truck driver owner operator business plan

Truck Owner Operator Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

semi truck business plan

Truck Owner Operator Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their truck owner operator businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a truck owner operator business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your truck owner operator business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.  

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a truck owner operator business, or grow your existing truck owner operator business, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your truck owner operator business in order to improve your chances of success. Your truck owner operator business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.  

Sources of Funding for Truck Owner Operator Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a truck owner operator business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for truck owner operator businesses.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Truck Owner Operator

If you want to start a truck owner operator business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your truck owner operator business plan template:  

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of truck owner operator business you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a trucking business that you would like to grow, or are you operating truck owner operator businesses in multiple markets?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the truck owner operator industry. Discuss the type of trucking business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of truck owner operator company you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of truck owner operator businesses:

  • Leased owner operator (exclusive) : this type of truck owner operator business does not have their own motor carrier authority granted by the Department of Transportation. This business cannot operate fully independently from a motor carrier company.
  • Leased owner operator (non-exclusive): this type of truck owner operator also does not have their own Department of Transportation motor carrier authority and are still able to operate on the open market on their own and by contracting with motor carrier companies. They are free to negotiate their own contracts with carriers they choose to work with.
  • For hire owner operator: this type of truck owner operator is entirely independent and does hold their own Department of Transportation motor carrier authority. They are able to operate as their own business entity.

In addition to explaining the type of truck owner operator business you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of client companies served, number of positive reviews, reaching X amount of client companies served, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the trucking industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the trucking industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating. 

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your truck owner operator business plan:

  • How big is the trucking industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your truck owner operator business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your truck owner operator business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: large retail operation, retail chain, and construction companies

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of trucking business you operate. Clearly, construction companies would respond to different marketing promotions than large retail operations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other trucking businesses. 

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes transportation companies such as railroads and air transportation. You need to mention such competition as well.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other trucking businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be trucking businesses located very close to your location.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What types of trucks do they operate?
  • What areas do they serve?
  • What type of trucking company are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Are your trucks more fully-equipped than the competition?
  • Will you provide transportation services that your competitors don’t offer?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a trucking business, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of trucking company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to a trucking company, will you provide GPS tracking, 24/7/365 service, client communication, and any other services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your trucking company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your trucking company located near a warehouse district, a construction area, an industrial distict, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Logistics industry publications
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your trucking business, including cleaning the truck, prepping the shipment any necessary mechanical needs the truck may require, and informing client of location and status updates.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to obtain your XXth client company, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your trucking business to a new location.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your trucking company’s ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company. 

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing trucking businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a trucking company or is experienced in the fleet industry.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you take on one new client at a time or multiple new clients with multiple trucks ? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your trucking business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a trucking business:

  • Cost of trucks
  • Cost of fuel and transportation overhead
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your truck lease or cost or the areas your trucking business will serve.  

Putting together a business plan for your truck owner operator business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the trucking industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful trucking business.  

Truck Owner Operator Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my truck owner operator business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Truck Owner Operator Business Plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of truck owner operator business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a truck owner operator business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of truck owner operator businesses?

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Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

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How to Start an Owner-Operator Trucking Business

Back to All Business Ideas

Written by: Carolyn Young

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by: David Lepeska

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

Updated on May 17, 2023

How to Start an Owner-Operator Trucking Business

Investment range

$14,850 - $28,600

Revenue potential

$100,000 – $220,000 p.a.

Time to build

Profit potential

$60,000 - $132,000p.a.

Industry trend

  • Decide if the Business Is Right for You
  • Hone Your Idea
  • Brainstorm a Business Name
  • Create a Business Plan
  • Register Your Business
  • Register for Taxes
  • Fund your Business
  • Apply for Licenses/Permits
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get Business Insurance
  • Prepare to Launch
  • Build Your Team
  • Start Making Money!

Owner-Operator Trucking Business FAQs

Do you love traveling the open road, watching the landscape change as you cross state lines? If so, an owner-operator trucking business may be just the ticket. Trucking is a $217 billion industry, so why not haul away a piece of that pie? As an owner-operator, you can make a lot more money than you would working for a company, and you can pick and choose the trips you want to take. 

You’ll need to load up on some business intel, though, to be successful. Luckily, this step-by-step guide details all the info you need to get on the road to business ownership.

Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.

Form your business immediately using ZenBusiness LLC formation service or hire one of the Best LLC Services .

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons.

Starting an owner-operator trucking business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

  • Travel – See the country, have new experiences
  • Control – Be the master of your own time and income
  • High Demand – Trucking is an in-demand service
  • Investment Required – A truck and licensing require time and money
  • Time Away from Family – Homesickness may occur!

Owner-operator trucking industry trends

Industry size and growth.

  • Industry size and past growth – The US freight trucking industry is worth an impressive $217.3 billion in 2022 and has increased nearly 3% annually the past five years despite a pandemic dip.(( ))
  • Growth forecast – The global freight trucking industry is expected to grow 36% by 2025.(( ))
  • Number of businesses – In 2022, 684,846 freight trucking businesses were operating in the US.(( ))  
  • Number of people employed – In 2022, the freight trucking industry employed 1,260,636 people.(( )) 

owner-operator trucking industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in the owner-operator trucking industry include:

  • More and more loads are being booked on an app or online, which provides a great way for owner-operators to secure business.
  • The increased number of distribution centers is making the average haul shorter.

Challenges in the owner-operator trucking industry include:

  • Rising fuel prices are cutting into the profit margins of owner-operator truck drivers.
  • Freight rates are constantly fluctuating, impacting the revenue of owner-operators.

owner-operator trucking Trends and Challenges

Demand hotspots

  • Most popular states – The most popular states for truck drivers are Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.(( ))
  • Least popular states – The least popular states for truck drivers are Hawaii, Alaska, and Texas. 

owner-operator trucking demand hotspots

What kind of people work in Trucking?

  • Gender – 16.7% of truck drivers are female, while 80% are male.(( ))
  • Average level of education – The average truck driver is high school educated.
  • Average age – The average truck driver in the US is 48.2 years old.

owner-operator trucking industry demographics

How much does it cost to start an owner-operator trucking business?

Startup costs for an owner-operator trucking business range from $15,000 to $30,000. The main costs are for a down payment on a truck and truck insurance.

If you need to go to truck driving school, it costs an average of $6,000 and takes between 6 to 8 weeks.

How much can you earn from an owner-operator trucking business?

You should be able to earn about $2 per mile. After the costs of fuel, maintenance, and insurance, your profit margin should be about 60%.

In your first year or two, you could drive 50,000 miles per year, bringing in $100,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $60,000 in profit, assuming that 60% margin. As you grow your business, you could drive 110,000 miles per year. With annual revenue of $220,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $132,000.

owner-operator trucking earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for an owner-operator trucking business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • The relatively high startup costs
  • Meeting licensing requirements

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Step 2: hone your idea.

Now that you know what’s involved in starting an owner-operator trucking business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research owner-operator trucking businesses in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a trucking business that delivers to Canada.

truck driver owner operator business plan

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as long-haul trucking.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products or services

You just need to determine how long you want your hauls to be, and if you want to specialize in certain types of loads. Your best bet is to keep your services open to any type of load and any distance.

How much should you charge for owner-operator trucking services?

You should be able to earn about $2 per mile. Your ongoing costs will be for fuel, truck maintenance, and truck insurance. You should aim for a profit margin of about 60%.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will be businesses that need trucking services. You can find business owners on LinkedIn. You can also use online services and apps to find work. An example is . 

Where? Choose your business premises

You can run your business from home, but if you ever want to have your own trucking company with a fleet of trucks and drivers, you’ll need an office. Find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist , Crexi , and Instant Offices .

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed

owner-operator trucking idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “trucking” or “truck driver”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Road Masters” over “Oversize Freight Solutions” or “Hazmat Solutions”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator . Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Find a Domain

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Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary : Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
  • Business Overview : Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
  • Product and Services : Describe your offerings in detail.
  • Market Analysis : Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis .
  • Competitive Analysis : Analyze main competitors, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
  • Sales and Marketing : Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
  • Management Team : Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
  • Operations Plan : Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
  • Financial Plan : Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
  • Appendix : Include any additional financial or business-related documents.

what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to owner-operator trucking businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your owner-operator trucking business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC , which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization , and answer any questions you might have. 

Form Your LLC

Choose Your State

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truck driver owner operator business plan

Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number , or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

truck driver owner operator business plan

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist , and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans : This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans : The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan .
  • Government grants : A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family : Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding : Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal : Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding an owner-operator trucking business. 

