Having grown up around the trucking industry — with his dad and several uncles serving as truck drivers — it’s only natural Jeron found his way into the industry as well. Jeron joined ATS in 2018 as a member of the marketing team, where he grew his knowledge of the trucking industry substantially. Now as the driver recruiting manager, he is responsible for ensuring a smooth recruiting process in order to create a quality driver experience.
Whether you’ve never leased before or you’ve leased multiple times, getting into a lease-purchase agreement with a trucking carrier can be an overwhelming process.
Unlike with a company driver position, you’re responsible for your truck payments, maintenance costs, insurance costs and sometimes other fees the carrier doesn’t take care of like permits and trailer rentals. This can be intimidating in a world where everything. just. costs. so. much.
No matter if you’re looking to get into a lease for the first time or you need to make a change, you’ll have to spend some time looking at carriers and their offerings to find your best match. Failing to do so can lead you down an unhappy road where you can’t reach your financial or career goals.
While we at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) pride ourselves on our one-year lease program with no money down and no credit check (the only one in the industry), we understand that we might not be the best fit for every driver and you may not be in our hiring area. When drivers ask us about other carriers with good lease programs, we give them this list.
The companies on this list were chosen because they offer great lease programs with great pay, sure, but they were also chosen because they have a good reputation in the industry.
When you finish reading this article, you’ll know who to call next to discuss your leasing options.
Insight:J&R Schugel started in 1974 with 15 trucks and 20 trailers and now they have more than 600 well-maintained tractors and 1,000 trailers. The employee-owned company is nationally recognized as a great carrier to drive for.
As a lease driver, you’ll have access to 2019 and newer Kenworths. There’s no money down and no credit check on a lease. When the lease is up, you can either buy the truck or start a new lease.
Lease drivers have access to spot market and customer freight. You’ll receive 75 percent of the line haul, which is great pay in today’s industry. You also don’t have to pay any trailer fees and you’re paid weekly.
Drivers can move truckload, refrigerated and dedicated freight. They also offer OTR, local and regional routes.
Headquarters: Marshfield, Wisconsin
Insight:Roehl Transport is a well-established company with terminals across the country and a variety of driving options, including local and regional routes or dedicated driving positions.
They offer lease drivers reliable, well-maintained equipment with low weekly payments.
They also have an Earned Down Payment Program for experienced truck drivers to move into ownership without needing cash out-of-pocket. If you join as a company driver, prove you can do a good job and complete the owner-operator coursework, you can transition to an available truck using your earned down payment after 90 days.
Headquarters: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Insight:CRST is a large privately held transportation company with a lot of options for truck drivers, including brand-new drivers or those who’d like to lease.
Lease drivers earn an average of $215,000 per year and you’ll receive a sign-on bonus. There’s no credit check and no money down on their walk-away leases (walk-away meaning you can end the lease in the middle of the lease term). They advertise low truck payments, too. Receive guaranteed bumper-to-bumper maintenance and repairs.
At CRST, you have options to haul dry van, flatbed and specialized freight. Trucks are governed at 67 mph.
If you’re looking to purchase a truck one day, this is a great way to get there, as CRST will support you all the way.
Headquarters: Tontitown, Arkansas
Insight:PAM Transport, founded by Paul Allen Maestri, is 2,000 trucks and 6,000 trailers strong — grown over 40 years from just five trucks and 15 trailers.
The company offers lease-to-own opportunities on fully-loaded 2019, 2020 and 2021 trucks. You can count on reliable miles and a low-cost leasing option. Not only is there no money down and no credit check, but fully-equipped, fully-loaded Freightliners and Peterbilts are offered at only $599 per week.
The PAM Cartage Carriers’ Overdrive Lease Program helps company drivers become owner-operators. It also helps current owner-operators expand their businesses and achieve their goals.
Drivers are required to have a certain amount of verifiable over-the-road (OTR) experience before they can lease with PAM (as do most companies).
Their lease program is also not available to residents in a lot of states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. This is largely because they haul dedicated freight.
