Education

Education

How to start your trucking business

  • Updated

There are a ton of benefits to starting your own business: owner operators are able to earn more than 3x the average salary of a company driver. However, it takes a great deal of planning and discipline to get set up. Once you’re up and running, TruckSmarter is here to help! Not only can you take full advantage of our free load board, but we also have several tools to help you manage your cash flow. With transparent freight factoring, a fuel program and free banking and savings tools, we’ll make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Get your license

2. Set up your business

3. Apply for your trucking authority

4. Get insured

5. Prepare to start hauling

 

1. Get your license

First, you need a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) in order to apply for your authority with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You’ll need proof of identity, U.S. residency, and a valid social security number to obtain a CDL. Once you get your commercial learner’s permit, you must pass an exam. Once you pass, you are eligible to receive your CDL!

 

2. Set up your business

You’ll need to use your business name when you apply for your authority. You’ll also need to figure out what type of business structure you want to establish: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. 

You should think about what kind of freight you plan to haul as this will impact the steps you need to take when applying for your trucking authority. If you plan to haul across state lines, you will need to apply for an Operating Authority in addition to a DOT Number.

 

3. Apply for your trucking authority

File an application with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to obtain your operating authority. There are several requirements, but we’ve outlined the most critical ones below:

Requirement Details

USDOT Number (DOT)

Important for monitoring your company's safety information, inspections, investigations, etc.

Operating Authority (MC) Dictates the cargo you may carry.
Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Validates that your insurance is active.
International Registration Plan (IRP) Permits operations in all states in the U.S., the District of Columbia, and the provinces of Canada.
International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Get your IFTA sticker and don’t forget to file quarterly.

BOC-3 Filing

This assigns a process agent to whom court papers may be served in a legal proceeding.

Employment Identification Number (EIN) Necessary to file taxes.

Lastly, don't forget to obtain the required business licenses from your state. This varies state-by-state so it is best to get started by registering your business with the Small Business Administration and obtaining a federal tax ID.

 

4. Get insured

The FMCSA requires that all operating authorities have insurance to cover the cost of equipment and cargo. Their website has a comprehensive list of insurance filing requirements for auto liability, auto physical damage, cargo, and general liability.

 

5. Prepare to start hauling

There are several ways to get started, including leasing options. Review the different types of loads and popular lanes for each equipment type on our free load board to discover the best fit for you!