Starting a trucking company is not for the weak. It requires a strong will and determination to overcome countless obstacles you are going to face. It may be a slow-moving process, especially with all sorts of required registrations and licensing. Be prepared to jump through some hoops and make sure you are willing to see it through. Once you get your company off the ground, there is a limitless opportunity in front of you, as long as you are willing to do the work. We want to help you come up with a basic roadmap to guide you through the process of starting your company.
Start with a Thorough Business Plan
The way you run and grow your business is bound to change over time, but it’s important to write down the basics and have a ‘big picture’ to work towards. Start with what kind of trucking company you want to be. Of course, you can expand as you grow, so we suggest thinking smaller at this stage and choose one specialty, a more attainable shorter termed goal. Come up with your vision for growth. How are you going to structure your startup so that it is easily scalable as it becomes more successful? A good model to look at is West End Service and how they run their trucking business.
Consider what you’re going to need as you grow- more drivers, a larger fleet of trucks, different specialty trucks, etc. Estimate your expenses and revenues, and be sure to include your salary. Consider investing in a business advisor to help you get the expenses sorted out. This will help give you an overview of how your business is going to run, without any surprise costs. We strongly advise budgeting an emergency cash reserve in case any unforeseeable circumstances arise. You don’t want to end up paralyzed because of no cash flow.
Hire Your Necessary Support Team
As a startup, it’s often difficult to justify the need for hiring third party professionals for help along the way. Unfortunately, you’re just going to have to pull the trigger here to make sure everything is set up properly and running smoothly. You will need an accountant, a safety and compliance consultant/attorney, and an insurance agent. A great guide for hire support staff can be found here.
The accountant will best help you keep your finances in order and will serve as a guide to ensure you make the best use of your capital. The government is not on the side of trucking companies and aggressively police the industry. Having an attorney help you navigate all legal issues will keep things above board and running smoothly.
Insurance is a must. There are not many insurance agencies that specialize in trucking insurance, so do your homework to make sure you find an agency that communicates well, is easy to reach and will provide you with the best policy.
Get Your Own Truck
Purchasing a truck at the beginning stages of a business can be a really intimidating investment. After all, what if things don’t work out as anticipated? There are a few options here. You can decide to lease to own through a carrier or finance a truck through a trucking company. If you go through a carrier and lease to purchase, you would not outright own the truck, but pay a monthly installment for a contracted period of time. Once the contract is up, you’ll be offered a buy-out, where you can purchase the truck or start another contract. Financing a truck allows you more freedom when choosing a carrier to drive for and once you’ve finished paying on it, it’s all yours.
Starting your own trucking business is really exciting and we wish you all the success in the world. It might be slow to get underway, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be well prepared for the road ahead!