How to start a trucking company

How to start a trucking company

By sennder team, 4 minute read

Why start a trucking company?

More than half of Europe’s shipping is carried on trucks, and when it comes to inland shipping it's about 75%. According to Statista, the total value of Europe’s road freight market this year could reach nearly 370 billion euros.

Despite this enormous and growing demand for truck freight shipping, the number of truck drivers is down in recent years. While every major country in Europe is experiencing a shortage of truck drivers, Poland, Germany and the UK have been hit the hardest. While this may be a bad sign for Europe’s supply chain, it's good news for anyone who is thinking about starting a trucking company.

Across Europe, the need for reliable, road freight transportation is growing. This presents a golden opportunity for trucking companies. Anyone who can buy a truck, register it, and put it on the road is sure to find that business is booming.

So, what does it take to get started? Here are five key steps to build a trucking company from scratch.

Step 1: Make a business plan

Any good business starts with a good plan. Taking time to make a thorough plan can really pay off down the line, so make sure to put some serious thought into it.

You’ll likely want to start with some basics, such as creating a company name, identifying your target market, and drafting a pricing plan.

Additionally consider these questions:

  • How many trucks do you want to start with?

  • What kind of customers do you want to work with?

  • Do you plan to ship locally or internationally?

  • Are their particular types of trucks or particular types of goods that you want to work with?

  • What will set your company apart from the rest?

Step 2: Legally establish your business

After your plan is clear, you’ll need to legally establish your business and obtain resources that confirm your company’s identity such as tax ID numbers, business bank accounts, and insurance plans.

The process and requirements can vary from country to country, but generally in Europe you’ll need the following to get started:

  • certificate of incorporation

  • bank reference letters

  • passport copies

  • resume and photos

  • description of the scope of your business

  • business license

Step 3: Secure trucks and necessary equipment

With your documents in order, you’re now ready to begin building your fleet. Generally, more trucks will bring in more money, but large vehicles are not cheap. Especially if you’re new to the business, it is likely wise to start small. You can always grow your fleet later if things are going well.

In trucking, dependable equipment can make the difference between success or failure, so put some time and thought into the best way for you to acquire your initial fleet.

As a first step, consider your budget and look into options for buying versus leasing trucks.

Also consider which kinds of trucks are best suited to the goods you intend to carry. For example, refrigerated trucks are required for some goods, but would be completely unnecessary if you don’t intend to ship any perishables.

It could be helpful to do a cost-benefit analysis for a few different kinds of trucks that you are considering. Do your research and try to account for maintenance costs and fuel. Old, used trucks are cheaper up front, but repair costs add up quickly and any time that a truck spends in a garage is a loss of income. Generally, newer trucks will be able to deliver more loads before needing any serious maintenance.

Finally, you may want to consider what kind of fuel you’d like to use. Even standard diesel engines can run on biodiesel or HVO fuel. Reducing carbon emissions with the use of these fuels may help your business to stand out. Increasingly, big shippers want to transition to greener supply chains, and offering lower-emissions trucks may just help you win a few extra contracts.

Step 4: Hire a team

It’s possible for one person to start a trucking company alone. With one or two trucks, you can drive and manage your own business. But to run your business more efficiently, you’ll probably want to hire a team as your business grows.

If you are planning to drive trucks yourself, don’t forget to get a driver’s license which is valid for the class of vehicles you have. If you plan to hire drivers, don’t forget to double check that they have the required driving license. You may also want to create an onboarding process which enables you to confirm divers’ experience and skills as well as their eligibility to work. You should also consider running background checks on applicants that you plan to hire.

Beside drivers, some trucking companies hire teams that cover administrative and finance needs, sales, and marketing.

Step 5: Find your customers

With your business plan, documents, trucks, and personnel - you’re ready to start trucking. The final step to making profits is finding customers.

Your customers are typically shippers with a lot of freight to move. Many of these shippers post jobs on marketplaces on the web. Then trucking companies bid on loads that they are able to carry.

sennder is here to help get you trucking

Starting your own trucking company is a lot to take on by yourself. At sennder, we can help you get up and running quickly.

sennder’s marketplace is part of our carrier platform called orcas. By partnering with us, you gain access to both orcas and the tools and support that will help make running your trucking company as simple as possible. Find regular transports directly in our marketplace, and take advantage of our dedicated support team and fast payment option. Alternatively, charter your trucks with us to gain steady work and save time on finding jobs.

Want to learn more about how sennder helps truck drivers? Check out our Driver app blog post.