Most people don’t have the money they need to fund their startup trucking company, and as they say, money doesn’t grow on trees. We have created this page to give you some ideas for where to get funds to pay for everything that comes along with starting a new trucking company.
Where Can I Get Startup Money?
Here is a list of sources for startup money. There are more options than this list contains, but these are some of the most common. Most people are not going to be able to get all the money they need from just one of the sources I have listed. You’re probably going to have to use several of them, and that’s normal.
This sounds obvious, and it kind of is, but I want to mention a few things. First, to be a successful business owner you have to learn how to save money. If you don’t have any savings at all, you might want to wait a few months and practice saving as much money as you can. Not only will that give you some money for your new company, but it will help you develop some habits that will help make you successful.
Think about some areas where you can cut some expenses. Maybe eat out one fewer time per week, and bring lunch from home. Instead of paying for the deluxe cable package, downgrade a bit.
Second, try not to use all of your savings. It is always good to have some cash on hand. You might have an unexpected payment come up or it might take you a little longer than expected to get on the road. It is always good to have some money set aside in case of an emergency, so don’t use it all.
Even better, sell many things. We all have things we don’t use anymore or might not really need. Sell them and use the money to build something that is going to better your life. Maybe it’s your Xbox or a car you have. Or maybe you have a nicer vehicle than you really need. Have a garage sale.
You probably have a lot of potential money in stuff that is sitting around collecting dust or could be used for a greater cause.
Non-Profit Micro Lenders
Most states have organizations, typically formed by people who have been successful in business and want to give back, that will give loans to people who are trying to start new small businesses. They will only give you the loan if they are confident you will be able to pay it back. The best way to show them your competence is with a good business plan.
You can get a lot of the ideas and material you will need for a business plan by listening to the Haulin Assets podcast. You can also find templates for business plans for free on the internet. SCORE is a great resource for people trying to start a new business. They have a great business plan template you can get for free. A good plan will show lenders you are the type of professional they are looking for.
SBA Microloan Program
The United States government realizes the economy depends on small business and is strongest when small businesses are thriving. They created the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses get started and grow. The SBA Microloan Program helps provide loans to small businesses, including startups. One of they nice things about these loans is that they usually include some business education as well.
The SBA does not actually provide the loans, it just backs them. Intermediaries actually issue the loans. Check out this list of intermediaries by state. You can also learn more about SBA’s Microloan Program.
Bank or Credit Union Loans
There are a lot of different types of bank loans. Here are some of the most common ones I have seen people use to start a business.
- Home equity line of credit – Definitely one of the most common if you own your own home. Keep in mind, you’re putting your home on the line so think long and hard about it before you do it.
- Signature loans – There is no collateral with this type of loan, so banks won’t usually lend high amounts.
- Title loans – If you own your vehicle free and clear, you can use it as collateral and get a loan, sometimes for even more than it is worth. Some banks will even let you refinance the loan on a vehicle if it’s worth more than you owe and give you the difference.
- Business loans – It is usually hard to get a business loan for a new business, but it’s worth a try. Under some circumstances banks or credit unions will do it.
Loans From Family or Friends
Be careful with this one. Never take money if you think there is the potential that it will ruin a relationship if things go south. Be honest and upfront with what you are going to do with the money and why you are doing it. Put the terms of the loan in writing so there aren’t questions down the road.
Bring on a Partner
When you do this, you are giving up ownership. If the partner is only providing a one-time loan and that is all they are doing, this option should be a last resort. Try to get the money elsewhere because you are giving up a lot just for a loan. If you do go this route under these circumstances, limit the amount of ownership the partner gets.
Another option you need to be very careful with. If you use credit card debt to fund your business, I highly recommend you have a backup plan for making the credit card payments if the business can’t make them for a while. For example, maybe you have a significant other who has a stable job and you can use their income for a while. You might have to trim expenses elsewhere to make that work.
Here are some common ways you can use a credit card to finance your trucking company.
- Truck down payment – you usually can’t use a credit card to make monthly payments, but many places will let you use a card for part or all of the down payment.
- Insurance down payment
- Tools and equipment purchases
Funding Operating Expenses
You have to start paying for things like fuel, maintenance, lumper fees, etc. the minute your truck leaves on it’s first trip. The problem is, you typically won’t start seeing payments for the work you do for 30-45 days after you deliver the load. There are two very common methods for getting your payments more quickly, factoring and quickpays. We’ll go over what they are and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Many brokers have a quickpay option. Basically, if you ask for that option they will pay you in 2-7 days instead of the normal 30-45 days, but they’ll charge you 3-5% to do it.
- You get paid in 2-7 days.
- Cost is usually 3-5%.
- You typically have to fill out a different application for each broker, and submitting the paperwork is always different.
Factoring companies can also get you your money more quickly. They do it by purchasing your company’s accounts receivable. Basically, the factoring company gives you your money, minus their fee, within 24 business hours after you complete the load. The broker or shipper you hauled the load for will then pay the factoring company the entire amount owed 30-45 days later.
- You get paid same-day or within 24 business hours.
- You deal with one person who handles all the paperwork for you, so you don’t have to learn the system of dozens of different brokers and shippers.
- They handle all of the billing and collecting.
- Cost is 3-5% depending on the size of your business.
You can learn more about how factoring works and some of its advantages by watching this video.
In our opinion, if you’re going to use one of these options, factoring is the way to go. You get all the same benefits as quickpay for the same cost or less, plus factoring is usually a simpler process.
Two pieces of advice: First, look at the contract to make sure nothing is hidden in it. Usually a long contract or if they won’t let you see it until right before they want you to sign is a bad sign. If you aren’t sure about your contract, let us look at it for you and we’ll let you know if there are issues.
Second, make sure you go with a factoring company with a good reputation, there are some bad ones out there. That is why factoring sometimes has a bad reputation. Talk to other owner operators you know and see who they use that they like.