Starting a successful business requires you to bring many ingredients together. When the new business is a trucking company, that requirement expands in several key ways. Even so, it’s quite doable if you take care to consider all of the foreseeable aspects of the new venture. Here are a few things you’ll want to make sure you have covered.
- Study the basic feasibility of your plan. This should be settled before opening any kind of business. Here are a few of the things you need to do for this step: Make sure your market has room for another trucking company, check prevailing rates to ensure that you can actually make a profit, know your funding options, estimate the costs of buying the equipment and running the business, and see if you can offer something your competitors don’t already have covered.
- Know the relevant laws. The transportation industry is subject to many laws and regulations. Some of them include keeping an accurate driver log, installing an EOBR system in all your trucks, registering for a federal DOT number, getting a motor carrier authority number, obtaining any state-specific credentials, making a BOC-3 filing, and more. Depending on the types of materials you haul, you may also need hazardous materials clearances and related credentials.
- Decide how you’re going to handle equipment needs. The two main options are to hire owner-operators, who own their own trucks; and to own the trucks yourself and then hire people to drive them. The latter option requires a greater start-up investment, but the cheaper option gives you less control over the drivers. You will need to consider your priorities as you weigh these alternatives.
- Take care of basic new-business requirements. Register your company name, select a business location, obtain required tax ID numbers, get a business account at your bank and do other such standard startup tasks.
- Get the required insurance. Along with vehicle insurance, make sure you’re covered against damage to freight, personal injury, theft and other related mishaps. Remember that a load of freight can be worth thousands of dollars or more, so don’t skimp on the damage and theft insurance!
- Expect to get small contracts in the beginning. Companies will be more willing to give small contracts to a new trucking company, while they tend to reserve large ones for transportation firms that already have solid reputations. Do a great job on these small contracts, because they’re your means of building your reputation enough to someday get the bigger ones.
These are some of the main things you’ll need to do to start your own trucking business. One other thing to think about is what type of freight you’ll specialize in. This will determine which type of trucks you should buy.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, as the owner, you likely won’t be spending much time in a truck. Therefore, if your plan is to drive all over the countryside and get paid for it, owning the business might not be the best answer. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a chance to run a trucking company the right way after seeing how the others have been blowing it, the chances are good that you’ll be happy to finally have that opportunity.