If you’re thinking about starting your own trucking company, Texas is a great place to do it. The Lone Star State has some of the most business-friendly regulations in the country, and thanks to its large size and thriving economy, there’s always plenty of work for truckers here.
But before you can get rolling, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into and how to do it right. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the complete process of starting a trucking company in Texas, from registering your business to obtaining the necessary licenses and permits.
So, without any further ado, let’s begin!
9 Steps to Start a Trucking Company in Texas
1. Create a business plan
One of the most important steps in starting any kind of business is creating a detailed business plan. This document will outline your company’s goals, strategies, and financial projections, providing you with a roadmap for success.
When creating a business plan for your trucking company, there are a few key elements to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to clearly define your company’s mission and goals. What sets your trucking company apart from the competition? What are your long-term plans for growth?
Once you have a clear vision for your company, you can begin to develop specific strategies for achieving your goals. This might include developing relationships with shippers and logistics companies, implementing an effective marketing campaign, or investing in new technology and equipment.
Finally, you’ll need to create financial projections for your trucking company. This will help you understand how much capital you’ll need to get started and how much profit you can realistically expect to earn. With a well-crafted business plan in hand, you’ll be on your way to making your trucking company a success.
Here are some important things you need to consider when creating a business plan for your trucking company:
Startup and ongoing costs for your Trucking Business
First, you’ll need to purchase a truck (or multiple trucks, depending on the size of your business). Used semi trucks can range in price depending on the make, model, and year, but you can expect to spend anywhere from $30,000 to $80,000 per truck. New ones will cost you over $100,000.
Another major upfront expense is insurance. This is an essential expense, as it will protect you and your business in the event of an accident. However, it is important to shop around for the best rates, as the cost of insurance can vary significantly from one provider to another.
In general, insurance coverage can cost you around $20,000 to $24,000 per truck per year. You can expect an Initial down payment of around $5000, and then monthly insurance payments will range between $1000 and $3000.
Registering for authority with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will cost you around $500. This is where you’ll get the DOT and MC numbers required to operate a trucking company. Next, you’ll need to complete the BOC-3 filing, which costs around $60.
You’ll also need to register under IRP (International Registration Plan) and get apportioned license plate for your truck, the cost of which can vary a lot based on several factors. You can expect something around $1600 for one year. You can use the IRP Fee Estimator to estimate the fee for your truck.
You’ll also need to register for quarterly fuel taxes through International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) which costs around $25 for each truck. Another interstate commerce filing you’ll require is UCR (Unified Carrier Registration) which can cost you around $62 per truck.
Other expenses include:
Once you’re up and running, you’ll need to account for the cost of fuel and employee salaries as well.
The trucking company’s target market is all those businesses that need to transport goods over land. This includes manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and other businesses that rely on trucks to move their products.
The trucking business usually contracts with these other businesses to provide a certain number of trucks, drivers, and other resources to meet their transportation needs.
In order to be successful, the trucking business must have a good understanding of the transportation needs of its target market and be able to provide a high level of service at a competitive price.
To decide on the pricing for your service, you first need to calculate the operating cost per mile. Knowing this number and estimating how many miles you’ll drive per month will help you estimate how much you should price your services.
Operating expenses include the cost of fuel, maintenance of the vehicle, insurance, equipment financing, fixed overhead, driver compensation, and other variable driving expenses. To calculate cost per mile, simply divide these monthly expenses by the number of miles you can drive in a month.
Here is an example to explain it further:
Assume an average trucker drives around 9,000 miles per month.
Fixed expenses are those expenses that remain the same irrespective of how many miles you drive in a month.
Variable expenses depend on the number of miles you drive. If you drive more, the variable expenses will increase.
Fixed cost per mile = Fixed costs (Monthly) / Miles per month
Variable cost per mile = Variable costs (Monthly) / Miles per month
In this case, the fixed cost per mile comes out to be 30 cents, and the variable cost per mile comes out to be 70 cents. Adding both numbers gives the total cost per mile as $1.
