Starting a Trucking Business Checklist

Intermodal Transport by Truck
Joedamadman,CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Goods are continually moved from one location to another necessitating the need for transportation. Some goods are heavy and large providing a good business for trucking companies.
Trucking business is capital intensive, competitive and highly lucrative. You also need to have a good knowledge of the enterprise.
Truckers provide transportation for commercial goods for a fee and the trucks should have the capacity to carry a minimum of 40 feet container. There are a few things you need to put in place before starting your trucking business.
Write a Business Plan
The first step is to write a comprehensive business plan. Focus on type and capacity of your vehicle including company structure, management and funding.
Are you interested in running an owner operated trucking business or a partnership. These are question to answer while incorporating the business.
Buy or lease
You could purchase your equipment or lease them. Owning the equipment reduces the cost of operation and provides stability.
However there are some lease agreements that confer ownership to the operator on a ‘hire purchase’ bases. Try to buy the appropriate equipment to carry out the work.
Focus on truck type capacity, strength and durability. Look out for cost effective measures to boost your business. A good way to determine the best trucks is to study your competitors and learn which trucks they prefer.
Join the Union
Trucking business is highly regulated and union controlled. You need to join the truckers union or association in your country. They may have different regulations however they are meant to provide support, guidance and a safety for truckers.

Salmond & Brown Trucking 1944

Secure contracts
The main road to success as a trucker is securing regular contracts. If you bag regular gigs your trucking business will prosper.
Companies and individuals who hire truckers look out for reliability, dependability, fair costs and punctuality. Large companies would regularly hire a trucking company with good reputation.
Biding Process
Biding is part and parcel of the trucking business. The competition is stiff and truckers try to bag the best gigs with lower prices.
Make sure your price is reasonable, competitive and would turn a profit after all parameters are factored. Things to factor during a biding process are size of the good, fragility, distance to travel and trucking fees.
Others are maintenance, fuel consumption and working expenses. Small start-up companies need to build a contract completion list for future patronage.
Locating the Trucking Company
All trucking companies need to have a highly efficient back office. The location should be central and easily accessible to other regions within your locality.
Essentials for a back office are accountant, secretary and receptionist. You need to answer regular call and bid effectively on contracts.
Your truck feet should have ample parking during downtime. Furnish your office appropriately with fax machine, computer, dedicate phone line and office furniture.
Hire Staff
The primary workers in a trucking business are those that secure the contracts and the drivers. Before you start your trucking business you need to determine the business model.
Are you going to hire your own drivers use your equipment or sub-contractors? Having In-house drivers provide total control and better efficiency during pick-up and delivery. However the amount of funding to run in-house trucks and drivers is enormous.
License and Permits
Register your trucking business as a limited liability company. Although there are many sole proprietors operating a limited liability company reduces the liability you pay on damaged or lost goods.
Apply for a carrier license, fulfill tax requirements and define your operational status. Others are commercial trucking license, permits and safety protocols.
Find out what is obtainable in your country and comply. Insurance cover is very important in the trucking business. Make sure you talk to your insurance brokers and get the most appropriate cover for the business.
Checklist for Trucking License and Permits
Trucking is regulated and strict compliance to rule and regulations is mandatory. Here is a small checklist for owner operated trucking companies.
  • Apply for motor carrier authority and federal DOT.
  • Your drivers by law are mandated to have commercial driving license
  • Heavy duty vehicular tax
  • Special license plate for commercial truckers
  • Interstate operational license
  • Some countries have international fuel tax agreement
  • Appropriate insurance cover
  • Register the business as a limited liability company
  • Commercial trucking license
Fund the Trucking Business.
Trucking business is capital intensive so you need adequate funding for the business. Apply for bank loans with fixed long term interest.
Decide on ‘leasing to own’ or purchasing equipment outright. Truckers sometimes get paid immediately or a 30 days after delivery. So you should to put in place effective funding and maintenance system to avoid cash flow challenges.


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