Trucking Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Trucking Business Plan

Are you considering starting or growing a trucking business? If so, you need a business plan and you’re in the right place to learn how to complete it!

Whether you’re looking to secure funding and/or make more strategically-sound decisions about your trucking operations and growth, this guide will help you.

Below you’ll learn what to include in your plan and how to most efficiently complete it. So, fasten your seatbelt and let’s show you how to finish your plan and grow your trucking business!

How to Write a Trucking Business Plan

Below are links to each section of your trucking company business plan template:

Trucking Business Plan FAQs

Growthink's Ultimate Trucking Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete a business plan for a trucking company. Our template includes all the key sections necessary to write a business plan including the executive summary, company description, management team, industry analysis, operations plan, financial plan, and more!

Our trucking business plan PDF template is a free resource to help you get started on your own business plan. You can download the trucking company business plan example pdf here. This is a template you can use in PDF format for any type of trucking or transportation business.

truck drivers

A trucking business plan provides a snapshot of your trucking company as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your short term and long term goals, the company’s mission statement, operational plan and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes a market analysis to support your business plans, sales strategy and show your potential target market size. It should also include research to support your plan, as well an operations plan, financial plan and a marketing plan.

A trucking business plan template makes it easy to write this crucial business document.

Although trucking companies vary in their rates of return, the trucking industry as a whole is generally quite profitable when compared to other types of business ventures.

The amount of money you can make is largely dependent on your trucking industry niche, client base, freight services provided, implemented business strategies, and other factors. However, the average trucking business owner earns approximately $56K in annual revenue, though many others have reported earning more than $100K per year after expenses.

If you’re looking to start a trucking business or grow your existing trucking business you need a solid business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your trucking business in order to improve your chances of success. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes. 

commercial motor vehicles

To start planning your business in the transportation industry, begin by determining the scope of your business plan. Will you need one to raise capital, or will you seek financing for truck purchases? Are you looking for new investments that are outside the scope of your current cash flow projections? Make sure to research all of these issues before proceeding with writing your plan.

Once you determine the scope of your own trucking business, you will begin to conduct thorough market research and competitive analysis. You should know which region you plan to work in (in the case of trucking companies focusing on a specific geographical region) and whether you want to focus on a particular type of freight (e.g., heavy hauling vs. general commodities). Gather as much information as you can, including competitor profiles and market research reports. This should help you determine your competitive edge, the profile of your target customers and a realistic price range for your trucking services or transporting goods. All of this information will be included in your business plan and will help convince potential investors if you are seeking funding.

 

transport goods

The 7 steps to making a successful trucking company are:

  1. Conduct thorough research and analysis.
  2. Gather as much information as you can, including competitor profiles, industry trends, government regulations and market analysis reports.
  3. Determine your competitive advantage, ideal target customer profile, and a pricing strategy.
  4. Meet with an accountant or financial planner with trucking business knowledge to determine what legal structure and business model is best for you.
  5. Establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation in addition to co-ops if desired.
  6. Choose the trucking company name carefully and secure all necessary trademarks to prevent others from legally using them in your field of business.

Use a trucking business plan template to write a successful trucking business plan or work with a business plan expert to write a trucking business plan that's tailored for your particular needs and financial goals.

Starting a local trucking company can cost as little as $10,000 for an individual owner-operator who leases their truck, and as much as $1 million or more for someone looking to have a fleet of trucks.

The biggest startup cost is typically the purchase or lease of trucks: The cost of a truck varies based on the make, model, and condition. On average, you might spend between $80,000 to $150,000 per truck to purchase new trucks. The average cost to lease a truck ranges from approximately $1,000 to $2,500 per month, but you’ll also need a down payment of several thousand dollars.

There are a wide range of other operating costs associated with running your trucking business that you’ll incur. You generally want to have enough capital to pay for 3 months of these costs when you start. Specific costs include the following:

Fuel: The annual fuel cost per truck can range from $30,000 to $70,000, depending on fuel efficiency and distance traveled.

Maintenance and repairs: Budget for routine maintenance costs and unexpected repairs. This can cost approximately $15,000 to $25,000 per truck annually.

Commercial truck insurance: The cost of insurance depends on factors like the type of cargo you carry and your driving history. On average, expect to pay around $9,000 to $12,000 per truck per year.

Operating authority (MC number): The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) charges a fee for obtaining an MC number, which can cost around $300.

State permits and licenses: Costs can vary by state but typically range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Driver wages: The salary for truck drivers varies based on experience and location. Expect to pay an average of $40,000 to $70,000 per qualified driver annually.

Office space and equipment: Costs for an office space, computers, and other administrative essentials can vary widely depending on location but might average around $10,000 to $40,000 per year.

Compliance software and services: Investing in compliance software or services to ensure your company adheres to safety regulations can cost around $5,000 to $10,000 annually.

Marketing costs and advertising expenses: Depending on your marketing strategies, budget for promotional activities, which can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands per year.

It's best to try to keep your business plan between 15 and 30 pages including your financial statements (which belong in the appendix), but there are no firm rules. Length is determined by how thorough you need to be. If you're just looking for funding for new equipment, for instance, your plan may only require 15 pages of material, but you will still need a financial model. On the other hand, if you're looking for outside investment or planning on expanding into new markets, it may require a more comprehensive business plan to more thoroughly explain the opportunity and why you’re qualified to be successful.

business plan template for trucking companyYes, these documents are included in the Appendix section of the business plan! Although this makes it very important that you do extensive research and budget thoroughly, it's also one reason why people hire professional writers: they're experts at finding and justifying expenditures and keep companies from going overboard with unrealistic expectations. Growthink's Ultimate Trucking Business Plan Template includes realistic financial projections making it easier for you to start writing the business plan for your trucking company.

truck owner operatorIn the trucking industry, there are several business structures to choose from, including sole proprietorships, limited liability corporations (LLCs), and S Corporations. You should discuss your options with an accountant or financial planner depending on the state you plan to do business in.

Most of the time, trucking companies start as sole proprietorships, which are the simplest and most inexpensive to maintain. You may also establish LLCs or corporations in addition to co-ops.

freight lanesA strong marketing strategy is one of the most critical aspects of any trucking company business plan. You should be prepared to reach your target market through all channels, including social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, print ads, load boards, professional networking groups for retirees or veteran members. Likewise, having a strong network of quality suppliers can help you better serve existing customers while also attracting new ones. Also consider memberships to American Trucking Associations.

With regards to funding, financing options for a trucking business include bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank business loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financial projections are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan, complete with a cash flow statement, income statements, loss statement and balance sheets. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can run a successful business. 

The second most common form of funding for a trucking business is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Venture capitalists will not fund a trucking business.

There are several sources of financing available specifically for established trucking businesses including commercial loans, small business administration (SBA) loans, and credit cards.  Many financial institutions can provide a loan of some type to help you get started. All of these can help cover the cost of purchasing new trucks along with other equipment.

Having realistic financial forecasts, backed by research will help secure financing.