A trucking business can service many different industries and deliver many different products across North America. The industry is heavily regulated, and there are typically several licenses and permits required to operate your business. It may take some time to turn a profit, but once you have your trucks on the road and contracts signed, it is a business that can be quite profitable.
Obtain all of the necessary permits and licenses to start the business. These include your Commercial Driver's License (CDL), U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number (also known as a motor carrier number), Unified Carrier Registration (UCR), International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and International Registration Plan (IRP) tags. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website located in the Resources section for more information.
Obtain all of the necessary insurance required to run a trucking business. This will include Primary Liability Insurance, General Liability Insurance and Cargo Insurance. Look for an insurance agency in your area that specializes in the trucking industry.
Market your business in trade publications such as "American Trucker," "Commercial Carrier Journal," "The Dispatch" and "Fleet Owner." Find larger trucking companies in your area, and offer to subcontract. Contact any acquaintances you have in the trucking industry and tell them that you have started your own company. Contact a freight broker who can match you up with jobs that need to be completed.
Hire experienced drivers who have good professional records. Insist they produce a current copy of their driver's record that can be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Create a list of qualities and traits you would like in your drivers, and work them into the interview process. Consider using owner / operators to cut down on costs. Set up appointments with a local lab to have drivers go through drug testing.
Purchase computer software particular to the trucking industry such as Axon, Arcline 2000 or Truckers Helper. This will help keep your business organized and professional.
Sign up with a trucking temp agency to keep your business fully stocked with drivers when you are shorthanded. They will ensure that drivers are well trained and have good employment records. Visit the MTS Driver Recruiters website to find what you need.
Determine what type of freight you will be hauling before investing in trucks. Food items might require refrigerated trailers, while larger items might require a flatbed. A more standard trailer can be used for general freight. Prices can vary greatly depending on the type of trailer and whether it is new or used. Refer to the Resources box for a comprehensive list of trucks for sale. If buying seems too costly, look into leasing trucks.