Truck lease purchase programs are one of the main ways a company driver can take the next step in their career to become an owner operator, which allows them to make more money, own the truck they drive, be a little more flexible with their schedule, and start their own business.
When drivers enroll in truck lease purchase programs, they are immediately reclassified as owner operators. That means they make owner operator money from the get-go, but it also means they have to cover owner operator expenses, including truck payments.
With the truck lease purchase programs some carriers have put together, the terms and the lack of steady work they give their lease-purchase drivers can sink a driver pretty quickly, no matter how high the companies say their CPM is for owner operators.
With our truck lease program, though, we’ve tried to put together a realistic package that is a win-win for both drivers and PAM.
- For one, the monthly payments are minimal (as low as $475 a week).
- Second, there aren’t any hidden costs — no Qualcomm or trailer rental fees.
- Third, it’s got some great perks to minimize expenses, such as eligibility for PAM’s corporate fuel and shop rates.
- Lastly, we give our lease drivers good, steady work throughout their leases. We want our drivers working just as much as they do because that’s when PAM makes its money, too — when the wheels are turning.
Here’s a rundown of how the PAM Overdrive Lease Program, one of the best truck lease purchase programs in the business, works.
Low Monthly Payments Plus Regular Miles
Let’s start off by looking at the costs of leasing a truck from PAM vs. what a truck will run you with other truck lease purchase programs.
Most other companies lease a truck at $750–$800 a week for older models or $1,100–$1,200 for new equipment. At these rates, the goal of their truck lease purchase programs is really to make money off the lease contracts with the drivers.
Bottom line: We’re not here to profit on the backs of our drivers. We only make money if the trucks are on the road, in which case our drivers do, too.
We put you in trucks that are no more than two years old with low miles. Feel free to check the odometers, lift the hoods, and kick the tires on ever truck in our yard —you get to pick the one you’ll drive away in.
Once your truck has run its course, you have the option buy it out or move on. There’s no obligation. Walk away. Upgrade. Or, if you really want to, purchase it.
No Hidden Costs, Unlike Other Truck Lease Purchase Programs
So you’re probably thinking: OK, if PAM is cutting its drivers sweet deals on their leases, they’re probably charging for other stuff to make up the difference. That’s simply not the case.
Let’s take a look at some of the areas where other carriers add on expenses for drivers enrolled in their truck lease purchase programs and talk through how PAM handles these items differently.
No Qualcomm Fees
There’s no Qualcomm hardware rental fee for PAM lease drivers. We give you a Qualcomm so you can do your job, but it’s on us. There also aren’t any Qualcomm usage costs. The only time you will ever pay a cent related to your Qualcomm unit is if you break it.
No Trailer Fees
We also don’t charge trailer rental fees. Some charge drivers in their truck lease purchase programs anywhere from $15 to $50 a day.
Also, if something goes out on the trailer you’re pulling — say a light or a tire — we pay for it. It’s not your property; you shouldn’t have to worry about it.
No Cargo Insurance
As far as we’re concerned, the trailer and what’s in it is our financial responsibility. Therefore, our drivers don’t have to pay cargo insurance. We cover it for you. Good thing, too, since it can be as high as $200 a month.
Standard Owner Operator Expenses
If you’ve been a company driver your whole career, there are some additional costs associated with being an owner operator that you should be aware of before you become a lease-purchase driver. These pertain to all truck lease purchase programs, not just PAM’s.
First off, there’s fuel. You pay for it. And it will be your biggest expense. The good thing is, you can buy diesel at any of our preferred fuel stops at the PAM corporate rate. Or, shop around and find the best price you can.
When you own your own truck, you have to carry liability insurance. There are two types you’ll need: physical damage insurance and bobtail insurance. Physical damage insurance is like car insurance for when you’re hauling a trailer. Bobtail insurance covers you anytime you’re driving the tractor without a trailer.
Also, because you’re effectively your own business as an owner operator, the federal government requires you to pay your own occupational accident insurance (basically your worker’s compensation insurance).
And you won’t receive health insurance from the company you’re hauling freight for. You’ll have to buy it yourself.
