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Calculate the Cost of Starting Your Own Trucking Company

Interested in seeing how much it costs to start your own trucking company? We’ve compiled a list of the major expenses that you can expect to pay when starting your own business. Use your own numbers for the annual overhead costs to get an estimate for yourself.

Not sure how much it will cost you? Use the default amounts of the calculator (what I spent to start my trucking company, Haulin Assets).

You can click on each item to get a brief explanation of what each item is or look down below for a more extensive overview of how this calculator works.

How To Use the Calculator

This calculator is not designed to calculate your monthly expenses. Instead, you can use it as a starting point to find out exactly how much you need to put down to start your company. The numbers you use don’t have to be completely accurate, just accurate enough to get an idea of how much cash you need to have on hand to start your trucking company or become an owner operator.

How Much SHOULD It Cost To Start a Trucking Company?

As part of my calculator, you can use my costs to get an idea of how much you need, but like every business, this number varies greatly. When starting Haulin Assets, I didn’t have the best-case scenario, as I didn’t have a truck, trailer, or other equipment like a GPS that truck drivers might already have.

You can compare my costs to the best-case scenario down below and learn more about each one here or get more insight on the cost of starting a trucking company.

Graph comparing the best-case scenario startup costs vs. the actual cost to start a trucking company.

Truck Down Payment – 10% of the Total Cost

The truck can vary greatly in cost, depending on if you purchase new or used. As a general rule, you can expect to pay around 10-20% of the full cost of the truck for the down payment. While used prices can vary greatly, new semi trucks can cost anywhere from $80,000 to $150,000. This number does not include your truck’s monthly payments.

You can use my free spreadsheet to help you compare the costs of a number of trucks, but for my down payment, I paid $13,486.

If you already have a truck, you can mark this as $0.

Trailer Down Payment – 10% of the Total Cost

Like the truck, you can also expect to pay a down payment of 10-20%. I ended up paying $4,893 for that down payment and I purchased a reefer. You can learn more about the pros and cons of different trailer types and how that might affect the cost.

If you already have a trailer, this can be marked as $0.

Other Truck & Trailer Expenses – $300

This item includes anything you need in your truck to be prepared, from a fridge and microwave to a reflective vest for shippers. If you already had your truck set up right already, this cost could be as low as $300, depending on what you need.

Professional Services – $1,832

Don’t handle all the paperwork yourself, if you can help it. A professional service can help you get organized with what you need, avoiding what you don’t need, and save you money in the long run. This section includes costs like:

I focused on doing this right, so this number is as low as I could get it for my specific situation, but the cost does vary by state.

IRP Registration Fees – $1,000

The registration fees vary greatly per state, so there’s no good way to estimate it. You can use my number as a general idea, but know it could vary anywhere from $600-$4,000.

Insurance Down Payment – $3,000

Insurance is a huge investment and can vary greatly depending on how long you’ve been driving, what you’re planning on hauling, and your driving history. This is a bigger expense, because you can expect to pay a few thousand, just as a down payment.

Learn how to get trucking insurance or listen to Haulin Assets for more information on how to find the right insurance company and get an accurate quote.

Worker’s Compensation/Occupational Accident Policy – $138

As a business owner, this may be something you haven’t had to deal with, but most owner operators will get occupational accident insurance. You’ll only need to pay the first month’s premium as the start-up expense.

Worker’s Compensation Waiver – $50

If you choose to get occupational accident insurance, you don’t need to get worker’s compensation, but you’ll need to pay the appropriate fee for the waiver.

Graphics for Truck – $100

While you could argue that this isn’t a necessity, you should proudly display your trucking company on your truck, because your truck’s appearance is like your professional appearance. It can help shippers remember you and it looks good during inspections, too.

Pre-pass – Optional

While this is an optional expense and doesn’t need to be included in your start-up costs, it is a good investment that can save you money.

ELD – $396

An ELD is an electronic logging device to track the number of miles you drive and more accurately track your Hours of Service (HOS). There are a number of relatively cheap ELDs, but you need to find one that is accurate and reliable.

GPS – Optional

While you could use your phone to navigate, a good trucking GPS can make sure you don’t end up on a road not built for semi-trucks.

If you are already on the road and have a good GPS, you can mark this expense as $0.

Phone and Internet – Optional

How much you want to pay for this depends on you. As a business owner, you can expect to need your phone and internet to keep in contact with your brokers

If you already have a good phone and internet plan, it doesn’t need to be included in your start-up costs.

Tablet – Optional

Some ELDs require your phone or a portable device to work. If you don’t want to use your phone, you should invest in a tablet. But, this expense is optional.

Get More Resources To Finance Your Trucking Company

The default numbers in this calculator are what I used to start my own trucking company Haulin Assets. Once your company is on the road, you can use our cost-per-mile calculator to manage your expenses and not spend more than you earn.

If you want to learn more about how you can afford it yourself, I’ve covered all that and more in my podcast Haulin Assets. Check out:

And, to learn more about managing your business, you can follow along with my monthly expenses or see how I earned $200,000 my first year as an owner operator.

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Download Our Free Guide

with over 40 years of experience in the industry, we’ve put together this free guide for you. download it to learn more

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START YOUR OWN TRUCKING COMPANY

Are you ready to be your own boss? Get your new motor carrier authority with Motor Carrier HQ. Watch this video to learn more about us and how we can help you start your own trucking company today!

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Being able to outsource some of our non-money making tasks to the professionals at Progressive Reporting has been a key factor in our growth as a young company. We know critical tasks are taken care of and compliance requirements don’t fall through the cracks. We regularly use the tools PRA has given us when our drivers are inspected and to show our insurance agency we are a low risk carrier.

- David A. – Laguna Hills, CA