Originally appeared in Fleet Owner
The trucking industry is amid what can only be called “interesting times.” Diesel is no longer the only engine option, and fleets are faced with myriad powertrain options. As we navigate our way to a cleaner freight future, fleets may want to consider moving from a purchase model to a leasing model.
When doing so, fleets must exercise care when choosing their leasing partner and carefully investigate their options. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting a leasing company.
- Experience: Look for a leasing firm that has been around for a while—one that has weathered the ups and downs of the trucking industry. Their longevity is a sign they are dedicated to the trucking industry and providing customers with solutions that fit their needs.
- Rapid decision-making ability: Today’s trucking world is fast-paced. You can’t wait weeks for someone to get back to you with a decision. While some decisions can’t be made on the spot, talk to potential partners about turnaround times for common questions.
- Entrepreneurial nature: This goes hand-in-hand with the ability to make decisions quickly. Entrepreneurs are flexible and agile. You will want your leasing partner to have those characteristics as well. Ensure the company is not providing cookie-cutter solutions but tailoring its offerings to your specific circumstances.
- Accountability: Mistakes happen. Accountability is about what happens after a mistake has occurred. Does the company take ownership when it makes a mistake? Does it take responsibility for its actions? Does it acknowledge the impact its mistake has on your operation, and does it provide a plan for fixing the problem?
- Trustworthy: Does the company follow through on what it says it will? One way to assess that is to talk to existing customers. A trustworthy company is not necessarily one that never makes mistakes but fixes errors in the manner it said it would and in the promised timeframe. Basically, being trustworthy involves keeping the commitments they make to you.
- Communicates clearly: Your leasing vendor should use clear and direct language when communicating with you. This is not the time for “fuzzy” language; everything needs to be spelled out in language that is easy to understand.
- Understands your business: You need a leasing partner who understands that no two fleets are exactly the same. They need to appreciate the ins and outs of your operation and recognize your priorities so they can develop solutions that work given your operating parameters.
- Is easy to do business with: Make sure you can contact key leasing company personnel when you need them in the manner you prefer, whether that is by phone, text, or email.
Now more than ever, leasing makes a great deal of sense as a financing option for fleets. Just make sure you choose the right leasing partner that hits the market on all eight of the about characteristics.