The trucking industry is one of the most lucrative in the world, and it’s the same all over the globe, so if you’re in love with the idea of trucking, then this may be the perfect business enterprise for you.
Create a Business Plan
Include information about what you hope to achieve as a business, focusing on the strategies that you will use, and what types of accounts you will service. You should also include business projections about what you expect to generate in earnings.
Register Your Company
Set up a limited liability company for your trucking business. This model allows for a lack of formality in running it, making it a popular choice for truckers. You will need to file articles of organisation with your state and pay a fee for filing.
Obtain a Commercial Driver’s License
Also known as a CDL, this will require you to take a specific driving exam and pay a fee to the state. You must pass the appropriate knowledge test for the vehicle you plan to drive, as must any staff members that you employ as your business grows. Knowledge tests are free and no appointment is necessary, but make sure that you allow long enough to complete your test prior to the time that your local DMV service centre closes. The test will take you 1-1 ½ hours, and you’ll be required to answer at least 80 per cent of the questions correctly in order to pass.
In accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 49 CFR 391, Subpart E, you must pass a medical examination and hold a valid Federal Medical Card to drive in intrastate or interstate commerce. Thus, at the time of licensing, you must be able to show a Federal Medical Card to the DMV to avoid restrictions being imposed on your licence. You will also be required to complete form MV3230, Commercial Driver Certification: Tier of Operation, informing the DMV of where you operate commercially.
Buy a Truck
The most important thing for a trucking company: a truck. Whether you choose a new truck or a used one, you need to make sure that it is suitable for the freight that you plan on carrying. If you plan on hauling food, for example, then you’ll need a refrigerated truck.
Thinking through your decision is incredibly important, as your choice of vehicle will have a major impact on your business. Make the right choice, and you’ll improve your fuel efficiency, safety and profitability. A five step process is recommended for selection, which requires you to consider your operating environment and the vehicle layout; vehicle performance; health and safety; maintenance and appearance. For a more in-depth guide, take a look here.
Buy Insurance Cover
If you’re starting a trucking business, then you’ll need HGV haulage insurance to ensure that you’re covered for a range of inevitabilities, including motor, transit, liability and property. There are several things to consider when taking out haulage insurance, such as your vehicle, the distance you travel and the amount of drop-offs you make each day. Policies vary widely, and it’s always worthwhile to compare a range of products to ensure that you get the best cover for you at the very best price.
The following are generally included as standard by brokers:
- Breakdown cover
- Courtesy vehicle hire
- Windscreen cover
- Goods in transit cover
- Public liability
- Employer’s liability
- Driver’s personal belongings
Most insurance companies will offer fleet insurance policies for those with multiple vehicles, and this proves more cost-effective for larger fleets than taking out individual policies.
Easier said than done, you need to find customers for a successful business. If you have experience in the industry, you could call on some of your previous clients. You could call up companies that may need freight shipped and offer your services. Alternatively, call up other trucking companies and offer yourself as a freelancer.
Start off with a few clients and do your best to meet deadlines. If you do a good job, word of mouth will work in your favour, and you’ll start to get referrals and have more work.
If you have more work than you can handle, then it might be time to grow. However, you should hire those who already own their own vehicles, as buying new equipment every time you need to expand will come at quite a cost.
Learn to be Frugal
Being a trucker won’t earn you loads of money overnight, so you need to learn to operate your business so that you can save every dollar that you can.