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 has decreased in recent years. While every major European country 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 considering 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 will find that business is booming.

So, what does it take to get started? Here are five key steps to building 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 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 they particular types of trucks or 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 and failure, so put some time and thought into the best way to acquire your initial fleet.

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

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

Doing a cost-benefit analysis for a few different kinds of trucks that you are considering could be helpful. 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 a truck spends in a garage is a loss of income. Generally, newer trucks can deliver more loads before needing any serious maintenance.

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

Step 4: Hire a team

One person can start a trucking company alone. You can drive and manage your own business with one or two trucks. 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, 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 that enables you to confirm divers' experience and skills and their work eligibility. It would help if you also considered running background checks on applicants you plan to hire.

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

Step 5: Find your customers

You're ready to start trucking with your business plan, documents, trucks, and personnel. 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 can 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 orcas and the tools and support to help run your trucking company as simple as possible. Find regular transport 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 finding jobs.

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