Trucking is huge component of the United States economy. Produce and goods are transported by the millions each day on tractor-trailer trucks. Starting a trucking business is a challenge as numerous rules and regulations need to be adhered to; however, the benefits of the career far outweigh the challenges.
Determine the type of trucking business you want to operate. There are essentially two varieties: one in which truckers with their own trucks are subcontracted and one in which you provide trucks to CDL drivers. CDL stands for Commercial Driver License and is required for all who drive a vehicle with more than two axles. Obviously, more of an up-front investment is required to operate the latter variety; starting without trucks is advisable for new owners.
Obtain capital. If you are starting without trucks, you'll need between $200,000 and $350,000. This money will be used for taxes, overhead costs, fuel expenses and labor costs. Contact lenders in your area for financing. Banks will want to see your business proposal before agreeing to give you a business loan. This proposal will need to include all trackable expenses like licensing fees for drivers and annual fuel taxes.
Contact manufacturers to offer your services. Keep in mind the regulations attached to each type of freight. Liquid cargo carry different laws than nonperishable cargo. Refrigerated trucks must be used in some situations and freezer trucks must be used in others. If you're just starting out, produce (vegetables, fruits) might be the easiest cargo to carry.
Hire drivers. Take out advertisements in local papers and on online trucker messaging boards. Reach out to people you know in the community to spread the word. You may want to offer a higher rate than other companies to attract top talent in the field.
Develop new contracts with manufacturers. As you develop a reputation as a reliable and efficient trucking company, more businesses are liable to work with you and continue to send you business.
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.