The trucking industry is responsible for the largest land freight movements in the United States. Its overall revenue in 2019 alone is marked at 791.7 billion USD, making it one of the country’s most stable and highest-earning industries. The trucking industry is also the source of employment for around 947,000 truck drivers across the 50 states. With income and manpower this large, combined with the growing demand for transfer of goods, now is the best time to consider joining this massive industry.
What Is a Trucking Service?
Of course, this is the mother of all questions. It started in the early 1900s with just using motorized wagons. By 1912, the United States already had roughly 10,000 trucks that operate across the country. It has grown exponentially over the decades and hasn’t stopped fueling the U.S. economy since then.
Trucking services, in a nutshell, refers to the use of the road as the main means of transporting goods and commodities. As the name speaks for itself, this industry uses trucks as their primary vehicles. The drivers’ main job description is to transport goods from manufacturing plants to individual distribution and retail centers. Trucking also covers the transport of materials that are used in the construction industry.
What Are the Different Types of Trucking Services?
There are many types of trucking services that you can choose from to transport commodities and raw materials from point A to point B. The five major classifications of trucking services in the United States are:
- Partial Truck Load – Partial truck load or LTL refers to shippers whose cargo is more than 100 lbs but doesn’t fill up the entire truck. LTL truckers handle shipments that are smaller than parcels. To maximize the trip, many trucking services choose to deliver different cargo from different clients simultaneously. Two of the biggest LTL companies in the United States are FedEx Freight and Old Dominion, whose combined revenue is listed between three and four billion USD.
- Full Truck Load – Full truck load or FTL refers to carrying cargo that takes up the truck’s entire space. You can either use a semi-trailer or full-freight truck that has the size of 8 to 8.5 feet wide, 12.5 to 13.5 feet high, and 40 to 53 feet long. Since the truck is only transporting from one client, FTL allows the trucking company to provide a more specific delivery time frame to their clients.
- Couriers – The courier leg of the industry is the one responsible for the transportation of small and light goods and parcels.
- Reefer Trucks – Also known as refrigerated trucks, this type of trucking service is the one used for transporting perishable goods, such as poultry, fish, meat, and cheese. They are also being used to handle temperature-sensitive items, including pharmaceuticals, as well as other types of chemicals. Trucks being used for this service have special features, such as humidity and temperature control.
- Expedited Trucking Service – This is the one that has signs on the trucks that say “Do Not Delay.” It is mainly used for cargo that is too fragile or too large for air freight but still needs to urgently reach its destination.
License and Important Documents
Now that you are considering being a licensed truck owner-operator, it’s time to focus on the important paperwork. To make your business legitimate, you have to begin by having a structured corporation also known as a Limited Liabilities Company or LLC. This is the boundary between your business liabilities and personal assets. Other important documents that you need are:
- Registered Agent – Having a registered agent is bound by law and serves as the state’s way of communicating with a business entity. As a point of contact, the registered agent should be present at your business’s physical address to receive and sign important legal documents from the state secretary. He or she is also responsible for wage garnishments, state mandates, legal notices, and bookkeeping for your trucking business.
- Get Your EIN – The employer identification number or EIN acts as your social security number but for business. It is a nine-digit number required when opening a business bank account. The EIN should also be visible on all of your business’s tax filings.
- Commercial Driver’s License – All of your drivers should have a commercial driver’s license or CMD before they can be allowed to operate large trucks. The process to get a CDL includes background checks, CDL training, a driving test, and a written permit exam. Keep in mind that the CDL is only for drivers that are at least 21 years old.
- Unified Carrier Registration -The whole UCR system is built to verify if a trucking service has active insurance coverage in each state where it operates. To learn more about the UCR, you can go to your state’s Department of Transportation office or website.
Every business takes time and effort to begin. You need to make sure that you have substantial knowledge of the industry you chose as well as the necessary paperwork to make your business legal. May this basic yet vital information help you as you start your very own trucking business.