The answer is, “Yes.” You can start a successful trucking business on a budget that is tight. However, it is a challenge that will take energy, motivation and courage to accept. We know because we’ve been there. It probably isn’t the broad brush strokes of choosing a truck to purchase, or securing the location for your facilities; it’s the documentation, training, certification and licensing that can become time-consuming enough to derail your motivation. In the following paragraphs, we will cut through the fog of the requirements to list steps that will form the structure of your trucking business. After that, we will focus on optimizing your business and driving traffic to your door. Let’s get started:
Step 1: Create Your Business Concept and Goals
Before taking any steps into the trucking industry as an owner, you need to solidify your intentions to create a concept, and following that, bolster the concept with specific goals. For example, will your tight budget be best spent on hauling full loads, partial loads, expedited trucking services, flatbed trucking or intermodal freight transfer? Consider which works for you and begin creating the goals that will be gate posts of accomplishments or milestones in your business. For example, you may choose a 1-year goal that suggests you have contracts with 5 companies, or you could suggest that by the 3rd year, you will have 2 additional trucks. Use whatever milestones you believe make the best objectives and include them in your concept.
Step 2: Develop Your Plan
Starting a trucking business without a plan is akin to leaving the dock without a load. Creating a trucking business plan ensures that the sections within the plan have validity for the business and carry with them the purpose of the owner. The business plan will contain a financial plan and forecast, marketing strategies, an executive summary, an operational plan, and a market and competitive analysis. All of these combine to offer information that is tailored to your specific business. If you are not yet ready to launch, you will want to consider this solid and practical guide for how to start a trucking company. It will inform the basics of starting a trucking business on a tight budget.
Step 3: Choose the Optimal Location
The physical location of the business facilities will need to conform to the scope and size of your trucking business, and, importantly, any location will need to fit your budget, as well. You may need extensive areas for truck maintenance, repair, parking and other needs. When choosing the location, remember that the geographic location is a high-priority issue, due to the need to be within easy access of highways, and in the same region as potential customers.
Step 4: Become Certified and Licensed
Every state has specific laws and regulations for trucking businesses and the operators who run the trucks. For this reason, we cannot offer blanket advice; however, we suggest contacting the legal organizations who oversee needed certifications and licenses to obtain the full picture of requirements. You’ll want to ensure that anyone who drives under the authority of your business is well within the requirements of the law.
Step 5: Hire and Train Exceptional Drivers and Administration Employees
Because the trucks and drivers will carry heavy loads across thousands of miles, both the trucks and the persons within them will be at risk should anything happen to cause damage or injury. It is the responsibility of the business owners to include liability insurance for the business, as well as provide accident insurance and other insurance to protect the people and the equipment within it. Hire and train employees who will offer loyalty and reliability in communication throughout the business and be the example to follow for everyone else.
Step 6: Market the Business to Prospective Clients
This step is vital to the well-being of your business and requires attention before the launch date. The marketing strategies cannot be lavish the budget won’t allow it. However, the best strategic and low-budget move to make will be to engage with as many potential clients as possible before your business formally begins, offering each a special “day one discount” or package of services intended to secure their business. Use the startup as a springboard to determine what your potential customers actually want or need. Asking questions and waiting for the answers, then responding and making changes is the best pathway to marketing success for a trucking business.
All of the above will lead your business to the structure necessary for long-term growth. Be prepared to share your business plan with investors and lenders, as there will be interest in joining your business based on the business plan presented. Starting your trucking business on a budget with these steps in place will secure the foundation for a profitable and thriving venture.