How to Start an Owner-Operator Trucking Business

by L. Scott Pishko; Updated September 26, 2017

Transporters are everywhere along the highways in the United States. The need to transport products from one place to another is in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers and driver/sales workers held about 3.4 million jobs in 2006. Around 9 percent were self-employed, serving a variety of businesses independently or leasing their services and trucks to a trucking company.

Items you will need

  • Truck and Trailer (ease or purchase)
  • CDL(commercial drivers license)
  • Federal tax number
  • Motor carrier number
  • Trucking Software (If applicable)
  • Insurance
  • Load board
Step 1

Obtain your federal authority, bonding agent, BOC- 3, motor-carrier number and federal tax number. This will take two to three weeks and will allow you to become legal to transport in 48 contiguous states.

Step 2

Go to a reputable truck-driving school to become licensed in driving a truck if you don’t have your CDL already. The class is usually 15 to 30 days and you may get a break on insurance premiums by completing it.

Step 3

Acquire a reliable truck from a dealership. It is best to select a truck from a dealer that specializes in truck leasing or selling. Make sure to have a mechanic come with you to check the truck out before deciding to purchase. Truck prices vary from $10,000 to $75,000 depending on what features want. Department of Transportation regulations require liability coverage, but it may be necessary to purchase additional insurance depending on the state you reside in or to meet shippers requirements.

Step 4

Contact your bank or a surety bond agent to obtain your surety bond for your business. A surety bond is a agreement between two parties within a term of a contract that is binding in a court. Bonds run between $500 a month to a lump sum of $10,000 depending on your credit.

Step 5

Establish a good software system for your trucking company that will keep track of loads taken, accounts payable, accounts receivable and any information pertaining to each load. Software can be a subscription between $50 and $200 a month or you can have a professional custom-make a proprietary software for about $8,000.

Step 6

Retain a reputable load board to post your availability for obtaining customers. Load boards such as getloaded.com and 123loadboard.com are reputable companies with an honest and respectable client base of brokers, trucker and shippers. There are mains hub in obtaining new customers and turning them into consistent clients.

Warnings

  • Before taking a shipment, make sure all licensing is finalized.

About the Author

Larry Pishko began writing for "The Herald Standard" and "How You Spin It" newspapers and has painted since 1980. Pishko has attended AIU (American Intercontinental University) and received his associate's degree in liberal arts and is currently enrolled at Penn State University to achieve his master's degree in journalism.