Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on starting your own company.
Your family will be the most exposed so make sure you communicate with them about what you will be doing and how you would like them to help as you start your family business. Getting family support at start-up when things are the most difficult is crucial. This is something you can do.
You will have to either lease with a reputable carrier or go find your own loads to haul. If you have the trucks and the ability to sell your company, go after your own loads. That way you will make all the money and not have to split it with a broker or carrier.
You must, and I repeat must, learn and understand all the regulations facing a trucking company and a truck driver. CSA is having a huge impact on both carriers and drivers and there are many stories in the newspapers of thousands of carriers and thousands of drivers that will be run out of trucking by the new CSA regulations. Electronic Logs are in the process of being required for all trucks. Hours of Service rules are now under review and final rules are scheduled for this summer, if it does not go to court. Rep. DeFazio, D-Ore, is asking the government to look into driver detention. Lots and lots of things are changing right now in trucking, which only means now is the time to make your move. Educate yourself and survive; it will be difficult but profitable when you do.
Protect your credit as if it were your very life, for a small business is really is your lifeline to survival. Protect your CDL from citations and CSA violations, for without a CDL your new trucking company is out of service, but your financial obligations continue. You must hire only well qualified drivers with good clean MVRs, drivers that you would bring home for dinner because they will be representing you and your company every time they pick up, deliver, fuel, go through a weigh station or speak with other drivers. You must strive to be the best; it is hard and sometimes impossible, but if you don’t strive to be the best the next company will take your load and your money.
If you are still interested in starting your own business after reading the above, then talk with a CPA who understands trucking.
Make a business plan and find a banker who believes in you and your plan and someone you like and can trust. Locate a trucking attorney who can help you in times of need and that you like and can trust. My experience is that you will need all three, the CPA, the banker and the attorney, to be successful in business whether you are a small or large corporation. This is really something you can do; do you want to do it?
Jim C. Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm dedicated to legal defense of the nation's commercial drivers. He is also president of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at discounted rates. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking and life over-the-road and has his Commercial Drivers License.