Sold On Leasing... No, Lease Purchase!

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LDRSHIP's Comment
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Come on Brett, deregulation happened in what, 78 .. those first years, maybe a decade were the glory times for the owner op. Flooding of the market with competition hadn’t completely happened. Freight rates were still good. We hadn’t completely started slitting each other’s throats. JB Hunt was the evil Mega carrier whose corporate indifference made slaves of their employees. Ahhh, the glory days. Length allowance on trucks were loosening up, more and more divided open highways were being made. Then the 90s hit.... the only real changes since then have been more restrictions with logbooks.

Come on, Jason has a dream and a well thought out plan made with diligent research. My father’s advice after 44 years of driving experience, including being an owner op during the early 80s means nothing. My father told me, don’t become an owner op. It just isn’t worth it anymore.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Then in the scheme of things you should have no issues with me posting my Settlement checks with Prime week by week for a few months.

Obviously you think that a few months worth of settlement checks is an indicator of success in a business venture. That's why you fell for this so hard. You don't even realize that those settlement checks mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Being successful in business means overcoming a neverending onslaught of challenges over a period of many years.

That's like a mountain climber posting his successful hike from the city into basecamp as proof that he's a successful climber. His journey has barely begun, and the toughest challenges are still a long way in the future.

So no, I'm not interested in posting your settlement checks because they are no indicator of success. My years in this industry and my years as a successful business owner have taught me that. The fact that you think those settlement checks mean something is all the indication that any of us need about your utter lack of knowledge or experience in the business world in general, or the trucking industry specifically.

You're in for a long, tough road. That is more than obvious to us. You're the only one that doesn't see it. You're like a little child running into the street because it seems like an exciting place to be. Well you're about to learn a lot, I'll promise you that.

Those who venture into the unknown thinking they know more than they do almost always learn some very hard lessons.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I’ve been following along quietly. Well I’ll throw a few things out here for what it is worth. I along with a handful of others here are O/O’s. I work longer hours and spend more time a day than any company driver on here. Last year I did well and when it was all said and done I averaged 0.67 cpm profit.

That said, I do it because I choose too. I run solo, and I do not train. I pull chemicals not a box trailer. Which generally pays better. I also get paid percentage, not mileage. Which can be good or bad depending on rates. I also do not lease my truck from the company. I bought my truck and leased it onto the company. This has many advantages. First and foremost, IF the company and I have a disagreement over my services being needed I don’t lose my investment. I turn large gross numbers, but that is very misleading, like I said I averaged 0.67 cpm profit last year. That was with strong rates.

Most company drivers are at 0.50 cpm or higher. Rates are starting to dip a little. The company drivers cpm will remain constant and mine won’t. I love what I do, however It is a calculated risk I take. If anyone thinks they are going to make a killing in this business they are insane. I have seen many people do this, have a lot of money flowing through their hands and get into a lot of trouble. They don’t pay their taxes on time and they spend money they should be saving for breakdowns. That is called mismanagement.

You need a solid 3-5 year business plan and be disciplined enough to stay the course with it. If not you will go bankrupt. I am blessed in the fact I have no immediate family depending on me, and I have solid monthly income outside this truck I can depend on. So it is more of a hobby to me than a job. I also have a very strong relationship with my company I’m leased onto. That did not happen overnight or the wave of a wand. It happened with years of hard work, dedication, and cultivating a network of folks to make it all happen.

I work with drivers who are constantly complaining they are not making money. I have helped a few understand where they can tweak their situation. My boss has even asked me to mentor a few drivers. I won’t jump into that specifically, I just don’t need the extra headaches. I will always explain how I do it, and my philosophy but then it's up to them if they choose to accept the advice. I don’t have any special secrets other than a lot of hard work both in and out of the truck. It just works for me.

I will say it can be done, but its hard and not nearly as lucrative as some people let on. But leasing or lease purchasing a truck from any company is only designed to make the company money. If you don’t have enough money to buy a truck on your own and startup maintenance costs your starting out way behind from the start.

I’ll leave it at that.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

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.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

PJ, answer this question. How much experience in trucking did you get BEFORE becoming an owner op. I’m pretty sure you got your feet wet before you jumped into the deep end of the pool.

Noob_Driver's Comment
member avatar

Wow that escalated quickly. As my name suggests im new to this world. So i tend to yield to the vast experience of the mods on most things. I think your taking some well thought out advice here as criticism. This worlds a melting pot so your going to get different levels of advice, passive and blunt. I think the vast majority of it is meant to be helpful, easpecially someone like Rainy who actually works for Prime. It might seem harsh but i dont think its meant to be insulting i think its because people generally care about it and want you to succeed but have seen the pitfalls and the horror stories. Your an adult do what you want and Ill cheer ya on as will most here but take good advice any chance you get and weigh it honestly. Its a big decision and i wish you the best either way.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

I just read this whole thread in it's entirety so I have an outsiders opinion.

The efforts of all the experienced drivers (trucking industry experts) to help Jason avoid folly are heroic. This, in general, reminds me of the difficulty of convincing a teenager not to do something he has his heart set on. Almost impossible. But all the comments have value because some other newbie might read this thread and have the good sense to listen to the voices of reason.

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

I think the vast majority of it is meant to be helpful, easpecially someone like Rainy who actually works for Prime. It might seem harsh but i dont think its meant to be insulting i think its because people generally care about it and want you to succeed but have seen the pitfalls and the horror stories. Your an adult do what you want and Ill cheer ya on as will most here but take good advice any chance you get and weigh it honestly. Its a big decision and i wish you the best either way.

