Prime Lease

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Spencer Hastings's Comment
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Hello i am getting ready to upgrade with prime and im undecided on if i wanna run company after training or lease . Now i am not looking for the usual ur an idiot if u lease . Im looking for anyone company or lease for prime that can tell me what its like and advice on it how it works anything u can tell me that will help thanks.

Michael S.'s Comment
member avatar

Just looking at the lease arrangement it works out being

More responsibility.

More financial risk.

More worry.

Not a lot more pay that anyone honest has been able to show.

You'll do (maybe) a bit better than if you were a company driver. If you've never run OTR you could get yourself into a hole very early on and never get out. If you really want your own truck, learn how to drive first, save your money, and buy one outright or with a loan. Then hire on to a company.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

James P.'s Comment
member avatar

How long have you been in trucking total, not just with Prime? If Prime is your first company I would HIGHLY recommend that you drive company for AT LEAST a year to get acquainted with trucking. Take that time to learn the industry, get to know other drivers especially o/o, and learn what you need to pay attention to. This is also the time to discover if you even want to continue driving.

If after that year of learning you decide that you want to lease, take another 6 months or so and run your company truck as if you were leasing it. Find the wrinkles that would need to be ironed out. Make leasing as trouble free as you can. See if the added stress and responsibility is something that you still want to take on. Do all that you can to make sure that that is the decision that is right for you.

This is just my opinion. I leased after driving for about 3 to 4 months as a company driver for Central Ref. (now Swift Ref. /cry). It was way too soon for me. It didn't take long before my inexperience and road stress added up.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

How long have you been in trucking total, not just with Prime? If Prime is your first company I would HIGHLY recommend that you drive company for AT LEAST a year to get acquainted with trucking. Take that time to learn the industry, get to know other drivers especially o/o, and learn what you need to pay attention to. This is also the time to discover if you even want to continue driving.

If after that year of learning you decide that you want to lease, take another 6 months or so and run your company truck as if you were leasing it. Find the wrinkles that would need to be ironed out. Make leasing as trouble free as you can. See if the added stress and responsibility is something that you still want to take on. Do all that you can to make sure that that is the decision that is right for you.

This is just my opinion. I leased after driving for about 3 to 4 months as a company driver for Central Ref. (now Swift Ref. /cry). It was way too soon for me. It didn't take long before my inexperience and road stress added up.

Spot on!

Spencer you are going to be faced with many, many challenges throughout the first year of your driving career. The learning curve for an entry-level driver is very steep, especially the first three months of solo status. Adding the responsibility of leasing a truck and operating it as an independent business person will only add to your stress level and increase your risk of failure two-fold. The advice offered by James P is totally, 100% accurate. Give yourself a chance to succeed and learn this profession on your employer's nickel and reconsider being a lease operator on your 1 year anniversary.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Here's a kind of different reply.

I've been active on TT for nearly a year. In that time at least three members took up a lease, and promised to keep us updated and share their numbers.

All of these people have disappeared from TT. That says something itself.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

Here's a kind of different reply.

I've been active on TT for nearly a year. In that time at least three members took up a lease, and promised to keep us updated and share their numbers.

All of these people have disappeared from TT. That says something itself.

There are many possible explanations for that... maybe they are too busy now for chatting on the internet. Maybe they moved on to forums that are more geared towards lease/owner operators. Or, maybe they failed miserably and they're too embarrassed to show their faces around here anymore... we just don't know. However, there are also some lease/owner guys here that still participate. Isn't Bud a lease operator at Prime? I think he has posted some numbers... and making more than he did as a company driver, if I remember correctly. Wasn't Ernie a lease guy at Prime too? There was also Steve Marshall, Prime company driver turned successful owner. After the reception he last got here, he might not be back though.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Here's a kind of different reply.

I've been active on TT for nearly a year. In that time at least three members took up a lease, and promised to keep us updated and share their numbers.

All of these people have disappeared from TT. That says something itself.

double-quotes-end.png

There are many possible explanations for that... maybe they are too busy now for chatting on the internet. Maybe they moved on to forums that are more geared towards lease/owner operators. Or, maybe they failed miserably and they're too embarrassed to show their faces around here anymore... we just don't know. However, there are also some lease/owner guys here that still participate. Isn't Bud a lease operator at Prime? I think he has posted some numbers... and making more than he did as a company driver, if I remember correctly. Wasn't Ernie a lease guy at Prime too? There was also Steve Marshall, Prime company driver turned successful owner. After the reception he last got here, he might not be back though.

