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Gaskins: Five questions to ask your trucking finance source

Sept. 5, 2023
The lowest rate does not always equal the lowest cost when financing trucks. Make sure you're asking potential finance sources these five questions.

The myriad powertrain options available today further complicate the already complex truck specification process. The wrong decision, especially selecting the wrong powertrain, can impact profitability, so fleets should choose their financing sources carefully.

Choosing the right financing source can be an invaluable asset when it comes to helping fleet managers parse through all options to ensure each asset is optimally spec'd for its duty cycle, resulting in the lowest total cost of ownership.

Don't let the lowest rates be your only consideration when choosing a financing source. The lowest rate does not always equate to the lowest cost.

Five questions to ask a potential truck financing source

1. Does the financing source understand the trucking industry?

Trucking is a vital part of the nation's economy. Does the potential financing source understand the role of trucking in the broader economy? Does it understand the impact of downtime? Is it well-versed in trucking regulations, and does it know the technologies available, including powertrain options and advanced driver assistance systems?

2. Does the financing source understand your company?

Since no two trucking companies are alike, the right financing source will understand the ins and outs of your particular operation. The financing source needs more than a working knowledge of the duty cycles in which you operate, the areas in which you excel , and your challenges. Without a thorough understanding of your operation, the financing source cannot help you spec the vehicles properly and tailor a financing package that provides you with the lowest cost.

3. How long has the financing source interacted with the trucking industry?

Trucking is cyclical when it comes to both new trucks and used ones. You want to ensure the financing source you choose demonstrates commitment to trucking and will not exit the market at the first sign of trouble.

4. Does the finance source offer flexible financing options?

You want a financing source that will allow you to adjust asset life cycles—up or down—based on changing market conditions. In times of constrained supply, will you be able to extend asset life to keep operating? As newer technology comes on the market that could benefit your operation, will you be able to shorten an asset's life cycle?

5. Is the finance source capable of performing a life cycle analysis?

Asset life cycles have a sweet spot for replacement, and the sweet spot varies based on duty cycle and application. Is the financing source able to use data analytics to determine what that sweet spot is so that your assets are replaced before they become inefficient and start costing you money?

You should evaluate potential financing sources carefully before choosing one that will be your strategic partner and help you successfully navigate the complexities of today's trucking industry.

Patrick Gaskins, SVP of Corcentric Fleet Solutions, oversees both sales and operations for the company's fleet offerings. Gaskins joined the company in 2010, bringing more than 30 years of experience as a financial services professional in the transportation industry. He leads a team that works with a supply base of more than 160 manufacturers to help the country's largest fleets manage all aspects of their fleet operations and fleet-related spending.

About the Author

Patrick Gaskins | Senior vice president, Fleet Solutions

Patrick Gaskins is a financial services professional serving the transportation industry for over 30 years. Gaskins earned his BBA in Finance from the University of Miami, FL in 1989, and received his CTP certification from the National Private Truck Council in 2002. He has held positions with GE Capital, TCF Equipment Finance, and various small independent lessors. 

He began his career with Corcentric in 2010 as Vice President of Financial Services, was promoted to Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations, and is now taking the role of Senior Vice President, Fleet Solutions.  In his new role he will lead Corcentric’s Captial Equipment Solutions, Fleet Procurement, Supply Management, and Remarketing teams. Gaskins will bring to the Fleet practice his expertise in developing data driven solutions to complex transportation transactions, driving efficiencies, and reducing expenses for Corcentric’s customers.

The Fleet Solutions practice leverages technology and the purchasing power of over 1,700 member fleets operating approximately 800,000 assets to provide its members with access to cost effective national account purchasing programs, fleet financing, asset management, and remarketing services.

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