In the past financing a commercial vehicle required decent credit and a CDL. As many people in the industry are finding out these days are long gone. With the economy in it’s current condition credit has tightened up considerably. And in the trucking markets it has tightened up even more. Captive financing companies who’s purpose is to finance the trucks their parent companies manufacture are having a hard time these days. So what’s a semi truck driver to do? Here are some ideas that might help you out if your in the market to finance a commercial truck (semi trucks and dump trucks primarily).
First thing to consider is contacting smaller dealers that offer in house financing. These dealers will carry their own paper, meaning they decide for themselves whether they want to approve a customer or not. Typically a dealer submits their customer to their financing source who than in turn approves or declines them. Be sure you ask the dealer whether they fund in house or submit to an outside underwriter. If they do fund the transaction themselves be upfront about your current credit situation. Common reasons for bad credit is divorce, illness, loss of truck or contract, etc. These are normal and do not necessary reflect bad “credit character”. It’s also important to sell you good points. Having strong contacts in your area of expertise gives confidence to the dealer that you have the ability to pay. If the dealer can become comfortable that you will make the payments despite what has happened in the past you stand a good possibility of getting financed.
Second on the list is looking for dealers that advertise for customers that are credit challenged. You can find these dealers in publications such as Truck Paper or online. The most important thing about this approach is that you call the prospective dealer and ask to speak to a sales manager. Again, be up front about your situation. Tell him about your credit. A sales or finance manager will be able to determine whether you a candidate or not.The salesman might be too eager to get you in the door to give you an honest answer.
The third option is to contact independent financing companies to see if your a fit. Once again, honesty pays. Be up front about your credit but also sell your good points. Like working with the smaller dealers who offer financing, independent financing companies make the decisions themselves and can be swayed if there are strong factors in your favor. As the owner of one of these financing companies we look at the ability to pay on the part of the customer as well as any additional collateral that the customer has. With this information we can get around almost any credit issue. Another finance company might look at years in the business or upcoming contracts to make their decision.
Yes, it’s tough in this economy to get financing for commercial trucks. But with a little digging you will probably find something to help you get into that truck.