Last time I posted on the forum I was a 21 year old rookie asking how to quit Werner. Now 6 years on the road, I’m ready for a new challenge. Here’s a little backstory:
I got my CDL 2 days after my 21st birthday. Spent 2.5 years OTR, 1.5 years driving gasoline locally, and almost 2 years driving LTL as a linehaul and city driver. Due to circumstances I was let go by my LTL employer, panicking about how to pay my bills, 6 month old mortgage and my fiancée’s car, which we purchased not 5 days prior.
After collecting myself, after looking for other LTL jobs and failing to find any open positions in my area, I remembered I had a backup plan just for this occasion. I told my fiancée that “if the job with E—- doesn’t work out, I’m leasing a truck with Schneider and going back over the road.” So with no other options available, I bit the bullet and applied with Schneider and SFI.
The approval process was easier than I expected. 3 days after applying, SFI and Schneider contacted me to conduct phone interviews, discussing my driving experience and how that experience can translate to becoming a successful business owner. After being approved by both outfits, SFI attempted to find a truck for me. At the time I wanted to remain close to a 1 year lease but my AA had difficulty finding a truck that would be ready by my upcoming orientation date of November 11th. He found a 2018 charcoal Freightliner with 220k miles, $1000 down, for $1047/wk in Phoenix, AZ. The miles were of concern for me, as the last thing I wanted was my new-to-me truck to have a costly problem early into my tenure. I asked if trucks with lower mileage were available, but was told brand new trucks were reserved for longer lease periods.
Ultimately, having a new truck and a fresh warranty superseded my desire for a short lease, so I decided to choose a 2020 Charcoal Freightliner Cascadia on a 3 year lease. Total payment including maintenance account will be $1087/wk. SFI wanted $1000 down on used trucks and $3000 on new. However, they have a promotion for first time owner operators. I put $1000 down, they give me $1400 credit, and the remaining $600 is to be paid in $100/wk deferred payments, taken out of my weekly settlements.
Truck is equipped with a Detroit DD15, paired to a DT12 automated manual transmission, has a power inverter with electrical plugs, a microwave space, a TV mount for TV’s up to 26″, a minifridge, and is equipped with a TriPac Evolution APU. After the 3 year lease I have the option to buyout the truck with a balloon payment of $56,000, and I’m not sure if I will or won’t, guess I’ll play it by ear.
And before you start going off about how I don’t know what I’m doing, you might be right. I’ve only ever been a company driver before, I’ve never run my own business and the odds of profitability are more in favor of the house (SFI) than with me (a willing gambler). But you might be wrong too. I’ve been wanting to lease with Schneider since I got my CDL, but I never made the move until now. So for the past 4-5 years I’ve been researching the LP program as much as I could. Searching the forum for advice, what to look for, what red flags to identify, expected truck payments, which parts of the country have better freight rates than others, among other things. I’ve set a realistic financial goal for each week, I know how many miles I need to break even, how many to hit my goals, how to save fuel, and most importantly, I’m looking to maximize income while minimizing miles driven. This game is about net revenue, and of course paying 25% to the tax man too.
I’m so excited to begin this new journey in my career, and I can’t wait to get started!