If you dreamed of a life on the road and being your own boss, then starting your own trucking business is likely a great fit for your career goals. You can set your own hours, take only jobs you’re excited about and even expand to hire other people so you can maximize your income. Achieving this goal, however, takes hard work and smart investments.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the basic steps of opening your own successful trucking business and becoming an owner operator. This will help you start off on the right foot and stay on the right track.
8 Steps That Will Help You Set Up Your Truck Business
Are you all set to set up your personal truck business? Make sure you follow these 8 steps:
Step 1: Draft A Business Plan
Exactly like a business plan for any other business, you will need a business plan for your truck business. This plan is your path to success and will later help your business grow. Moreover, a business plan keeps your brand rules streamlined and helps in identifying goals. Writing a plan for your business might appear like a lot of work, but it becomes easy with time.
Step 2: Earn Your CDL
If you’re not already a professional truck driver, then you’ll need to earn your credentials so you can drive large trucks and haul loads. You’ll need to take a class and pass a test to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). This license allows you to drive 18-wheeler trucks or trucks with certain-sized trailers.
It’s important to note that your CDL does not qualify you to drive all types of loads. For example, if you want to transport hazardous materials, you’ll need special hazmat training and certification after you obtain your CDL.
Step 3: Purchase A Truck
The next step is to find your truck. When you work for yourself, you’re considered an owner/operator, which means you need to own the truck you use when you haul loads for clients. However, purchasing a large truck (and often a trailer, too) can be very expensive.
Some tips for purchasing your first truck include:
- Look for used trucks with low mileage that are in good condition.
- If you’re skilled in auto repair, consider buying a fixer-upper truck for a low price and restoring it yourself.
- Look into semi truck financing options to help you pay for your truck over time.
Step 4: Establish Your Business Entity
With your truck and license in hand, it’s time to start setting up your business. The first step is to set up and register your business entity. There are many different types of entities, such as corporations and partnerships, and the type you choose will depend on how you plan to run your business.
If you’ll be the sole proprietor, it’s wise to establish a limited liability company (LLC). Creating your business as an LLC protects your personal assets in the event someone sues your business for damages. It’s a way to separate business and personal in the eyes of the law to offer you more peace of mind.
Step 5: Get Business Licenses
Next, you need to ensure that your business complies with state and federal regulations. This means obtaining the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance. Trucking is a unique industry with more risk than most, so the rules and regulations are very strict. Ensure that you obtain your business license and any permits needed for all of your drivers.
You’ll also need business insurance to protect yourself and your staff. Most business insurance is focused primarily on reducing liability risk, but your trucking business should also be prepared to protect itself against on-the-job accidents. You might need a policy that helps to pay worker’s compensation claims or handles when an employee sues after an accident.
Step 6: Lease Or Purchase The Proper Equipment
The right equipment will make the difference between your business’s failure and success. While choosing equipment for your trucking business, make sure you consider a vehicle that can accommodate the requirements of your cargo. For example, while transferring perishable items, get a refrigerated apartment. Make sure to lease or purchase equipment that’s a better option for your business.
Step 7: Choose the apt insurance coverage.
As a business owner, you might have to obtain insurance for your new trucking business. The most efficient way to get the best-suited premium is to approach various agents at once. Make sure you consider the below options before deciding on a policy:
- Cargo Insurance Coverage
- Insurance on Physical Damage
- Primary liability insurance
- Insurance of passenger accident
Step 8: Find Freight And Grow Business
While setting your foot first on a trucking business, you will have to look for the load to transport. An option for brand-new load companies is to make use of freight boards to locate customers. Or you can also start developing relationships with your potential customers through digital marketing efforts.
You might approach a local shipper directly and meet customers where they usually conduct business. A great place to begin should be relevant small enterprise trade shows, and they must be available for download on Android and iOS. Delegating and outsourcing administrative tasks might help you stress the best efforts for growing your truck business.
Now you know the basics of getting your trucking company up and running, so you can get to work! This stage is all about connecting with dispatchers, forming lucrative partnerships, and getting repeat customers on your docket. The more reliable your drivers are, the more clients will want to work with you again. Of course, there’s also an option to buy an existing business if you don’t want to go through the initial phase of growth. If you look up businesses for sale in Toronto, you’re bound to find a good option.
How you assign and take in jobs will depend on the size of your business. Some companies with multiple drivers will work together with a dispatcher agency to assign jobs. Others that are smaller might simply have customers contact them directly.
Starting your own business is the first step to realizing your professional dreams. Use these steps to turn your dream into a reality!