How To Get Started With Truckload Freight Shipping

Truckload freight is one of the most popular ways to ship things today because it’s cost-effective and safe to ship. If you’re new to trucking, then you will need to do some training to learn about different trucking terms, how to set up your office, and the proper procedures to be followed when shipping cargo. 

What Is Truckload Freight Shipping?

Truckload freight shipping is a mode of large shipment freight, typically occupying more than half or full capacity of a 48-feet or 53-feet trailer. This freight shipping is usually used when shippers need more space for their goods to fill a truck.

How To Get Started With Truckload Freight Shipping

Getting started with truckload freight shipping entails more than buying some heavy equipment and letting the business run. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Write A Truckload Freight Shipping Business Plan

Business counselors can help you partner your new businesses with bank lending partners and get financed up to USD$5,000,000 if your business is eligible. But the first thing you have to do is write a business plan for your small truckload freight shipping business. 

Here are the essential aspects of your business plan:

  • It should include the vision and mission of your company. 
  • It must include your action plan on how you can make money. 
  • It should define clear margins between the business operational costs and your projected revenues. Include project budgets for five years, and state your client acquisition marketing strategies. 

2. Choose The Best Business Structure And Register 

You can consult an accountant or a lawyer regarding the best structure for your truckload freight shipping business to protect your personal assets from lawsuits and liability. Your options include setting up a limited liability company or a corporation. 

Once you have decided on the best business structure, it’s time to establish your business by registering your business name and structure through the secretary of state.

3. Business Taxes And Registration

Once you have registered your business name, you have to pay the applicable fees to get the entity documents from your state. The information on the entity documents is used to obtain your federal tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service or IRS, which will be used in any credit, bank, or payroll services.

Freight carriers must apply for the Unified Carrier Registration requirement for freight forwarders, brokers, and carriers. The annual fee is USD$76. 

4. Obtain Surety Bond And Insurance

According to a trusted source, 40% of businesses don’t reopen following a natural disaster, and 25% of reopened small businesses fail. So, a great way to protect your freight business is learning the different business insurance options available. 

Generally speaking, general liability insurance or a surety bond will cover you for several risks. These insurance coverages can protect you from being sued or facing a lawsuit if problems arise, such as having an injured employee or shipment problems.

Before applying for the U.S. Department of Transportation or DOT numbers, a freight carrier must obtain a USD$75,000 minimum surety bond and a general liability insurance coverage for a minimum of USD$750,000.  

5. Department Of Transportation Registration

All freight shipping companies are under the regulation of the DOT. So, you have to ensure that your business is registered with DOT.

Here’s how:

  • Get a DOT number through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • Register for an MC number through the interstate Operating Authority.
  • If you’re a new business, enter the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program, an 18-month-long probationary program that reviews company employees for standard driving, drug, and safety criteria. Once it’s completed, your freight shipping business will obtain a permanent DOT number.

6. Finance The Business

Trucks can be very expensive. A new 18-wheeler truck with a trailer usually costs around USD$180,000. Financing options are often available at truck dealers. However, if you’re planning to have more than one truck, you might want to consider applying for a small business loan.

7. Market Your Business

One way to promote your truckload freight shipping business is to establish your online presence by creating a website. Once you have done this, you can promote your business through digital marketing platforms, such as social media.

Partnering with brokers is also a good idea. A small freight company usually works with major carriers and shippers for overflow loads. You can talk to brokers, acting as the intermediaries for these contracts. By doing so, you can move freight on time without losses.


As a future freight shipping business owner, it’s vital to know the basic things to do to run a successful business. Make sure to carefully craft a good business plan, obtain the proper licenses and permits by registering your business, and use digital marketing methods to promote it. Know your business financing options and talk to experts to keep you guided. By keeping all the steps and expert advice shared above, you will come up with a better business plan and marketing strategy to attract more clients.

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.