Note: Since your fixed cost doesn’t depend on the miles, the fixed cost per mile will decrease as the number of miles increases, whereas the variable cost per mile tends to remain the same regardless of the miles driven.
With this, you can understand that if you drive 9000 miles monthly and charge $1 per mile, it’ll allow you to cover all the expenses. And anything above $1 per mile becomes your profit. So, if you charge $2 per mile, you’ll be making a profit of $1 per mile.
For your first year of operation, you should calculate your cost per mile every three months. And from the second year, you can calculate it every six months. In addition, it is important to research the rates charged by other trucking companies in your area. With this information in hand, you can then set a fair price for your services.
Cargo Transport Alliance says that the average gross revenue per truck is between $5,000 and $9,000 per week. An owner-operator truck driver can easily make a profit of somewhere between $2000 and $4000 per week. And if you have hired drivers to run your trucks, you can expect a profit of $500 to $2,000 per truck per week.
Factors that can affect your profitability:
- Fuel price
- Market Activity
2. Pick a name for your business
Choosing a name for your trucking business is an important decision. After all, the name is one of the first things potential customers will see. You want a name that is memorable, conveys the right message and gives a sense of what your business is all about.
First, think about what you want your business to be known for. Do you want to be known for providing great customer service? Or perhaps you want to be known for having the most modern fleet of trucks. Once you have an idea of the image you want to project, you can start brainstorming names that convey that message.
Secondly, think about what kind of image you want your company to project. Do you want to be seen as a friendly and approachable business? Or are you looking to convey a more professional and serious image?
Finally, don’t forget to consider SEO when choosing a name for your trucking business. You’ll want a relatively unique name so it will stand out in search results but not so unique that it’s difficult to remember or spell.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect name for your trucking business.
- Keep it short and catchy. You want to be able to easily say the name in one breath, so don’t make it too long or complicated.
- Make sure the name you choose is easy to spell and pronounce, so potential customers will have no trouble finding you online.
- Be unique. A name that sets you apart from the competition will help you stand out in the crowded trucking industry.
- Make sure the name is available in Texas. You can also check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website to see if they have any trademarks registered that might be similar to what you’re thinking of using.
- Ensure the domain name is available
If you are having a tough time finding a suitable name for your company, feel free to check out our naming service.
You can also read 373 Trucking Company Name Ideas that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing and assist you in the naming process.
3. Incorporate your business as a legal entity
The next thing you need to do is to choose a legal structure for your company. The most common types of business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.
For example, sole proprietorships are the simplest and most common type of business structure. They’re easy and inexpensive to set up. However, you’re personally responsible for all debts and liabilities associated with the business.
Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships, but there are two or more owners. LLCs are a popular choice for small businesses because they offer personal asset protection and tax benefits.
Corporations are owned by shareholders and offer limited liability protection to them. They also have certain tax advantages. However, they’re more expensive and complex to set up and maintain than other business structures.
If you’re starting a trucking business, for example, you might want to consider incorporating it as an LLC. This type of entity offers some personal liability protection in case your business is sued. It also allows you to easily add new partners or investors if you ever decide to grow your company.
4. Get EIN for your business
As a trucking company, it’s important to make sure you’re registered for taxes. This will ensure that you’re able to file your taxes correctly and avoid any penalties. For that, first, you’ll need to obtain an EIN number from the IRS. Also, when you apply to open a bank account for your business, they’ll require the EIN.
5. Purchase the right insurance coverage
Any trucking company needs to have good insurance coverage. This is because the trucking business is a risky one, and there are many potential hazards on the road. It protects your business from financial losses that can occur due to accidents, theft, or other unforeseen events.
The first step is to choose an insurance provider that specializes in commercial trucking. Then, work with your agent to determine the coverage levels you need.
You’ll need to consider things like the value of your vehicles, the type of cargo you’re hauling, and the areas you’re operating in. Once you have the right coverage in place, you can rest assured that your company is protected against potential risks.
