How to Rent a Truck to Be an Owner-Operator

by Laura Acevedo; Updated September 26, 2017

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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

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