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Trucking Business Start-Up: Start-Up Checklist

Starting your own company requires a lot of paperwork to get your business set up before you can start operating your business and making money. Starting a trucking business has its own set of unique tasks to complete. If it is your first time starting your own company, it can be difficult to know what all needs to be done, and in what order to complete them. For example, you have to have your Employee Identification Number before you can do things like apply for a business license, apply for DOT, or get insurance. This checklist details all of the tasks that you will need to complete, in the order that they need to be completed, and provides links and/or instructions to accomplish each task.

Employee Identification Number (EIN)

Getting an EIN is simple and free at irs.gov. When you apply for your EIN, you will need to have your company name already picked out. Once you apply, you will receive your Employee Identification Number, usually within a few days, that will be unique to only your company. This number will be required when filling out other forms and paperwork for setting up your business, and is how the federal government will identify your company when you file your taxes each year. Be sure to go directly through the IRS website. You do not need to pay for a third-party company to do this for you. Getting your EIN through the IRS website is always free.

Business License/Register With The State

Once you have received your EIN, you will then be able to apply for your business license with your state. Since each state has a different website, you can just google “Apply for a business license in (insert state.)” From there, the state’s website will give you instructions on how to apply for the business license.  Be sure to always go directly through the state’s .gov website. You do not need to pay a third-party company to apply for your license.

Register with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

“The FMCSA monitors and ensures compliance with motor carrier safety (all carriers) and commercial (for-hire, non-exempt carriers) regulations. Companies may find they are subject to registration requirements for both safety (safety registration) and commercial regulation (operating authority registration). Companies subject to the safety requirements are also required to obtain a USDOT Number.” To complete this process, visit fmcsa.dot.gov.

    1. Determine FMCSA registration needs/requirements:

2. Complete FMCSA Application Process

3. Determine State notification/registration requirements

4. Begin New Entrant Safety Assurance Program

5. Obtain permanent USDOT registration

6. Maintain/Update USDOT Number and Operating Authority information

Get Insurance for Your Truck and Company

Before you can register your truck with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, you will need to have the required Primary Auto Liability coverage on your truck. While you are doing that, you should go ahead and get all of the insurance that you need for your company and your truck. To see a complete list of insurance coverages that you will need, click here.

If you need a quote for your trucking insurance, click here.

Register Your Truck

Once you have completed all of the tasks above, you can register your truck with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Once your truck is registered, you are now ready to start trucking and making money.

Best of luck to you in your new adventure, and stay safe!