How To Start Trucking Business In USA?

How To Start Trucking Business In USA?

The American trucking business is critical to the country’s economy, transporting commodities over long distances. If you’ve ever wanted to operate a trucking company in the United States, you’re not alone. 

Today, we’ll look at how to start your own trucking firm in the United States. What authorities you must be informed of, what permissions you must get, and much more.

Steps To Start A Trucking Business

1. Acquire driving experience

To begin, you must have a commercial driver’s license. You can attend a private truck driving school, or certain trucking firms may sponsor you to attend a CDL school. Many drivers who eventually become owner-operators will begin their careers as company drivers for a few years.

2. Create a business strategy

Make sure you have a strategy before you start your business. It should clearly illustrate your expected revenue and costs. Remember to include the money you will pay yourself for living costs in your expenses. You might want to employ a business counselor to assist you in figuring out which plan is best for you.

3. Determine the structure of your company.

The following are examples of common trucking business structures:

Corporation (C-corp, S-corp, etc.) Limited liability company (LLC)

Each structure has advantages and disadvantages depending mostly on responsibility and taxes, which vary by state. You should consult with an accountant to determine which structure is appropriate for your company.

4. Save money to cover startup costs.

Starting a trucking company necessitates a significant initial expenditure to acquire a tractor and trailer(s), as well as licensing and registration. Determine finance sources and terms, then get a line of credit. Experts recommend that you save enough money to cover your first six months of operations, including leasing payments.

5. Make a plan for your company’s operations.

Plan out how your company will work, down to the smallest yet most significant details such as:

Where will the truck/equipment be parked? Who will look after it? How will you locate loads and sales? How will billing, accounting, payroll, and taxes be handled in the back office?

6. Comply with federal and state government regulations

Before you begin operations, your organization must meet the following requirements:

USDOT Number – The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) requires carriers to have a unique identification that is used to gather and monitor safety data, inspections, crash investigations, and so on.

Operating authorization – The DOT must grant operating authorization to all for-hire carriers. This determines the sort of cargo you may transport.

Heavy Vehicle Use Tax- The federal government levies an annual levy on vehicles weighing more than 55,000 pounds to support highway programs.

International Registration Plan (IRP) – The International Registration Plan distributes registration payments based on the distance traveled in each state or Canadian province. To register, go to your state’s transportation website.

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) – The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an agreement between the lower 48 states of the United States and Canadian provinces to simplify the reporting of fuel usage by carriers who drive in various jurisdictions. Carriers submit a quarterly fuel tax report that calculates and distributes their tax to the states.

BOC-3 Filing – Carriers must designate a process agent to whom court papers in a judicial proceeding may be served. You must appoint a process agent in each state where you have an office or have contracts. Some firms provide blanket coverage, designating a process agent in every state in the United States.

FMCSA Clearinghouse and Drug Testing – It’s critical to stay legal by maintaining your drug testing program and registering all drivers with the FMCSA Clearinghouse, whether it’s to comply with government rules or customer contracts.

Other federal and state laws exist, such as height and weight standards, EPA/air quality regulations, and safety guidelines. DAT Authority can help you gain your authority, handle your IFTA tax reporting, and aid with other compliance obligations if you want someone else to handle the paperwork for you.

7. Obtain insurance

Insurance is a big cost for trucking companies. The following types of insurance are necessary for goods transport:

Primary Liability: You must have $750,000 in primary liability coverage to cover damage or injury caused by an accident in which you are at fault. Many shippers and brokers need a minimum of $1 million in main liability insurance.

Cargo: The most usual request for cargo coverage is $100,000, although this can vary depending on what you are shipping. This covers goods damage and/or theft.

Physical Damage: Provides coverage for truck damage in incidents for which you are not at fault.

Non-trucking-use (bobtail): This protects you if you are involved in an accident while not transporting a load for someone else.

Per-Load Insurance: Reduce your annualized insurance expenses while immediately covering specialty loads with fast and cost-effective all-risk smart coverage in under 40 seconds.

8. Purchase or lease a vehicle and trailer.

Equipment can be purchased or leased in the same way that automobiles can. In any case, you must first identify what sort of goods you intend to transport. 

Do you intend to run solely day excursions or require a sleeping cabin? Will you buy a van, a refrigerated trailer, or a flatbed trailer as your first trailer? The following are some examples of frequent leases:

Operating (Full-Service) Lease: With this lease, you take care of maintenance, taxes, and permits, and then walk away at the conclusion of the lease period.

Terminal Rental Adjustment Clause (TRAC) Lease: With this lease, you pay a small down payment and then either buy the vehicle for its residual value or have the leasing company sell it to you at the conclusion of the lease.

If the leasing business earns a profit on the sale, you get the difference; if it loses money, you get the difference.

Lease Purchase Programmes: Lease-purchase programs are typically used by truckers who do not have enough money for a down payment or who have poor credit. According to experts, such arrangements often cost more than standard finance.


To summarise, beginning a trucking business in the United States involves careful preparation, proper licensing, financial preparedness, and compliance with different regulations. It’s a difficult yet rewarding endeavor. You can negotiate the complexity of the market and develop a profitable trucking company with the correct preparation and perseverance.

Best wishes on your road to becoming a trucking company owner!


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