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Your business is thriving, your fleet is growing, and you are once-again faced with the difficult decision: Should I lease or own my commercial truck fleet? It is an important choice, and sometimes the gap between leasers and owners can feel like a canyon, but choosing to lease or own does not have to be an either-or decision.

Many fleets mix both options to maximize their operations and better serve their customers. Factors such as operation type, truck configurations, organizational preferences, routes, seasonality and financial considerations can influence fleet operators in their decision to lease or buy heavy-duty trucks. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Penske can help you decide what makes the most sense for your business.

Owning Your Fleet

Roughly two-thirds of fleet operators own their trucks. Owning equipment and other hard assets, such as warehouses or property, may be part of company culture or simply a financial preference. Additionally, some companies prefer to own because it gives physical assets and a sense of control over those assets.

There are, however, many hidden costs of ownership in addition to purchase cost such as:

  • On-going maintenance and repairs
  • Maintaining a maintenance shop
  • Recruiting and managing maintenance staff
  • Difficulty attracting and retaining drivers due to poor vehicles
  • Fines due to safety violations
  • Tires, brakes and other consumables
  • Substitute vehicles
  • Tax and licensing

Leasing Your Fleet

Leasing allows many fleet operators to obtain equipment without the upfront costs and credit constraints of ownership. Leasing also reduces the need for a down payment and allows the fleet operator to expense the cost of the vehicle monthly rather than carry its liability on its balance sheet. That means more credit flexibility so the fleet operator can put capital elsewhere. Source:

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