The trucking industry in the U.S. employs roughly 8.9 million people, including 3.5 million truck drivers.
Have you been part of this industry for a while? Are you ready to put the knowledge and experience you’ve gained to the test and create a trucking company of your own?
Whether you’ve been a part of the industry for a long time or not, there are plenty of benefits that come with striking out on your own and establishing an independent trucking company.
If this appeals to you, read on to learn how to start a trucking business. Follow these seven steps and you’ll have no trouble getting your company off the ground.
Why Start a Trucking Business?
Whether you plan to get behind the wheel yourself or want to manage those who drive for a living in a better way, there are plenty of advantages you can enjoy when you start a trucking business. The following are some of the greatest benefits:
Be Part of a Growing Industry
The trucking industry has experienced steady growth for the last few years, and that growth is expected to continue in the near future. It may slow a bit, but there is still plenty of need for truck drivers in the U.S., especially with so many people ordering goods online and needing them shipped to their homes.
If you want to be part of an industry that’s growing and needs plenty of qualified individuals, trucking is a good option to consider.
Be Your Own Boss
Does the idea of being your own boss appeal to you? If so, now might be the right time for you to break free from your current job and look into starting a business yourself.
With your knowledge and experience, you’ll know what is needed to run a great trucking company, and you’ll get to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with being an entrepreneur.
Change the Game
When you’re running your own trucking company, you also have an opportunity to correct the issues you’ve seen within the industry. You can help to change the game and correct some bureaucratic problems that are holding drivers back or preventing them from doing their jobs in the most efficient way.
You might not be able to solve every problem (for example, laws and regulations still need to be followed), but you can still do a lot to change the game and create a better environment for truck drivers and the people you serve.
How to Start a Trucking Business
Do these benefits interest you? Are you ready to start a trucking business that allows you to call the shots?
If so, there are some essential steps you need to take to ensure you’re complying with the law and creating a safe environment for yourself and your drivers. Follow these steps to create a successful and sustainable trucking business:
1. Get Certified
Many trucking business owners start out as drivers themselves. It’s not 100 percent required to be a business owner, but, if you’re not already a certified driver, you may want to become one.
Getting your CDL (short for Commercial Driver’s License) and learning the ins and outs of driving will help you be a more effective leader and understand the potential problems within the industry that you can solve with your company.
2. Create a Business Plan
You’ll definitely want to write out a detailed business plan before you get started. A business plan gives you an outline to follow to ensure you’ve checked all your boxes and have everything set up for you to have a successful company.
You don’t have to follow it to the letter, but it will help give you guidance and will show potential investors that you’re serious about starting your own business.
3. Choose a Company Structure
You’ll need to decide what type of structure you want for your company, too. Will it be an LLC (short for limited liability company) or a sole proprietorship?
There’s no one right approach that works for everyone. You’ll want to weigh the pros and cons before you make a final decision, though.
4. Secure Funding
Unless you have a rich relative who can give you a loan (or if you’re rich yourself), you’re probably going to need funding to get your business off the ground.
Reach out to lenders in your area to find out what the requirements are for applying for and securing a business loan. You may want to look into small business grants and other funding options as well.
5. Comply with Safety Rules
Make sure you’re in compliance with safety rules and regulations for truck driving companies.
For example, you’ll need a USDOT number from the Department of Transportation. This number helps them to monitor safety information and gather information during crash investigations. You’ll need authority from the Department of Transportation to haul freight as well.
6. Get Insurance
Every business owner needs insurance. It’s especially important for those who own trucking businesses, though.
There are several types of insurance you need, including primary liability coverage, physical damage coverage, and cargo coverage.
You’ll want coverage for non-trucking use as well. This covers you if your truck is involved in an accident that occurs when you or another driver isn’t hauling a load for a customer.
7. Work with a Team
Finally, consider the people you may need to help you run your business.
When you’re starting out, you won’t have a very large staff working under you. It does help to have a few people on your team, though.
For example, an accountant can help you handle your finances and explain the difference between different types of business loans. A lawyer will also help you ensure you’re doing everything in accordance with the law and can save you a lot of trouble later.
Start Your Engines and Get Your Business Going Today
Now that you know more about how to start a trucking business, what do you think? Does it seem like a good option for you? Are you ready to turn your dream into a reality?
If you keep these seven steps in mind, you’ll have a much easier time establishing and running a successful trucking business.
Do you have more questions about starting your own business? Do you need help finding funding to get it off the ground?
If so, we’re here to help at Strategic Capital. Contact us today to learn more about our different funding options or to fill out an online application.
Checking for pre-approval will not affect your credit score.