Updated: May 5
As a lease-purchase owner-operator, there are many things to consider when deciding what company to lease onto. Even though you are technically the boss of your own trucking company, the carrier that you pull for still has an effect on your career.
You want to make sure that you’re happy with the trucking company you are driving for and that they are allowing you to be successful. Whether you are a first-time lease-purchase owner-operator or you have been one for a while, consider these things when deciding which lease-purchase trucking companies are worth driving for.
Where do they typically run?
When deciding what trucking company to drive for, you will want to align what part of the country you want to drive with the part of the country the carrier specializes in. If you want to drive along the west coast in order to be close to home, it would not be beneficial to lease onto a carrier that typically hauls freight in the south. Even though you would be able to find loads in most of the country, your options would be slim compared to a carrier that focuses on your preferred area.
What type of operation do they run?
The type of operation is another decision that you should make early in the decision-making process. This will help simplify your search and minimize the number of trucking companies you have to choose from.
The three most common types of trucking operations are dry-van, reefer (refrigerated), and flatbed. Each type of trucking operation has its own pros and cons so it will be worth researching what works best for you.
Also, as a lease-purchase owner-operator, chances are you already have experience with at least one of these trucking operations. Use that experience to help you make your decision. Simply put, if you want to haul a dry van, look for a carrier that specializes in dry vans.
How many miles do you expect to get?
The number of miles you can expect to run will be determined by you and the trucking company you are leased on to. As an owner-operator, you choose your own schedule, so you will have the most control over how many miles you run. However, the type of freight and areas the company hauls will have a big impact on your miles. If you like lower miles, choose a company that has a short length of haul with many regional runs. Large pools of dropped trailers will also help you be efficient in this type of operation. If you like longer lengths of hauls with more miles, choose a carrier that hauls more transcontinental freight. These are often refrigerated carriers. If you like physical exercise and high involvement loads, you may choose a flatbed carrier where miles are much lower.
How much do you expect to make?
Similar to the number of miles you expect to run, the amount of money that you expect to make is also controlled by you and the carrier. You control how much money you make by choosing what loads you haul. The carrier controls how much you make through either a cost per mile (CPM) lease or a percentage lease.
A CPM lease sets the exact amount of money that you get paid for each mile you drive. For simplicity, let’s imagine you drive 1,000 miles at $1/ mile, you earn $1,000. A percentage lease gives you a percentage of the revenue you earned from hauling the freight. If the freight you haul earns $1,000 and you earn 70% of that revenue for yourself, you earned $700.
As a lease-purchase owner-operator, you should know that it is not just about how much money you earn, but also how much money you spend. There are many expenses that go into being an owner-operator and we go over many of these expenses in our “5 Biggest Owner-Operator Expenses” article.
What are some of the incentives?
The last thing to consider when trying to decide what trucking company to drive for is the incentives offered. These incentives are used by trucking companies to get drivers to select their company over the competition.
Different incentives that are sometimes offered to drivers are sign-on bonuses, a zero money down payment on the truck, fuel discounts, maintenance discounts, referral bonuses, etc. Many trucking companies offer similar incentives so your decision should not be made solely on this.
If you’re having a hard time deciding between two or three companies, take a look at the incentives and see which company offers the most, or the best incentives. This may help make your final decision.
Are you ready to choose your lease-purchase trucking company?
Keep these things in mind the next time you are deciding what trucking company to drive for. These decisions will help you be a successful driver and more importantly, a happy driver. If you have any questions about your decision-making process, feel free to give ATBS a call at 866-920-2827, or visit our website at www.atbs.com.