The trucking industry is one of the largest revenue streams in the United States, transporting over 70% of goods shipped, and generating hundreds of billions of dollars each year. While owning your own trucking business can be a great source of income, there are also plenty of expenses associated with having your own authority. You have probably already thought about some of the most common expenses, such as your investment in the purchase of the truck, and possibly the trailer, your business license, insurance, and so forth. Here, we have listed a general overview of expenses that you can expect when you start your own trucking company so you can be prepared when it comes time to start handing out all the money you’ve saved. They say it takes money to make money, and in this case, that is true. BUT, you have already made the decision to make that leap and be a business owner, and now it’s time to own it!
Once you buy your truck, you will need to register the truck with your state’s Department of Revenue. The cost of your truck’s registration will depend on your state, but the general cost ranges anywhere from $800 – $2,500. Some states charge a flat rate for a commercial vehicle, while others base the fee on the weight of your truck, or both. You will need to check with your state’s Department of Revenue to inquire about other fees, such as emissions fees and clerk fees.
2290 Heavy Use Tax
IRS Tax Form 2290 is required for all vehicles that weigh 55,000 pounds or more. The cost of this tax is $550. This is a federal form that can be found and applied for on the IRS website, IRS.gov for free. You do not have to pay a third party to file this form.
Tolls are an expense that many truck drivers do not think about, but can be very costly. Truck drivers pay for tolls by using cash or by utilizing services such as EZ pass, NationalPass or Sun Pass. Toll roads are in 34 states in the United States. The average annual cost for truckers due to tolls is $2,500. Many truckers use apps that will calculate your total cost of tolls for a trip, and even give alternate routes to avoid as many tolls as possible. Toll fees are used for the upkeep and repair of roads, barrier walls, guardrails, street lights, culverts, bridges, and much more. Although tolls generate money for a more pleasant driving experience, they can be costly when you drive a truck for a living.
Preventative maintenance and service for your truck can vary depending on the type of truck you drive, how far/often you drive it, and the age of the truck. Trucks require oil changes, new tires, and other preventative maintenance services much more often than private passenger automobiles due to the miles driven. Trucks should get battery service every 6 months, oil changes every 40,000 miles, 3-axle alignment each year, air filter fuel tank vent each year, and new tires as needed. The average cost of maintenance for a semi-truck is around $15,000 annually.
As we all know, the price for fuel fluctuates throughout the year, leaving anticipated fuel costs for truckers somewhat of a mystery. Fuel is one of the largest expenses of trucking. Fortunately, when fuel prices are high, trucking companies can charge more for shipping. The average cost for fuel for truckers ranges between $30,000-$60,000 annually. While that seems like a scary number, it is an expense that you pay for over the span of a year, and not an upfront out of pocket expense. Don’t worry, you will make more than enough in this industry to cover fuel expenses.
Insurance for your truck can be costly depending on the type of truck you have, the type of haul, your experience driving a truck, and previous violations and/or accidents. The average annual cost for one truck and trailer is $18,000. There are several lines of insurance that you may need, but if you have your own authority, you may need the following:
Primary Auto Liability – Pays for bodily injuries and property damage that you cause to others while operating your truck. This coverage is required by law in the amount of at least $750,000.
Physical Damage – Covers the cost to repair damages to your truck and trailer caused by accidents, theft, vandalism, fire, and natural disasters. This coverage is not required by law, but is recommended.
Non-Trucking Liability – For circumstances where you are driving your truck for personal reasons or when your truck is not under dispatch.
Trailer-Interchange – Trailer-Interchange coverage provides Physical Damage coverage for non-owned trailers being pulled under a Trailer Interchange agreement.
Cargo Insurance – Pays for damages/loss to freight in transit while under the driver’s care.
Truckers General Liability – General Liability insurance protects the truckers’ business against any property damage or bodily injury that might occur which does not involve a truck
There are also lots of miscellaneous costs that you may not have planned on. Owning your own truck means that everything you need to perform the job comes out of your pocket. Plan on spending up to $3,000 on things like tarps, bungees, safety equipment, etc. To see a complete list of miscellaneous items you may need to purchase, check out our link Trucking Business Start-Up: Surprise Costs.
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