Spotlight News

Seeing Red? 4 Red Flags of Traditional Lease Purchase Programs

April 28, 2023

Whether you are already an owner-operator or fleet owner and are looking to add equipment, or you are a driver looking to make the leap to being an owner-operator, you undoubtedly have a big decision to make. It is safe to assume that if you are reading this, you are probably exploring traditional lease purchase programs as they offer a low barrier to entry and immediate access to a truck.

Before you jump into a lease purchase agreement, explore all your options. Along the way, ask the hard questions because at the end of the day, it is your business, and a decision of this magnitude deserves due diligence.

The fact is that there are a number of different programs in the marketplace to choose from, some of which could be the right fit for you and your business. Sadly, there are also programs that do not place the operator’s interest above their own and navigating the potential traps has become more difficult in recent years.

As you evaluate different programs keep in mind these potential red flags.

4 Red Flags of Traditional Lease Purchase Programs

Older Equipment

On the surface there are several benefits to purchasing older equipment. Lower overall cost, lower insurance premiums, and a shorter term are frequently the biggest selling points. However, older equipment may have more frequent repairs and higher maintenance costs associated with ownership. New, late-model and fully refurbished equipment is backed by a warranty and is much less likely to spend time in the shop. If your truck is constantly broken, it can turn your business upside down quickly.

Additionally, many traditional lease purchase programs were built as a way for motor carriers to offload older fleet equipment. Instead of selling equipment back to the dealership, they make a better profit margin by putting it in their lease purchase fleet.

Hidden Costs

$0 down programs aren’t difficult to find in the lease purchase world. The idea behind most is to reduce traditional barriers like a steep down payment and the need for a high credit rating. Keep in mind that all lease purchase companies are in the business of making money. Many traditional lease purchase providers recoup the money that would be paid as a down payment through over-inflated truck values and additional fees.

It is important to remember that $0 down is only applicable on the front end of the lease. The backend could look very different with excessive balloon payments and few – if any – options to finance the remainder owed.

As you do your research, don’t be afraid to walk away from a program that refuses to pull back the curtain and give you all the financial details that you need to make an informed decision.

Lack of Support

There is no ‘I’ in owner-operator or fleet owner. Having a support network in place when you’re new to owning a truck or something doesn’t go as expected is a must, but the industry is littered with LP programs that offer little to no external support for their community.

If you are unsure of the questions to ask, simply reach out to the operators that are part of each LP provider’s community. If a program will not provide references within their own fleet of operators, that should be considered a major warning flag. 

Undefined Path to Success

How do you know you will be successful in a lease purchase program? For many operators, entering a lease purchase program is a leap of faith. They assume they will get enough miles to pay their weekly truck note. While hope can sometimes move mountains, it might not keep your business running for long or put food on the table, much less pay for braces, college, or your daughter’s wedding.

Take the time to find a lease purchase provider that works with you to ensure that you can succeed in their program. Few things are worse than agreeing to a high truck payment only to find out that you cannot generate enough miles to stay above water. Having a well-defined roadmap will help you prepare for the transition from driver to owner-operator, or owner-operator to fleet owner.

Success in Trucking With ES

ES matches owner-operators in the ES Community with the motor carrier partner that best fits the goals for your business. At ES, our goal is to provide a well-defined roadmap that is transparent, backed by a great support network, with the best equipment available to help you find your Success in Trucking.

To learn more about the ES Lease Purchase Program, connect with our recruiting team now or call us at (877) 349-9303, option 4.

Four Pillars of the ES Lease Purchase Program

April 10, 2023

Procuring fleet equipment is becoming increasingly difficult, especially for owner-operators that are trying to start or grow their own business but do not have the funds to put towards a large down payment on equipment. Traditionally, lease purchase programs have filled the role of putting business minded drivers into equipment with fewer barriers to entry, but in today’s trucking landscape, finding a lease purchase partner can be filled with one challenge after another.

On the surface, many programs appear to have the owner-operator’s best interest in mind, only to place hurdle after hurdle along the Path to Success. At ES, we value the individual and know that with the right network and support in place anyone can succeed in this industry.

About The ES Program

You don’t have to search far and wide to find owner-operators that have some experience (good or bad) with a lease purchase program. Over the last decade or so, lease purchase programs have opened the door to truck ownership for thousands of drivers that otherwise would not have qualified for traditional truck financing.

At the same time, programs have used and abused those same owner-operators with high total cost of ownership, patchwork support systems, and lease structures that almost guarantee failure.

Regardless of your experience, you may be asking yourself – “What makes ES different?”


Just about every lease purchase provider will tout transparency as a core differentiating factor. The truth, however, is that very few providers actually pull back the curtain and show pieces like cost of funds, aka interest fees, original vehicle purchase price, and clear off ramps.

These are critical pieces of information that have a lasting impact on the success of your business as well as your equity position and overall wealth accumulation. Our belief is that there shouldn’t be smoke and mirrors when signing a lease purchase agreement. You should have all relevant information at your fingertips so that you can make the best decision for you, your family, and your business.


