A trucking company is involved in transporting large quantities of raw materials, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. Please note that the trucking industry hauled 72.5 percent of all freight transported in the United States in 2019, equating to 11.84 billion tons.
The trucking industry was a $791.7 billion industry in that same year, representing 80.4 percent of the nation’s freight bill. As of May 2015, over 90.0 percent of companies in the United States long-distance freight trucking industry are owner-operators.
According to the industry market research firm IBISWorld, J.B. Hunt Transport Services holds an estimated 2.5 percent market share, YRC Worldwide holds 1.8 percent, FedEx holds 1.6 percent, United Parcel Service of America owns 1.5 percent, and Con-way holds 1.4 percent.
Steps on How to Start a Trucking Company
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
If you are considering starting a trucking company, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your trucking company should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.
In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, tell you what your potential market will be looking out for from a trucking company, and also help you operate your trucking company with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.
a. Who is the Target Market for a Trucking Company?
- Construction companies
- E-commerce businesses
- Merchants and Warehouse Operators
- Retailers who would want to move their goods from one location to another
- Manufacturers (food products, spare parts, furniture manufacturers, and home appliances manufacturers et al)
- Households who would want to move from one apartment to another
- Corporate organizations who would want to move from one office to another
- Government agencies who have cause to move light goods and materials from one location to another
b. Is Trucking Company a Profitable Business?
Yes, the trucking company is very profitable. Available data show that the industry is currently (2022) worth over $67.3 billion in the United States of America.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
No, there are no existing niches when it comes to a trucking company, but a trucking company may decide to specialize in transporting certain types of goods.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- UPS Freight
- FedEx Freight
- B. Hunt
- YRC Worldwide
- Swift Transportation
- Hub Group
- Schneider National
- Landstar System
- XPO Logistics
- Old Dominion Freight Line
- MVSN Trucking
- PLS Logistics Services
- Wynne Transport Service
- DVL Express Inc
- Independent Landstar Agent
- Shelton Trucking
- JetEx Logistics
- ATC Trucking
- Puma Logistics
- Diamond State Trucking.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Trucking Company?
Yes, there are county or state regulations or zoning laws for a trucking company. Players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing similar businesses in the county where their business is domiciled.
Please note that trucks are required to stop at motor carrier safety and weight inspection stations when signs direct them to do so. To drive large trucks, you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must adhere to the hours of service, which are regulations governing the driving hours of commercial drivers. Drivers must be at least 21 years old to drive on the interstates, with efforts being made to reduce the age to 18.
f. Is There a Franchise for Trucking Company?
Yes, there are franchise opportunities for trucking businesses. Here are some of them;
- BlueGrace Logistics
- Craters & Freighters
- Worldwide Express
- United Shipping, Inc.
- SUPPLY POINTe
- United Charis Transport LLC
- Unishippers Global Logistics LLC
- AIT Freight Systems.
- TWO MEN AND A TRUCK.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Trucking Company?
- A Feasibility Report
- Business and Marketing Plans
- Business Licenses and Permits
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
- A Corporate Bank Account
- IRP Plates
- Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
Choose a Memorable Business Name
When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a trucking business are;
Creative Trucking Company Business Name ideas
- Truck IT© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Cross Country® Trucking Company, LLC
- Ganda Guys© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Logistics Solutions® Trucking Company, Inc.
- Trucking King™ Trucking Company, Inc.
- Grit and Move™ Trucking Company, LLC.
- Young Movers© Trucking Company, LLC
- Tandy T® Trucking Company, Inc.
- Star Line© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Chariots© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Safe Hands® Trucking Company, LLC
- State Base® Trucking Company, LLC
- Tally Top™ Trucking Company, LLC
- Rapid Movers© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Justin Ben® Trucking Company, Inc.
- Amos Banks™ Trucking Company, Inc.
- Goodie Guys™ Trucking Company, Inc.
