Starting a Trucking Business: Five Things You Need to Know
Trucking businesses are not get rich quick schemes. You will need a fair amount of experience and plenty of elbow grease to get your company off the ground.
That said, it is definitely possible to make $50,000 a year or more as the owner of a trucking business. The real key to most owners' success is that they pick a niche and dominate it, and to have an inbound load for every outbound load. In addition to those basics, here are ten other tips to get you started.
1) You will need at least $10,000 to start up your business, and $30,000 is better
That's if you have your own rig or you will be hiring driver/owners. You will also need all the relevant tax ids and licenses required for any business (like an EIN, a business certificate, etc), and then you'll need quite a few additional licenses and documents to run a trucking company.
You will also need trucking company software, a computer, a phone line, an accountant and an attorney (at least to start your business). You will need basic marketing materials like business cards and a website and a listing in your local phone book. You may or may not need office space -- many small business launches operate out of someone's spare bedroom until they have passed through the first six months into profitability. In addition to all those setup costs, you will also need at least three months operating expenses saved.
2) Trucking is one of the most heavily regulated industries.
Thus all those licenses and permits are quite a headache. To give you an idea of what's involved, just the trucks alone have a laundry list of requirements: each one needs a USDOT Number, an MC Number, an IFTA Decal, IRP Tags, completed 2290 forms and Fuel Tax Reporting documents.
3) You will need to pick a niche - what kind of freight will you specialize in?
The kind of freight you decide to specialize in will determine what kind of equipment you'll need and what your startup costs will be. For example, if you'll be transporting perishable food you'll need a refrigerated car. The kind of freight you decide to move will also determine which licenses you'll need to get.
4) You will need to have friends in the freight brokerage business.
A good relationship with a few freight brokers will keep your trucks loaded and moving around the country profitably. In fact, because experience is so essential to have a successful trucking business, seriously consider working for a freight brokerage for a few months to build connections and understand how their side of the business works.
5) Understand that being a good trucker does not necessarily make you a good trucking company owner.
To make your business work you will also need to be able to handle employees well (hiring and firing are a job onto themselves), how to be a good office manager (can you get business cards re-ordered in 2 hours... can you supervise someone to get your website up and running) and how to be a part-time accountant. You'll also have to be good at keeping all that government compliance paperwork up to date. Its no picnic.
Start a Trucking Company
Start a Trucking Business: 5 Things You Need to Know
Write a Trucking Business Plan
Choose a Name for Your Trucking Company
Get Trucking Insurance
Trucking Management Software
How to Become a Truck Driver
How to Pick a Truck Driving School
Get a Commercial Driver's License
What is a Freight Broker and Should You Become One?
How to Start a Freight Brokerage
Transportation Management Software