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

Starting an owner-operator trucking business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

First, you’ll need to obtain a commercial driver’s license from your state DMV. You’ll also need a Department of Transportation number and a Motor Carrier Authority number, both of which you can get by registering with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) . Finally, you’ll need to complete a unified carrier’s registration , and if you plan to drive to other states or Canada, an International Registration Plan tag and an International Fuel Tax Agreement decal.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package . They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account .

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your owner-operator trucking business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability : The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property : Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance : Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation : Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property : Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto : Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability : Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP) : This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as ShipWell , TruckingOffice , or Truck Logic , to help you manage your scheduling, billing, bookkeeping, and more.

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks , Freshbooks , and Xero . 
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial. 

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like  WordPress ,  Wix , or  Squarespace . This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.

Some of your business will come from the casual online visitors, but you should still invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness. 

Once your website is up and running, link it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products: 

  • Facebook : Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area. 
  • Instagram : Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
  • Website : SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Schedule Now”. This can sharply increase purchases. 
  • Google and Yelp : For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers. 

Kickstart Marketing

Take advantage of your website, social media presence and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include: 

  • In-Person Sales – Offer your trucking services to local businesses. 
  • Post a video – Post a video about your trucking services. Use humor and maybe it will go viral!
  • Email marketing/newsletter – Send regular emails to customers and prospects. Make them personal. 
  • Start a blog – Start a blog and post regularly. Change up your content and share on multiple sites.
  • Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
  • Pay–per-click marketing – Use Google AdWords to perform better in searches. Research your keywords first.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your owner-operator trucking business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your owner-operator trucking business could be:

  • We haul your loads anywhere in the country
  • Ontime load delivery, guaranteed!
  • Transport to anywhere in the US and Canada

unique selling proposition

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running an owner-operator trucking business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in trucking for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in trucking. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Working as a solopreneur owner-operator, you won’t need any employees. But if you decide to grow into a trucking company, you’ll need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a trucking business include:

  • Truck Drivers – drive loads
  • Dispatcher – dispatch drivers
  • General Manager – staff management, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed , Glassdoor , or ZipRecruiter . Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Start Making Money!

Ready to get on the road? Starting an owner-operator trucking business takes an investment to get started, but you can make good money in a $200 billion industry. If you love traveling, that’s an added bonus. You’ll get to see places you never knew existed while being an integral part of the all-important supply chain. 

Now that you’ve done your business homework, it’s time to take the next steps and get on the highway to entrepreneurship!

Most established owner-operator truck drivers make a six-figure income. It may take you a while to build up a customer base to get to that level, but you can make good money right from the start.

On average, you should be able to charge about $2 per mile. Freight rates tend to fluctuate, however, so your rate may be lower or higher at any given time.

If you can get consistent work it can be very profitable. Some successful owner operators make well into the six figures.

Establish a regular maintenance schedule, including oil changes, tire inspections, and brake checks, to prevent breakdowns and ensure the longevity of your equipment. Develop relationships with reputable mechanics or maintenance facilities to handle repairs promptly and efficiently. 

The hardest part of trucking can vary from person to person, but some common challenges include long hours and time away from home, dealing with traffic and road conditions, managing tight schedules, navigating regulatory compliance, and handling the physical demands of the job.

Yes, as an owner-operator, you can contract with multiple companies to provide transportation services. This arrangement allows you to diversify your client base, reduce dependency on a single source of income, and potentially increase your earning potential. 

Finding clients or companies in need of transportation services can be accomplished through various strategies:

  • Online platforms and load boards
  • Cold calling and direct marketing

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Owner Operator Business Plans 4: Goals and Milestones

by TruckingOffice | Business Plan , Goal Setting , Trucking Authority , Trucking Management Software , Trucking Software | 2 comments

Owner Operator Business Plans 4: Goals and Milestones

Building an Owner-Operator Trucking Business Plan

Your business plan will have

  • an executive summary
  • a company overview
  • a marketing plan
  • a set of goals or milestones
  • a list of the current staff
  • a financial plan.

TruckingOffice can help you as we break down each step of writing your owner-operator trucking business plan for your success.

Today we start with goals and milestones – the future you decide now.

