Starting a Trucking Company | How To Start a Trucking Company - OTR Solutions

7 Steps to put you on the road to success!

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STEP 1: Write a business plan.

This doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. The purpose is to get you thinking about what you need to do, near-term and long-term, to establish and grow your new business. Some of the items to include in the plan are: the name of your business, what cargo you will carry, where you will operate, the start-up capital you will need, anticipated monthly revenue and expenses, how you will handle administrative and tax matters, and how you will finance purchases of equipment.

A resource we recommend:  The U.S. Small Business Administration has an excellent guide on writing a business plan. The SBA also offers small business loans for people with good credit histories.

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STEP 2: Apply for USDOT and Motor Carrier numbers.

If you plan to haul cargo in interstate commerce, you must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to obtain a Motor Carrier (“authority to operate”) number and a USDOT Number. Also, ost states require you to have a USDOT number to operate a commercial vehicle within the state.

Resources we recommend: Learn how to apply for a Motor Carrier number and a USDOT number. Our partner DAT Freight & Analytics can help you get operating authority and comply with governmental regulations.


STEP 3: Open a Business Checking Account

If you’re on the cusp of launching your own business, a crucial step you can’t afford to to overlook is opening a dedicated business bank account. This simple move can have a profound impact on your entrepreneurial journey. When your personal and business funds are distinct, tracking and reporting your financial transactions become a breeze. Come tax season, you’ll thank yourself for the simplicity and organization this separation provides.


Business bank accounts also offer a wealth of features designed with entrepreneurs like you in mind. These perks can be game-changers for small business owners.

A Resource We Recommend: OTR Clutch Banking Solution  To make this transition even smoother and tailor-made for your specific needs, we recommend OTR Clutch – a game-changing, FDIC-insured banking solution designed specifically for truckers. It’s not just another bank account; it’s a partner in your business journey. It’s free to open and comes with overdraft protection. 

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STEP 4: Get licenses, permits and equipment.

First, you’ll need a commercial driver’s license appropriate for your vehicle’s weight category. Then, make sure you are complying with various U.S. Department of Transportation safety standards, which are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Resources we recommend:  Two OTR Solutions partners, Simplex Group and DAT Freight & Analytics, can help you navigate through a myriad of compliance matters, from permits and drug testing to audits and IFTA taxes. Another partner, TruckerFi, can help you finance new and used equipment, and our partner Freedom Leasing can solve your needs for road-ready dry vans, flatbeds, reefers, and storage trailers.

get insurance

STEP 5: Get insurance.

Freight carriers must have adequate insurance before USDOT and Motor Carrier numbers can be issued. Various factors will impact your rates, so get multiple quotes from licensed insurance agents who specialize in the trucking business. Be sure to include insurance premiums in your monthly budget.

A resource we recommend:  Marquee Insurance Group, a OTR Solutions partner, will shop rates from several insurance providers and get the best quotes possible for your specific needs.

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STEP 6: Get a factoring company.

After you deliver a load, don’t expect payment from the broker for at least 30 days. Most new trucking companies need faster access to working capital, so they factor their invoices to get paid immediately, minus a small discounted percentage.

A resource we recommend:  OTR Solutions specializes in helping small carriers get started with honest, transparent, “no surprise” invoice factoring. Learn why our True Non-Recourse Factoring is ideal for a start-up business. Unlock premium factoring benefits with the OTR CLUTCH bank account, including priority invoicing and extended same-day payment cutoff times. Maximize your value by leveraging multiple products from a single, reliable source! 

Find Loads

STEP 7: Find loads.

You want to find loads that pay well and suit your capabilities, schedule, and preferred routes. Load boards display thousands of loads, and you can easily search them for the best fit. Some new carriers also hire dispatchers to book loads and plan their routes.

A resource we recommend: Two OTR partners, DAT Freight & Analytics and Sylectus, can help you find the right loads for your needs. DAT is the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America. With OTR’s Blue Checkmark integration into the DAT Load Board, you can seamlessly determine which loads are factorable and what brokers are pre-approved by OTR to reduce fraud. Sylectus specializes in expedite freight, and when you join the Sylectus Load Board, you become part of a trusted alliance of trucking professionals that is 26,000+ members strong.

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STEP 8: Build relationships.

When you spot companies and people who show they truly care about you and your business, forge deeper relationships with them. Work to make them “springboards” for growing your business. Your efforts will pay off with a volume of higher-paying, more consistent loads.

Resources we recommend: Check out all of our partners. Like OTR Solutions, these strong companies are keenly interested in helping you grow and succeed in the trucking business.

Ready to Get Started?