Buy or Lease a Semi

By Allstate Peterbilt Group | Posted in Buying Advice, Financing, Leasing on Friday, January 8th, 2021 at 5:57 pm

Are you thinking about investing in a new truck? Then you might be wondering if it would be wiser to buy it or lease it. This is a lot like making a decision for buying or leasing a personal vehicle, but because your semi is your main asset when it comes to earning money, there are more factors to consider.

Whether you buy or lease your semi is up to you, as each of these options comes with benefits and drawbacks. The goal is to make the decision that’s right for your needs, based on your current salary, what you expect to earn in the future, and how much money you have to put towards your truck.

Buying a Semi Truck: Things to Consider

What Are the Benefits of Owning a Semi?

The nice thing about buying a semi is that, once it’s totally paid for, it’s completely yours. If you finance it and have to pay it off over time, you’ll build equity with every monthly payment. On the other hand, if you buy it outright, you won’t even need to worry about making monthly payments because it will immediately be yours! Then, when you no longer want your truck, or you’re ready for an upgrade, you’ll be able to trade it in or sell it.

If you’re established in your trucking career, and your plan is to continue working in this field for years to come, owning a truck can be a smart way to save money in the long run. After all, once it’s paid off, all you’ll need to worry about is the cost of maintenance and keeping it in tip-top shape so it can retain as much value as possible. In the meantime, you can drive the vehicle for as long as you want.

Other perks that might come from financing your truck: more affordable insurance premiums and potential tax benefits to help you save some money. 

Compare Costs and Features When Buying New or Used

When it comes to buying a semi, you don’t need to focus only on brand new trucks. There are a lot of used vehicles that have been well-maintained, and taking this route can help you save quite a bit.

To buy a semi, you need to have enough money to either pay for it all in cash, or to provide a down payment if you’re financing it (this might range from 10-25% of the price). The better your credit, the better the deal you can get. So, if your credit is poor, opting for a lease instead might give you better options. How much does a new semi truck cost? Well, it might be anywhere from $70,000 to $175,000, but you might also find some models that are $200,000 and up. Like any other vehicle, the specs will determine the price. And what about the average cost of a used semi truck? Depending on what you’re looking for, the price might be as low as $15,000 for something basic, or as high as $100,000 for a newer model in excellent condition.

Leasing a Semi Truck: Things to Consider

What Are the Benefits of Leasing a Semi?

Leasing might be a better way to go if you want to have a new truck every few years. And, when you take this route, you might be given the option to purchase the truck at the end of the lease. While you can try a lease-to-own plan, keep in mind that you’d need to have the money available to do so. The other option would be to simply trade in your old lease for a new one.  

In addition to potentially giving you access to lower monthly payments, a lower down payment, and tax benefits, one of the perks of leasing a semi is that you might be able to save money when it comes to maintaining the vehicle. See if the lease agreement states you’ll be provided with assistance, and then be sure to follow the guidelines. But, even if this isn’t the case, you may find that there are lower maintenance costs because the vehicle is newer.

As mentioned above, if you have bad credit, leasing might open up more options than if you were to try to buy a semi.

Read the Details of a Lease Agreement Carefully

There may be several requirements that have to be met when you lease a truck. For example, you might need to stay within specific mileage limits, or you might need to take steps to ensure the condition of the truck will be good enough when you trade it in. Also, breaking the lease early might result in a fee.

Remember: when you lease, you aren’t the owner of the vehicle. Therefore, if you wanted to make modifications to it, you might not be able to do so like you would with a truck that you bought.

Compare the Costs of Buying vs. Leasing a Semi Truck

Is leasing a semi truck better than buying it, or vice versa? Crunch some numbers to find out. Even though the initial costs of leasing may be lower, what you might discover is that buying a truck helps you save more money in the long run. Of course, this will depend on what deals are currently available for buying vs. leasing a semi. So, grab a calculator and run some estimates!

Overall, if you don’t have a lot of money, if you don’t qualify for an attractive financing deal, if you aren’t sure about what type of truck you’d prefer, or if you’re new to trucking and aren’t sure about what your future in the industry will be, a lease may be the smarter choice. Otherwise, it’s definitely worth considering buying a truck to call your own. 


Updated on January 8, 2021

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