July 15th, 2011
In order to create current and updated data concerning the trucking company truck lease options, I began the owner operator lease purchase program survey on November 9th, 2009.
This survey was conducted by Truth About Trucking, LLC over an approximate 15 month period and through information and answers provided by 3,611 respondents.
Although there are company lease drivers who have done well with these lease programs, the majority of these trucking company lease purchase programs are designed for the driver to fail. The 87% failure rate study was reported several years ago by an independent accountant but I wanted to bring this issue to an updated level, thus the reason for this survey.
After five months of analyzing the data received from the responses, this report provides a current, up-to-date analysis on the motor carrier truck lease purchase options that continues to be one of the major public consumer abuses within the long-haul trucking industry.
The results are also available as a PDF Download.
Along with the results provided, drivers offered many comments and further insights into the trucking companies lease purchase plans, which some have been included with this informational site.
The survey consisted of 10 questions.
Here are the results :
Was the Owner Operator Lease Purchase Program you were under require any money down or credit check?
- 26% answered : YES
- 74% answered: NO
Were you given the opportunity to choose the truck of your choice, or did the company choose for you?
- 36.4% of the time, the company made the choice
- 63.6% of the time, the driver was able to choose
Which of the choices below best describes the amount of gross income the company said you would be able to make as an owner operator under their lease purchase plan? (yearly)
- 9.3% – $35K to $45K
- 13.4% – $46K to 65K
- 38.1% – $66K to $100K
- 39.2% – Over $100K
What was your ACTUAL gross income? (yearly)
- 73% – $35K to $45K
- 6% – $46K to 65K
- 3% – $66K to $100K
- 18% – Over $100K
Driver comments from survey:
- “Not much. I’m going weeks without a check, and then will get somewhat of a big check.”
- “After all expenses, maybe $5,000 if I’m lucky.”
- “I’m on target for earning a MINUS $2,000.”
- “Lucky if I make $20,000 this year.”
- “Net amount that I owe the company : $16, 910.78.”
- “In 29 days, I sent $600 home to my family.”
- “On track to make $9,600 this year after all lease and lease related expenses.”
- “I’ll have a MINUS $9,000 loss.”
- “All income went to the company. My annual loss will be more than $9,000 as reported by my accountant.”
- “Take home pay was $15,000 for the year.”
- “After only 3 settlements, I have cleared $1,114. This projects out to be $19,309 per year.”
- “Have not completed a year yet, but on target for $150,000.”
- “After I got on a dedicated run, which meant staying away from home for six months at a time, it was $211,000.”
- “Gross last year was $152,000.”
- “$130,000 first year.”
- “Last year’s gross was $161,239.00.”
- “$217,000 running team.”
- “Over $100,000 per year, but I own my own truck. Best to finance your own.”
How many miles did the company say you would average per week as a lease purchase owner operator?
- 63% – 2500 – 3000
- 17% – 3001 – 3500
- 14% – 3501 – 4000
- 6% – Over 4000
What were your ACTUAL miles per week average?
- 46% = 1000 to 2000 miles
- 32% = 2001 to 2500 miles
- 15% = 2501 to 3000 miles
- 4% = 3001 to 3500 miles
- 2% = 3501 to 4000 miles
- 1% = Over 4000 miles
How would you rate the company’s overall support system, in assuring your success as an owner operator?
- 9.3% – Excellent
- 12.4% – Very Good
- 17.5% – Good
- 44.3% – Poor
- 18.6% – No Support
Overall, how mechanically sound was the truck you were placed in?
- 18% – Excellent
- 20% – Very Good
- 25% – Good
- 22% – Poor
- 15% – Junk
Once started, how soon thereafter did you experience your first serious mechanical / safety issue with the tractor?
- 76% = Within 0-3 Months
- 16% = Within 3-6 Months
- 8% = Within 6-12 Months
Driver comments from survey:
- “First week out it blew the Turbo.”
- “Six months. Lost all tail lights, then had to replace all brakes, tires, shocks and have 3 axle alignments.”
- “Did not leave the parking lot before I found an air leak after the DOT inspection was done.”
- “Very first day.”
- “Immediately. They had to replace broken windshield when they said, “This is your truck.”
- “In the yard. Went to pull out on first load and lost injectors.”
- “3 weeks. Wheel seals, then one thing after another. Two unsuccessful attempts to get fuel tank equalizers repaired. Dispatcher just laughed.”
- “Very first trip out, broke down. Company refused to repair because it was “my truck.”
- Within 4 weeks, Cat engine blew, plus APU problems from the get-go. Heater broke down again.”
- “As I was pulling out of the parking lot., the clutch went out. No Joke!”
- “Haven’t had any problems with my truck yet and I’ve had it for about 3-4 months..”
- “Minor problems to be expected. Just turning 490,000 miles after 20 months in truck..”
- “No mechanical problems yet, in my 6th month.”
Based on your experience, what is your overall view on these “No Money Down – No Credit Check” Owner Operator Company Lease Purchase Programs?
- 6% – Good
- 13% – Fair
- 9% – Poor
- 72% – Scam
Driver comments from survey:
- “They are one-sided. Only designed for company profit. You are just a glorified company driver. Company does not care whether you make a profit or complete the lease. They will just pass it on to the next sucker.”
- “It would be good if you could bring home a pay check.”
- “Well, it is the only way I can do it. I have no money and my credit is fair which I am trying to improve, so this program is good for people like me with no money and no credit.”
- “Most is a way for the trucking companies to get cheap labor, while they clean up at the drivers’ expense.”
- “A good choice for the companies. The credit report rating does not hurt the companies rating, just the driver’s. So the company has no incentive to help the driver succeed. The company will just resell the truck to another unsuspecting driver.”
- “The company makes a ton of dough with all their charges and if I max my miles in a week, I can almost equal a company driver.”
- “Awful. A lot of promises but we are sinking fast. Barely making enough to cover lease.”
- “I did not know that the miles would STOP once they got what they needed to stay current on their payment.”
- “Designed for failure.”
- “It’s a way to put drivers in the seat of a truck they own and not have to pay out any benefits, social security or workers comp. All you are is a cheap driver for them. Cheap labor.”
- “Better get the Government involved.”
- “Free labor.”
- “This is NOT the way to be profitable in trucking.”
- “Good as long as you get in with the right company who doesn’t mess with your truck and leave their hands off from it..”
- “You need some kind of investment.”
- “The one I am in is the only one I know of that is honest. I just lucked out and hooked up with a decent company, which is extremely rare.”
- “It is all right if you don’t have good credit.”
- “If properly done, they are not a bad deal. It all depends on the company you lease on with.”
- “It’s what you make of it and the research you do. Knowledge and the understanding that it’s a big commitment. A lot of people in this company fail just for that they try to live paycheck to paycheck and don’t understand that it must be looked at as a monthly or even quarterly deal as to how much profit is made. This can be hard for some people, almost impossible to do financially, but it’s a reality if you want to be successful.”
- “Takes a lot of self discipline.”
- “Look very close at what your buying. Get your own mechanic’s advise on the truck.”
- “It works if you work. Can’t sit around and expect to be home every weekend.”
- “Not for everyone. I am one of the very few that has completed it with my company. If not for prior experience being an owner operator, I would have failed miserably.”
- “A good opportunity if you can get the miles needed to make a profit. Dispatch can be a major factor. Also, expenses can destroy you if you have a large bill that the company loan you the money for.”
- “Not bad if you are cautious. Save like crazy and budget.”