How to Start a Trucking Business: A Guide for Beginners

How to Start a Trucking Business: A Guide for Beginners

Transportation is an industry that will never go away in the future. People will always need to ship items, and there will always be a need for companies to ship those products.

Believe it or not, there were 10 billion pounds of goods shipped in the United States in 2020 alone. That means trucking is a great business to get into.

There are plenty of opportunities to build a company from scratch and satisfy the growing demand. You’ll need to put in some work if you want to create a successful trucking business.

Check out the guide below to learn everything you need to know to start a trucking business.

Create a Business Plan

Even if a trucking business sounds like a simple premise, things won’t always go that way. As with every business, there are countless things you need to understand and get right to keep things running efficiently. It’s hard to do this when you don’t have a plan.

Top Viewtop View of Manager and Employee Doing Teamwork in Business Office

Your business plan will lay out how you operate your business. It will tell you what customers you’ll target, the products you’ll transport, and everything else relevant to your business.

Your plan will give you a map for success that you can follow. It won’t prepare you for every obstacle you’ll encounter, but it will provide you with the maximum chance for success and prepare you to make hard choices in the future.

Pick Your Target Customers

Finding the right customers is critical for setting up a trucking business. While you can get customers by promoting yourself as a generalized trucking company, that will cut you off from some businesses with unique needs.

Many products require expertise to ship correctly. Otherwise, products will arrive at their destination broken and useless. Companies in that situation won’t work with you unless you’re a specialist.

On top of that, you may be able to charge higher prices if you specialize in one of those industries. See what’s out there and pick a product type to specialize in shipping.

Create a Financing Plan

Starting a trucking business won’t be cheap. You have to buy trucks, facilities, and many other things. On top of that, you need enough drivers to meet the demands of your customers.

You won’t be able to pay out of pocket for these things in most cases. You’ll need financing from a bank or private investor to start your new business.

Getting financing from a bank is a great way to get the money you need without involving another party in the day-to-day operation. You’ll need to show the bank that you can cover the loan and have a solid business plan. Otherwise, you’re free to run your business as you see fit.

Close-up of Businessman Calculating Invoices Using Calculator

You may be able to find that kind of deal with private investors, but you’ll also encounter people who want to play a more active role in the company. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. A partner who can see things you don’t can help your business and improve your chances of growing your company.

Form Your Business

You’ll need to form your business before you start selling trucking services. You need to separate your personal and business assets, and forming a company will give you this separation.

You’ll need to hire a team to help, so a corporation will probably be your best choice. It will give you the structure to set up payroll, create business accounts, and everything else required to run a company.

You can look at several structures, each with pros and cons. Talk to a lawyer or accountant if you have questions and need help picking the proper business structure.

Get Insurance

Insurance Financial Mason Jar With Coins Inside Written Budget Empty Notebook

Getting insurance is a must for any company in the trucking industry. You’ll have drivers on the road in danger and take responsibility for your client’s products. It’s a big problem if an accident happens and you don’t have insurance to cover everything.

You’ll need to get insurance to cover employee injuries, customer product insurance, and insurance for your company’s property. There are also types of insurance specific to the kinds of trucks you drive.

Take insurance for dump trailer, for instance. There is insurance specifically for that type of transportation. Look at all your insurance options and pick the ones that will protect your company in every situation.

Get the Right Permits

Permits are essential for trucking companies. The government doesn’t want companies that aren’t qualified to transport materials across the country. You’re on the road with others, so you need people who will do things right on the road.

That’s even more true if you’re transporting hazardous materials. You have special precautions to undertake to transport items like that properly.

That’s why there are many certifications in the trucking industry. Some certificates allow you to transport general-purpose items, while others are there for people who transport things that need special care. See what certifications you need for your business and get them for yourself and your drivers.

Purchase Your Equipment

As mentioned above, you won’t be able to start in the trucking industry on a budget. You need equipment to move products and trucks to get them from point A to B. All of that will require an initial cash infusion to buy your equipment and vehicles.

Shop around to see what companies offer the best deals. You can spend a lot of money and buy everything new. However, there are likely used equipment and vehicles you can purchase for a discounted rate. Of course, you need to inspect those purchases to ensure everything works correctly.

You’ll also need property to store products while you’re getting ready to ship safely. Make sure the location you choose is large enough to house your expected product load and has room to grow in the future.

Get the Right Tech Tools

You need more than equipment and trucks to run a successful trucking company. There are now many tech tools available that make the job easier. It pays to learn what these tools are early and integrate them into your company’s operation.

Most of this will be software that automates administrative work. You can use accounting software to make finances easier, technology to schedule and communicate with drivers, and GPS to track your trucks’ locations to keep them on track.

GPS System in a Smart Car

Many of these tools have a monthly cost, so you’ll need to factor this into your budget. However, they will save you time and money in the long run since they’ll make your job easier and help you accomplish more daily.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

You’ll need to maintain your equipment in a trucking business. Vehicles and equipment will wear down over time. Eventually, things will break if you don’t keep them in top shape.

You can keep things running longer by properly maintaining them. Create a schedule for regular maintenance tasks on all your vehicles and equipment. Create a schedule for regular maintenance tasks on all your vehicles and equipment. Implementing Llumin Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can streamline this process, helping you track maintenance activities, schedule tasks efficiently, and stay on top of equipment condition. While regular maintenance may not entirely prevent failure in the future, it significantly reduces the frequency of breakdowns, prolongs the lifespan of your assets, and ultimately saves you from spending extra money on premature replacements.

It may not prevent failure in the future, but it will reduce the amount things break. It will also make things last longer and stop you from spending extra money in the future to replace things.

Form a Team

There may be a few businesses where you can get by on your own, but trucking isn’t one of them. You need a team of experts by your side to give you advice and do their jobs well.

At a bare minimum, you need great truckers. They’ll be the people delivering on what your company promises. Without great truckers, you have no business.

You can also hire people for other business tasks. It pays to hire accountants, lawyers, and marketers to handle your additional business tasks. That means you have time to focus on generating business and growing your company.

Start Marketing Your Company

You can start looking for customers once you complete the first steps. For many companies, a website is the first place to start. People everywhere search online for company information before buying now, so you can’t go without one.

You can also get on social media to look for potential customers. Since you’ll likely target other business owners, Linkedin is a great place to start. You can connect with businesses of all sizes and tell them what you can do.

Diagram of Social Media’s Elements

Of course, many other strategies for marketing a trucking company exist, so explore all your options.

Do Your Homework Before You Start a Trucking Business

A trucking company isn’t a small business that takes minimal resources to start. There are countless things you need to get right, and you need to prove you can handle the job for your clients.

That’s why you need to do everything possible to do things right when starting a trucking business. Remember the post above to take all the right steps to start your business the right way.

Are you interested in learning more trucking business tips to help you grow your company? Head back to the blog to learn more.

Milica Brborović
Milica Brborović
Articles: 128

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