Starting a trucking company might seem like a daunting task, but it’s far easier than you might think. You just have to remember to follow these pearls of wisdom.
- Legally Form Your Company
The best way to do this is to talk to a lawyer to form a corporation or an LLC. In either case, you’ll need to appoint a registered agent. This agent is the state’s way of contacting your business and will be needed to receive your legal documents. You’ll also need an EIN (employer identification number) for tax purposes. The next step is to get the necessary permits and insurance. An essential permit to have is your USDOT MC (motor carrier) number, which will let the government know about your trucking company.
- Buy Your Trucks and Equipment
You should consider buying used trucks if you’re starting out. Research semi trucks for sale and make sure to check it out in-person. Most of the time, used equipment is just as good as new, but better – it’s typically at a great price! Most dealers will make sure that any pre-owned trucks they sell will be in excellent condition, so you won’t have to worry about potential issues. You should also take what you plan to haul into account. For example, you should consider refrigerated compartments if you want to haul perishable goods. It doesn’t hurt to speak to other professionals who have become owner-operators. They can tell you what equipment and truck models work for them.
- Find and Know Your Loads and Haulers
Newcomers to the trucking industry can find freight on online load boards. Some load boards are free while others charge monthly subscription fees. These boards can help you build relationships with brokers. Another good idea is to run credit checks on your potential clients. These can show whether or not you’re likely to be paid on a regular basis. Credit check services often charge subscription fees, but they’re worth it in the long run.
- Save Money on Fuel
One of the biggest expenses you’ll have to deal with is fuel for your trucks. The simplest solution to this is to get a fuel card. Trucking companies with these cards will always get the cash price at fueling stations, and they may even get discounts. Many companies also offer online tools that come with the card such as fuel theft protection services and fuel management tools that show just how much fuel your company is consuming on a monthly basis.
- Track Your Finances
Once you’ve hauled a load, you’ll have to wait 30-90 days to receive payment. While you’re waiting, you might not be able to get financing from a bank to keep the company going. This is where working with a factoring company comes in handy. These companies can advance a percentage of your payment the day your freight is delivered, so you’ll have the money for things like payroll. You should also consider hiring an accountant or subscribing to bookkeeping software to keep your balance sheets in order. Another good idea is to maintain separate business and personal accounts. You should also keep all of your records and receipts to prove your expenses if the need should arise.