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Semi-Trailer Rentals vs. Leases: How to Choose What’s Right for You

Posted by Mckinney Trailer Rentals on May 30, 2023 7:00:00 AM

Rear view of a Mckinney semi-trailer parked in a lotNeed trailers today—or, more urgently, yesterday—but also need to balance what’s best for your business tomorrow and over the long haul? If purchasing new trailers isn’t the route you want to go, consider renting or leasing trailers from a leading semi-trailer rental company like Mckinney.

When comparing semi-trailer rentals vs. leases, the decision will ultimately come down to your unique situation, both in completing the task at hand and meeting your broader business goals down the road. Both options have benefits and use cases, especially for supplementation solutions in volatile economies and fluctuating supply chains. 

The need to expand your fleet likely means you have an exciting opportunity to gain a large customer and/or special project that could help your business grow. Knowing the benefits of semi-trailer rentals vs. leases will help you make the right choice and go forward with confidence.


Whether you choose to rent or lease trailers, you’ll be taking advantage of the benefits that both options offer as alternatives to purchasing trailers. In either case, you’ll be able to:

  • Get the latest trailer models and technologies – Just like newer cars have flashier features and enhanced performance, so do newer semi-trailers. In partnering with a trailer rental company like Mckinney, you can always access the latest, most technologically advanced trailers, without having to purchase them outright.
  • Be nimble and agile – The capital required upfront to purchase trailers can weigh down your business and force you to be less flexible with customers. Renting or leasing gives you the ability to say yes to more opportunities that might otherwise be unattainable.
  • Gain peace of mind for compliance – Maintaining trailers to regulatory standards is a job of its own, and one that trailer rental companies have allocated to ensure customers can hit the road without worry or disruption.
  • Avoid depreciating assets – While the depreciation of owned assets for wear and tear can help reduce taxes, it can also quietly and negatively impact cash flow. Leasing or renting trailers eliminates the subjective practice of depreciating an asset over time.
  • Receive maintenance support – When you’re renting or leasing to accommodate a large project, there’s no need to staff additional mechanics or overwork your current in-house team. Your rental company will conduct all maintenance for you. So, not only are you saving on the trailers themselves, but you’re also saving on maintenance.
  • Survive (and even thrive) in any environment – During the pandemic, many companies relied on renting and leasing trailers to overcome the economic challenges, meet the surging demand, and simplify logistics. As uncertainties continue into 2023 and for the foreseeable future, renting and leasing remains the most viable and reliable option in many cases.

Now, let’s talk about semi-trailer rentals vs. leases, so you can begin to envision which option might be right for your business.


Duration Flexibility: Whether you need a trailer for one day or one month, rental contracts are open-ended, allowing you to match up a contract closely if it’s not exactly to your desired length of time for having the rental in your possession.

Seasonal Surges: Ahead of cyclical spikes, like back-to-school or the winter holidays, renting enables you to ramp up and meet the demand. When business slows down, you can offload those trailers and the costs associated with them.

Asset Substitution: Is one of your existing trailers getting repaired and temporarily out of commission? Renting is the ideal way to get hold of a substitute, fast, whereas purchasing is a much bigger decision and more involved process that tends to take longer to execute.

Pay-Per-Use: Trailers cost your business money when they’re sitting in your yard unused. Selling underutilized trailers can be an effective strategy ahead of renting trailers. You’ll be trading the liability of underutilized trailers for the efficiency of renting only what you need, when you need it.

Short-Term Needs: Do you expect an upcoming project to last less than one year? Since leases tend to have longer terms, renting will usually be the better option for this use case.

Urgent Needs: When the unexpected strikes and getting your goods from Point A to Point B is imperative, renting semi-trailers is a cost-effective choice that can come together quickly.

Equipment Adaptability: Unsure of the exact trailer specification you’re looking for? Renting allows you to try out various trailer types until you find the best fit for your application rather than having to conduct extensive research knowing you’re making a purchasing decision.

Learn more about renting high-quality trailers from Mckinney.

Get a Quote on Semi-Trailer Rentals


Extended Needs: If your job requires a trailer for one year or longer, a trailer leasing company can draw up an agreement that ensures you're covered for the long haul. Leasing is useful for larger influxes of new business that you expect to last for a specific contract time and/or to keep up with steady business growth across the board.

Fixed-Rate Assurance: Once your lease is set, you have assurance that your price won't fluctuate for the duration of the term, no matter what the market dictates. This is one of the main benefits of leasing in choppy economic environments like those seen in the early 2020s during the pandemic, global conflict, political unrest and other converging factors.

Cost Savings: Leases offer the ability to lower your overall price per day—the longer the contract commitment, the more economical the semi-trailer lease rate may be. Again, this makes leasing ideal for longer contracts of one year or more.

More Equipment Options: Because leasing involves a deeper look into the lessee’s financial status, those who qualify may have more product choices, including the latest and greatest trailers with the most advanced technology. If your business is in good standing financially, explore the options with a trailer leasing company like Mckinney.

Ability to Customize: With a longer-term agreement, you’ll have the option to tailor your semi-trailers with custom options designed for your specific requirements. 

Branding: Want a fleet of 20 of the same exact tractor-trailers that all have your logo prominently displayed? Leasing allows you to customize trailers to uphold your brand recognition. Whether you’re a midsized business or a large name brand, it’s intangibly but notably beneficial to leverage your fleet as billboards on wheels.

Guaranteed Availability: While rentals are often available on a first-come, first-served basis, your leasing agreement will ensure you have the exact equipment you need at the exact time you need it. If you find yourself renting trailers frequently, it may be time to consider switching to leasing.

Project Synergy: Did your company recently win a major bid? A long-term lease can be structured in lockstep with your upcoming project to guarantee you’re covered for the entirety of your customer’s contract. No more worrying about whether you’ll have the fleet needed to deliver on your promises.

Overall, semi-trailer leasing companies like Mckinney can fill gaps and fuel growth for businesses with expanding fleets. See how this trucking company leaned into leasing from Mckinney to grow its business substantially. Then, learn more about our semi-trailers for lease and our top-notch service and reliable maintenance.

Get a Quote on Semi-Trailer Leases

DON’T JUST RENT OR LEASE—PARTNER with a professional

Whether you're renting or leasing trailers, you should be able to secure a high-performing, reliable trailer solution at a competitive price. Working with an industry-leading transportation partner ensures delivery dates and quality-of-service standards are always met.

With 17 locations, 35,000+ trailers and more than 35 years of experience, Mckinney provides the customization, flexibility and dependability companies of various sizes need to make their supply chains as efficient as possible. We provide 24/7 roadside assistance from an expert team of technicians and can meet fluctuating demands for fleet capacity and storage solutions instantly.

If you have questions about whether renting or leasing is right for you—or if you want to look into our trailer leasing and rental options—contact us today. We’re here to serve as your flexible fleet partner.

Topics: Fleet Management Knowledge & Trends

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