IDEA: Discussing your goals with a lender is a great start.
REAL WORLD: Arrange a meeting with a commercial loan officer to discuss your goal of purchasing a tractor. This meeting is key because this is where your relationship with the loan officer begins. Tell the loan officer your goal with enthusiasm. Tell the loan officer why you have this goal. Tell the loan officer your current financial picture. Ask the loan officer for advice on how to improve your credit score and how to improve your income-to-debt ratio and how to become a great qualifier for the loan.
After one year as a lease operator I requested a meeting with my personal bank's commercial loan officer. The loan officer had very little knowledge of trucking and even less experience with lending money for semi-tractor purchases. I took time to explain the revenues and expenses of my every day operation. I informed him the best I could.
He told me to continue my endevours, continue saving, create a business plan on paper and come back to him in one year.
IDEA: Prove to a lender you can achieve your goals.
REAL WORLD: The proof is in the pudding!
One year later I arranged another meeting with the same commercial loan officer. Discussing matters with the same loan officer is a great practice because hopefully a healthy, ongoing, business relationship has been established.
IDEA: Provide a typed Business Plan, Profit & Loss Statements, etc.
REAL WORLD: Commercial lenders want to see believable business plans. Effectively describing type of operation, projected revenues, and projected expenses make up a simple business plan.
I was a lease operator at my carrier. I set the goal of purchasing my tractor to become an owner operator for my carrier. I had two years of Profit & Loss Statements and tax records to present to the commercial lender. The documents of history enable a lender to determine risk assessment.
IDEA: Provide a Statement of Personal Finances
REAL WORLD: Lenders can provide you with their template Statement of Personal Finances. This document accounts for all things financial in your life from cash to credit cards to retirement accounts to lines of credit to mortgages, etc.
IDEA: Conquer the goal of purchasing a tractor!
REAL WORLD: You had the goal of getting financing for the purchase of a tractor. You discussed your goal with a lender. You took the lender's financial advice. You put it the hard work and sacrifice. You created a business plan. You provided projections. You provided financial transparency. At this point you have almost done it! Now all you need to do is ask, "Where do I sign?"