According to Statista, the trucking industry in the US had a total worth of $732.3 billion in 2020 alone. For this reason, starting a trucking business can be a very lucrative endeavor, and many are jumping on the trend.
Starting any business comes with costs, and the trucking industry is no different. Before you quit your day job and embark on your trucking business venture, here are a few things you need to take into consideration.
1. What services will you offer?
You first need to figure out what services your trucking business will offer. Will you just be doing local deliveries or long-haul cross-country trips? Will you transport controlled materials or oversized loads?
Once you know what services you’ll be offering, you can start to build out your business plan and get the proper permits and insurance in place. For example, if you’re going to be transporting hazardous materials, you’ll need to get a Hazardous Materials Transportation Permit from the Department of Transportation.
Also, make sure that you are familiar with all of the regulations that apply to trucking businesses in your area. Doing this ahead of time will help ensure that you are compliant from day one.
2. Do you need legal support and insurance?
The short answer is yes. Any trucking business should have a truck driver rights attorney on retainer, no matter how small. This is because the trucking industry is highly regulated, and there are many laws that you need to be aware of. Having an attorney on your side will help you navigate these complicated regulations and ensure that you are in compliance.
For instance, lawyers can help you with things like getting your DOT number, understanding hours of service regulations, and dealing with shippers and receivers. In the event that you or one of your truck drivers get into an accident, an attorney can also help with the possible litigation or insurance claims process.
Not only do you need an attorney, but you should also have a good relationship with a trucking insurance agent. This is because the insurance requirements for trucking businesses are different than for other types of companies. Make sure you understand what coverage you need and get quotes from multiple insurers before deciding.
3. What type of equipment do you need?
Another critical factor to consider is what type of equipment you’ll need for your trucking business. A van or a small box truck might suffice if you’re just doing local deliveries. But if you’re planning on doing cross-country hauls, then you’ll need to invest in a semi-truck and trailer.
You’ll also need to ensure that your vehicles are properly maintained and that you have the necessary tools and supplies. This includes things like having a spare tire, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit. If you’re leasing your vehicles, make sure to do your research and choose a reputable trucking company. You’ll want to read the fine print of any lease agreement before signing on the dotted line.
You can also invest in additional gear like ramps and winches if you’re planning on transporting oversized or complex loads. Just make sure that you’re familiar with how to use this equipment properly.
4. Who will be your customers?
Before starting your trucking business, it’s crucial to think about who your potential customers will be. Are you targeting other companies or individuals? What types of goods or materials will you be transporting? Once you have a good idea of your target market, you can start marketing your services to them.
For example, if you’re targeting businesses, you can reach out to Human Resources departments and offer your services as a way to help new hires relocate. You can advertise your services on moving websites or in local classifieds if you’re targeting individuals.
No matter your target market, make sure you have a solid marketing plan in place. This will help you attract new customers and grow your business.
5. How much money do you need to get started?
Starting any business requires a certain amount of capital, and trucking businesses are no different. You’ll need enough money to cover the cost of purchasing or leasing vehicles and fuel, maintenance, insurance, and other operational expenses.
If you don’t have the total amount needed to get started, consider seeking out investors or taking out a small business loan. Just be sure to research and understand any loan terms before you sign on the dotted line.
In addition to start-up costs, you’ll also need to have enough money set aside to cover your living expenses for the first few months of business. This is because trucking businesses can take a while to become profitable. So make sure you have a solid financial plan before you start.
Starting a trucking business can be a great way to achieve financial independence and become your own boss. But as with any new business venture, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration before making the leap. By keeping these five factors in mind, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful one.