Starting a trucking company can be an appealing business proposition, particularly if you’re interested in trucks and transportation. Chances are, if you’re reading this you’re probably thinking about launching your own trucking business and possibly wondering where to get started. There are a lot of steps involved and you’ll definitely need to do research beyond the scope of the following guide, but the five steps below should help you develop a basic strategy going forward:

1. Ensure Proper Training

First and foremost you’ll need to ensure that you and your drivers have the necessary training, licensing, and insurance to do the job safely and legally. Choosing a designated training provider is the best way to go. Ideally, you’ll want to obtain training and certification from a company that specializes in multiple disciplines. For example, you might choose a provider that offers both CDL and HVAC training. This approach will ensure that your drivers are well-equipped to deal with their job duties.

2. Acquire the Necessary Equipment

Once you’ve gotten training out of the way, it’s time to make sure your fleet of trucks are well-maintained and in good shape. You don’t want to be launching a brand new trucking business with sub-par vehicles that might give you mechanical problems in the middle of a job. Such a mishap could hurt your company’s fragile reputation in the early stages. You might want to spend some time speaking to and befriending a few owner-operators to learn about the best equipment and obtain other experience-based advice.

3. Set Proper Pricing

One of the biggest reasons trucking companies fail is because they underestimate the cost of doing business and subsequently bid too low to allow sustainable continuance. It might seem tempting to be the lowest bidder every time, but you also need to be earning a rate that is sufficient to pay drivers and cover all other expenses, which is why developing an optimal rate sheet is so important.

4. Use Credit to Maintain Cash Flow

Funding the business from scratch using your own funds can be very burdensome and will almost always result in significant cash flow challenges. Use a line of business credit and other forms of supply credit to keep your funds in the bank and then all you have to do is make manageable payments to your creditors on time. Sure, you’ll be paying interest, but it still beats having to pay for everything up-front and out-of-pocket.

5. Get Your Own Customers

Many new trucking companies take the easiest route to their first jobs, which means taking pre-planned loads from shipping customers on a load board. Although this is a good short-term strategy, typically load boards offer work at very low rates, so for the sake of profit you’ll want to work diligently on landing your own high-paying clients.

Focus on Punctuality and Customer Service

Finally, don’t forget that being on time, responsive, knowledgeable, and friendly will play a role in whether your clients chose to do repeat business with you. Thus, it’s imperative that you utilize strict scheduling practices and educate all employees on the basics of customer service.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].