For years the transport industry has been going strong, and because of the Internet, demand has never been higher. ew merchandise arrives in stores daily, but have you ever wondered how it gets there? Starting an auto transport business can be a rewarding experience, and knowing you are helping yourself and others along the way makes it more satisfying. Follow these steps and you’re on your way to a rewarding career.
Steps to follow:
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business on the IRS website. This number identifies your business to the Internal Revenue Service and separates your company from others.
Plan some time to set aside to search for a company that fits your need for Truck Driver Liability Insurance. The insurance needs to protect your drivers, trucks, and the goods that are being hauled. The premiums are expensive, but in order to transport freight legally, this is a requirement.
Develop a fictitious name (or assumed name, trade name, or DBA name–short for “doing business as”) that is different than your personal name, the names of your partners or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation.
Your business’ legal name is required on all government forms and applications, including your application for employer tax IDs, licenses and permits. However, if you want to open a shop or sell your products under a different name, then you may have to file a “fictitious name” registration form with your government agency.
Make it a priority to obtain your motor carrier number (AKA MC number) at least four to six weeks before you start your business. It takes that long to process and you will need the MC number to continue to set up your remaining priorities. The MC number is your operating authority that gives you the right to carry goods across the United States legally. Every company should have an MC number.
Find a bonding company that will cater to your needs as a transport company. The surety bond gives protection to your company in case of accidents or lawsuits. A surety bond is essentially a credit instrument and therefore is underwritten like a bank loan. You will need your MC number to obtain your bond.
Call your local City Hall and ask if you need a state business license. Some states require it, to be safe, find out if other licenses are required.
Schedule a day to plan out how your company will keep organized. There are different software programs out there, including Quickbooks and MI Consulting, or create your own to fit your company. The software you will need should help enhance your company and make it easier to run your business. Make sure you have features that include accounts receivable, accounts payable, and tracking.
Obtain a business bank account immediately. Make sure you have chosen a bank that fits your needs as a business owner and make sure you know the fees and rules associated with their business.
Start building a structure for a website. This is the first time a customer will recognize you and your company and, as the saying goes, “The first impressions is the best impression”. This is where the customer sees critical information about insurance, contacts, your requirements as a transporter, and most important what your company brings to the table–why he should choose you instead of another company.
Advertising can be the hardest part of the business, “How do I get customers to find my company?” The best way to advertise is Internet load boards. Load boards are ads that customers and truckers place to connect with companies via the Internet about what freight they have, where they are, where they need to go, and how much they are paying. Some load boards are free and some have a monthly fee. This is a legitimate way to get started, get noticed, and if you do well, get more jobs by word of mouth. Load boards are the success or the bane of Auto Transporters.