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How To Start A Trucking Company in 7 Steps

How To Start A Trucking CompanyHow To Start A Trucking Company
min read
August 21, 2023

The trucking industry is full of opportunity—and can be extremely lucrative for people who do it right. But how, exactly, do you do start a trucking company?


Let’s take a look at everything you need to know to build a successful trucking company from the ground up.

Why Start A Trucking Business?

Before we jump into how to start a trucking business, let’s cover why you might want to consider starting a trucking business in the first place. And the biggest reason you should consider getting your foot in the door in the trucking industry? The opportunity.

According to data outlined in Business Insider, 80 percent of all cargo in the United States is transported by trucks—which is four times as much cargo as the next four transportation methods (air, pipeline, rail, and water) combined. And that much cargo being transported by truck offers a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to get into the trucking business; currently, the trucking industry is valued at approximately $726 billion—with freight revenues projected to grow by a whopping 75 percent by 2026. 

And it’s not just the business that stands to make large revenues; owner-operators of trucking businesses also pull large paychecks, with the average owner-operator making $141,000 per year.

Clearly, starting a trucking company is a great small business opportunity. But how do you go about starting your own trucking operation?

Step 1: Figure Out What Kind of Trucking Business You Want to Start

The very first step to starting a trucking company? Figuring out what kind of trucking company you want to start. The type of trucking company you want to launch will guide the entire business building process—so it’s important to get clear on your business type from the beginning.

Not sure what kind of trucking enterprise you want to pursue? Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself:

Step 2: Draft A Plan

Once you’ve figured out what type of trucking company you want to build, it’s time to create a plan for how to build that company—which means drafting a business plan.

To use a trucking analogy, think of your business plan as a roadmap; you’re the driver—and your business plan is going to give you directions on how to get from where you are now (a person with an idea for a trucking organization) to where you want to go (a business owner with a thriving trucking empire). 

But what, exactly, do you need to include in that roadmap? Your business plan should include detailed insights into how you plan to start, grow, and manage your business, including:


A business plan takes time, energy, and effort. But it’s an investment in the long-term success of your trucking endeavor—and an absolute must before you launch your business.

Step 3: Take Care of the Legal Side of Starting a Business

Once you have a plan for your trucking organization in place, it’s time to take care of the legal side of starting a business. So, what does that mean? The steps you’ll want to take to legally form and establish your business include:

Step 4: Get the Right Licenses and Permits

In order to start operating your trucking enterprise, there are certain licenses and permits you’ll need to secure, including:

The licenses and permits you’ll need to operate will depend on your business and location; make sure to research licensure and permitting procedures in your area to ensure you have everything you need to legally get your business up and running

Step 5: Secure Trucks and Any Other Necessary Equipment and Tools

You can’t start a truck business without trucks—so the next step in the process? Getting your trucks.

You can either lease or buy your own trucks (including used trucks)—but make sure that the trucks you secure for your business are equipped for your needs. (For example, if you’re going to be transporting extra-large items, you want to make sure the truck bed has plenty of space to accommodate the cargo).

At this stage, you should also secure any other tools or equipment you need to successfully run your business—for example, office equipment, training materials, or a payroll and workers’ compensation platform.

Step 6: Hire A Team (When You’re Ready)

When you’re just starting your trucking business, you’re probably going to be wearing a lot of hats; for example, you may be driving the truck, managing business development, and tackling all the financial and administrative tasks necessary to keep your business moving forward.

But as you grow, you’re likely going to want to hire a team. Depending on your business/goals, this may include:

Make sure that, when you’re building your business, you hire people that you trust to represent your business and your brand—both on the road and with your customers.

Step 7: Find Customers

You’ve done everything on the backend to get your trucking company ready to go. So the final step in the process? Getting out there and finding customers to work with and cargo to transport.

There are a few different ways to connect with potential customers for your new business venture, including:

What Does It Cost to Start A Trucking Business?

Now that you know the steps to take to start a trucking organization, let’s talk about how much you can expect it to cost you.

According to Keep Truckin, some of the costs you may expect when launching your trucking operation:

Total potential costs to start a trucking business: $7,000 - $25,000 plus driver salaries, insurance, and operating costs

Keep in mind that your actual business costs will vary; while these numbers give a ballpark for a smaller trucking operation, Keep Truckin estimates that a larger scale operation could need up to $5 million in capital to cover startup and operating costs.

Can You Start A Trucking Business with No Money?

As you can see, there are certain costs associated with starting a trucking company. But what if you don’t have the cash to cover those costs? Can you still start a trucking business?

Unfortunately, no. Like any business, you’ll need some startup capital in order to get your trucking organization off the ground—whether that’s money from investors, a business loan, or your own bank account.

Is Starting A Trucking Business Profitable?

Now that you know how to start a trucking company—and what kind of cash you might need to get the ball rolling (or, in this case, the truck driving—the big question is: is starting a trucking business profitable in the long run?

And the answer is: it certainly can be—but it all depends on you.

Your business’ profitability will depend on how much money you bring in vs. how much money you spend to run your business—or, in other words, how much you spend for every mile you drive vs. how much you charge your customers for each mile. If you’re charging your customers more per mile than it costs to drive, your trucking business will be profitable—but if you’re charging your clients less than your costs, your company is going to be in the red.

It sounds basic, but if you want your trucking organization to make money, make sure your prices more than cover your operating costs; if they do, you’ll become more profitable with every haul. But if not? Every haul will push you further and further into debt.

Get Out There and Launch Your Trucking Empire

The idea of starting a new business can be daunting—and that includes a business in the trucking world. But now that you know exactly how to build a successful trucking/freight business from the ground up, you have everything you need to launch your trucking empire. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get trucking!

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