The US trucking industry rakes in $800 billion per year, with an estimated 500,000 trucking companies in total. What if you want to get in on the action? Well, there are plenty of ways to do that. Before settling on a business plan, though, it wouldn’t hurt to get some more information on the big picture. In addition to learning about the most profitable trucking businesses, you may also want to learn about industry developments with sites like Truck Driver News. Regardless, at some point you’ll want to know which trucking business is the most profitable – and you’ve come to the right place for that. These are the five most profitable trucking businesses, together with some tips for starting your own trucking company.
#1: Mining Industry Trucking
This niche requires highly skilled drivers, and pays especially well because of the risk involved. It doesn’t just involve transporting mined materials like coal over freeways; it also involves moving the materials out of the actual mines. It’s crucial for the driver to avoid bumps or other sudden movements, otherwise both the driver and the truck could be crushed in a tunnel collapse. In the trucking industry, the higher the risk, the higher the pay – which is what makes this one of the best-paying trucking businesses you could start.
#2: Oversized Load Hauling
This is a specialty job; you can’t just fuel up a standard semi truck and hit the road. Any company that handles oversized loads has to hire skilled drivers with additional certifications, and also has to ensure that the equipment used is rated for the object being transported. Oversized loads could be anything from construction equipment, to wind turbine parts, to small houses – all things that people are willing to pay top dollar to transport.
#3: Tanker Hauling
Tanker trucks are used to haul both hazardous and non-hazardous liquids. It could be something like milk or water, or something like hazardous waste. These loads require extra certifications for drivers, and particular care when on the road. The requirements and risks of this trucking business make it one of the top earners compared to many others.
#4: Hazmat Hauling
The danger factor is mainly what drives the profits here, since hazmat hauling involves transporting things like explosive gases, flammable liquids, and corrosive substances. This requires a slew of safety protocols and training, special certifications for drivers, and specific equipment to keep the materials contained. Since there’s a high demand in this niche, you’d probably have no shortage of jobs for your drivers.
#5: Luxury Car Hauling
The more the cargo costs, the more it’ll cost to transport it. Luxury cars vary in price, but they always cost impressive amounts of money – as does their transportation. Even though drivers don’t need any special certifications to haul luxury vehicles, they will have to be highly trained and have an excellent track record.
Types of Trucks Used by Trucking Businesses
If you’re starting your own trucking business, you’ll need to either buy or rent one or more trucks. These are some of the main types of trucks that are used in the industry.
Dry Van Trailers
These trucks are some of the most commonly spotted trucks on US highways; they haul pallets, large equipment, or boxes of cargo.
Tanker trucks haul raw products like molasses or milk, fuel, and many other liquid products.
These are climate-controlled trucks that basically act as mobile refrigerators. They typically haul produce, meat, dairy products, and any other food products that have to be kept cold or frozen.
Flatbed trucks are favorites among trucking companies, as they’re easy to load from almost any angle. There are also fewer height limitations, since the load doesn’t have to fit in the closed trailer of the typical semi truck. They’re often used to haul machines, machine parts, timber, and more.
Intermodal Freight Transport Trucks
These trucks are used to transport containers from ships to their final destination. Since drivers don’t have to supervise (or help out with) the loading and unloading of the truck, this job is often simpler than others.
Tips for starting a Trucking Business
If you’re thinking about starting your own trucking company, some things will be easy to figure out, while others may have to come from seasoned professionals. Here are some expert tips to get you started.
New USDOT Number Registration
Maintain a Cash Reserve
Many new business owners make the mistake of starting as soon as they have enough capital to get off the ground. This may seem like the product of a can-do attitude, but the truth is that this is a dangerous game. When new businesses fail – which many of them do – one of the most common reasons is that they needed a quick injection of cash, but couldn’t get it. It might be hard to keep cash on hand as a new business owner, but it’s an important safety net for your new trucking company.
Have a Plan in Place
It takes more than a truck and a certified driver to start a trucking company. You also need to know where your customers will come from, how much you need to make in order to be profitable, and much more. Crunch the numbers before you commit, and you’ll have a much better chance of succeeding.
Create a Healthy Environment for Drivers
While keeping up to code, maintaining a baseline cash reserve, and maintaining the vehicles are all essential factors, at the end of the day your company is only as strong as the drivers you have behind the wheel. For that reason, it is extremely beneficial to create a space within the trucks that is conducive to a relaxing and comfortable environment. Something as simple as installing darker blinds or providing your overnight drivers with a replacement truck mattress can not only have an effect on your driver’s safety, but your bottom line as well.”
Hire a Safety and Compliance Attorney
The government doesn’t let trucking companies slack off, and there are countless regulations in place to make sure they don’t. A specialized attorney will help you navigate the rules and stay on the right side of the law, ensuring that you won’t get shut down for unintentional violations.
Even though many trucking businesses run on tight margins, some of them can be extremely profitable if you know what you’re doing. They key is to do your homework; you can’t simply lease a truck, hire a driver, and start booking jobs. If you’re in it for the long haul, you should make sure that everything is done right the first time for the best results.
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