Yep, I'm still here, and still lease with Prime. I hope to take some time next week while I'm home to figure out total pay for my first year solo (two months company, ten months lease) to give an idea of what a flatbedder might make their first year, excluding the training period.

Then in February I plan to do some analysis of whether I made more leasing than running company and post that here. I should have an idea of what my 2015 taxes look like by then, too, so I plan to post actual, real numbers, including taxes. (That will include one month company, the rest lease.)

Spencer, back to your original question, I agree that it's a good idea to run company for a while before leasing. There's no hurry to go lease. You can change any time. It's not like you're potentially losing a huge amount of money by starting as a company driver.

There's no point in adding stress to the stuff that comes with going solo. There's a lot to learn and adjust to when you go solo. If you're a company driver, you can focus on that stuff before adding to it.

Plus, you'll have an opportunity to talk to lease drivers about their dispatchers. They're not all created equal. If you go lease, you'll want to try to figure out beforehand which lease dispatcher might fit you best and try to get on their board, or at least talk to them whenever you happen to be at the terminal.

One final bonus of waiting is you can look at the link that shows what trucks are available for leasing and get an idea of how tough or easy it might be to get the exact truck you want. They update it daily, I think.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Now i am not looking for the usual ur an idiot if u lease

Spencer, when you want a good discussion and some good answers to a question it is best not to lay out a prescription of how you want it answered buried right there within your very question. It also comes across a little snarky, as if we have been telling people they are idiots for leasing. So, if you are going to start off that way, then please come up with some good quotes from the forum where we have done such a thing. The problem is that you can't, they don't exist.

This is one of the most mysterious things to me about this forum. When very well meaning experienced business people try to spare beginners and rookies from the pitfalls of the leasing programs we are considered rude or antagonistic. Somehow people are convinced they can make a whole lot more money by leasing, and when we try to discourage them from taking on the big risks that go hand in hand with that whole venture they somehow think we are wanting to keep them oppressed and that we have something to gain by intimidating them into accepting the fact that they will have to be content to be mere company drivers. It really baffles me! I didn't even want to respond to this thread because of the way you posed the question, but I was glad to see that you got some very thoughtful answers from others - and no one said you were an idiot - imagine that?

I really saw no need for me to respond until I came across Indy's remark about our old friend Steve Marshall.

There was also Steve Marshall, Prime company driver turned successful owner. After the reception he last got here, he might not be back though.

If I remember correctly Indy was one of a few people who thought we were "rude" to Steve. Of course everyone ignored all the times that I said how glad I was that he was doing well, and chose to make it look like we were being rude when all we did was make sure he was telling the truth. When the truth came out, it turned out we were correct - he himself told us he was making seven hundred a week at Prime (which I don't understand - that number is too low) and then he finally confessed that he was only paying himself 500 a week as an owner operator! But he tried to start out the conversation claiming he was making "five or six times" as much money now as an owner operator. The truth of the matter is he made some big mistakes at the beginning - he told us about that (the purchase of an old truck that was costing him big time) - but he hadn't really accounted for it properly, and he was proud of the money he had in the bank for maintenance and upkeep, but he wanted to claim that as money he was making. That is poor accounting, and it is typical of the owner operator's usual downfall in this business. Cash flow, and revenues do not equate profit, and if a business person in any business does not understand how to differentiate between a really sweet seeming cash flow, and a true percentage of what they are actually gaining in the whole process of transacting their business, then to be honest with you, they don't have a clue what they are making, but they think they are getting rich! I have witnessed this thousands of times in small businesses - I used to refer to it as "they were stealing from themselves and didn't even know it."

I never would have even gotten in that conversation with Steve except for the fact that he made that outrageous claim of making "five or six times" the money he was making at Prime. So, why do I even bother to step into conversations like that? Brett started this web site to present the truth about trucking, and as you can see there is still a strong and ever present need for what he started. If we had just let Steve's outrageous claim go unchallenged we would have been doing all of those folks, and there are millions of them, who come in here and read stuff like that be misled down a very difficult, and probably heart breaking path into the great difficulties associated with private ownership of a Big Rig.

