Our country has a shortage of well-qualified commercial truck drivers. In fact, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) recently estimated that the United States will be short of more than 150,000 truckers by the end of this decade. While building and growing a successful business is never easy, the outlook is strong for those who are preparing to enter the trucking industry.
You may be wondering: Can I start a trucking company with a single truck? The answer is ‘yes’—you can even start a truck business with no experience. You have the option to work as an owner operator or you can hire someone else to hire your only truck. In this article, our Atlanta trucking consultants provide a guide to starting a business with one truck.
Five Steps to Starting a Trucking Business With a Single Truck
1. Decide Who is Going to Drive the Truck
First and foremost, you need a business plan. If you are preparing to start a company with a single truck, one of the initial questions that you need to address asks: Who is going to drive the truck? In most cases, trucking businesses with one vehicle are “owner operator” companies. In effect, an owner operator is a self-employed truck driver who works for their own business.
Of course, there is no requirement that you have to drive your only truck. You can hire an employee or work with an independent contractor. Regardless, you need to put an effective, comprehensive business plan in place. At Suivant Consulting, our Atlanta based truck industry consulting team is here to help you craft a plan that works.
2. Form and Register Your Trucking Company
You need to decide how you’re going to structure your trucking business. For many entrepreneurs, there are benefits to forming a trucking company as a limited liability company (LLC). More specifically, an LLC for a single truck business offers the following advantages:
- Low start-up costs;
- Tax benefits; and
- Personal liability protection.
To form an LLC trucking company, you generally need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and appoint a registered agent. Suivant Consulting can help you form and register your trucking company.
3. Get the Paperwork Done—Obtain Permits
There is a lot of paperwork involved in building a new business, especially in trucking. It is a highly regulated industry. There are both federal and state regulations that you need to comply with. Most single truck businesses must obtain a wide array of different permits and registrations, including:
- An Employer Identification Number (EIN number);
- DUNS number;
- MC/DOT number;
- Boc-3 filings; and
- UCR and State permits.
4. Purchase or Lease a Truck
Financing start-up costs is one of the core challenges that entrepreneurs face across industries, including in trucking. You cannot start a trucking business with a single vehicle until you get the truck. A truck can either be purchased outright or leased. The best approach depends entirely on your goals, options, and current financial position. In general, purchasing a truck costs more up front—due to the down payment—but tends to save a little bit more in the long run. However, leasing a truck can absolutely be the best option for some new businesses. Further, some places offer “lease-to-own” options, which allow for a hybrid model. If you have questions about buying or leasing a truck for your new business, our consulting team can help.
5. Carefully Track Your Expenses—Build and Grow Your Business
Planning, forming, and registering a trucking business is just the beginning. You also need to get the day-to-day business operations right. Among other things, this means carefully tracking your expenses so that you are in the best position to protect your financial interests when tax time rolls around. Notably, owner operators can write off a lot of expenses (tax deductions) on their taxes. You may be able to write off the following types of costs:
- Operating expenses, such as fuel, fees, tolls, and truck maintenance;
- Business expenses, including the business software, consulting expenses, and truck association dues;
- Meals & lodging expenses incurred while on long trips; and
- Truck depreciation.
Ultimately, it is crucial that you keep close track of your business finances. Not only is it important to ensure that your personal/business taxes are done properly, but well-maintained business records will also make it easier to build and grow a successful trucking company. A consultant can help you with a full range of financial matters, including business statements, accounting reconciliation, and tax preparation.
Suivant Consulting Can Help You Start a Business With One Truck
We are committed to making a true difference for our clients. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or you are preparing to start your first business, our consultants are here to help you harness all of the available opportunities and build a truly successful company. At Suivant Consulting, we have deep experience working with owner operators in the trucking industry. Our team offers a wide range of different packages to meet your needs, including:
- Basic Operating Authority (Bronze Package);
- Standard Operating Authority (Silver Package); and
- Premium Operating Authority (Gold Package).
Our trucking consultants can also help you with a wide range of the business issues and industry specific matters, including: Obtaining an intrastate DOT number, BOC-3 filing agent, business registration, business accounting, tax issues, and much more. We customized our services to suit the unique needs of business owners and entrepreneurs. Our consultants are more than happy to help with any specific business questions that you have.
Call Our Atlanta Trucking Consultants for Professional Guidance and Support
At Suivant Consulting, we help people start up and scale up their businesses. You can rely on our professionals for high quality support. If you have any questions about starting a trucking business with one truck, we are here to help. Give us a call at 770-874-9951 or connect with us online to learn more about how our consultants can help. We provide business consulting services to truck industry business owners and entrepreneurs in Atlanta and throughout the wider region.