Expediter services transport time-sensitive freight for manufacturers around the country. Often a company needs to send products quickly. Expediter vehicles can deliver to areas that large vehicles are unable to because of regulations or limited space. You can start your own expediter company if you have a van or small truck, but you must make sure you have the necessary licenses before you begin.
Talk to other expediters about their work. A successful expediting company requires dedication and you could be away from home for days delivering freight. Talking with others will help you decide if expediting is right for you. You can find expediters to talk to by going to local truck stops and online forums (See resources).
Apply for a free Employer Identification Number (see Resources). Your EIN is your business Social Security number for taxes. File for your EIN using your business name.
Incorporate your company. According to the Internal Revenue Service, "LLCs are popular because, similar to a corporation, owners have limited personal liability for the debts and actions of the LLC." An LLC will suffice in most states for personal asset protection although as the owner, you will have to guarantee any debts that the company incurs. Apply for incorporation through the secretary of state in your home state. The cost varies from state to state.
Apply for a U.S. Department of Transportation number. (See resources) Each motor carrier must have a USDOT number. File for your USDOT number under your business name. There is no cost to receive a number.
Contracting with an established company (lease-on) with your small truck or van to gain first-hand knowledge about everything from paperwork to potential earnings. As a lease owner, you will have the opportunity to know the load's gross revenue. Do not contract with a company with the intention of stealing their client base. Most company's have a "no-compete" clause in their contracts, which prevent you from legally obtaining freight from one of their customers for at least two years. Look in your local newspaper's classified ad section to find a local company to lease with, or apply with a company online. (See resources)
Apply for operating authority (see Resources). The U.S. government requires all interstate carriers to obtain Motor Carrier (MC) number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. After you receive your MC number, you will need insurance as well as hiring process agents. A process agent represent your company and cab acceot legal documents for you in every state. It costs $300 to apply for your MC number. The cost of insurance will depend on the amount of coverage, your driving history and the amount of time you've been in the business. You can locate a service that provides process agents through the FMCSA. (See resources). A process agent service will cost $50 or less.
Apply for any local permits your city or county requires.
Find customers by visiting local businesses. When you visit, be professional and sell your business. The only thing you have to offer is service; make promises and then deliver. Be sure to tell them what kind of equipment you have, a small truck or cargo van limits the type of freight you can carry.
Working as a driver for an expediter company before you go to the expense starting your own company allows you to see if the lifestyle is appropriate for you. If you are going to carry hazardous materials, you must get a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). The total cost to open an expediter business depends on how much your insurance will be, the cost of your vehicle and the cost of incorporation in your state. Having a six-month cash cushion will relieve some of the stress when you have a breakdown or cannot find loads. Determine the amount of money you need in your cash reserve by adding all of your personal and business expenses for the last six months. Expediting is a hard business to break into because a customer must trust the carrier to deliver their freight. Working with local companies will increase your chances of breaking into this niche market. Advertise your business by word-of-mouth, going to trade shows where companies that you would like to do business with are set up and cold-calling potential customers. Medical supply companies often use expediting services.
You can use brokers to obtain loads, but it is better if you have some of your own customers. Brokers take an unspecified percentage of the load's gross. Keeping your travel radius at 200 miles or below will help ensure that you will not have the extra expense of lodging.