If you own your own rig or just have the desire to manage a trucking business, be prepared to balance your on-the-road time with a laundry list of tasks that are required to run an efficient day-to-day operation. Happily, there are many benefits associated with this type of work, from healthy earnings potential to running the business exactly as you always said you would back in the day when someone else was the boss. Like most enterprises, the first two years can make or break a newbie, but if you stay focused, commit to putting in your share of sweat equity and follow the suggestions of those who have enjoyed long, satisfying careers as trucking business managers, your efforts will be rewarded, on and off the road, now and in the future.
(1) Evaluate your business’s hauling parameters and limits. If you work with a wide variety of independent contractors, you may be prepared to offer both moving and hauling services to compete with a diverse range of other trucking services in the area. Assuming you do only one type of trucking, capitalize on your specialty by becoming known as the best choice via your advertising and marketing efforts.
(2) Search for underwriting to keep the business running and expanding. The fact that you are managing, rather than launching, a trucking company means you won’t qualify for start-up funds, so presentations to banks, credit unions and venture capitalists will require a clear financial picture of how your business has been doing since it opened its doors. Included in the documentation you’ll be asked to provide are recent business tax returns, profit and loss statements, a business plan and credit references.
(3) Obtain business licenses and permits required by trucking industry regulators. Verify the following with federal and state licensing authorities to see if new laws require you to obtain credentials in addition to IFTA decals, fuel tax reporting workups, MC numbers, 2290s, IRP tags and USDOT numbers.
(4) Use existing customers as springboards for attracting new business. For instance, you may wish to offer referral discounts on a future hauling job if you land a job courtesy of a current client’s recommendation. You will also find new business by attending regional conferences, setting up co-op relationships and instituting barter agreements. If your business focuses on moving households from place to place, your relationships with local realtors can land you a wealth of business year round.
(5) Assemble a strong, safe team of drivers by obtaining thorough background checks on everyone with whom you contract. Using independent contractors mediates liability risks and saves you from the burdensome documentation required of trucking firms hiring full-time drivers. Consider employing teams of independent contractors. Husband and wife teams offer stability and the assurance that even if one becomes ill, the other can drive to meet your time and delivery commitments.
(6) Keep thorough records by using one of the many software programs on the market written exclusively for people who run or own trucking companies. The link in Resources below will give you a tour of the many packages currently available those in the industry. Each can help streamline operations and make you more efficient. You may also wish to contract with a consultant specializing in trucking industry audits from time to time to make certain nothing slips through the cracks.