June 19, 2018

How to start a trucking business

How to start a successful trucking business

The trucking industry is evolving, which is opening up new opportunities for truckers and trucking companies.

With the implementation of new technology, such as electronic logging devices, trucking businesses are becoming more profitable, efficient, and effective. At the same time, a strong freight market is leading to increased fleet profitability.

Moreover, the trucking industry is in need of more drivers. According to the ATA, the industry needs approximately 900,000 new drivers to meet its growing demands. Driver shortage is the biggest challenge the trucking industry is currently facing. This is, without a doubt, a great time to start a trucking business.

This blog post will give you a bird’s-eye view of how you can start a successful trucking business. We will also share some important tips along the way.

If you need something more in-depth, download our 8000-word ultimate guide to starting a trucking business.

Let’s begin.

1. Permits and licenses

The permits and registration you’ll need will vary depending on the type of trucking company you’re starting.

Here are some of the permits and licenses you might need to obtain.

  • USDOT number
  • MC number
  • IFTA sticker
  • IRP
  • CDL
  • BOC-3 filing
  • Heavy vehicle usage tax

(Depending on the type of trucking business you’ll run, you might not need some of these.)

Before starting your business, visit your state’s transportation portal to better understand the regulations in your state. You’ll have a clearer idea of the next steps to undertake.

To make sure your company complies with regulations, you can also hire a compliance professional.

2. Insurance

Getting insurance coverage is a must for trucking companies. To obtain your Operating Authority (MC number), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require that you have public liability insurance protection.

In addition to insurance requirements, as an employer you also must comply with health & safety regulations and standards.

If you need assistance with your compliance, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration website.

To help reduce your insurance cost, you can get an electronic logging device and a dashcam. As ELDs and dashcams can significantly improve road safety, insurance companies offer better insurance premiums to trucks that use these devices.

3. Purchasing vehicles and equipment

When procuring your trucks, remember that cheaper isn’t always better. 

Think long term. Instead of opting for the cheapest trucks you can find, choose a truck that’s in a better condition even if you have to pay slightly more. A rig that’s about 4 years or younger with less than 600,000 miles on it is often a good purchase.

When you put value on the vehicle’s condition — instead of purchasing based purely on price — you avoid costly repairs at least for a few years.

4. Finding your employees

You must have a functioning onboarding process to hire the right drivers.

There are several screening procedures you can use to find out if a potential hire tends to violate hours-of-service rules or other regulations, has been involved in crashes, or has poor driving habits.

These are some of the screening methods you can use:

  • Run the applicant’s CSA profile
  • Take the time to interview the driver
  • Run on-the-job evaluations
  • Do a thorough background check

Following are some of the key skills and characteristics to consider when hiring a driver:

  • Good driving skills
  • Patience and willingness to follow road regulations
  • A team player
  • Decent math skills
  • Mechanical know-how
  • Good with technology, mobile apps, and computers

5. Building your client base

Building a client base shouldn’t be the last thing on your list. Once you’ve decided to start a trucking business (even while you’re still working on your permits, equipment, and other requirements), start building your client base.

Start by establishing relationships with carriers, truck drivers, or shippers who might need your services.

You can do all this even before you’ve fulfilled your legal requirements. You can “soft sell” your up-and-coming trucking business so that when you are fully operational, it’s easier to close contracts.

As a general rule, you should always be selling.

Whether you’re in the midst of getting your permits, choosing your equipment, or establishing your workforce, sell (or pre-sell) your services whenever you can.

What’s next?

If you’re looking for an in-depth guide on how to start your own trucking business, click this link to access our free 8000+ word guide.

Also, if you want to buy a reliable and FMCSA-compliant ELD, try KeepTruckin. The KeepTruckin ELD is packed with powerful fleet management features and starts at just $20 per month with no additional charges.

You can buy the KeepTruckin ELD online in just a few clicks.

Call us at 855-434-ELOG or email us at support@keeptruckin.com if you have any questions.

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