Plan the Build:  Goals and Milestones

Many goal setting plans include looking at your “why” – your motivation – to help you decide what to do.  If you’re here, your reasons are probably pretty clear:  you want to build a business plan to build your business or to get financing.  If you’re not going to a lending institution to get money, your business plan can be a lot more informal.  But this step – setting goals and milestones – isn’t about your why .  It’s about the how .

What do you want?  It sounds like such a simple question.  But when we talk about goals and milestones, suddenly, it’s not so simple.

Deciding your ultimate goals helps you decide what to do next.

An owner-operator trucking business plan asks you to lay out your expectations about your

for the future.  Essentially, it’s about the growth of your business.

Build the plan means you decide what you want to accomplish and the structures you need to put into place to achieve them. It may be easiest to start high level and work down to specific milestones you want to use to measure your progress.

Start with the thing you’re most passionate about or what concerns you the most.

For a lot of truckers with families, it’s about making enough money to pay the bills and support the family, plus adding to savings for the future.

We’ll work with round numbers and percentages, but you’ll need to drill down and be more specific on your plan.

Living Expenses

As an owner-operator, you’re self-employed.  That means you’ve got a lot to cover.

How much does it cost for you to live?   Housing.  Food.  Clothing.  Insurance.  Entertainment.  Family vehicles.  The list you create can be intimidating.   Do you really make that much per year?  Are you really covering all of those costs either in cash or in credit?  It’s eye-opening to look at a year’s worth of expenses.  But that’s where to start.

Dave Ramsey has a great program for getting people to create budgets and examine their expenses, so we’re not going to go there.  We’ll just recommend that you take a look at your expenses – cash and credit for the past year – and start with that as your baseline.

Business Expenses

Companies don’t run without money.  You have taxes to pay, expenses to keep your rig on the road, insurance, and loans to be covered.  What are your business expenses right now?  Do you anticipate them changing in the near future with a new purchase or by selling off equipment?  Calculate a number that will keep you in business next year.

Add the living and business expenses together.  Now you’ve got a picture of your finances.  Do you want to earn more next year?  How much more?

What Time Is It?

How do you want to manage your time?  Do you spend a lot of time hunting for papers or trying to figure out your billing?  Organization makes the difference between quick payments and losing money.  Even something as simple as having the right tool where you can find it can save you money and time.  (Ask me why I own 7 pairs of scissors.)

For truckers, time is everything.  Getting the load delivered in the shortest possible time is how we make our reputations and our livelihood. Are there tasks you can complete quicker – like getting your invoices out – by using a good software product like TruckingOffice Trucking Management Software?  Can you track your maintenance to be able to schedule repairs – and reduce your risk of an emergency repair on the road?

Setting goals for time might include

  • finding a good trucking software that will handle the business paperwork (we recommend TruckingOffice)
  • organizing your tools and trucking supplies so you have what you need where you need it
  • controlling your maintenance schedule by tracking repairs, regularly scheduled maintenance
  • tracking your time off the road that’s not productive (social media) and adding more productive activities (exercise.)

More Loads or Better Loads?

You won’t have to listen very long and you’ll hear some trucker say he doesn’t move unless he’s got $3 per mile.

Just how many of those are out there?  Maybe not so many.  Probably not enough to support an owner-operator trucking business.

Why not discover what you need to get per load – profit per load – and work from there?  Instead of looking only for the top dollar, try to collect a number of loads that get your profit number over a period of time.  There’s no point in taking a big pay freight load and having nothing to bring back.  Taking two loads – one there and one back that gets you the revenue you need is far better than deadhead miles that don’t bring in anything.

Once you have decided, this goal then helps you decide whether or not to take a load.  For that alone, it’s worth the time to spend and quit worrying about what you didn’t take.

Load management takes time to master and needs a good tool to help you arrange your trip.  If you handle LTL, it gets more complex. TruckingOffice Pro provides a load management tool that will help an owner-operator maximize your income while minimizing the miles.  With PC*Miler, you’ll know your best routes and be able to plan your trips quickly – even putting together the LTL puzzle pieces will be smoother.

Hauling small loads for multiple shippers can be very profitable.  Instead of waiting for a full load, learning how to manage LTL shipping may be a way to increase your income per mile.

