How to Start a Tractor Trailer Business

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The call of the open road drives many people into a career as a truck driver. This is a job that allows you to travel across the country and transport freight and special commodities from coast to coast. Truck drivers these days come from different backgrounds and educational levels. There are drivers who have made a career change from doctors and lawyers because of the call the open road has on them. The desire to travel and see this great country of ours and experience it while being paid has attracted men and women alike.

Getting in Gear

Develop a business plan. Before you decide to start any new business take the time to develop a business plan and put your goals down on paper. This will help you stay on course with your business, save money, help you get financing and aid in making your business profitable.

Research the trucking industry thoroughly. There are several government agencies that govern the operation of the industry and your business will be required to comply with the laws that pertain directly to the operation of your business. Agencies such as the Department of Transportation regulate the hours of service for truck drivers and companies operating in the United States. Government agencies, such as the U.S. Customs Service, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and law enforcement monitor the operation, safety and licensing of the trucking industry, so be certain your business and employees comply with all applicable regulations and insurance requirements.

Obtain the necessary training and licensing required to operate the equipment you intend to use in your tractor trailer business. A CDL, (Commercial Driver’s License) is required by all drivers engaged in the trucking industry and the company is responsible for insuring their drivers meet the minimum legal requirements. Drivers who operate special types of equipment or who transport certain types of freight must have the proper endorsements on their licenses for those operations. Examples would include endorsements for doubles, triples and tanker trailers and a hazardous material endorsement for sensitive or dangerous freight.

Obtain needed operating capital. Operating a trucking company will require the purchase or lease of expensive equipment and employment of qualified personnel. Your company will also be required to maintain the necessary insurance required by law regarding the operation of heavy equipment on the public highway system.

Establish a customer base and secure the services of a freight broker or begin your own. Freight brokers are the middlemen between the trucking industry and the customers or clients who utilize their services. Without customers ready to hire your trucking company to transport freight, your business will be going nowhere. And for a trucking company, moving is the company’s lifeblood.


Individuals and small businesses may be able to obtain some funding for a trucking company through loans and programs offered by the Small Business Administration.

If you’re going to start a trucking business, spend some time learning and working as a truck driver before you jump in head first.