To be honest with you Brett nor I care one way or the other what you guys choose to do, but we do care that we have been diligent to make sure you know what you are getting into when you do. Is that rude? On the contrary it says more about how much we do care even though we will say we don't. We often stick our necks out knowing we are going to get blasted by some of you who are constantly disagreeing with us, but we feel it is only prudent to sound the alarm when there are so many companies out there pitching their lease programs to total beginners who are bound to struggle considerably with the whole thing. People come in here all the time looking for a way to get out of their old unsatisfactory job, and we do what we can to help them find their way into what we consider a rewarding career. But, invariably some of them get all tripped up with this leasing thing - why is that? Because it just sounds too good to be true. If you don't know how those kind of things usually end up, then we feel some responsibility to try to warn you.

Spencer, I think you got some really good solid advice for the most part, and I'm also convinced by the way you posed the question that you are already convinced that you want to try and make the big bucks. So, here is my question to you - If you take the plunge, would you please try to bring us some reports of how it is going for you?

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar
However, there are also some lease/owner guys here that still participate. Isn't Bud a lease operator at Prime? I think he has posted some numbers... and making more than he did as a company driver, if I remember correctly. Wasn't Ernie a lease guy at Prime too?

You are correct, I was a lease operator at Prime for most of my time there. I started out as a company driver, but due to things that were out of my control, I had a decision to make or be a very dis-satisfied individual for almost a year before I could move on. I chose to stay with Prime and lease a truck.

Now I am not going to blow smoke for anyone about the pros/cons of leasing a truck (does not matter who the company is that you are leasing from) because all that has been hashed over many times here already. So, is there better money to be made leasing over being a company driver? Yes and no, let me explain. Yes in the sense that you have bigger monies to work with (but that is before all the expenses are taken out). That is where most folks that talk about leasing or O/O guys, the big money they make. What they are not telling you is they also have some very hefty expenses, and after it is all said & done, they make a little better money than a company guy does in most cases. There is the occasional situation that it works out very well for the folks that happen to fall into that (right place, right time).

Now, as for myself, I did fairly well. Had some good weeks, some really good weeks, and some really crappy weeks. But over all I did pretty well. A bit better than had I stayed as a company driver.

As for being a lease driver for Prime, the biggest advantage to me was my ability to take what loads I wanted, and to turn down the loads I didn't want (one of several perks of being a lease driver at Prime). As a company driver you are force dispatched, meaning you have to take what they send you for a load. You have no option to turn it down unless you had a very good reason for not taking it (such as not enough time on your clock to run the load, home time scheduled are 2 reasons that come to mind). There are other perks associated with being lease over company driver, if you want to know more, let me know and I will do my best to enlighten you about them.

But as has already been pointed out many times with discussion about this in the past is you are also taking on a HUGE AMOUNT of risk being a lease operator. The rewards can be very good, or you can/will go down in flames if you make the wrong decision. So the choice is yours.

Ernie

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
To be honest with you Brett nor I care one way or the other what you guys choose to do, but we do care that we have been diligent to make sure you know what you are getting into when you do. Is that rude? On the contrary it says more about how much we do care even though we will say we don't. We often stick our necks out knowing we are going to get blasted by some of you who are constantly disagreeing with us

Absolutely! And ya know what? When you're new to this industry you have no idea how desperately you need someone with great knowledge and experience to stand by your side and tell you the God's honest truth about the challenges, opportunities, and pitfalls that lie ahead. Trucking will kick your *ss in no time if you come in with the wrong attitude, the wrong expectations, or a poor game plan. If you fall for the wrong sales pitch, make some bad career choices, or make one bad business decision your career or your finances might be shot for years.

This is a unique and complex industry that has a long, rich history and a lot of big players that have been playing this game at the highest level for decades now. Some punk off the street isn't gonna just buy or lease a truck and start kicking everyone's *ss like some of you guys hope you're gonna. We'd all love it if it was that easy but I promise you it isn't. You're dealing with some of the shrewdest business minds in one of the most complex and competitive industries you'll find anywhere. Be prepared to learn some very hard lessons if you want to own a business in this environment. It's hypercompetitive.

We've always known that some people are going to take it as a personal insult when we don't agree with their plans or ideas. But we have to tell you what you need to know, not what you're hoping to hear. You can only make good decisions if you have good information and we're going to make sure you have that good information whether you appreciate it right now or not. You might get frustrated with us when we tell you something isn't going to work out like you had hoped but you're never gonna look back and say we mislead you or didn't know what we were talking about. Sooner or later you'll find out that we're no dummies and we really were giving you good, solid, genuine advice.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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