There are many different types of insurance that a trucking company can get, but some of the most important coverage include:
- Auto liability insurance: Liability insurance protects the company in case any of its trucks cause an accident.
- Cargo insurance: Cargo insurance protects against loss or damage to any freight that is being transported.
- Physical damage insurance: Physical damage insurance covers repairs to your trucks if they’re damaged in an accident.
- Occupational accident insurance: This type of policy covers medical expenses and lost wages for your drivers if they are injured in an accident while on the job. It can also provide death benefits if a driver is killed in an accident.
- Non-trucking liability insurance: It will cover damages caused by your trucks when they’re not being used for business purposes.
Note: You must have Auto Liability Insurance and Cargo Insurance in order to get your MC number approved.
6. Obtain the necessary permits and licenses for your trucking business
Before you can start hauling freight, there are a few things you need to take care of first. In the state of Texas, you need to obtain a few different licenses and permits in order to operate legally. These include:
Operating Authority (DOT & MC number): The first and most important step of launching a trucking company is registering for authority with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This is where you’ll get the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and the Motor Carrier Operating Authority (MC number). After applying for authority, you’ll have to wait for your authority to become active. For that, you need proof of insurance coverage and BOC-3 filing within 90 days of filing for your authority.
BOC-3 Filing: This form lists the company’s designated agents who will be responsible for accepting the service of process on behalf of the trucking company. You’ll need process agents for every state you operate in. There are many BOC-3 filing agencies out there who can do this for you. The cost for BOC-3 filing is around $60.
CDL (Commercial Drivers License): If you’re an owner-operator, you’ll need a CDL.
IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) License: It is required if your truck weighs over 26,000 lbs and you engage in interstate commerce (you cross state lines).
UCR (Unified Carrier Registration): You’ll also need to apply for a UCR (Unified Carrier Registration) permit. This will allow you to operate in all states and will help to ensure that you are complying with federal regulations. The cost of annual filing for UCR will depend on your fleet size.
Apportioned License Plates: Apportioned plates are special license plates that allow trucks to operate in multiple states. Without them, truckers would be limited to operating in their home state only.
In order to get apportioned plates, trucking companies need to register trucks under International Registration Plan (IRP). The IRP is an agreement between states that allows truckers to register their vehicles in multiple states and pay registration fees based on the number of miles they travel in each state.
Motor Carrier Fuel Tax (MCFT) License: This license is required for trucking companies that operate intrastate (not leaving the state they are based in).
7. Open a bank account for your business
The next step is to open a business bank account. This will help you to keep your personal and business finances separate, and it will also give you a place to deposit your revenue and draw from when you need to make business purchases. When choosing a bank, be sure to compare fees and services to find the account that best suits your needs.
Once you have found the right bank, opening an account is relatively simple. You will need to provide some basic information about your business, as well as your EIN number. Also, it’s better to apply for a business credit card as soon as possible. This can be a helpful tool for managing expenses and building up your business credit history.
8. Setup your business website
A website is essential for any business in the modern world. Not only does it provide a way to reach potential customers, but it also gives you a platform to showcase your products and services. In addition, a website provides a professional image for your business and can help you to stand out from your competitors.
By offering valuable content and engaging with visitors, you can create a loyal following of customers who are more likely to buy from you in the future. Overall, a well-designed website is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy, and it should be a priority for any business that wants to succeed in today’s digital world.
9. Promote your business
There are many ways to promote your trucking business. Trucking load boards provide an excellent way to connect with customers specifically in need of trucking services. In addition, these boards make it easy to promote your business by allowing you to post special offers and deals that you are currently running.
Here are the top 5 load boards you should check out:
- Trucker Path
It’s also great to add your company name and logo to your trucks. This will help increase brand awareness whenever your trucks are on the road.
You can also distribute flyers and brochures to local businesses, as well as participate in local events and trade shows. You can also create a website for your trucking business and use social media to reach out to potential customers.