Should A Rookie Driver Become A Lease Operator?

Topic 21644 | Page 1

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Gregory P.'s Comment
member avatar

Should a rookie driver start out as a lease operator or company driver? I’m trying to decide if I want to become a lease operator. I know how to run a business the ins and out but I’m trying to build a nice solid foundation to kick off my trucking career. I’m fine with starting out as a company driver that’s no big deal but knowing that I know how to run a business etc should I make that step or just take the time out to actually learn the industry.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Get ready for it, but the short answer is no. As you may know from your previous experience, just because someone can run A business doesn’t mean they know enough to run ANY business.

You’re likely gonna get lots of responses and they’ll share links to great articles. Read and heed.

Good luck.

Gregory P.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks a lot. I appreciate it. I’m up for the challenge but experience and knowledge is always good.

Get ready for it, but the short answer is no. As you may know from your previous experience, just because someone can run A business doesn’t mean they know enough to run ANY business.

You’re likely gonna get lots of responses and they’ll share links to great articles. Read and heed.

Good luck.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Gregory experience and knowledge is mandatory before ever considering L/O. There are a myriad of articles in the blog section that address the perils of leasing, especially for a rookie. Here is just one example:

Confessions of An Owner Operator

Owner Operator:

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

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Gregory my short answer is no way. First off are you thinking of leasing from a trucking company or a truck vendor??? There are alot of trucking companies offering leasing. Some are better than others, but none of them are in your best interest. I did it for a year with a major carrier. I paid all the bills and could only pull their freight. Which meant they dictated everything from where I went to how much I made. As long as your making enough to cover the bills they are happy. You may not be as happy. Also the pay rates differ on loads. Are you looking at a mileage rate or percentage?? Will you pull the company's trailers or not??? Will they charge you a trailer lease fee also??? Oh and maint. still has too be cleared through them each and every time because they are paying the vendor then recovering it out of your maint account or next settlement. I can go on about the money variables but I think you get the picture.

The only way I would ever be responsible for all the headaches and financial obligations on a truck would be to go buy one and run under my own authority which is not that hard to get. I have been approached to do that recently from a customer. Its a produce company, I know the folks well and since the ELD mandate hit they have been having trouble getting trucks. I actually sat down with them and ran some numbers. They were open and honest with the numbers and when we crunched it all out it left me making within a couple hundred a week of what I am making as a company driver. It doesn't make sense for me to do it. I told them they would be better off buying their own trucks or just keep outsourcing like they have been.

Too often people see the big numbers in this business and think wow. They don't stop to realize those big numbers are also going out the door. Fuel bill, maint costs, etc. I just had a fuel tank replaced. Just the tank was 1700.00. An exhaust piece under the truck with a couple bends and 1 sensor port in it, 1300.00 and this is the 2nd one in 2 years. So you can see these are not cheap. Those numbers were parts only not labor to install them.

Unless you have alot of knowledge about the industry and a large volume the profit is just not there in my opinion. I don't mean too rain on your parade just giving you my honest opinion from doing it.

Have a safe day

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Gregory P.'s Comment
member avatar

WOW. That right there is enough alone lol

Gregory experience and knowledge is mandatory before ever considering L/O. There are a myriad of articles in the blog section that address the perils of leasing, especially for a rookie. Here is just one example:

Confessions of An Owner Operator

Owner Operator:

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

Gregory P.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks a lot for the honest. I would lease through a company. I’m looking to go to KLLM. But I’ve made up my mind I’m starting out as a company driver to learn some things but I do have a few sources that I can use in the future.

Gregory my short answer is no way. First off are you thinking of leasing from a trucking company or a truck vendor??? There are alot of trucking companies offering leasing. Some are better than others, but none of them are in your best interest. I did it for a year with a major carrier. I paid all the bills and could only pull their freight. Which meant they dictated everything from where I went to how much I made. As long as your making enough to cover the bills they are happy. You may not be as happy. Also the pay rates differ on loads. Are you looking at a mileage rate or percentage?? Will you pull the company's trailers or not??? Will they charge you a trailer lease fee also??? Oh and maint. still has too be cleared through them each and every time because they are paying the vendor then recovering it out of your maint account or next settlement. I can go on about the money variables but I think you get the picture.

The only way I would ever be responsible for all the headaches and financial obligations on a truck would be to go buy one and run under my own authority which is not that hard to get. I have been approached to do that recently from a customer. Its a produce company, I know the folks well and since the ELD mandate hit they have been having trouble getting trucks. I actually sat down with them and ran some numbers. They were open and honest with the numbers and when we crunched it all out it left me making within a couple hundred a week of what I am making as a company driver. It doesn't make sense for me to do it. I told them they would be better off buying their own trucks or just keep outsourcing like they have been.

Too often people see the big numbers in this business and think wow. They don't stop to realize those big numbers are also going out the door. Fuel bill, maint costs, etc. I just had a fuel tank replaced. Just the tank was 1700.00. An exhaust piece under the truck with a couple bends and 1 sensor port in it, 1300.00 and this is the 2nd one in 2 years. So you can see these are not cheap. Those numbers were parts only not labor to install them.

Unless you have alot of knowledge about the industry and a large volume the profit is just not there in my opinion. I don't mean too rain on your parade just giving you my honest opinion from doing it.

Have a safe day

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
I’ve made up my mind I’m starting out as a company driver to learn some things but I do have a few sources that I can use in the future.

This is the best First Step - learn the business before you put your own skin into the game. Even having owned/ run your own business, I'm sure it wasn't a trucking business. Learn how it's done courtesy of a company that has learned how to do it.

Then lease your own truck. If you lease on to a larger company you will find, as described here, that the only difference between company driver and Lease Op is who owns the truck.

Gregory P.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes it most definitely wasn’t a trucking company. That sounds a plan though for sure.

double-quotes-start.png

I’ve made up my mind I’m starting out as a company driver to learn some things but I do have a few sources that I can use in the future.

double-quotes-end.png

This is the best First Step - learn the business before you put your own skin into the game. Even having owned/ run your own business, I'm sure it wasn't a trucking business. Learn how it's done courtesy of a company that has learned how to do it.

Then lease your own truck. If you lease on to a larger company you will find, as described here, that the only difference between company driver and Lease Op is who owns the truck.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

In addition to what the others have stated, I'll just add this for more perspective:

My cdl class at Prime started with 23 students. Of those, only 7 of us completed training. Of those, 3 chose the lease program, the rest of us went company.

ONLY US 4 COMPANY DRIVERS ARE LEFT!

All 3 lease ops were miserable their first year. They constantly haggled over low-paying loads, or spent days sitting idle because they didn't want to accept loads to bad freight areas. The constant struggle to make enough money to pay that lease payment left their entire rookie year experience a miserable one. They are all quitting now that their year contract is up.

As a company driver, I out-earned them all.

Us four company drivers remain happy, and plan to stay on with Prime.

Let that sink in...

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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