It would be hard to believe, but the whole story with the US trucking industry began because of Karl Benz. Exactly, just because of one individual, we all got the opportunity to establish an industry that is all about success. To cut a long story short, since the late 1800’s trucking got integrated into the transportation industry thanks to Karl Benz, who came up with the idea of putting the first internal combustion engine in a truck. That was an invention that set the industry on track because before that, people had no opportunity of driving trucks in comfortable cabs with strong trailers capable of carrying any load for any distance. Even though the internal combustion engine was a technological advancement for the trucking industry back then, still many things were impossible to tackle because of limitations by the government. For instance, there was no possibility of carrying weights heavier than 28,000 pounds and driving at a speed higher than 15 mph. Such limitations were challenged after World War I and World War II. Due to the introduction of diesel engines and road improvements in the US, carrying heavy weights and driving at higher speeds became possible. Moreover, with the formation of the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry gained even more privilege.
Of course, more developments touched the trucking industry throughout these years, such as the development of a specific trucker slang. However, to uncover the formula of success of trucking businesses for you, we kept the extensive research part on our side and analyzed everything for you. So, let’s move to the main part of the article and explore the whole mechanism of a trucking business.
The Main Aspects of Trucking Business
The basics that you need to imprint in your mind involve the following points.
- Trucking is listed as a service industry. This means that what gets completed within the trucking business should be planned thoroughly not to miss a detail and accomplish customer satisfaction. Take into account that customer satisfaction is of utmost importance in the service industry and trucking is not an exception. Planning can seem challenging, but as soon as everything is stacked into folders, the implementation stage will go smoothly if monitored professionally.
- Permits and licenses need to be taken care of. Yes, yes, yes! Everything should be conducted legally; otherwise, you will lose your business one day. A trucking company has special obligations regarding taxes and permits from the governments, and all of these should be delegated for a successful trucking business. Moreover, all the truck drivers need to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) alongside certifications required by the government at the time of opening the business, i.e., Hazardous Materials (HazMat) certification.
- A trucking business doesn’t end with trucks and truck drivers. Everything starts back at the office. The thing is that the operations manager starts transmitting the information about the load that needs to be picked up, monitors the process of picking it up, directs the load, and reports when the shipment is successfully delivered. Every little detail is being communicated to the operations manager for further guidance, problem-solving, or other needs. Seems like you need to be picky while recruiting that professional as he or she is fatal for the company.
How to Start a Trucking Company in the US
Okay, we went through the basics, but how exactly you can start a trucking business in the US? Keep in mind that everything needs to be planned beforehand; otherwise, failure is guaranteed. There are phases of developing the trucking business, which includes planning and preparation, business plan creation, legal compliance, finances, accommodations, insurance, truck preparation for roads, workforce recruitment, working process establishment, customer acquisition, and ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and improvement of everything mentioned before. Let’s just cover the primary steps required for a successful company set up to ease the initial stage of starting a trucking business.
- Start with a trucking company business plan
- Establish the trucking business with all legal requirements
- Ensure you have all the permits and business licenses
- Take care of leasing or buying the apt equipment
- Go for insurance coverage required for trucking companies
- Keep track of all the expenses and income
- Go back and forth to ensure that everything aligns
These seven steps are the primary ones required for a successful trucking business setup. It is impossible to succeed in the industry as a separate company without these. To help the progression of your business, you can go over the best trucking company in the region, AJR Trucking, and explore how the business operates, conducts all the management processes, and, more specifically, goes with the recruitment stage. Rumors say that AJR Trucking is one of the best practitioners of apt recruitment empowered by employee appraisal practices.
Write your Trucking Business Plan
The usual trucking business plan encompasses the following sections that you can utilize as a template for crafting one for your future company.
- Executive Summary
- Overview of the Company
- Market Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- Customer Analysis
- Operational Plan
- Sales and Marketing Plans
- Management and Personnel
- Financial Plan
- Funding Proposal
These are the main steps you need to undertake until the perfect business plan is ready. Indeed, it is recommended to put an even stronger emphasis on the Customer Analysis, Financial Plan, and Sales and Marketing Plans sections. The reason for emphasizing these are obvious.
