Is leasing a semi-truck a good idea? 5 benefits to consider

May 29, 2023

An owner-operator doing a walk around on a semi-truck.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

As an owner-operator, you have a big decision to make when it comes to getting your equipment – should you lease a semi-truck or buy one?  

In this article, we’ll explore the top five benefits of leasing a semi-truck so you can make an educated decision that is best for both your business and budget. 

What to expect when leasing a semi-truck 

A semi-truck lease can last anywhere from one to five years, depending on the lease terms and type of truck being leased.

When leasing, an owner-operator will typically make truck payments on a weekly basis.

At the end of their lease, an owner-operator can typically (depending on their lease program):

  • Pay off their current/outstanding truck payments and any applicable fees and turn their truck in.
  • Pay off the remaining balance and purchase their truck.
  • Apply to extend the lease on their current truck.
  • Apply to upgrade to a new truck.

5 benefits of leasing a semi-truck 

1. You spend less money upfront.

When you’re weighing the pros and cons of leasing a semi-truck, one of the biggest things to consider is how much money you have available to invest in your equipment. 

When you buy a semi-truck, you either need to take out a loan on the truck or buy it with cash. If you don’t have a lot of money for a down payment and there are concerns about your credit score, you may not qualify for financing.  

Leasing a semi-truck can be a great option for an owner-operator who doesn’t have a lot of money saved up for a down payment. Many leasing companies offer low-money down options, which can help you get into a truck sooner so you can start earning revenue. 

Plus, some leasing companies, like SFI Trucks and Financing, will work with you regardless of your credit score. 

2. You have the opportunity to operate a brand-new truck.

Leasing a semi-truck often allows owner-operators to operate the latest truck models without the upfront costs that come with buying one.

A new truck typically leads to savings for your business because it usually:

  • Is more fuel-efficient.
  • Has better truck specs, like advanced safety and comfort features.
  • Comes with a factory-direct warranty.
  • Has less unexpected maintenance problems.

3. You have tax benefits when leasing.

Owner-operators can usually deduct their truck lease payment as a business expense. This can greatly reduce tax liability and free up more funds for other areas of business operations.  

The company you lease a truck from can also often help you get in touch with a business management consultant, such as American Truck Business Services (ATBS), who can help you with tax rules and regulations.

4. You have less financial risk.

Unlike when you purchase a truck, leasing has a defined period an owner-operator can use the truck with fixed weekly payments and little to no down payment. This predictable payment structure can make it easier for owner-operators to budget and plan their weekly expenses.

Some leasing companies, like SFI, offer other advantages to owner-operators that lessen the financial risks owner-operators can face even more. These perks can include things like:

  • Maintenance support.
  • Access to the best parts and labor rates.
  • Flexible payment options.
  • Extensive warranty coverage.

5. You have a shorter commitment.

Another benefit of leasing a semi-truck is that you’re not permanently locked down to one truck: If you’re unhappy with the lease program or truck you’re in, you can simply turn the truck in at the end of your lease. 

Some companies, like SFI, offer a lease term as low as 52 weeks. This can be especially beneficial for new owner-operators who are figuring out the type of truck that works best for their business.