More loads or better loads is your choice.  There is no right or wrong answer – only what’s best for you.  Here in the goal section of the owner-operator trucking business marketing plan, you will make some decisions about what you intend to do in the future.  Will you try to score more golden loads, or will you try to increase the number of loads you take and average out the income?

Write out your thoughts about this choice.  Look at what you’ve done in the past year – can you increase it by 5%  What steps would you have to take to reach that goal?  Do you think you can achieve it, or should you raise your goal higher to 10%?

Equipping Yourself for Success

Equipment wears out.  Replacing it is a fact of life – and one we should be prepared for.  What does that look like?  Enough in the bank to pay off a new rig?  When we’re talking a new cab running $80,000 or more, that’s a lot to save.  New trailer? It depends on what you want.

Buying used?  Not a bad idea.  You still need money for them.

The entire conversation about equipment has to focus on time.  Maybe you’re good right now, but want to get ready.  Maybe you’ve got what you need but you need to keep it up, if not for your investment but for the DOT requirements.

In the tech world, they call it shiny syndrome.   Everybody wants the latest gadget.  An announced upgrade gets them drooling.  Trucking has the same thing but on a much bigger scale.  Go to MATS or GATS and you’ll see miles of the latest, newest, must-have equipment.

Invest in Today

The best investment in your owner-operator trucking business is what you’ve already got.  You’ve already put money into it and unless you’ve got a strong reason to believe that you’re throwing good money after bad, maintaining your rig is smart.  (That’s a discussion between you and the mechanic.)

Keep your equipment in shape by absolutely keeping to the maintenance schedule.  Track your mileage for your tires and oil changes, your months for brakes and suspension.  If you have a mechanic you trust, schedule your work with them.  Is this a goal?  It can be.  Some truckers get oil changes while they’re on the road or buy tires when they have to because of a flat.  That’s up to you which you pick, but maintenance scheduling should be a goal, not just a second thought when the oil light on the dashboard comes on.

Invest in Tomorrow

Starting a regular savings plan to put aside money for an emergency fund and for future equipment can be as simple as going to your bank and setting up a monthly deposit into a savings account. Then learn how to use credit to build your credit rating so if you need to borrow for a purchase or a repair, you’ve got the best options available.  Can you set a goal to set aside a certain dollar amount per month – say $200 – toward your emergency fund and then, when it’s full, start saving that money for the long term investments you’ll need to make in the future?

Now that you know what you want, let’s talk about how to get there.

Too many times, we see goal-setting advice stop once the goals are written down.  They say that goals are SMART:

So we set goals but with just a deadline.  That’s actually not very helpful.  What does help are markers along the way to tell how well you’re doing to get those goals completed.

Just like mile markers along the highway, milestones are indicators of where you are and how far you have come.  They give you some sense of how much longer it will be until you’re done.  Milestones on the goal-setting highway help you get there by eliminating discouragement and encouraging achievement.

For every goal, you need a deadline.  Take a piece of paper and draw 4 lines down the page.  If we start with today’s date, where do you want to be with your first goal in 3 months?  Write the date and the milestone you want to achieve. Each of these steps is a milestone.  They’ll help you evaluate if you’ve moved toward your goal.

If you haven’t, don’t give up.  You can start again at any time.  You can also reset your goals.  Too ambitious?  Not ambitious enough?  Milestones are signs of your progress.  Adjust them as you need to.  Save enough for your emergency fund?  Start another fund for future equipment purchases.

Goals aren’t meant to be chains to tie you down – they’re ladders to move you up.

Blake Norman

I need help putting together a business plan for an Owner operator trucking company

Allen Campbell

Check out our business plan for trucking companies series. Our trucking software will help you manage the trucking business once you are up and running!

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Growing Your Business

How to Write a Trucking Business Plan

  • June 13, 2019
  • Reading Time: 9 minutes

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Unless you have rich relatives willing to finance your trucking business with no questions asked, it’s in your best interest to write a business plan to aid you when approaching lenders, investors or partners to maximize your chance of getting funding assistance.

A comprehensive, detailed and properly structured trucking business plan can help you get the financing you need to purchase trucks, truck equipment and other necessities. But more importantly, it also provides a critical road map of practical and logistical steps you’ll take when starting a trucking business.