Thank you! I do mean well. I truly believe someone should know what they are doing first and make their rookie mistakes on the company's dime first. While at the same time.learning what it takes to be a lease driver if rhey want.

Also, there are so many lies out there about what it is like to be a company driver that new people are told from lease ops...that new people go lease for "freedom". My boyfriend believed all of this until he met me. It took him a few months to see how there is no difference except 1) i can get what i want more often because he has to watch that bottom line 2) Although I can take 29 days off at a time, I have to turn my truck after 5 days. That is it when it comes to "freedom". He is considered no longer Prime after 59 days.

I hear the horror stories and try to help. There was a guy who went lease right out of training when i just got my truck. They were trying to give him a load to Arkansas cause they needed it delivered. He had no idea that the load coming out of AR would pay crap, which is why no one else wanted it. He almost took it until i explained. Instead he took a load to OH which put him in a much better freight zone. Turned out my student who upgraded ran that load to AR, because no lease op wanted it. But a newbie didnt know the difference.

He then said to me "I should fill my tank here right cause the terminals are always cheaper?" Honestly, that isnt true and after I got on the road, I saw the Pilot in St Louis was like 15cpm cheaper than the terminal. I felt bad for this guy cause he doesnt really know all he needs to, and trucking already has a steep learning curve. Add the learning curve for leasing and it could be disastrous.

Will everyone fail? no, of course not. But the risk is higher in an industry that already has a high turnover the first year.

The other issue is, no one should make the flat out statent, "i am going to do it" decision until they comb through those contracts. I have the contracts, and read through them when someone tries to point something out to me. My boyfriend intends to do a lease purchase after his first lease is complete so he has two trucks. And after doing almost 5 years of leasing, he still doesnt fully understand the contract which we argue about. I briefly considered leasing and his response was, "OMG! I could learn so much from you". But he was supposed to be the one teaching me lol.

I just want people to know what they are getting into. and most think "walk away lease" means you owe nothing. That isnt true. I know quite a few who went back to company drivers and are paying off their debt in weekly pay deductions.

My boyfriend's last lease completion bonus was supposed to be $18,000. they kept $7,000.

What they call a "bonus" is really the money you put into it with the excess mileage and tire fund.

I currrently have a "company completion bonus". It is about $30,000 in a 401k and $40,000 cash earning 3% interest in an AMEX savings account. That is after paying $67k in debt, spending $7,000 on a Hampton Inn and Enterprise rental during my surgery and giving a family member $15,000 or more. And amazingly enough, if i walk away i get to keep it...unlike with lease. And i earn interest, unlike with lease. And i have direct access to it, unlike with lease.

I seriously know only one lease op who can say that. She spent 20 years driving, most of it leasing and just retired, paying cash for a house. She still needed to get a job though. On the flip side a company driver of 4 years posted pics of a house she bought with cash.

My boyfriend bragged he had $20k in the bank until.i reminded him that $14k of that was going to the tax man. So in reality, he had only $6,000

I do however know quite a few company drivers who train PSD making well over $100,000 per year, thanks to the testing and retention bonuses. They also get home way more often than lease ops and dont have to run teams. There are reasons I do not do PSD now although i intend to later.

In the end, it is about knowledge. I think someone who claims to have done research should be smart enough to know that research is flawed. Gain the true knowledge in baby steps. Leasing out of training is like running a Boston Marathon without ever having run a mile first.

I seriouy do wish Jason the best

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Jamie's Comment
member avatar

Just woke up and got a bunch of comments to read on here. Time to make some popcorn. rofl-3.gif

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

Jason, you make me laugh so hard. I feel sorry for you. While I have not read all of what you have written I have read enough to feel bad for you. First is your know it all attitude. That is the first sign you are heading for a hard time or failure with this career. You have been bamboozled by lease ops who have no idea about being company drivers.

You are obviously not using all your navigation options. I have a GPS that never fails. It costs me about $30 a year to keep up to date, it's a Rand McNally Deluxe Motor Carriers' Road Atlas. That and written directions, I can get anywhere. After 2 years out here, I know generally how to get anywhere. It takes time to learn this job once you leave your trainer's truck. Right now you have no clue how to run a truck. These are just a few of the reasons, I feel bad for you. Good luck.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Our latest Know-It-All wrote this...

As for the idiots running low bridges that’s easy: Garmon(?) or Rand McNally.

Great answer their Hero...freakin’ brilliant! Almost always running a truck under a low bridge is caused by having blind faith in GPS and not paying attention to the road, lacking situational awareness.

It’s called “reading signage”; the ones that conspicuously warn of a low overpass.

Not even two months into your training and you think you have this all figured out. As if you are the first person on this forum posting about this subject.

This is a commodity business, a business you know little about. Prime leases trucks because it increases their profitability on the loads the L/Os run. It reduces their overall liability and transfers that burden to you. Simple. Do you have a clue what that means?

These agreements are heavily skewed in favor of the company, not you. Have you ever read one of them? And if you have, are you able to identify where your risks are? You should listen to Rainy, “check” your damn ego, taking her wisdom to heart.

Although I would never advocate doing this under any circumstance; the fact you have zero professional experience triples the risk of failure and exposes your incredibly high level of naïveté.

You made a point about the definition of success in one of your replies here. If you are unable to define what that is, what it means, and what it takes, then common sense would indicate L/O is a foolish decision. Until you gain considerably more experience and understand what it actually takes to be successful and safe out here, taking this path in defiance of all of the experienced advice you’ve been offered is just plain ignorant and bull headed.

And yes we are definitely biased in that we know what it takes to be successful and are trying in vain to help you make the right decisions based on that knowledge and experience.

Just another Know-It-All Fool we can add to the archives.

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