What are your railcar leasing needs? This is a question that many warehouse owners ask themselves, and the answer varies depending on who you ask. If you work in warehousing or transportation and need to lease railcars for your equipment needs, there are a few things to consider before deciding what type of equipment will be a good fit for your company and which railcar leasing business you should work with.
We know that railcar leases can be confusing and challenging. This is especially true for small to medium-sized businesses. Our goal is to make it easy for you to find the best deals on railcar leasing so that your business can focus on the important logistics of getting supplies where they need to go. We will help you get the right leasing options at the right price in no time.
If you need new or used railcars, we have access to all the major sources in North America! We are ready to help with any type of car from boxcars, tank cars, flatbeds, tankers, hoppers, and more! Let us know how we can help you find the best solution for your rail operations!
1. Consider the Size and Weight of Your Cargo
Before you start contacting railcar owners to discuss leasing, you should assess what you think your needs will be. Take into consideration the size and weight of the cargo you need to transport. Put all this information on paper, so you have it handy when you start talking with leasing companies. The lessor will review your needs and help you determine what railcar types you need. They’ll also figure out the quantity that will work best for your company.
If you are price shopping and talking with several railcar leasing companies, compare their suggestions and try to work with someone who can provide the right quantity and type of cars your business will need.
2. Decide How Many Railcars You Need
How much volume are you shipping regularly? If you are leasing railcars for a one-time cargo need, such as for a big construction job or an equipment move, deciding how many cars to lease will depend on the size and weight of your shipment.
When leasing railcars for your equipment needs, it may be best to ship all at once with multiple cars. This is also true if you need to ship a large amount of cargo on a regular basis. If the load is smaller or less frequent, leasing one car might be sufficient.
When leasing new or used railcars for your equipment needs, consider how much volume is needed and how often. This will help you determine what type of cars will work best for that cargo before deciding which leasing companies to contact. Renting more than you need is expensive, but leasing too few cars could result in lost profits.
3. Look At Your Warehouse Space
Do you have enough room for loading and unloading equipment? The type of railcars you need will depend primarily on the size and weight of your cargo, but it’s also important to think about your warehouse space.
If you need to rent flatbed railcars, do the dimensions of your warehouse fit within the size requirements for leasing this type of car? You don’t want to get a boxcar or tanker only to find out that it won’t fit in your facility once loaded with equipment.
The same goes for leasing covered hoppers or open-top railcars. Will the type of car you need fit in your warehouse? If not, can you make adjustments to accommodate it by adding more doors or turning a bay into an open loading area? Or would it work better to get another type of railcar that will fit in the space?
It’s also important to consider the location of your loading and unloading docks. If you have a rail car that needs to be unloaded before going into the warehouse, will there be enough room for this?
When leasing new or used railcars for your equipment needs (even if you only need temporary rail service), make sure they fit within the space you have available.
4. Ensure You Have Adequate and Trained Staff Members
Even if your company doesn’t purchase the railcar outright, you will still need trained fleet management staff to maintain and care for the railcars while they are in your possession. Your staff should know how to inspect and maintain the railcar, so you do not incur extra fees or penalties if anything happens while it is in your possession. Can they fix any problems that come up? Do they know what to do if the railcar is delayed? Be sure to designate someone on your team to handle the maintenance and administrative responsibilities, so they don’t fall by the wayside.
Your leasing company may help train your staff, but you should also consider how many people will be needed and whether there are enough employees for this work. Ensure that all of your employees understand their responsibilities when it comes to leasing new or used railcars for your equipment needs.
5. Be Prepared for a Long-Term Railcar Lease Commitment
Most leasing companies will require you to enter into a contract to lease a railcar. Most railcar leases average somewhere between 24 and 60 months. In general, the longer you can commit to leasing the equipment, the lower the interest rate. Long-term contracts are typically discounted compared to short-term leases.
If you have a one-time project, you may be able to pay a one-time fee to rent a railcar for a short period. However, this fee is likely much higher than if you were to enter into a long-term agreement. Take some time to assess what the long-term goals are for your business. Will you be doing one-off projects often? If so, it may work out better in the long run to enter into a long-term lease agreement.
On the other hand, if you have extensive railcar needs, you should compare the cost over time and see if purchasing outright would benefit your company.
6. Determine Your Budget for Railcar Leasing
Leasing railcar equipment can be expensive. As mentioned above, leasing may not be the best option if you use them for extensive periods. In this case, there may be financial and operational benefits to purchasing your railcars. For companies who will use them frequently, new railcars may be more beneficial than used equipment.
Before entering into any contracts or agreements to lease new or used railcars for your equipment needs, it’s important to determine what kind of budget you have available. If leasing would result in additional fees like maintenance costs, you should also factor those into your leasing agreement.
Before leasing a railcar for any length of time, make sure that it fits within the company’s budget and timeline. You don’t want to end up feeling like there is too much pressure due to leasing new or used railcars on a short-term basis instead of purchasing.
7. Check Regulations for the Items You’re Transporting
Depending on the items you need to transport, you may or may not be eligible to lease a railcar.
When leasing new or used railcars for your equipment needs, you should first check with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to see what kind of regulations are in place. The FRA regulates all railroad traffic that crosses state lines within the U.S., so it is important to understand their guidelines about leasing a railcar before entering into a lease agreement.
8. Compare Services Provided by the Leasing Companies
Not all railcar leasing companies are equal. When comparing companies, there are many variables to consider, including the cost of delivery and return of the equipment, whether or not you have to do your own maintenance or if they provide fleet management services.
Each leasing company provides a different set of services when leasing railcars. For example, some leasing companies will deliver the cars directly to you and pick them up from your location once they are no longer needed, while others may require that you either transport or return the equipment yourself.
In addition to cost differences, be sure to compare leasing company support services. For example, some leasing companies may offer additional training for your employees or the option to purchase extra equipment if needed. Depending on what equipment you are leasing, each company may provide a different set of services that affect its costs.
Are you willing to pay a little bit more for a full-service lease? It could save you time and may end up being worth it in the long run if you don’t have to hire additional staff for maintenance and service of the cars. But if you are just getting started or are on a tight budget, you may want to look for a simple operating lease and do the rest yourself.
Connect With Railcar Deals for Full-Service Lease Needs!
At Railcar Deals, we want to help you make the best decision for your railcar leasing needs. We can provide a free quote and advice on what type of equipment will be a good fit for your company. Our team has been in this business long enough to know how important it is that you consider all aspects before committing to any one option. If you’d like some guidance or have questions about our services, don’t hesitate to reach out. There is no cost for a custom request; complete the form on our website and hit submit!