What Does a Trucking Company Do? An Expert's Guide

The trucking industry is an essential part of the U.S. economy. Learn what it takes to start & manage a successful transportation business from an expert's perspective.

What Does a Trucking Company Do? An Expert's Guide

The trucking industry is an essential part of the U. S. economy, transporting large quantities of raw materials, works in process, and finished products overland from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. A trucking company may specialize in what it transports, from people's homes to tanks and weapons for the military, or heavy equipment such as huge excavators and cranes.

Some even have armed guards aboard their trucks while carrying irreplaceable works of art and sculptures to museums. But no matter what they transport, all trucking companies follow the same basic steps. Every person in a trucking company is needed to carry every load from pickup to its destination, whether it's the company's mechanic who handles truck engines; the dispatcher, the safety director who ensures that operating schedule regulations are met; the vendors who find new shippers; or the filing cabinet that keeps track of all the paperwork for every truck and driver that works for the company. Trucking is a business that requires a lot of cash flow. You're always buying fuel, making insurance payments, paying for trucks, etc. Unless you get quick payments, shippers and brokers can pay bills within 15 to 30 days.

This delay can create a cash flow problem for you, especially in the early days of the company. If you're new to the trucking industry, online loading charts can help you find cargo so you can start transporting it. The type of customer that a flatbed truck driver will deliver to is likely different from that of a dry van driver. That's why, while many other businesses had to close during the COVID-19 shutdowns, most trucking companies continued to operate or were even more employed than before the pandemic. The costs of your teams may be a little higher and the search for talent a little more competitive, but the underlying principles when starting a trucking business remain the same. Another option for starting a trucking business would be to start networking and establishing relationships with potential customers through marketing and networking efforts. Cargo moves through trucks, which means that there is always demand for trucks and, more importantly, for transport companies.

The most important step in starting and managing a successful transportation business is finding the right market or, better yet, a particular niche of the market to serve. That's where managing the day-to-day operations of a transportation company can become quite a challenge as you grow. It's also usually a truck that carries the parts or raw materials to make those things from suppliers to a manufacturer and to a store where you buy them. However, stubborn figures indicate that 91% of transport companies are quite small and operate with six or fewer trucks in their fleet. But before you rush to buy a fleet of used trucks and hit the road, make sure you do some research and plan to get a broader view of the industry and develop a basic business plan for trucking. Depending on your service and where your transportation company operates, any number of licenses and permits may apply to your business. In fact, more than 70% of the goods that are transported from one place to another in the United States are transported by truck.

When you're wondering how to run a successful transportation company, don't forget that, as a business owner, you should always take care of money first. As more people shop online and want items delivered to them, the transportation industry will be in high demand and that will create opportunities for you to earn more money. Having an efficient administrative office is essential for developing well-organized commercial transport operations that work like a well-oiled machine that stays moving, generates a lot of money and gains long-term customers.