Licensing, Permitting & Use Tax
As a contractor or independent business owner, you’ll also have to pay for your own licensing and permitting, as well as a federal use tax.
We make it easy for our lease drivers, though, by paying their licensing and permitting fees up front. We then charge it back to you at $50 per week, interest free, deducting this amount from your settlements as we go along.
Lastly, as an owner operator, you’ll also have to pay the IRS’s Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax, which is $550 per year. We pay it up front for you and then charge it back at $20 per week until it’s paid off.
Maintenance & Repair
As a truck lease holder, you’ll pay for your tractor’s upkeep and repair. All maintenance and repairs are your responsibility.
To handle repair costs, we maintain an escrow account for each of our lease drivers. Each settlement, $0.06 per mile is deducted and deposited in that account for you to use to pay for any maintenance or repairs. It’s not a shared account; it’s your money and is assigned specifically to your tractor.
Perks to Minimize Expenses
At PAM, we’ve made some arrangements to help our lease purchase program drivers minimize expenses. We also like to advise them on running their new businesses so they can keep the most money in their pockets.
Get Our Corporate Fuel Rate
As we mentioned above, your biggest cost as an owner operator is going to be fuel. To help reduce that expense for our drivers, we’ve organized things so they can gas up using the PAM corporate rate at any of our preferred fuel stops.
Use Our Shop Rate for Maintenance and Repairs
Same thing goes for maintenance and repairs. We give our lease purchase program drivers our company rate on all work — both parts and labor — but the are free to choose to go wherever they want. However, getting repairs done at one of our shops can literally save you thousands of dollars.
Write Off Expenses on Your Taxes
Lastly, let’s talk about taxes. Working as a company driver, any company you work for will simply deduct what you owe the government from your check before it is cut.
But when you’re an owner operator, your check won’t have any taxes taken out. You’ll have to file your taxes yourself. If you’re smart about it, you’ll deduct a lot of what you spend during the course of the year as work-related expenses, which will reduce what you owe the government. Anything you pay for related to your truck — included lease payments, fuel, and repairs — is eligible.
A Lease Purchase Program You Can Count On
Now that we’ve run through our truck lease program’s features, let’s look at an example so you can see how it works and get a sense of how much money you’ll have in your pocket at the end of the workweek.
A good place to start is how much you’ll be earning before expenses. A lot of carriers talk up their CPM for owner operators with high figures like $1.27 per mile. But how much are drivers really taking home at the end of the day with high lease costs, hidden fees, and variable miles? $1.27 sounds great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you have expensive truck payments, unanticipated costs, and only a few miles in your logbook.
At PAM, our CPM is $1.00 for OTR owner operators. Plus a fuel surcharge, which is based on the DOE average each week and is paid on all loaded miles.
Let’s play it conservative and say you’re running 2,700 miles a week at that rate, which is pretty low, and that diesel costs $0.32 per mile, which is on the high side of the going rate. Here’s how you’re take-home would shake out if you took a lease at $475 per week.
Sample Weekly Settlement for an OTR PAM Lease Driver
|CPM||2,700 miles x $1.00||$2,700.00|
|Fuel surcharge||2,700 miles x $0.18||$486.00|
|Fuel||2,700 miles x $0.32||$864.00|
|Maintenance escrow||2,700 miles x $0.06||$162.00|
|Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax and Plate/Permits||$70.00|
|Prorated required insurances, excluding health insurance||$110.00|
|WEEKLY TAKE-HOME PAY||$1,505.00|
Over $1,500 per week. That’s $78,260 a year. Not bad.
Still skeptical? Just ask any of our lease drivers how they’re doing. After three years, we’ve only had 16.3% turnover. And that includes people who quit driving entirely or were disqualified for poor decisions like non-reported accidents or failed drug tests.
Why is that? Well, it’s a great program. It really is designed to help our drivers succeed and to take the next step in their driving careers. Unfortunately, that’s not true for many truck lease purchase programs out there.
To learn more, fill out the form on this page and one of our Overdrive Lease Program coordinators will reach out. Or, call (855) 912-0484 to speak to someone during normal business hours.