What to Include in a Trucking Business Plan

A trucking business plan should contain much of the same information as any other type of business plan, regardless of the product or service the business provides. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a good business plan “guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business … [including] how to structure, run and grow your new business.”

For truckers, the business plan should include industry-specific information that displays a thorough knowledge of what it takes to be competitive and profitable, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), a Missouri-based organization that advocates for the rights of professional truck drivers.

The first thing you’ll want to do before sitting down to write your business plan is figure out what potential lenders, financiers or investors need to know to ensure your funding requirements are met.

You will need to include some customized information in your business plan that is specific to your company’s individual needs. However, just about all business plans should include the following, according to the SBA:

Executive Summary

Company description, market analysis, sales and marketing, funding request, financial projections.

The details in each section will differ depending on whether you want to be an independent owner-operator or company owner with a fleet of trucks. There will also be variations based on the type of freight you’ll be hauling and where your trucks will be travelling. As a general rule, though, each section should contain detailed and accurate information that lets potential investors or partners know you’ve done your due diligence on the trucking industry and have a clear understanding of what it takes to be successful.

Steps to Take Before Writing a Business Plan for Your Trucking Company

As you begin the process of obtaining financing, it’s a good idea to do as much legwork as possible ahead of time so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when your financing comes through. Linda Finch, a compliance specialist with the OOIDA, recommends taking the following steps:

  • Register your business as either a sole proprietorship with a DBA, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation.
  • Obtain an Employee ID Number (EIN).
  • Register your business with the U.S. Department of Transportation to get a federal DOT number. You’ll need to provide information on where you’ll be operating, how many trucks you plan to have and the types of trucks, whether you’ll haul hazardous materials, your vehicle weight, the type of cargo and whether you’ll be a freight forwarder.
  • Apply for a Motor Carrier (MC) number. This can be done online via the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • File a BOC-3 with the FMCSA. This form “gives motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders a legal presence in any state where they do business,” according to the RTSFinancial website.
  • Obtain truck insurance. Finch recommends $750,000 in primary liability insurance, $100,000 in cargo insurance and $1 million in liability insurance. Primary liability covers damages to people or property caused by your truck or trucks.
  • Get your apportioned plates and set up an International Registration Plan, or IRP. According to the IRP website, this is a an agreement between the states, District of Columbia and Canadian provinces that recognizes the registration of commercial motor vehicles registered by other jurisdictions. It provides for “payment of apportioned licensing fees based on the total distance operated in all member jurisdictions.”
  • Set up an International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) account, which is another agreement between the U.S. and Canada that simplifies fuel use taxes by interstate carriers, according to the website.
  • Get a Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). This requires carriers and other businesses involved in interstate commerce to pay annual fees based on fleet size to supplement funding for state highway motor carrier registration and safety programs, according to

Information to Gather for Your Trucking Business Plan

The OOIDA also recommends that truckers educate themselves on industry and financial basics before putting their business plans together. To that end, the OOIDA offers business education training seminars designed to help those who are starting a trucking business. The seminars cover everything from obtaining financing and developing the right financial plan to ensuring that all the right boxes are checked in terms of permits, licensing, taxes and compliance.

When developing your business plan, the OOIDA offers the following guidelines:

  • Determine what your operating assets are in comparison to your liabilities.
  • Learn about managing costs to realistically project your financial success.
  • Determine your cost of operations, including the fixed and variable costs.
  • Determine how much cash flow you will need in order to succeed.
  • Develop realistic operating procedures that reflect the freight you will be hauling and the demographics of where the freight originates and where it is delivered.
  • Research the different rates required by different freight lanes, and why they differ.
  • Learn where to get freight and when to use or avoid load boards. Load boards, also known as freight marketplaces, are online load and truck freight boards used by owner-operators to find their own loads.
  • Educate yourself on spot market versus contract rates. Aborn & Co., a Massachusetts-based provider of managed freight solutions, describes a spot rate as “a one-time single-use rate quote that is valid for a short period of time and is issued to a shipper at or near the time of their shipment.” A contract rate is “a fixed price that is valid for a predetermined period of time and is negotiated with a shipper in advance of any freight moves.”
  • Research the advantages and disadvantages of adding fuel surcharges to your pricing.

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the basics of accounting, regardless of whether you plan to handle this function yourself or contract it out to a third party. Courses are offered online and at community colleges that can help you learn about balance sheets, profit-loss statements and how to calculate total assets and total liabilities.