No money down options aren’t uncommon in the lease purchase world, but most are filled with one pitfall after another that are regularly glossed over because they only benefit the lease purchase provider. Don’t get us wrong, no money down is an immediate attention grabber, but ask yourself these questions:

  • What does the end of the lease look like?
  • Is there a balloon payment?
  • If you can’t come up with a lump sum or financing, do you have other options?

Any lease purchase provider that is worth their salt will help you look at the entire picture, not just the piece that gets your attention. While we also offer a no money down option, you won’t find balloon payments within our Lease Purchase Ownership program.

Most owners in the ES program simply opt to keep paying the same amount as their typical lease payment until the vehicle is paid off. This helps you keep your cost of funds much lower than the industry average and removes the burden of coming up with a lump sum.


We know that our success is solely dependent on the success of the men and women that operate within our program. This is why we don’t just hand you the keys and hope that you succeed. Every driver that comes through our doors is evaluated on Attitude, Aptitude, Work Ethic, and Work History. 

Our unique approach means that some people do not qualify from time to time, but if you put in the work and use the resources available through ES, you will be well on your way to success.


Trucks break down, family emergencies pop up, life happens, and we understand that each of those impacts your business. As you are researching lease purchase programs, look closely at the support networks that each provider has in place. Far too many offer little – if any – support to owner-operators. We have simply chosen a different path.

We believe that with the right support system in place, anyone willing to put in the work can succeed in trucking. We invest in our services, discounts, tools, backend support team, strategic partnerships, and much more so we can build a community of support that brings together all the resources you need to help your business achieve long-term profitable and sustainable success.

Participants in the ES Lease Purchase Program also benefit from the powerful partnerships ES has with large carriers that have the ability to generate strong, consistent revenues.

Find Your Success in Trucking With ES

For any owner-operator currently exploring lease purchase options, we highly encourage you to do your homework. Find a provider that puts structures in place to help LIFT you up, and don’t compromise when your business and livelihood are on the line. 

To learn more about ES, call our team at (877) 349-9303, option 4 or connect with our team online. With ES by your side, you will NEVER STAND ALONE.

Spotlight On Success: Jennifer and Marcus Collier

March 28, 2023

Commitment and consistency, two hallmarks of marriage, are also keys to becoming both a team driver and an owner-operator. Commitment and consistency are also two of the first words that came to mind when we were talking with Jennifer and Marcus Collier about how they met, teamed up, eventually married, and finally found their way into the ES community through Forward Air.

Jennifer and Marcus Collier

Year they Joined ES: 2022

ES Community Carrier: Forward Air

Service Coordinator: David Neese

Fun Facts: The Collier family consists of 3 girls, 4 boys, and an incredible support network.

The Collier’s commitment to each other is a perfect reflection of their ability to work together day in and day out, helping one another through the good days and the bad. The similarities between teaming and being married are not lost on Jennifer, who believes that “team driving is marriage.”

After spending time driving for an owner operator, the Colliers decided to rejoin Forward Air in March 2022, and make the jump into ownership with Expediter Services. Their goal was simple – to find stability and consistency for their blended family of nine.

For the Colliers, the Path To Ownership was an easy decision. They knew that if they had the right support system, a dedicated route, and a carrier that had their back, they could make it work, no matter the challenges on the road ahead.

As you will hear in our most recent Spotlight On Success, the Colliers regard their decision to join the ES family as “the best decision we have ever made…besides marriage.” 

We are proud to have Jennifer and Marcus Collier as part of the ES Community and are delighted to continue supporting them in their Success in Trucking.

Jennifer and Marcus Collier

Our Spotlight On Success shines on Jennifer and Marcus Collier. In this most recent episode, you will hear the Collier’s story of commitment and consistency in both marriage and business, and how both have flourished as a part of the ES Community.

If you’re inspired by the Collier’s story and want to grow your trucking business, contact the ES team or call (877) 349-9303, option 4 and let us help support your company with expertise in financial services and technology, relationship lending, and general business support.

Understanding Lease Purchase Trucking Programs

March 23, 2023

Lease purchase programs have developed a reputation for being the trucking equivalent of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly over the past few years. While they offer a lower barrier to entry than going to a dealership, many programs are a double-edged sword that can quickly turn an owner operator’s dream into a nightmare. 

Like any business decision, the process of choosing a lease purchase trucking program should be done with clear eyes, an open mind, and an understanding of the potential pitfalls that might be right around the corner. At the end of the day, we want you to have the best information available so that you can make the business decision that fits your needs and goals as an owner operator.

5 Things to Consider When Evaluating Lease Purchase Programs

The truth is that not all lease purchase programs are created equally, and they should each be evaluated based on objective criteria. Here five things to consider before choosing your lease purchase provider.

1. Program Success

Before we get into the meat of the conversation, one of the first questions that you should ask every lease purchase program is their track record of success. There is an enormous difference in a 1% completion rate versus 50% or higher.

Success isn’t entirely dependent on the carrier, or provider, but it can be an early indicator of support networks, quality of equipment, and a properly structured financial plan for program participants. Before asking what kind of equipment someone offers, don’t be afraid to ask how successful their drivers are and how likely they are to complete the program. It can be more telling than you might realize.

