In the U.S, the trucking industry is responsible for 7.0% of all freight tonnage moved. This fact shows the significance of the industry for the U.S economy. To move goods across the country, it needs increasing numbers of trucks. Already, over 3.4 million heavy duty trucks are required to move 10.5 billion tons of freight annually. Simply put, without trucking industry, the U.S economy cannot move forward. If you are also planning to start your trucking business, your company can grow fast.
According to American Trucking Associations forecast released in 2017, growth of freight transportation is expected to be promising during the next decade. The ATA Chief economist Bob Costello has said that the demand for freight transportation will continue to increase due to growth in the U.S population. The association projects that freight volume will increase by 2.8% in 2017, and then it will continue to grow by 3.4% annually until 2023. Also, the association projects that by 2028, annual freight movement will reach to 20.73 billion tons which is estimated to be around 15.18 billion tons in 2017.
These stats highlight new business opportunities that are emerging up frequently in trucking industry and markets. However, this industry is extremely competitive too. Thousands of new trucking companies get registered every month. They all are your competitors. Then, there is a tough competition from already established transportation companies. Therefore, you need to make your every move in the market carefully. Take your marketing decisions by first researching your niche trucking market and industry.
9 Tips On How To Start An Awesome Trucking Business
1) Figure Out Your Niche Market
Trucking industry is vast. Your startup has a limited capital, which will restrict you from foraying into many trucking businesses at once. So, research the market to find out which market you can target successfully in the beginning. Instead of catering to everyone, focus on a particular set of consumers. This way, you can project your company as an authority in that sector, which helps in brand building as well. You will eliminate a lot of competition also.
So, find out which particular segment of the market you want to target. For example, you can choose to run a courier trucking firm or a for-hire carrier firm. Or, you may be interested in running a refrigerated goods business.
2) Get Your Licences, Permits And Forms
Depending on the type of trucking business you want to run, you will require a set of licenses and permit regulations from federal and state governments. Some of the important requirements you need to fulfill include Federal DOT Number and Motor Carrier Authority Number, Heavy Use Tax Form, International Registration Plan, International Fuel Tax Agreement and BOC -3 Filing. Visit your state’s trucking portal to get details of requirements to starting trucking business.
You should also find out about your insurance requirements, which are a must for trucking industry. In addition to that, you need to comply with employee responsibilities set by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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3) Have A Memorable Business Logo
Business logos help in branding a company and its products or services. A memorable logo draws attention of people instantly and conveys a brand message too. Your trucking company’s logo is your marketing tool as well. It can make a lasting impression on your target clients. A professionally designed logo will give them the impression that you conduct your business in organized way. Your logo speaks and conveys your business values of trust and strong relationship with your customers.
But make sure that your trucking business logo design is based on a unique concept and has no cliched elements. Use of colors, typeface, and images must be such that it conveys your brand message effectively You can get many logo design ideas from graphic design crowdsourcing platforms like Designhill. This leading marketplace lets you launch your logo design contest at a very low price. You will get dozens of new design concepts from as many designers in a short period. This way, you can choose a winning logo that is worthy of representing your company.
4) Buy Proper Equipment
Of course, you would be buying a fleet of trucks. But choose the right type of trucks for your company’s business from a wide variety of the heavy vehicles.. Make sure that you negotiate on the price and do not settle for the first price of trucks of your choice. Also, you should have the vehicle inspected by some expert. Depending on your startup capital, determine also how many vehicles you need to start your business.
You will also buy equipment depending on the type of trucking business you are starting. For example, if you want to transport food, you will need a refrigerated truck and relevant equipment such as shown in the picture below.
5) Decide A Way To Get Your Drivers
First, know that trucking business owners generally operate in one of the two ways when it comes to hiring their drivers. They either get sub-contracted drivers or privately own drivers. Under the first option, you operate your business but your drivers are not your company’s employees. You will get drivers at lower contract rates, which is good for your startup business as your startup costs and insurance costs are reduced. But you will have less control over your drivers.
The second option is that you will hire a fleet of private drivers as your employees. This way, you have total control over them. You get the most return on profits. But its biggest downside is that your startup requires huge capital and operation costs will also go higher.
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6) Build A Solid Customer Base
No business can run successfully without first consolidating its customer base. You will be winning your customers by impressing them with your quality services. Gradually, over the years, you will have a long list of loyal clients. So, make sure that you operate your trucking company in an organized and professional way.
For example, when a potential client meets you for the first time, offer your business card that has all your the contact information. That is a professional way to run a business. More importantly, your business card design should also be a professionally created concept that makes a memorable impression on your audience. Also, use your local contacts to spread a word of mouth about your startup. It also helps in drawing customers to your business.
7) Build A Website For Your Trucking Business
Very few clients will visit your company’s office directly. They usually like to first visit a company’s website to get essential information about your trucking services. So, note that your potential clients will first get an impression of your company and business by visiting your website. This shows the importance of a website in conducting business in this age of Internet. When starting a trucking company, put every detail of your services on your website pages. Create web pages that engage visitors and interact them with your content.
However, when visitors come to your website, its design must make an impression. Your trucking business website design must be simple, user-friendly, easily loadable, and navigational.
8) Start A Promotional Campaign
Promotional items have proved their worth as an effective marketing strategy. People like to have gifts and you can use this to your advantage. All you need to do is to buy some cheap promotional items from market and distribute them to your clients and people during an event. For example, giveaway some attractive car key chains which your potential clients will have with them for a long time. But print your trucking business logo on the keychain or any other products you offer as gifts. Your logo will remind them of your business.
Whenever they need trucking services, your company’s name will strike their mind first. That is the power of promotional products. There is a wide range of items of daily use that you can buy and distribute. Give them useful items such as computer accessories and others. If implemented strategically, promotional products enhance your reach in your niche market.
9) Ensure A Good Social Media Presence
Social media is a powerful tool these days for business promotion. Keep in mind that most of your clients have their own social pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and many others. They very often visit their pages. When you create your trucking company’s social media pages on Twitter and Facebook etc, you can reach to your prospect customers by connecting with your client’s pages. Thus, any new post you submit to your pages is also visible to your target clients. So, your social pages deliver your business content to thousands of people instantly. But post engaging content on your pages.
Make sure that your social media page design is attractive, simple, and has a judicial use of images and text. Provide all the relevant and latest information about your trucking business and its services. If you have added some new service to your company, highlight its useful features for your clients.
To sum up, before starting your trucking company, have all the legal requirements such as licenses in place from government agencies. Choose a market niche that has less competition for your startup. Start with fewer trucks due to your financial limitations and add new vehicles to your fleet as your business grows. To market your trucking business effectively, first have a memorable logo, website, social media pages, and other such tools to impress your potential customers.