Been Debating Trying Lease Op With Western Express.

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Harvest's Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone, so I have been thinking long and hard, and still need more thinking. But lately I have been really considering going back with Western Express and starting my own business. My dream is to one day own my own truck. And Western Express has their lease set up where in 3 years you will own the truck. I am still trying to do more research, but it's been hard to find people that have experience with their lease program, besides the usual Western express bashing. I know this road will be long and hard, and dependent entirely on my work ethic. I was wondering if anyone had any links to reading material or had their own experiences leasing with Western? I want to get all the information I can get before making a decision. I also like Westerns walk away program. In the chance that leasing just isn't working for me, it appears I can walk away without a balloon payment. But I still need to call Western on information with this. Here is a link to Westerns site, talking about their lease program and pay. Western Express Leasing

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Harvest, we have had a ton of conversations in here on leasing. I think you know you won't find a lot of support among us on the subject. It gives you zero advantages, and makes you have to run all the harder. You will be learning how to manage your cash flow and expenses all while being under the pressure of making the payments and keeping up the maintenance on your truck. It is a heavy load for most drivers to undertake. I remember an old discussion we had on Leasing From Western Express. You should take a look at it. The thread is both lengthy and interesting. Partly it gets interesting because a fellow named "David," who ran the lease program at Western, joins in the conversation. I think you will find it informative. Whether you take the "fluff" or the "reality" from it will be at your discretion. Still, I think you will find a lot of information in that conversation as to why we would suggest you stay away from it, and you will find David's perspective as to why you could do well at it. You can be the judge, but there is a lot of back and forth information in that conversation.

Harvest's Comment
member avatar

Harvest, we have had a ton of conversations in here on leasing. I think you know you won't find a lot of support among us on the subject. It gives you zero advantages, and makes you have to run all the harder. You will be learning how to manage your cash flow and expenses all while being under the pressure of making the payments and keeping up the maintenance on your truck. It is a heavy load for most drivers to undertake. I remember an old discussion we had on Leasing From Western Express. You should take a look at it. The thread is both lengthy and interesting. Partly it gets interesting because a fellow named "David," who ran the lease program at Western, joins in the conversation. I think you will find it informative. Whether you take the "fluff" or the "reality" from it will be at your discretion. Still, I think you will find a lot of information in that conversation as to why we would suggest you stay away from it, and you will find David's perspective as to why you could do well at it. You can be the judge, but there is a lot of back and forth information in that conversation.

I read you're first comment and I already don't want to do it lol. I cannot imagine paying that much in repairs. Maybe one day i'll own my own truck. But it seems like the return from leasing just isn't enough to justify that risk. Plus i've only been driving for a year, so their is still allot to learn and experience. Just one day, I wanna own a Peterbilt lol. embarrassed.gif

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Harvest I understand where you’re coming from. First off you need at least 2-3 more years experience minimum to learn how it really works in the field you want to pursue, IE flatbed, dry van , reefer etc.

You need cash and credit to start out, then find a good used truck that is spec’d for the job. Alot of folks really go wrong in this area. Not all tractors are created equal.

Pete’s are nice trucks, but also expensive. Trust me on that one. Other models can do equally as good of a job.

These company’s leasing trucks to drivers with no money and little experience are nothing more than a racket for the company to make good money.

Concentrate on learning the industry and save your money.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Just one day, I wanna own a Peterbilt lol.

Hey Harvest, I get it! We've often said if you could take the "coolness" factor out of owning a big rig, nobody would want to be an owner/operator. We all love those classic big rigs. There's nothing like seeing one of them rolling down the road - they are super cool! Ego plays a lot into everyone's purchasing habits. It's no different when it comes to big trucks. The more shiny chrome and lights the better!

A good solid company driver can earn just as much or more than an owner/operator. There is so much to learn about being efficient at trucking. I was eight years into my career when I really felt like I had a mastery of how it works. I had broke into the six figure level on income, and I knew people on my same account, making the same rate of pay, who were still earning 50 to 60 thousand. So there's a lot that we can do on our own to earn more money as truck drivers. Purchasing a truck isn't necessarily about making more money, but it does help a man feel really good about himself. That's the "coolness" factor. You can't take it out of the motivation to purchase a truck. Everybody likes being noticed. Pulling into a truck stop with that long square nosed hood and your marker lights all aglow, will sure make you feel like "I am the man!"

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

No need to own a Peterbilt. Gain some experience and work for a company that runs them.

Eugene K.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School I’ve been meaning to ask about this, because I’ve read most of the threads warning against lease- or owner-op, plus I’ve heard your podcast on owner-operator math.

Knowing all of the risk and the expenses, I’ve asked the dozen or so lease-ops I’ve met with my company, and none of them regret it. Just to make sure, I ask them if they think it’s worth it even after expenses, and they just laugh and say they understand the difference between revenue and net income. They say they even after expenses: fuel, insurance, maintenance, the truck payment, and miscellaneous, they all earn six figures in net income. It’s not uncommon for a load to pay anywhere from 3000 to 4000, so even after expenses, you’re still netting far more on a single load than most good company drivers make in a week.

