During the Covid-19 Pandemic, many people started delivering for Amazon and other shippers. Perhaps you are one of them, and you have been considering whether starting your own carrier business is the right career choice for you, but you’re unsure of how to ensure the success of your company. As a 3pl, we work with many carriers, and in this post, we touch on some of the basics of starting up a carrier business to help you better understand whether it is the right option for you.
Is it Worthwhile to Become a Carrier?
Becoming a carrier can be a very lucrative and rewarding career choice that involves problem-solving, organization, and creative thinking.
Many individuals who started as delivery people or truck drivers find that they have more flexibility with their work hours and gives them a better work-life balance. Whereas, for example, truck drivers often are on tight schedules, work long hours, and are away from their homes frequently, carriers can set their own hours and schedules and typically work from an office, meaning they stay close to their homes and families and only jump in a truck when an emergency situation arises.
The demand for carrier services is rising. There is also a need for quality, reliable carriers, and the time has never been better to start a courier business if you want to be your own boss. Your carrier business could include, bicycles, motorcycles, vans, drones, and trucks. You could specify that you are a one-hour delivery service, same-day carrier, or a standard carrier.
How do you Start a Trucking Business?
It’s important to have some experience in the trucking industry before starting a carrier business. It’s also important to understand that there are risks in running a small business and it will take drive and courage to be successful.
- Before making the commitment to start a carrier business you should create a short business plan that analyzes the costs, potential income, and profit. In the plan, you will have to name your company and create a logo for it. You will then have to register your company with the federal government. After you receive your federal registration number you can apply for a business bank account.
- Make sure that initially, you have the extra money in the plan for unforeseen expenses. You will want to consider whether to start your carrier company as an LLC or an S-Corp. You will need to apply for an MC and DOT number.
- You will have to choose the right equipment, including vehicles, mobile phones, office space, and supplies.
- It’s crucial that you negotiate fuel discounts and build relationships with the best-priced fuel stops.
- You will need to purchase insurance for your trucks, liability insurance, property damage insurance coverage, bodily injury insurance, and optional motor carrier insurances. To operate your own motor carrier company, you must meet state and federal financial responsibility regulations which are based on the weight of your vehicles and the items you move. Your insurance company may be able to file all the paperwork (like SSRS Form E and MCS-90 forms) after you receive your motor carrier authority based on your level of financial responsibility.
- It’s also very important to offer competitive rates and have a basic pricing structure that is easy for partners and clients to use.
- There are several mentoring organizations like SCORE, that are free to businesses just starting out.
- You’ll need to get the word out about your new carrier business, and this can include having a Google My Business listing and even a website that showcases your services, hours of operation, and preferred contact method. Often a Facebook business page brings leads as well. You can network and join business and industry groups like your local chamber of commerce. When you network with your competitors you can often discuss your vendors for parts and equipment and ways to get drivers.
Find the Right 3PL to Partner with
The right logistics provider can make all the difference for your business. Partner with a company that shares your values, has been in the business for a long time, understands the industry, and is financially stable. This partner will bring you steady business and together you will become a team with the ability to grow. East Coast Transport has a program that nurtures carriers as partners.
Managing your Carrier Business for Success and Growth
It is important to have good cash flow and manage service hours to maintain compliance. It’s also important to monitor your driver’s records and manage your money by keeping up you’re your insurance, equipment and accounts. Only take new business when you are ready to grow your drivers and equipment. It is important to pace your growth so that you can meet the quality service expectations your customers have.
How to Diversify your Carrier Business
The number one way to grow your carrier business is to expand the types of services that you provide. If you do this successfully, you’ll draw in more diverse clients, interact with different industries and ultimately, make your business more profitable. Instead of staying hyper focused on one business sector, try expanding into others. For example, if your business ships dairy food products, consider expanding into a shipment of other food industries, such as produce or meats.
Remember that as you diversify, continue to market those changes so that you continue to grow the business. When you start offering your new service it’s essential to advertise to help make those changes successfully.
Why do Carriers Fail?
One of the most common reasons why carriers fail is because they do not have a well-established and well-organized business plan. Failing to have a solid plan from the start can lead to other shortcomings, such as failing to maintain good business relationships, failing to invest in enough capital or marketing, or failing to properly manage finances or regulatory requirements. Business plans can always be modified and adjusted, but ultimately keep carriers on track. As a result, it’s important to invest that time and energy into ensuring your plan is in place.
How can a Partnership with East Coast Transport Help?
The carrier industry is continuing to grow and become more competitive. However, East Coast Transport is invested in helping businesses grow. We offer carrier programs that can provide you with the tools and the capital you need to succeed. You can learn more about these partner programs here.