Perhaps you’ve been working for a trucking company, hauling freight, for some time now. You are getting by, but most of the profits from your hard work are going to the company you work for. You may want to start your own trucking company. It’s a lot of work and responsibility, and there may be hidden costs that you hadn’t considered. It will be a significant advantage if you have some accounting and truck mechanic experience.
1. Construct a business plan for your new freight company. A precise definition of your business, as well as knowing where it is going in the future and how it will get there will offer the foundation for your best chance at success. The business plan should also include financial and marketing information. If you are not familiar with business plans, use a template to guide you.
2. Decide whether you will haul freight locally, within your own state or across the country. Also, decide what type of freight you will carry. The type of freight will determine the type of beds you may require for your company, such as a flat bed, refrigerated trailer or just a standard trailer. If your company will start out with other drivers, you will need more than one truck.
3. Get financing. If you are not able to finance your new trucking business on your own, you will need to obtain financing. Start by trying to obtain a personal or commercial loan from your current bank, where you have your personal checking and saving accounts. You already have a financial relationship there, which might help. If this bank is not able to finance your business, it may offer viable suggestions for getting such a loan. You may also seek money from private investors, to whom you will owe part of your profits at some point. Acquiring the necessary capital may not be easy.
4.Register your trucking company with the Secretary of State office in your state. Inquire about any additional permits or licenses you may need for the type of freight you will haul. Also, apply for a business license with your city or county administration. These are two important steps to assure you are doing business legally.
5.Contract trucking loads out to other owner/operators, if your funds are limited. This is a way to save money while you grow your business. You can haul freight in your own truck while contracting additional jobs out and still receive some profit from those extra jobs.
6.Shop around for insurance. You need insurance to cover your truck and any vehicle you might damage while driving or for injured persons. Any additional trucks in your company need to be insured as well. You also need insurance to cover the freight you are carrying. Owner/operators must carry their own insurance.
7.Update all log books promptly. The log book tells where the load originated and the time, as well as the drop-off destination and time delivered. It is the law that each truck’s log book be up to date at all times. All drivers in your company must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) that is up to date. Truck license tags must be up to date. All required permits must be up to date, such as motor carrier (MC) numbers, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) numbers, International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) decals, International Registration Plan (IRP) tags or paperwork for fuel tax reporting.
8.Hire an accountant to set up an accounting system for your trucking business. The accountant can handle as much or as little of your business accounting as you like. He will also prepare your income tax reports and make sure quarterly taxes are paid on time.
9. Set up business with freight brokers. Every time you contract for hauling a load one way, make sure you have a load to bring back to your home location. An empty truck is not making money for your company.