When you’re ready to start writing your business plan, using a template or outline like the one below will ensure your business plan is properly structured and organized.

Read:  4 Signs It’s Time to Get a Business Line of Credit

Trucking Business Plan Template

To expedite the trucking business plan process, utilize a basic business plan template and customize it to your needs. Regardless of your industry, all business plans should cover the same key sections.

Here are key sections to include when writing a business plan for a trucking company:

This section should provide a short overview of your company and its plans for the future. Include details on your company mission, financial information and performance and growth plans.

Ideally, the executive summary will be no more than one or two pages. Because it’s the first thing someone will read, you need to make a strong impression here. Keep the wording crisp, compelling, precise and to the point. If you don’t catch the reader’s attention and make a strong case for why you’re starting a business and why it will succeed, your business plan might get pushed aside before anyone has a chance to read the rest of it.

Related: How to Start Your Own Trucking Company in 10 Steps

The next section of your trucking business plan is the company description. This is where you write about the background of your business and your connection to the trucking industry. You can go into a little more detail here about the company mission, how your business will differ from the rest of the playing field and who’ll make up your client base.

Use this section to outline the advantages you have over competitors. For example, you might have expertise in a particular type of freight or market, or a strong network of logistics companies, shippers and freight brokers. Provide details on your experience in the business, including everything from starting out as a truck loader to managing a fleet of truckers.

This is also where you’ll provide key facts about your trucking business, such as the owners and management team (if applicable), the year of incorporation, where you’ll operate and the states your business is registered in. You will also provide details on employees (if any), their roles and responsibilities and your plans to hire more as your business grows.

In this section, you’ll outline the services you plan to offer, how you’ll go about executing them and how they will meet market demand. If you are licensed to haul hazardous materials, for example, explain how this is a competitive advantage and what kinds of customers will require your services.

Provide information on where you’ll be operating and how that will impact your services. A trucker in the Southeast, for example, would probably haul more construction materials than one in the Northeast. Similarly, a trucker in the prairie states would probably have more seasonal business tied to farming.

The services section should also include details about your pricing structure, the types of freight you plan to haul and the industries you’ll serve.

Read This: 10 Business Plan Tips for Your Startup

In many respects, the market analysis portion is the most important section of your trucking business plan because it’s where you can wow lenders and investors with your market knowledge. The goal here is to provide the kind of data that shows you’re well-versed in industry trends, market demand, what works well and doesn’t work well in winning new business and the techniques you’ll use to gain an edge over rivals.

Your market analysis should include the following information:

  • Industry Description and Outlook: Provide data on the size of the trucking industry in both dollars and carriers. Include the number of competitors, the biggest players, the biggest shippers and the annual revenue the industry generates. Also, provide data on how the industry is expected to grow and evolve over the next five to 10 years.
  • Target Market: This is where you’ll narrow down the data to your specific niche market (e.g. tankers, refrigerated loads, flatbeds, etc.). Use this space to provide information on the market size in dollars, the number of competitors, the biggest shippers and carriers and the market outlook over the next five to 10 years. Explain how you plan to stand out from the crowd in terms of services, expertise, price and reliability.

Also, provide data on how much market share you expect to carve out during a specified time period and how you plan to grab it. Be specific here. Instead of saying, “We plan to gain share by providing exceptional service,” explain what makes your service exceptional, how it differs from the competition and why customers will migrate to your company.

  • Pricing and Margins: Provide details on how you intend to price your services, how those stack up against competitors and what kinds of margins you’ll need to operate on to be profitable.
  • Competitor Analysis: Potential lenders and investors will want to know that you have a deep knowledge of the carriers and owner-operators you’ll be competing against. Provide detailed information on competitors, who their main customers are, what they do well, where their weaknesses lie and how you plan to exploit those weaknesses.
  • Regulatory Environment: The trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal government (and some state governments) in terms of the number of hours you can drive in a day and a week, the types of material you can haul and where you can haul them, your vehicle’s fuel emissions and the types of permits and licenses required to operate. Explain the regulations you’ll need to operate under and how you plan to comply with them.

You can touch on operational risks here as well, particularly as they pertain to how pending legislation or regulations could impact your business.

