With today’s growing freight industry, many individuals and families are interested in launching their own trucking company. Although trucking can be a highly competitive market, new trucking businesses are finding success all over the country. Here are a few how-to tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration and other resources to consider:
- Research how you would start any company. Understand first the business basics of traditional business start-ups and then focus on trucking. Study how much working capital will be needed and investigate funding sources.
- Develop your business plan. Decide on the type of company you want. Look at the pros and cons of hiring your own drivers or contracting with drivers.
- Acquire the needed licenses, forms, and permits. Apply for your DOT and MC Authority numbers at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Authority (FMCSA) Visit your state’s transportation site in obtain your IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) decal. Visit the IRS site to learn about taxes related to heavy use of roads. Study the insurance requirements that will apply to your business. Ensure your drivers have a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and are legally qualified to drive large trucks.
- Get to know the regulations. The Frequently Asked Questions on the FMCSA site is a good place to start. Also visit the U.S. Labor Department Occupational Safety and Health Administration site for the trucking industry.
- Locate and buy or lease the right equipment. If you will have your own drivers, look into the types of power units and trailers you’ll be needing to buy or lease. Evaluate your budget and refine your business plan as you decide whether to buy or lease.
- Build a network of customers. Many trucking companies start small with local business contacts, local manufacturers and shippers for loads. With persistence, strong sales calls, and a firm commitment to customer service and on-time deliveries, that network can grow.
- Find loads on free load boards. Sign up with a no-cost freight-matching load board to help you stay loaded. You will begin to develop relationships with brokers and shippers and build a reputation for reliability and service.
Among the most valuable resources for start-up trucking companies is FreeFreightSearch.com. As the world’s largest FREE load board, this site lists thousands of available loads every day for motor carriers to choose. Registration is fast and easy and you will never be asked for a credit card number: the site is completely free.