Leasing your first semi-truck? 5 things to consider

August 12, 2020

An owner-operator leases his first semi-truck with SFI

You may be an experienced company driver interested in becoming an owner-operator, a long-time truck owner who is sick of operating older equipment or somewhere in between. Wherever you find yourself, leasing a semi-truck could be a great way to start, improve or grow your business.

Before immediately deciding which company to lease a semi-truck from, we suggest determining what your “must-haves” are and finding a company that can provide those through doing your research.

Here’s a list to help get you started when thinking about what to consider when leasing your first semi-truck.

Things to consider when leasing your first semi-truck

1. What type of semi-truck do you want to lease?

Most truck drivers have preferences when it comes to make, model, used vs. new and manual vs. automated manual transmissions. Think about what kind of semi-truck you want to lease and start exploring the inventories of various leasing companies.

Some truck providers, like SFI Trucks and Financing, have detailed truck inventories right on their websites that include what specs and warranties each truck comes with.

2. How much of a down payment can you afford?

It’s important to figure out how much money (if any) you intend to put down as a down payment on a truck – this amount can impact who will/won’t lease to you.

Most truck leasing companies provide a general idea of how much money – if any – they require as a down payment on their website.

3. What carrier do you want to lease-on with?

As an owner-operator, you will probably lease-on with a carrier, like Schneider, in order to get your loads or obtain your own operating authority to likely gain access to loads via a public load board. Some truck leasing companies require you to lease-on with a certain company, while others give you the freedom to choose.

Make sure you know ahead of time who you want to lease-on with so you can confirm it with the truck leasing company.

4. What does your credit score look like?

Just like with down payments, some companies are stricter than others about what kind of credit score they expect clients have. Determine what your credit score is now so you can ask the leasing company later if it meets their requirements.

Some companies, like SFI, provide flexible financing options for owner-operators who have good or poor credit or little to no money to put down on a truck.

5. Other than the truck, what else is important to you?

Make a list of all the things you find important for a truck leasing company to include with the lease and truck. Consider things like:

  • Do I want my truck to come with a warranty?
  • What kind of specs do I want my truck to have?
  • How much of a weekly truck payment can I afford?
  • Do I want to lease from a company that has a maintenance team?
  • Am I going to need business consulting services to help start/grow my business?

In addition to what to consider when leasing your first semi-truck, you may consider buying your first semi-truck.