There is no doubt that trucking is a lucrative adventure. Yet, it requires dedication and a lot of planning to start your own business. Following these steps, you will gain insight into the best practices for creating a successful business that ensures safety and adherence to the law.
Step One – Business Plan
It is unwise to start any business adventure without a business plan. Most banks will also require a written plan before agreeing to financial assistance. In your business plan, demonstrate that you understand the industry. Research your competition and the demand customers have. From there, you can create your goals, expenses, milestones, and financial projections.
Every business plan should include the following:
- Growth predictions for 3-5 years, demonstrating how you plan to grow your business
- The staff you will require
- Technology and vehicles you plan on using
- Targeted clientele
Step Two – Legalities
You will need a CDL to drive a commercial vehicle. While this is a known fact, many other legalities come with owning a trucking business. Sit down with a lawyer and an accountant to build a solid structure for your company that brings a profit. Once you have that, you’re ready to register your business for permits, insurance, licenses, and DOT numbers. Finally, trademark your business and put your applications into the trucking authority. All these registrations can be filed simultaneously, saving you precious time in start-up.
Step Three – Obtain Equipment
Congratulations, you now have a business! However, it is now time to start spending. You will want to look at small business loans or short-term loans if you do not already have capital saved up. To know how much money you’ll need, research and price the equipment necessary. Most trucking businesses have different types of trucks in the fleet, from flatbed to boxed trucks.
When looking for trucks, consider the following:
- Style of cab
- Weight limits
- Weather resistance
- Technology provided
Get a few quotes to create a projection of expenses necessary for stocking your fleet. It is often wise to start with pre-owned and then work to replace the trucks with new ones on the market. However, more maintenance is often required for higher-mileage trucks.
Step Four – Hire Drivers
Once your business is compliant with the law and the starting fleet configured, you are ready to start hiring drivers. Consider hiring qualified, experienced drivers and offering training programs for new drivers. All drivers will need basic education classes on what is expected from your company and how to submit reports.
Step Five – Build the Network
You are finally ready to set your prices and sell your business to the public! Attend events and activities that build your network, connecting you to other professionals in the industry. As your business grows, you will start expanding your fleet and possibly explore new avenues of trucking. Anytime you wish to consider scaling your company, create a new business plan and financial projection. A lot of planning and work goes into starting and growing a trucking business. When done correctly, however, it is often well worth the effort.