2. Qualification Process

Step foot in any dealership, and you can expect a 10% to 20% down payment, assuming you have good credit. That is a major hurdle for owner operators that are just getting started. One of the biggest reasons lease purchase programs have exploded in popularity over the last few years is because they break down these traditional barriers and create a streamlined Path To Ownership.

Take stock of the qualifications for each provider to ensure that you find the program that is most suitable for you and your business. Don’t jump at the first opportunity, this is one time where doing your homework will pay off in the long run.

3. Financing and Terms

If the dollars don’t make sense, you will be behind the eight ball from day one. Many programs get you in the door with the no money down hook, but then gloss over all the nuts and bolts of the lease purchase program.

Most will provide base details such as weekly payments, length of term, and end of lease options. Very few are willing to pull back the curtain and show you the numbers that actually impact the likelihood of success within the program.

As you dig into the numbers be sure to ask for details on the cost of funds (interest rate or fees), example amortization schedules, and the total cost of the vehicle (including markups). You need to look at total cost of ownership and if you are building equity and creating wealth. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal if these basic questions are not answered with transparency.

4. Equipment Selection

Truck preference is like picking a flavor of ice cream, each fleet owner has their favorite and we aren’t here to convince you that Peterbilts are better than Freightliners or Volvos or vice versa. What is important to note as you get deeper into the decision-making process is separating out programs that offer good versus bad or new versus used worn out equipment.

Used equipment in the lease purchase trucking world should be properly evaluated under a microscope. Many vehicles are older fleet vehicles that carriers are looking to offload without fully refurbishing or repairing properly. Although they might come with a lower price tag, repairs and downtime could quickly add up, offsetting any price benefit.

Leveraging new equipment and or fully refurbished equipment helps to stack the deck in your favor. Not only is newer equipment more reliable, but they are also backed by warranties that prevent you from being on the hook when repairs are needed.

5. Ongoing Support

Ongoing support can easily be an afterthought. In truth, it should be a top priority for every person thinking about entering a lease purchase agreement. Having a network in place to help you when the chips are down can be the difference in success or failure. 

As you explore options, ask about any maintenance programs, deferment process, vendor network, and additional services (or discounts) with a fine-toothed comb. Some program providers are more hands on than others and having a support network is critical for business success.

Path To Ownership With ES

ES goes to great lengths to make sure we check every box to help you be successful.  We look at several factors before extending an invitation into our lease purchase program. We value attitude, aptitude, work ethic, and work history. We make sure it is a good fit for everyone.  Our goal is help LIFT up your business. Connect with our team online or by phone at (877) 349-9303, option 4 and learn why with ES in your corner, you will Never Stand Alone.

5 Ways Being an Owner-Operator is Like March Madness

March 15, 2023

March Madness has finally arrived and the conversation around the ES office as of late has been how the infamous tournament is incredibly similar to being an owner-operator or fleet owner. Both are full of highs and lows, grit and determination, and teams rising above expectations. Here are the similarities that has our office buzzing.

Build Your Resume

No two owners are the same. Like every team in the tournament, drivers need to build their skills and their resume over time. They will face adversity throughout the process and must show flexibility and resilience. The good news is that you don’t have to be a blue blood to make it to the dance. 

Survive and Advance Mentality

“Survive and Advance” – a phrase that you hear every year as would-be upsets push contenders to the brink.

The secret to making a deep run is the same with running your fleet. You have to be cool under pressure and work diligently to set yourself up for success. Approach it with a business-like mindset and expect that occasional setbacks will happen along the way. The last thing that you want is to rest your business on a buzzer beater. 

Get In the Paint

We all love a perimeter shooter that gets hot and starts draining threes, but it is only part of the game. You have to be willing to get in the paint and do work. They might not make SportsCenter, but over time developing fundamentals will help you build your business and create a foundation for success that will last a lifetime.

Cinderella Stories

Who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story? Someone coming out of nowhere to shock the world. This is probably one of our favorite analogies at ES, because the truth is that ANYONE can make it in this industry with the right pieces in place.

Take a look at any of the recent Cinderella teams that made deep runs and they all share common traits with the ES community – Attitude, Aptitude, Work Ethic, and Work History. They build their resume, and with the right approach and a solid support system they are able to succeed. 

Having a Solid Bench Matters

Speaking of support systems, every team that makes it to the Final Four has one thing in common – great bench play. Owner-operators and fleet owners are the stars of the show, but even the best need a breather, or get into foul trouble at times.

At ES, we don’t want to be the star player. We want to be the complimentary piece that can help you drain that three and get to the board for that important rebound. With ES on your bench, you will NEVER STAND ALONE.

Just like a bench player, ES is here when you need us! If there are areas in your business that you feel like you need some extra support, we’re here to help, reach out to us at (877) 349-9303 or connect with us to discuss our programs available to you including

  • Discounts on fuel, shop, and tires
  • Back-office & operational support
  • Low-cost premiums on insurance coverage
  • Ongoing safety training
  • Legal services
  • Truck financing
  • And more!!

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