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Starting A Trucking Company

The transportation industry is what keeps countries moving, which is why it is important to be knowledgeable before jumping into it. If you are looking to start a trucking company, look no further, Marquee is here to help simplify trucking. Start your journey off right by following these 8 steps. 

1. Get Driving Experience

First, you need a commercial driver’s license appropriate for your vehicle’s weight category. We recommend that you have at least 2 years of experience.

2. Develop A Business Plan

In order to have a business, you must have a business plan. Determine how your business will be structured (LLC, Corporation, etc.). Also, understand what your revenue and expenses will be, and know what type of cargo are you planning on hauling. Organizing your goals and objectives for your trucking company will help get you on the road to success. 

3. Start-Up Expenses

Starting a trucking company comes with big expenses upfront. Some expenses include: Licensing & Registration, Down Payments/Monthly Payments on Truck(s)/Trailer(s), and Insurance Down Payments. Specialists recommend that you have enough money saved up to cover your first six months of operation, including your lease payments.

4. Business Operations

Do you know how your business will operate? Make sure you plan out everything down to the tiniest crucial detail.

Questions to Consider:

5. Understand Federal Regulations

Before you can begin operating, your company will need to comply with federal and state regulations.

  • DOT Number – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires carriers to have a unique identifier that is used to collect and monitor safety information, inspections, crash investigations, etc.
  • Operating Authority – All for-hire carriers must receive operating authority from the DOT. This dictates what type of cargo you can carry.
  • Heavy Vehicle Use Tax – To fund highway programs, the federal government charges an annual tax on trucks exceeding 55,000 pounds.
  • International Registration Plan (IRP) – IRP distributes registration fees based on the distance traveled in each state or Canadian province. Contact your state’s transportation website to register.
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) – IFTA is an agreement between the lower 48 U.S. states and Canadian provinces to simplify reporting of fuel use by carriers who drive in multiple states. Carriers file a quarterly fuel tax report that determines their tax and distributes it to the states.
  • BOC-3 Filing – Carriers must designate a process agent to whom court papers may be served in a legal proceeding. You need to designate a process agent in each state where you maintain an office or establish contracts. Some companies offer blanket coverage that designates a process agent in every U.S. state.
  • Drug Testing and FMCSA Clearinghouse – Whether it is complying with government regulations or customer contracts, it’s important to stay legal by managing your drug testing program and registering all drivers with the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

6. Insurance

There are a variety of insurance coverages that you can get for your trucking company. Various factors impact your rates, so make sure you work with licensed insurance agents who specialize in the trucking business. Also, be sure to include insurance premiums in your monthly budget.

  • Auto Liability – Auto Liability covers injuries to other drivers/vehicles and damage to public property that an accident caused. State and federal agencies require a minimum of $750,000 combined single limit. Most brokers require that you carry at least $1,000,000 in coverage. 
  • Cargo – Cargo insurance protects the transporter for his or her responsibility in the event of damaged or lost freight. This coverage focuses on your specific operation’s needs and the commodities you typically haul. Most brokers require you to carry at least $100,000 in coverage.
  • Physical Damage – This insurance covers your truck and trailer. This coverage breaks down into Comprehensive and Collision insurance. 
  • General Liability – General Liability insurance policies typically cover you and your company for claims involving bodily injuries and property damage resulting from your products, services, or operations.
  • UIIA – Joining the UIIA benefits motor carriers by providing them “access to the equipment and facilities of railroads, ocean carriers, and equipment leasing companies with a single industry standard interchange contract”.  There are specific insurance requirements to join the UIIA.
  • Trailer Interchange – Trailer interchange provides coverage for damages occurring to a non-owned trailer while it is in your possession but requires a written agreement to be in force between you and the trailer owner.
  • Non-Owned Trailer Coverage – Physical Damage coverage extended to a non-owned trailer while attached to a covered (or scheduled) power unit. When covering the non-owned trailer, there is only covered when the trailer is attached to a covered (scheduled) power unit.
  • Non-Trucking Liability (Bobtail) – This covers you if you are liable for an accident while you are not hauling a load for someone else.
  • Workers’ Compensation – Workers’ compensation offers your employees medical, rehabilitation, income benefits, and more if injured while on the job.
  • Occupational Accident – Occupational Accident (Occ/Acc) coverage offers coverage to an independent contractor for an injury sustained while performing duties of the lease with the motor carrier as a driver of a truck dispatched by the motor carrier.