- Back and Forth© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Joel Jamez® Trucking Company, LLC
- Benny Blanco™ Trucking Company, Inc.
Register Your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Trucking Company?
When it comes to the business structure of a trucking company, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Trucking Company?
- General Business License
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
- IRP Plates
- Zonal Permits
- Signage Permit
- Operational State Facility Inspections for your parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Trucking Company?
You don’t need any certifications to start a trucking company.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Trucking Company?
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Building Approval (For your parking)
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
- IRP Plates
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Document
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
If you are considering starting a trucking company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Trucking Company?
A trucking company will cost from $50,000 to over a million dollars to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.
For example, the price of a truck depends largely on its size, and light-duty class 2 and 3 trucks run from $25,000 to $45,000. Medium duty class 4 trucks run $35,000 to $50,000. Medium duty class 5 trucks run $45,000 to $70,000.
b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Trucking Company
- The total fee for registering a business in the United States of America – is $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services total – $1,200.
- Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $80.
- The cost for hiring a business consultant (writing of business plans inclusive) – is $4,500.
- Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and auto insurance) coverage at a total premium – of $12,400.
- The cost of logistics software, accounting software, CRM software, and Payroll Software – is $1,500
- The cost for leasing a facility (long-term lease agreement) – is $105,600.
- The cost for facility remodeling and installations – is $20,000.
- The cost for the purchase of trucks: $100,000
- Other start-up expenses including stationery – $500
- Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
- Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $50,000
- The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,150
- The cost for the purchase of office furniture and gadgets – is $8,000.
- The cost of launching an official website – is $1,200
- Miscellaneous – $2,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Trucking Company?
- The size of the trucking company (number of trucks you want to start the business with)
- The choice of location
- The required licenses and permits
- The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the trucking company
- The cost of furnishing and equipping the facility
- The cost of insurance
- The cost of registering the business
- Cost of recruiting and training your staff
- The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?
It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your trucking company, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your own parking facility and administrative office. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Trucking Company?
- Gas (fueling) and lubricants
- Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
- Salaries of employees
- Trucks maintenance
- Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $68,000 Per Year
- Admin and HR Manager – $48,000 Per Year
- Transport and Logistics Manager $48,000 Per Year
- Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer) – $42,000 Per Year
- Accountant $38,000 Per Year
- Truck Drivers – $36,800 Per Year
- Material Handlers/Yard Spotters orklifts Operators – $28,000 Per Year
- Customer Service Officer (Receptionist) – $26,100 Per Year
- Security Guard -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Trucking Company?
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
- Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
a. Executive Summary
Trucking King™ Trucking Company, Inc. is a registered and licensed trucking company that will be based in Overland Park, Kansas. Trucking King will focus on special services that include but are not limited to oversized, rare, and unusual commercial and military cargo, as well as the planning, coordination, and implementation/transportation of hazardous nuclear waste from source to destination.
b. Products and Service
Transporting large quantities of raw materials, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers and also from seaports to warehouses et al.
c. Mission Statement
Our mission at Trucking King™ Trucking Company, Inc. is to safely provide professional transportation services while utilizing well-trained employees, state-of-the-art information systems, and a well-maintained fleet to ensure your products reach their destinations timely.
Our vision is to become one of the preferred choices when it comes to transporting goods in the United States of America and Canada.
d. Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of a trucking company are to transport goods from one location to another, making it the ideal option for local and international freight-hauling jobs.
e. Organizational Structure
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
- Admin and HR Manager
- Transport and Logistics Manager
- Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer)
- Truck Drivers
- Material Handlers/Yard Spotters/Forklifts Operators
- Customer Service Officer (Receptionist)
a. SWOT Analysis
- Excellent operational history
- Attention to detail.
- Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
- Experience and trained professionals.
- Large storage facility.
- Excellent customer testimonials.
- Reliable and efficient trucks and service.
- Not enough clientele to run at full capacity immediately
- The owner is new to large scale marketing
- We will need a loan to build our facility and to purchase trucks and vans
- The owner is currently running the business solo and will need to build out the existing business
- Lack of economies of scale.
