If you want to start your own trucking company, there are many things to consider. I’ve put together a list of tips for starting your own trucking company that will help get you going in the right direction.
- Have a Business Plan
- Pick a Name for your Trucking Company – Perform a trademark search online to make sure your name is available.
- Select Your Target Market – Targeting the right market is critical when starting a trucking company. Becoming a special carrier can help you avoid some competition. It can also help you increase your sales opportunities.
- Make Some Important Decisions – Come up with your rates, decide if you will be an owner-operator, and will you do short hauls or long hauls.
- Know The Legal Requirements
- You must have a valid CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and if you’re going to be an owner-operator. You’ll need to follow the terms from the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
- You will need US DOT and Motor Carrier (MC) Authority Numbers. The USDOT number tracks your safety records and regulatory compliance. The MC number (also known as operating authority) classifies your trucking company and the cargo you can carry.
- To get these numbers you’ll need to register your trucking business with the FMCSA.
- Get trucking insurance and register with the UCR system AFTER getting your USDOT and MC numbers.
- Get your International Registration Plan (IRP) License Plate – this plate comes from your business’ home state and allows you to operate in all states in the US and in most Canadian provinces. Note: You will have to renew this license plate every year.
- Apply for an IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) Permit – this permit allows your business to get one fuel license and the rule says that you file fuel tax returns four times a year in the state your business is based in.
There are several more permits and forms I didn’t mention that you will need based on where you plan to drive and the goods you intend to carry. The FMCSA (linked above) is a great place to learn more.
- Funding Your Trucking Business
In most cases starting a new trucking company takes some money of between $10,000 – $30,000. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include buying a semi-truck, only paying the down payment on one. There are many factors that go into the decision of whether or not to buy a new truck or a used truck. If you do decide to go with a used truck, be sure to thoroughly inspect it and I would even recommend having a diesel mechanic take a look.
- Insuring Your Business Assets
- It’s a law that you have insurance. A trucking insurance company that specializes in commercial vehicles is the best place to turn to.
- You can also consult the FMCSA to gain some understanding of what type of trucking insurance is right for you.
- Another great source of information is trucking forums and social media communities on Facebook.
- Prepare Your Truck(s) for the Road
- Decals displaying your USDOT number, the company’s registered name and your Radio Frequency ID tags must be displayed on your truck.
- Don’t forget license or International Registration Plates!
- You’ll also need to install a FMCSA-registered and compliant Electronic Logging Device (ELD).
The steps listed above are just a brief overview of starting your own trucking company. The Trucker’s Network has some great articles that you can read to learn more about trucking in general. And, when you become a member, you’ll get some great discounts to help you save money so more of your profit stays in your pocket! Let us know if you have any questions