If you are looking to learn more about the different types of commercial trucking insurance coverages, visit Marquee’s resources tab.

7. Buy or Lease a Truck or Trailer

Depending our your business plan and budget, you may choose to either purchase or lease a truck/trailer. No matter which way you plan on obtaining your equipment, you need to first know what type you will need. To figure this out, you will want to ask yourself some questions such as: "What freight do I plan on carrying?" and "Will I need a sleeper cabin?".

Common Lease Types:

  • Operating (Full-Service) Lease – With this lease, you take care of maintenance, taxes, and permits, and at the end of the lease term, you walk away.
  • Terminal Rental Adjustment Clause (TRAC) Lease With this lease, you make a small down payment and at the end of the lease you purchase the truck for its residual value, or you can opt for the leasing company to sell the truck.
  • Lease-Purchase Plans – Lease-purchase plans are primarily for truckers who don’t have enough for a down payment or have bad credit. Experts say you typically pay more in such arrangements versus traditional financing.

8. Build Your Business

MIG leverages technology and industry expertise to create a hassle-free and connected experience for our carriers. Through our strategic partnerships and safety programs, we enable continued value and protection on the journey towards running a successful trucking operation.
Check out how Marquee and our partners can help you:

Innovative Logistics - The Department of Transportation (DOT) compiles a checklist that all trucking companies, large and small, must comply with. No worries. Innovative Compliance Services is here to help!

Vallon Consulting - Let our experts take the burden of the paperwork and compliance off your hands so you can focus on running your core business. We assist companies nationwide, no matter the size of their fleet.

CDL Consultant - We work to provide comprehensive safety, compliance, and audit services through our Carrier Safety Suite. Enjoy access to various safety packages to help you monitor drivers, see trends in your safety data, and stay compliant.

BOOST - This Safety Program empowers carriers to take control of their business, by giving them easy access to their CSA Safety Scores. Get a detailed safety report on a monthly basis. 

Innovative Logistics - The Department of Transportation (DOT) compiles a checklist that all trucking companies, large and small, must comply with. No worries. Innovative Compliance Services is here to help!

Vallon Consulting - Let our experts take the burden of the paperwork and compliance off your hands so you can focus on running your core business. We assist companies nationwide, no matter the size of their fleet.

Motive - Simplify compliance with the ELD trusted by over 100,000 fleets, which is one of the many reasons we chose them as our ELD Compliance Partner.

CDL Consultant - We work to provide comprehensive safety, compliance, and audit services through our Carrier Safety Suite. Enjoy access to various safety packages to help you monitor drivers, see trends in your safety data, and stay compliant.

Marquee Insurance Group - MIG leverages technology and industry expertise to create a hassle-free and connected experience for our carriers and insurance partners. As a company, Marquee continues to adapt and deliver innovative solutions that empower our insureds all whilst leading with exceptional customer service. Through our strategic partnerships and safety programs, we enable continued value and protection on the journey towards running a successful trucking operation.

MarqueeHEALTH - Marquee offers users access to a range of insurance options at reduced rates. The programs from major insurance carriers include Short Term Health, Accident, Dental, Vision, Telehealth, Prescription Drugs, and Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance.

OTR Solutions - OTR Solutions is a factoring company focused on offering cash flow to your company and increasing your back-office capabilities. No matter the company size, OTR provides industry-leading financing and business solutions.
Nolan Transportation Group (NTG) - Whether it’s a one-time shipment or dedicated freight, NTG makes it a priority to provide each carrier with around-the-clock support, industry-leading payment terms, and direct communication from start to finish.

MIG Fuel Card - Our MIG Fuel Card offers industry-leading discounts and great customer service so you can cut expenses on the road. The card is accepted at over 8,000 truck stops nationwide, and you can save over $.30 per gallon when you fill up!

TruckerFi - TruckerFi provides affordable, reliable, and straightforward equipment financing. Best of all, there are no prepayment penalties and interest rates as low as 10%.

Innovative Logistics - The Department of Transportation (DOT) compiles a checklist that all trucking companies, large and small, must comply with. No worries. Innovative Compliance Services is here to help!

Vallon Consulting - Let our experts take the burden of the paperwork and compliance off your hands so you can focus on running your core business. We assist companies nationwide, no matter the size of their fleet.

CDL Consultant - We work to provide comprehensive safety, compliance, and audit services through our Carrier Safety Suite. Enjoy access to various safety packages to help you monitor drivers, see trends in your safety data, and stay compliant.