- Growing eCommerce activities in the United States.
- Build upon existing clientele
- Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
- Increase in the number of families moving from one apartment to another.
- Increase in the movement of goods from one location to another
- Increase in production activities and warehousing.
- Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
- The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
- Competition in the area could increase
- Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
- The transport department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate our business.
b. How Do Trucking Companies Make Money?
Trucking companies make money by charging clients for moving their goods from one location to another and also by advertising on their trucks and providing short storage facilities for clients.
c. Payment Options
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via check
- Payment via mobile money transfer
- Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Introduce Your trucking company by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to corporate organizations that are into manufacturing, merchants and warehouse operators, households, and key stakeholders in and around your city and state
- Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, train stations et al.
- Use friends and family to spread the word about your business
- Post information about your company and the services you offer on bulletin boards in places like seaports, industrial hubs, local coffee shops et al
- Place a small or classified advertisement in the newspaper, or local publication about your company and the services we offer
- Leverage on referral networks such as agencies that will attract clients who would need your services
- Advertise your business in relevant magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio stations.
- Attend relevant expos, seminars, and business fairs et al to market our services
- Engage in a direct marketing approach
- Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry to market your services.
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?
Most trucking companies charge an hourly rate that generally includes a moving truck, all the equipment, miscellaneous materials, and the movers. The more moving helpers or trucks needed for your specific move, the higher the hourly rate will be. For example, a truck and 2 movers may cost $120 per hour. We will follow the industry’s standard
b. How Much Profit Do Trucking Company Owners Make a Year?
It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a trucking company owner should net more than $110,275 per year assuming they have a steady clientele.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- The capacity of the trucking company (number and sizes of trucks owned)
- The types of related services
- The location the trucking company is covering
- The management style of the trucking company
- The business approach of the trucking company
- The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the trucking company.
- The number of years the trucking company is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Trucking Company?
The profit margin of a trucking company is not fixed. It could range from 25 percent to 65 percent depending on the distance to cover.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Below is the sales forecast of a trucking company. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;
- First Fiscal Year: $520,000
- Second Fiscal Year: $780,000
- Third Fiscal Year: $1.8 million
Set Up your Office
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Trucking Company?
- The demography of the location especially as it relates to manufacturing, warehousing, eCommerce activities, and shipping
- The demand for the haulage services offered by trucking companies in the location
- The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of trucking companies and owner-operated trucking businesses in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Trucking Company?
- Green Bay, Wisconsin
- Seattle, Washington
- Montpelier, Vermont
- Greensboro, North Carolina
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Manchester, New Hampshire
- Great Fall, Montana
- Louis, Missouri
- Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
- Bowling Green, Kentucky.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Trucking Company?
You should be prepared to purchase forklifts, loaders, pallets, crates et al. You will also need computers or laptops, an internet facility, telephone, fax machine, and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard trucking company, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, transport and logistics manager, marketing and sales executive (business developer), accountant, truck drivers, material handlers/yard spotters/forklifts operators and customer service officer (receptionist). These are some of the key employees that you can work with.
Launch the Business Proper
In recent times, no trucking company opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.
The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the trucking company, you will be able to officially inform people in your city that your trucking company is open for business.
a. What Makes a Trucking Company Successful?
- Choose a good location and reliable trucks to launch the business
- Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
- Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
- Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your trucking company
- Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your trucking company
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Trucking Company?
- The business is open for the day’s work
- The trucks are washed, cleaned, and ready for picking up and transporting goods
- Customer’s requests are taken and they are scheduled or attended to
- Schedule maintenance of trucks is carried out
- Marketing/website upkeep
- The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Trucking Company?
- Good driving skills
- Customer services skills
- Interpersonal skill
- Logistics and material handling skills
- Business management skills
- Bargaining skill
- Work experience in the transport and logistics industry
- Experience in managing people
- Experience in business administration
- Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.