I’m still skeptical, obviously. I’ve been conditioned to believe there’s a catch somewhere, or that this sounds too good to be true. Is it possible that Wilson is just such a great company that we are the exception where the lease ops really ARE making a killing? I’ve had nothing but a positive experience so far so it seems fair enough. I’m FAR from considering going down this road, and probably won’t. I’m just curious how this squares with everything I’ve read on TT.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

First, with WE, you will not own a Pete, you'll own a Freightliner or an International. The truck will be bare bones, no options at all except a bunk heater. I've talked to 6 WE lease people, one claimed to be making good money the rest were asking me if I was lease or company driver, saying they were only taking home around $400 per month. I generally double that take home. These companies make it look great with walk away lease, no credit check, no money down, no experience necessary etc. I believe they actually prefer the last example, it's easier to fool a newbie. Again, when paid off your truck will be bare bones with half a million miles on it. You'll have to get your own health insurance as well. You had better have a fair amount of cash for fuel, repairs, time off etc. as well as good credit for those really big repairs. Just not worth it in my opinion. If it was beneficial to you why would the company do it? They are in the business of making money from its drivers not losing money so the driver can do better.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I’m FAR from considering going down this road, and probably won’t. I’m just curious how this squares with everything I’ve read on TT.

First you have to ask yourself this question... Why would Wilson Logistics lease their trucks to their employees? If the answer is, "So the employees can make a lot more money," then that raises another question. "Why don't they just pay their company drivers more money if there is all this extra money to go around?" Think about that for a minute. It doesn't make any sense. If they wanted their employees to be earning more money because these loads pay out so well, then they would just increase their pay. What could possibly be the reason for them wanting to lease their trucks to their employees?

They are a business. They are a very well run business. How do well run businesses make their decisions? Most of them are made based on data and numbers. The data and numbers indicate that they can squeeze out a little extra profit by making the driver responsible for the expenses. Remember that expenses are not a fixed cost. They fluctuate wildly. One way to control your profit level is to put controls on your expenses. In trucking the only way to control those expenses and know exactly what they will be is to pass them on to someone else. If I know exactly what something is going to cost me then I can know how much to charge for my services so that I can make "X" amount of profit. I can't do that with my employee's trucks. I have to maintain and repair them no matter what goes wrong with them. I may be making really good money on one truck, and not so good on another. Somewhere down the road I hope I can manage my fleet and pull off about a 5 or 6 percent profit. If I lease out my higher mileage trucks (the ones that are going to start costing me), I know my exact costs, and I can actually know that I am going to turn a profit whether that lease operator does or not. It's Economics 101.

Knowing all of the risk and the expenses, I’ve asked the dozen or so lease-ops I’ve met with my company, and none of them regret it. Just to make sure, I ask them if they think it’s worth it even after expenses, and they just laugh and say they understand the difference between revenue and net income. They say they even after expenses: fuel, insurance, maintenance, the truck payment, and miscellaneous, they all earn six figures in net income.

Here's what you need to ask them. "Do you have an accountant that helps you with your taxes?" Nine out of ten will answer yes to this question. Then you ask, "What number is it your accountant tells you is your income for your tax return?" Nine out of ten of them will start stuttering and not give you a straight answer, or they will end the conversation and cut it short. They like to talk about their "Paychecks." It is crazy because they don't even get paychecks. Their checks are revenues, and cannot even be considered as anything close to their "pay."

Here's another factor that must be considered. They are now 1099 contractors. They are no longer employees. They give up a lot to make that leap. Look at the things they give up for this long shot chance of making a little extra money.

  • No health insurance.
  • No social security account being built up.
  • No access to a company retirement account.
  • No income tax payments withheld.
  • No paid vacation.
  • No seniority with load planners or dispatchers.
  • No help with layover or breakdown pay.
  • No bonus money that company drivers get.

Typically those things the driver gives up for this hope of getting ahead in the game far outweigh any difference he could possibly make by leasing the truck. I did a little calculation based on my last twelve months of driving as a company driver. Here’s some real numbers that I would give up so that I could lease a truck.

  • $3,500 - that’s what the company contributed to my 401K
  • $6,800 - that was the total of my bonus money
  • $2,875 - that was my total X-pay for various things like layover
  • $5,478 - that is my three weeks paid time off

Let’s see… that totals $18,653.00 and that doesn’t even take into account the lack of deposits in my social security funds or the funds they contributed toward my family’s health insurance. That’s how much I am going to throw into the trash just so I can risk taking a long shot at making maybe about 3% more by leasing a truck. You can’t make that math work in your favor. Numbers don’t lie. It feels mighty good seeing those big payouts, but the math always speaks the truth. It's like trying to make a pretty purse out of a sow's ear. It just doesn't work.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Over the years here many lease ops have claimed to be making a killing yet nobody is willing to provide proof of it. Its possible to do better as a lease op but highly unlikely. I'm perfectly happy putting in my time, whether it's hourly or mileage, and enjoying the rest of my day. The last thing I want after driving all day is dealing with paperwork for my business.

PJ bought his own truck and runs under another companies authority. He had some major repairs needed and he stated he grossed roughly what he did his first year driving. Over time those repairs will even out but for the most part its unlikely you'll earn more than a company driver. We have members here grossing anywhere from $80,000 to over $100,000 without the hassle of running a business! Next time these lease ops start blowing smoke up your a** politely ask them if that includes taxes, retirement fund, medical/dental insurance, disability etc. Wilson seems to be similar to Prime inc. Kearsey has shared many pay settlements from her friends that lease. Keep in mind if their truck is in the shop or they want to take hometime that truck payment and insurance is still due. Many drivers go lease op with the idea of having more hometime and refusing to take loads to certain areas. They quickly realize although they can do that they financially can not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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