Company Driving Jobs vs. Lease Purchase Programsotrdriving
How to decide between a Company Driving Jobs or a Lease Purchase Program?
When looking for a new OTR driving job CDL truck drivers will find that they have options between company driving jobs and lease purchase trucking jobs. There are advantages and disadvantages for each option so we encourage OTR drivers to evaluate their long term career goals when exploring each opportunity. Asking the right questions and knowing the general details of each job should help the driver find the best trucking job for their lifestyle.
Overall there is less uncertainty with being a company driver. Company drivers know what to expect and they tend to get more stable paychecks week in and week out. The stability in pay allows company drivers to budget their household finances. In addition, company drivers usually have access to their employer’s benefits package. For some drivers, benefits is a major factor when selecting a new employer. Many lease purchase programs do not provide benefits since lease purchase drivers are considered independent contractors. Furthermore, many CDL drivers will never consider a lease purchase program for fear that they will not be able to make enough money. Some OTR drivers feel that the various truck expenses with lease purchase programs makes it difficult for the driver to maintain steady weekly pay. Due to this, many OTR drivers are more attracted to company driving jobs over lease purchase trucking jobs.
With that being said, company drivers need to keep in mind that in Over-The-Road truck driving there is little room for advancement. From our experience, the transportation industry does not have a “corporate ladder” that drivers are able to climb and it is uncommon for truck drivers to get promotions like in other industries. A driver with years of experience and safe qualifications should be able to qualify for the highest paying trucking jobs within the industry, but the difference in pay between drivers at the low end of a company’s pay scale and the high end of a company’s pay scale is small enough that experienced drivers are not properly rewarded for their talents. This prospect is demoralizing for some drivers so they venture out in search for better opportunities. Many times, those better opportunities comes in the form of trying to become an owner operator.
Drivers want room for advancement. They want to be their own boss, select their own loads, and find higher pay for the work they do. All of these things are achievable by being an independent contractor. The challenge is that many drivers do not have the credit or the financing capabilities to go out and buy a truck on their own. One major benefit of doing a lease purchase program is that, if successful, the driver is able to walk away with a tractor that is paid off. Once the lease has been completed the driver becomes a full-fledged owner operator with the potential to start brokering their own loads or working as a true owner op for a carrier. This is the main reason why OTR drivers are attracted to lease purchase programs. For many drivers, the only legitimate option for becoming a true owner operator is to find a company that has a lease purchase program that is designed to provide the driver with true truck ownership at lease completion.
Lease purchase trucking jobs come with more risk though because the nature of lease purchase programs means that the driver only generates a profit after all truck expenses have been paid for the week. Lease purchase drivers must maintain weekly tractor payments in addition to truck expenses such as fuel, maintenance, insurances, and other misc charges. These charges are normally deducted from the driver’s settlement first before the driver receives any sort of paycheck. After all expenses have been paid for the week the left over amount is the drivers profit for the week. If the driver does not bring in enough revenue there is the possibility that the driver will go negative for a week. This is a scary thought for many drivers which is why they refuse to consider lease purchase driving jobs.
Typically, CDL drivers start their OTR driving career as a company driver, but once new drivers develop a firm foundation on how the trucking industry works they might later look into lease purchase programs. The way company drivers are paid makes it easy for drivers to compare one company driving job to another. On the other hand, there are so many variables with lease purchase programs that it makes is difficult for drivers to truly compare one lease program to another. Lease purchase program can be more rewarding to OTR drivers looking for advancement, but at the same time they can be more risky if the driver is unable to maintain truck expenses. At the end of the day both options have their pro and cons. Ultimately, only the driver can determine what option fits their needs the best.