The vast majority of trucking companies in the United States have six or fewer trucks they operate, according to the American Trucking Associations. So, if you have plans to become a new owner-operator, you’re not alone! You’ll also be playing an important role in delivering the massive amounts of freight transported by the trucking industry. As you move forward with your plans, here are 6 steps to legally establish your trucking company.
Start with a business plan for your trucking operation. This is an important step since it will serve as a blueprint for how you establish your trucking company. A standard business plan includes:
It’s common for a new trucking company to be set up as a limited liability company (LLC). In a nutshell, what this does is separate your business and personal assets and legal liabilities. In other words, if somebody sued your trucking company, they couldn’t come after your own personal assets.
With the formation of a corporation or LLC, steps you’ll need to take include:
In order to legally run your trucking operation, you’ll have to obtain the necessary federal, state, or local licenses and permits. The specific licenses and permits you’ll need to operate will depend on factors such as where you intend to operate and how you’ll be running your business.
Owner-operators typically need the following licenses/permits:
*Related endorsements may be required.
Do you plan to operate in multiple states? If so, you’ll also need International Registration Plan (IRP) credentials and an International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) decal.
The equipment you have for your trucking business will play a big role in how successful and productive you are. As you go about looking for your truck(s) and any other necessary equipment, be sure to:
The right insurance will keep you legal and provide some added peace-of-mind should something unexpected happen. Do your homework and check with several agents to get quotes and policy details. Truck-related insurance coverage that’s typically required or needed includes:
As you get started with your trucking business, your budget will likely be tight. So, have a good idea of what your expenses will be as you get started. Also, carefully track all of your expenses. With finances, it can also be helpful to:
Finally, you’ll need to start looking for loads. A common way to do this in the trucking industry is with load boards. There are apps you can use to search for and manage loads as well. Also, remember to adhere to any industry, state, or local guidelines and requirements so you’ll stay in compliance.