Reaching the right people at the right time and in the right way will be a key element of your trucking business’ success. So will convincing prospects to do business with you once you’ve established a relationship. The sales and marketing section of your business plan is where you outline strategies to find potential customers and sell them on your services.

  • Marketing Strategy: Use this section to explain what you’ll do to build and grow your client base. Provide details on how you’ll market your business, whether through traditional advertising on industry websites, through social media, by purchasing phone and email lists, by visiting trade shows or some combination of the above or other means. Be specific about the types of clients your marketing will focus on and where they’re located. Also, provide details about the budget you plan to set aside for marketing.
  • Sales Strategy: This section will mainly focus on the type of sales operation you plan to set up. If you plan to hire your own sales force, provide details on how many sales agents you expect to have on staff, what their pay structure will look like and what kind of weekly or monthly sale quotas you’ll implement. If you plan to use an outside third party to handle sales, identify companies you might use, why they’re successful and how much you’ll budget. Also, provide details on the process of finding and calling on prospects.

This section provides details on the financing requirements you’ll need to get your trucking business off the ground and keep it operating at full strength in the future. Be very specific in terms of the amount of money needed over the next several years and how it will be used. For example, you might use it to purchase a truck and truck equipment, pay salaries and bills and grow your client base. Also, specify whether you will require debt or equity, for how long and at what terms.

This is where you’ll disclose your company’s financial details and its ability to meet its fiscal targets. Include basic financial documents such as the balance sheet, profit-loss statement, cash flow statement and sales forecast. You can also include a break-even analysis explaining what you need to sell, either monthly or annually, to cover your costs of doing business. Provide an outlook of how the business is expected to perform over the next five years.

How to Get Financing for Your Trucking Business

Now that you have a trucking business plan in place, where do you go for financing? Banks and other traditional lending institutions are an obvious option, but they often won’t finance brand new businesses. Similarly, the Small Business Administration requires three years of business tax returns, which means startups have limited financing options.

One option, however, is Seek Business Capital, which specializes in helping startups and early-stage business obtain the funding they need to get their businesses up and running regardless of time in business. To get pre-qualified for trucking business financing or to just learn more about your options, check out the ultimate guide to truck financing .

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  • Author: Ed Anikso
  • 5 Minute Read

How to Get Longer Balance Transfer Periods

10 things you should know about 0% apr credit cards.


  1. Free Owner Operator Trucking Business Plan Mplate Company Trucking

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  2. Owner operator business plan

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  4. How to Hotshot Trucking Business Plan Pdf Really Works

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  2. What it costs to operate a truck business! #shorts #truckingindustry #trucker #trucking #ustrucking

  3. Should All Company Truck Drivers Transition to Being an Owner Operator?!

  4. Uncovering the Hidden Gems of High-Paying Trucking Jobs! 💰🚚

  5. trucking owner operator starting a trucking business

  6. Company Truck Driver or a Lease Purchase Truck Driver


  1. Truck Owner Operator Business Plan Template

    A business plan provides a snapshot of your truck owner operator business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

  2. 10 Steps to Create a Trucking Business Plan

    If you have your own trucking business, even as an independent owner-operator, you need a business plan just like any other small business. If you’re like many trucker entrepreneurs, you might never have created a trucking business plan or even know what goes into one.

  3. 2023 Blueprint to Start an Owner-Operator Trucking Business

    Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You Pros and cons Starting an owner-operator trucking business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you. Pros Travel – See the country, have new experiences Control – Be the master of your own time and income High Demand – Trucking is an in-demand service Cons

  4. Owner Operator Business Plans 1: Executive Summary

    In the trucking industry, an owner-operator is the owner of a small trucking company who also runs the day-to-day operations of the company. Many truckers seeking more independence, freedom and profits choose to become owner-operators and run their own trucking company.

  5. Owner Operator Business Plans 4: Goals and Milestones

    An owner-operator trucking business plan asks you to lay out your expectations about your loads time money equipment for the future. Essentially, it’s about the growth of your business. Build the plan means you decide what you want to accomplish and the structures you need to put into place to achieve them.

  6. How to Write a Trucking Business Plan

    For truckers, the business plan should include industry-specific information that displays a thorough knowledge of what it takes to be competitive and profitable, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), a Missouri-based organization that advocates for the rights of professional truck drivers.