Just like any business, trucking companies come in all sizes; some trucking companies are large with international offices while others are small trucking companies. The trucking industry can be both competitive and profitable.
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There are several things to know and to prepare for before trying to jump into starting your own trucking company. These are often overlooked but yet are the essential pieces of a much larger puzzle. Many trucker drivers think they can just start up their own operation and act as OOPs but without the proper preparation they end up failing.
All successful small trucking companies need to have a plan, a road map of where the business is planning to go. Much like any journey really. You need to have some basic information before you start a trucking business. Here are a few of the things all small trucking companies must have.
There are of course other aspects as well but these are the essentials. Putting all this together can take a lot of time and energy. Research is the key, joining social media and related industry forums. A lot of the work can be done by yourself but once you have it all together make sure everything is both in legal compliance and correct. It is highly recommended that you work with a legal professional before trying to implement your plan.
After you have pulled out all your hair writing up the plan there are a few other issues to consider. Small trucking companies have a few things in order to be successful. This is not everything, but a good start.
First then all, small trucking companies need to get the right equipment and vehicles for their operational needs. This is of course the most expensive part of any business. So you need to have a good plan and direction for your company to go. Without this how will small trucking companies know what is important for them?
There are several ways to go about acquiring your equipment. The first and one of the most important questions bouncing in your head is whether or not you should buy or lease your trucks? You can purchase it outright, you can lease it, or you can finance the purchase. Of course each has good points and bad points. Whenever you must make payments there are always interest’s fees to contend with. So it really depends on what kind of finances small trucking companies have to finance their fleet.
When small trucking companies purchase something outright, it is theirs to do with as they please. Leasing can offer lower monthly payments but often there are restrictions on the use of the vehicles and equipment. While purchasing on a payment plan gives to you the best of both worlds, the equipment is yours to do with as you wish, yet you don’t have to put out as much up front.
Many of the new or fresh startups will search out for customers deploying freight finder procedures and using a load board. A load board is basically a list of loads waiting for transport. Going online and reviewing these free and paid online load boards can be very beneficial to small trucking companies. Remember though; don’t make this your long term plan for finding customers.
These can be very competitive and yours is just one of many small trucking companies seeking out good loads using this service. Also when using these you must bid for the posted job, the lowest rate is usually the one who gets the run. Be careful to not underbid yourself. Though you might get the contract, if it ends up costing you money then it was not any help.
Free load boards, as of the writing of this article none of these charge, this few are beneficial to most small trucking companies:
Load boards will often offer a free trial. Basically they offer limited services or free services but for a limited amount of time. This few can also help small trucking companies find clients:
Load boards are a good tool, but that is all they are. The best way for small trucking companies to grow is to make sales calls, network, and build your client lists. If you provide a good service and are both punctual and trustworthy, the word will get out. Building these lists can be a lot of work but it will pay off in the long run!
It is very important that you know your expenses. The bottom line breakeven point for all small trucking companies must be known. This includes salaries, truck insurances, truck payments, even utilities. Then of course there are the other costs in trucking industry like: fuel, truck maintenance, and all the other related expenses. Once you determine this, based off the number of trucks in your fleet, you will know the breakeven point.
Your bid should then always be above this point, if small trucking companies want to be successful, and then this is a MUST. At the same time you must keep your bids low enough to be competitive. It can be really hard to maintain that balance.
Owners of small trucking companies must remember there is a lot more to running a trucking company than having trucks, and hiring good drivers. There is all of the back office staff working behind the scene, in the trucking office. What is meant by back office? Well this does depend on the size of your company, but basically they are your administrative staff, your dispatchers, and even your maintenance team.
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