

Trucking is about making your own road. But, as those of us who have been trucking for years all know, sometimes the road you choose turns into treacherous route. Make your choices carefully-they make the difference between a prosperous trucking career and a transportation nightmare. is the only comprehensive online resource for over 1100 truck weigh stations and scales as well as state DOT weight regulations and policies. Knowledge of the varying policies and the ability to manage or avoid most weigh stations can save truckers thousands of dollars in ticket fines. For further information, contact Michael Farrell at 646.257.2052 or view complete Truck Weigh Stations, Scales and State DOT Information at
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Semi Truck Lease-Purchase? Leave It Alone!
By Michael Farrell
  Here are some things to think about when contemplating a lease purchase agreement
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