When you meet a company driver who wants to become a first time owner operator, the joy on their face is indeed a great site to see. However, sometimes their dreams are a bit bigger than what is possible for them. There’s no worse feeling as I read through their taxes, look at their bank statements and check their credit, and realize they cannot afford the truck or trailer they want. It’s tough to have to tell them you cannot have this, and you have to get something older and less money, or not at all.
Having your dreams crushed is not what becoming a lease operator is about. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to do every deal. For example a person who has been in the country for three years and has one credit card with a limit of $1,000 and no other credit, and owns no assets, is going to have a difficult time realizing a dream of a brand new fully loaded highway truck.
To be able to qualify for items that cost over $100,000 you have to earn it. It doesn’t happen in a day. One thing you need is a good credit history spanning several years that shows the ability to pay back big ticket items likes cars and houses. I tell people, “How can I give you $100,000 when you have no proof to show me that you can pay it back?”
Missed payments are not a good display of faith when attempting to borrow money. Bad credit will not qualify you for the best rates. You have shown you are incapable of making payments on time, so what makes you think that every bank will line up to give a deal to someone for a large amount when we know you cannot pay on time. You will possibly be declined, have to put a larger amount down, or have a higher interest rate.
Not having enough money saved up is also an issue. A driver sees his friends getting a new truck for 10% down and a great interest rate, so he assumes he will also get this same deal. He doesn’t know his friend had two previous trucks, never missed any payments in the last ten years, and also owns a home with several hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and has been driving a truck for twenty years. He earned his deal. Living on rent and having driven a company truck for one year with savings of only $5,000 will not get you what your friend got.
A low or negative net worth is not something that’s looked at with fondness by a lender. You have a low balance in your bank accounts, you have no investments, no life insurance, no previous vehicle ownership, no property in your name and owe $50,000 in unsecured credit cards. Now you want $100,000 + when you have nothing to show for yourself? It doesn’t work that way.
Not all hope is lost. It takes time, but you can realize the dream of having anything you might desire. Hard work does pay off eventually. If it was easy, everyone would be driving a Ferrari and have a fleet of brand new fully loaded highway trucks. But not every vehicle on the road is a Ferrari for a reason. That’s because not everyone can afford one, or it’s not practical. But with time and persistence, you will be rewarded eventually.
We all have dreams and it’s a great motivation. Do not give up on your dreams, but the most important thing you need to be, is realistic and responsible. It’s not about showing off or looking good. This is your work. If you set your dreams within your means and work hard, they will be achieved. You can realize anything if you endure but there are sacrifices along the way and sometimes other things may be more important, such as buying a home, or a child’s education. Sometimes family and other things are a bigger priority, so a responsible sacrifice is made. We would all love to have a brand new truck or an expensive sports car, but sometimes it’s just not a good match or the right timing. Maybe not now, but maybe later if will be a good match and the right timing. So try to live within your means, persevere, and be realistic with what you want, and what you can actually have. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”