Customer is your primary source of income, and if you are not well-acquainted with your customer, then you can forget about consistent income. That is why your Customer Analysis section needs to be thoroughly researched and analyzed.
Regarding the Financial Plan part, you should know at which stage what to expect financial-wise. First of all, this will keep you away from unexpected disappointments or fluctuating trucking rates as you will have already considered such scenarios. Plus, it will prepare you for large investments and late returns on investment (ROI). Know your finances not to ruin your business.
What concerns the Sales and Marketing Plans part, if you do not allocate a great deal of attention to this section of the business plan, then your business may stay ubiquitous for people. Make sure that you hire one of the professionals in the field to make your company known to the world.
Rules and Regulations for Trucking Companies in the US
Well, everything is fun with starting a trucking business; indeed, when it comes to rules and regulations, everyone should comply. Moreover, if you violate any trucking rule, you may become responsible for serious legal actions dangerous for your equipment and business in general. To save your time and minimize the research amount for you, we have identified the key rules and regulations that need to be followed for the successful provision of the business. Believe it or not, even trucking news mention these occasionally.
- The working hours of each employee need to comply with the limit given by the FMCSA.
- Your company should follow the sleeper accommodation rule and provide sleeping breaks for truck drivers.
- Eating breaks need to be delegated by each truck driver after five consecutive working hours.
- Your company is responsible for truck damages, driver accidents, and other possible damages concerning your equipment and employees.
- Equipment needs to be maintained and employees need to be trained according to the FMCSA standards.
As you have noticed, following FMCSA standards and regulations are significant if you want your business to succeed. Indeed, you may ask, what is the FMCSA? The FMCSA is included in the U.S. Department of Transportation that oversees developments regarding safety standards for commercial vehicles. The FMCSA takes care of carrier safety scores, CDL standards, etc. In short, an important indicator of quality and legal compliance within a trucking business.
License and Permit Checklist
To make it even easier, we have highlighted points that encompass the license and permit checklist that your trucking business needs to comply with.
- Get each truck driver a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Request to get Federal DOT and Motor Carrier Authority numbers
- Make sure the completion of Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
- Go for an International Registration Plan (IRP) license plate
- Investigate Heavy Use Tax regulations
- Get an International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Decal
- Obtain a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)
- Register a BOC-3 form in compliance with the FMCSA
After getting done with these, the primary setup for your trucking business is considered to be completed. Double-check everything you have done so far not to miss a point. Also, ensure that you comply with the legal requirements of 2022. Don’t forget that legal-wise changes can be many, and everything should be monitored from time to time.
Secrets of Successful Trucking Company
Trucking companies like AJR didn’t succeed only just because they completely aligned with all the legal stuff or paid attention to the creation of a detailed business plan. Of course, these had a significant stake in their success; indeed, what mattered most was how they positioned themselves in the consumer’s mind.
It is no surprise that these days the world is full of trends. Consumers always follow those, even unconsciously. So, the number one thing that you should keep in mind before going for the legal and business stuff is complying with the trends popular among your customers. For trucking businesses, two trends are never changing or losing popularity.
- Environmental Sustainability
Following a sustainable business model should be a priority for your trucking business. These days, consumers go after companies that operate on a sustainable basis without harming the environment. If you ensure that your company is a Corporate Socially Responsible (CSR) one prioritizing environmental sustainability, then it will definitely attract customers.
- Employee Appraisal
Considering that employee harassment is common among companies, and usually, it is not spoken about, companies that show respect and appreciation towards employees and talk about it get imprinted in the consumer’s mind. Make sure that your company practices employee appreciation and knows how to make each employee feel respected and important in the company. Afterward, success is guaranteed alongside multiple applicants for a position in your company.
If you have come to a thought of establishing a trucking business in 2022, start researching the trucking industry. Look at companies like AJR Trucking to understand how everything needs to operate to be successful. Follow the steps written in this article and pay close attention to each and every detail, especially if it concerns the legal part of the journey. For last, just believe in yourself and set up your mindset on success.