How to Rent a Truck to Be an Owner-Operator

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The high financial responsibility of purchasing or financing a semi-truck can prevent potential entrepreneurs from becoming an owner-operator in the transportation industry. Individuals with the experience to start their own trucking company can reduce the barrier to entry by renting a truck through a commercial lease. Renting can be a great option to ensure being an owner-operator is a good long-term goal for your lifestyle and financial objectives. While renting typically decreases your profits, it can allow you to have a current-year model truck, reduce mechanic fees, and provide entry and exit job flexibility.

Obtain your CDL (commercial drivers license). Most truck rental companies require a valid CDL license before they will allow you to rent a truck. Some companies may also have limits on the number of points on your license and have experience requirements.

Determine the type of truck you need to rent. Single axle trucks are often sufficient for local deliveries; tandem axle trucks provide power for interstate-based day run work; and tandem axle sleepers provide extra suspension, larger fuel tanks and sleeping section for long haul, over-the-road (OTR) work.

Discuss rental options with contracting companies. Some companies who hire owner-operators will offer rental arrangements or have a connection with rental companies that can decrease paperwork and potential rental obstacles. Renting through your contracting company may give you access to lower-cost truck insurance and automatic payment options.

Look for a local truck rental agency or a national rental agency with a local presence. Having a locally based rental agency simplifies routine maintenance checks and managing mechanical repairs. A locally based agency may also offer free parking.

Determine rental agreement preference. Some commercial truck rentals offer a rent-to-own option. If you plan to be in the trucking industry long-term, opt for a rent-to-own agreement that may cost more in the short-term but may lead to higher overall profits once you own your truck.

Maintain rental agreements. Keep up with routine maintenance requirements, insurance documentation and rental fees.

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