Running a transportation business is risky, and hauling goods from one part of the state or country to another is even more risky when you factor in accidents, theft, vehicle breakdown and natural disasters. This kind of situation makes it obvious that you need protection for your trucking business regardless of what scale you intend to start the business on.

A trucking business on its own is a business that is involved in moving goods of all kinds from one part of the state or country to another for clients who hire and pay for the services. Do you want to know the legal requirements you need to start a trucking business? If YES, here is a checklist of trucking licenses, permits & insurance. Having provided you with a:

  1. Trucking Industry Overview
  2. Market Research and Feasibility
  3. Trucking Business Plan
  4. Trucking Marketing Plan
  5. Trucking Business Name ideas
  6. Trucking Business Licenses and Permits
  7. Cost for Starting a Trucking Company
  8. Trucking Service Marketing ideas

We will consider what it takes to get operating license and permit for your trucking business including insurance coverage and intellectual property protection.

Starting a Trucking Company – Licenses, Permits & Insurance

  • The Best Legal Entity to Use for a Trucking Business

When it comes to choosing a legal entity for a business, it can sometimes be difficult to make a choice. This is so because there are so many forms of organization from which you can choose from.

If you are considering choosing a legal entity for your trucking business and perhaps for any other business, you have the option of choosing either a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, a limited partnership, an LLC, a “C” corporation, or an “S” corporation. It is important to clearly state that these different forms of legal structure for business has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Before choosing a legal entity for your trucking business it is important to consider these factors: limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investor expectation and of course taxes. If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your trucking business, you will agree that Limited Liability Company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start your trucking business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your trucking business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company (flexibility in ownership and management structures).

The only reason why you should consider starting a trucking business as a sole proprietor is when you don’t have plans to grow the business beyond just one truck and if you are comfortable with owner’s operator style.

Is a Professional Certification and License Required to Run a Trucking Business?

If you want to operate your own trucking business i.e. if you want to drive your truck yourself, then you ensure you get the proper training and license needed to drive heavy duty trucks et al. In the united states of America, Large trucks and buses drivers require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before they can be permitted to operate.

In the united states of America, Canada and in most parts of the world truck drivers undergo special trainings on how to handle large vehicle before applying and obtaining their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Aside from the required commercial license (CDL) for your drivers, your trucks must have certificates that shows that they can ply highways too. As such there will always be the need to obtain some professional certification and licenses.

List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Trucking Business

These are some of the basic legal requirements needed before you can successfully start and run your own trucking business:

  • Business and liability insurance
  • Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration for the truck
  • Appropriate driver’s licenses for drivers
  • Assistant’s licenses for assistants
  • Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
  • Tax Payer’s ID
  • Fire certificate
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Employee’s Handbook
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs

You can as well visit the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to confirm if there is any other legal requirement that you would need. This important because you might be required to get additional permit before you can be allowed to transport toxic substance, chemicals and other hazardous chemicals and materials.

Insurance Policies Needed for a Trucking Business

There are essential insurance policies that you must have in place if you run a trucking business. The truth is that, you wouldn’t be allowed to operate a trucking business in the United States, Canada and in most countries of the world if you do not have certain insurance cover. Besides most people that may want to do business with you can only become comfortable if they know that you have certain insurance policy for your business.

These are some of the basic insurance cover that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own trucking business in the United States of America or Canada;

  • Commercial Auto Liability Insurance
  • Physical Damage Coverage
  • Motor Truck Cargo Insurance (Comprehensive)
  • Bobtail Insurance
  • Occupational accident insurance
  • Non-Owned Truck Insurance
  • General Insurance
  • Health / medical insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance

Intellectual Property Protection for a Trucking Business

Most of the players in the trucking business do not have a need for intellectual property protection. This is simply because of the point that trucking business does not mandatorily need an intellectual property protection. The real reason why a trucking company may want to file for intellectual property protection is to protect competitors or newbies from making use or copying their logo or business documents et al.

Bottom line is that the business is straight forward and if you are coming into the industry, you have other stuffs to sort out and intellectual property protection should not be one of them; except you have a cogent reason why you want to file for intellectual property protection.

Ajaero Tony Martins
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