Insight: J.B. Hunt is widely known as a powerhouse in the trucking industry. As a Fortune 500 company with over 21,000 trucks in its fleet, they have countless options for drivers — from the programs they offer to the freight they haul.
While J.B. Hunt doesn’t have their own lease program, they offer multiple third-party options to choose from to lease through. You can lease through one of those companies and then haul J.B. Hunt’s freight.
Lease drivers also have access to multiple compensation plans, whether you’d like to be compensated based on mileage or percentage. If you want access to a lot of options as a lease driver, J.B. Hunt is a good option.
Headquarters: River Grove, Illinois
Insight:Nova Lines offers no-frills contracts and lease agreements that will help you get into a truck and out on the road quickly. They primarily offer 2022, 2023 and 2024 Freightliner Cascadias. Trucks are governed at 65 mph and for pedals they’re governed at 67 mph.
Their pay is competitive and they offer newer equipment. They have an easy path to ownership program. With Nova Lines, you will not have a balloon payment at the end of your lease. When the lease term ends, you can buy out the truck for $1.
The leases are walk-away leases. On average, drivers spend about three to five years in a Nova Lines leased truck.
Depending on where you call home, you’ll get to go home every three weeks or every two weeks.
Headquarters: Springfield, Missouri
Insight: Prime, the largest refrigerated carrier in the U.S., is a stable company with steady freight. They’ve been elected into TCA’s Hall of Fame for Best Fleets to Drive For.
Prime has two lease programs: a standard lease and a lease purchase program.
The standard lease has no money down, no credit check and fixed costs to lease a 2019 or newer Peterbilt, Freightliner or International. Payments start at $978.
You’ll have full access to a network of shops and receive breakdown pay. Drivers also earn 5.25 cents for all authorized dispatched miles as an end-of-lease incentive. On average, that equates to $17,000 for drivers after lease completion. There’s no buyout option at the end.
The lease purchase program is similar but a $14,000 down payment is required. Plus, you can purchase the truck at the end.
Headquarters: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Insight:Schneider offers low-to-no money down lease options through SFI Trucks and Financing. They have a wide selection of new and used trucks that are well-maintained and have above-industry-standard warranties.
Their lease program is very flexible, offering zero-money-down options, credit score flexibility and deferred truck payment options.
Schneider provides support and resources during the lease as well. This includes flexible payment options, maintenance accounts and business consulting services.
How to Choose Which Company to Lease With
Choosing to lease a truck with a trucking carrier is a serious decision that you shouldn’t take lightly. Before you make a decision, you should have a very clear understanding of your financial obligations, including weekly fixed expenses, maintenance expectations and pay expectations. Find out whether it’s a walk-away lease (you can leave in the middle of the lease with little to no penalty) or if you are obligated to complete the lease.
Read the contract line by line, front to back. If you don’t understand something in the agreement, ask. You should understand everything you are signing up for.
Pay careful attention to any extra fees you may be responsible for. For instance, some companies may pay you a high percentage of the load, but you’ll be responsible for paying for other fees, like trailer rentals, permits and more. Look at the operating agreement and cost breakdown closely.
Be sure you also understand how you’ll be paid and how much you can expect to take home each week. It’s also good practice to have a portion of money set aside (or access to credit) before you get into a new lease. That way, if you have an unexpected repair, you’re covered. Leasing with a larger company can also provide you financial stability should you be hit with an especially expensive repair.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the best lease programs in the industry, you can start narrowing down your search. Do you live in their hiring areas? Who has the equipment you’re looking for? Who provides the pay you need to maintain your lifestyle?
While you’re considering your options, don’t forget to check out your leasing options with ATS. There’s no money down, no credit check, no fixed expenses for two weeks and a sizable sign-on bonus. You’ll have access to a well-maintained fleet with different makes and models to choose from.
You’ll earn top-of-the-industry pay, and the cost of plates, permits and trailer rental fees are covered. To learn more about our industry-exclusive, one-year lease program, fill out an application and one of our driving consultants will call you within 24 business hours.