Road Grit! Truckers - Lease Vs. Purchase

We received a great question from Trucker Survival Guide, The question asks: For a new owner/operator’s first truck, is it better to purchase or lease?

We are a finance company and we have been financing trucks for the last 20 years. My stance is, if you are a first time owner/operator I do not want you doing a lease. I want you to buy your truck. That means you may get a lesser truck than you could if you leased it, but I think it is important that you get a truck you can afford. By that I mean under $50,000. 

I know what you might be saying. What about repairs and maintenance? What about long-term costs. I understand. But if this is your first truck and your first purchase of a truck going into the trucking business, your job is two-fold. First, get as much revenue coming in as you can. Get as many miles as you can at a high enough rate per mile as you possibly can. Second, keep your expenses down. You cannot go into a new truck with a $2,500 lease payment. It’s just too much. You need to get into a truck payment for under $1,000.

How do you do that? You need to keep the financed amount under $50,000. If you have a big down payment, you could buy a $70,000 truck, put $20,000 down, and finance $50,000. I also want you to do that because I want you building equity in your truck. It’s not just about how much profit you make per mile. There is an equity build that occurs when you own your truck. 

The ownership aspect of the truck means the title of that truck is in your name. There may be a lien holder on it. It may be a company like mine or may be your local bank, but I want you to have your truck in your name. And I want you to have the lien holder on it if there is a loan against it.

After a year or two if you don’t like it you can sell the truck having some equity in it. Not only do you have the cash flow you generated from running the truck, but you also have the equity built up from owning your truck.


Matt Manero combines his business brilliance with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in transportation equipment finance. Today, he is a CEO leading four companies that generate over $100,000,000 per year in business with a base of more than 10,000 clients.

Matt launched his first business, Commercial Fleet Financing, Inc., in 1995 with a phone, a folding table and the  unyielding confidence of a single client, a trucker. Fast forward 20 years: Commercial Fleet Financing, Inc. made Inc. magazine’s Top 500/5000 list of fastest growing companies in America in 2014. Matt is the creator and personality behind CFFnation.com, the first and only online video network featuring original programming for and by innovators, operators, movers and shakers of the transportation industry.

His companies have been recognized in trade publications such as OverdriveTransport TopicsCommercial Carrier Journal, and Dealer Solutions MagazineMatt hosts his own weekly Radio Show aptly named, “The Grit” which airs on lifestyletalkradio.com and also on CFFnation.com. In addition to “The Grit,” Matt has authored a series of quick read books entitled “Tower, Mover and Construction Co. Need to Know NOW”, and also a forthcoming book, “I NEED MORE MONEY,” which reflects his battle to build his business and guides readers in creating their own future and financial success.

Reach Matt at his offices in Dallas, TX via email at mmanero@cffnationwide.com and on twitter @mattmanero. Learn more at cffnationwide.com and cffnatiion.com