Trucking Business Plan Template
Whether you want to start your own trucking business or expand an existing one, you need a business plan. The following trucking business plan template lets you know what elements you need to include in a successful trucking business plan.
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To ensure your trucking business’s success in this highly competitive market, you need a properly structured trucking business plan. With over 12 years of experience, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs create business plans to start and grow their trucking businesses. Using the following trucking business plan template, you can put together an effective business plan.
Things to Know Before Writing a Trucking Business Plan?
A Long-Distance Freight Trucking company handles a variety of commodities, usually palletized and transported in containers or van trailers.
Typically, trucking operators operate between metropolitan areas and regions that may cross borders of North American countries. Carriers in the industry operate both on a truckload and a less-than-truckload basis.
These are the major products and services in this industry
- Truckload carriers
- Less-than-truckload carriers
- Other transportation services
Consumer spending, manufacturing output, and trade volumes expand demand for industry services as the economy grows.
In 2020, the American Trucking Association reported that domestic freight trucks moved almost 11.8 billion tons, accounting for 72.5% of the nation’s total by weight (latest available data).
Trucking is expected to remain the most widely used mode of freight transportation over the 3 years to 2024 as the US economy recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Therefore, industry revenue is expected to increase 2.6% annually to $255.5 billion during the outlook period. In the future, the industry’s value-added services will become more prominent.
According to the US Department of Transportation, the total for-hire motor carriers in the US were 996,894, private motor carriers were 813,440, and other motor carriers totaled 83,235 as of February 2021.
Key Success Factors for Trucking Business
Despite the challenges of the trucking industry, We have identified 6 factors that can help you boost profitability, efficiency, and ultimately success.
- Market research and understanding: Knowledge of market segments and an ability to understand client needs ensures delivery of superior customer service.
- Having a high profile in the market: Profit is small, and thus, large sales volumes are crucial for success.
- Output is sold under contract – incorporate long-term sales contracts: Due to strong competition in the sector, long-term contracts are advisable. If a client is tied to a distribution system that commits them to the operator’s facilities, it makes it difficult and costly for the client to transfer to a competitor.
- Optimum capacity utilization: Operational experience, especially in the loading and use of vehicles and equipment, will likely increase efficiency and output.
- Ensuring pricing policy is appropriate: Effective cost management through pricing policy, such as the implementation of fuel surcharges, can help bolster profit.
- Superior financial management and debt management: Tight financial control over costs and revenue, especially debt collection and overheads, is critical for planning cash flows.
What is a Trucking Business Plan?
A business plan for a trucking business is a written document that sets your company’s financial goals and discusses how you’ll reach them.
A solid, comprehensive plan will serve as a road map for the trucking business’s next three to five years. Any bank or investor you approach will require a trucking business plan, so putting one together will be critical to securing funding.
In short, writing a business plan can help you succeed if you’re thinking of starting a trucking business or pitching to investors or venture capitalists. If you are planning to start a hotshot trucking business, use this free hotshot trucking business plan template to write one yourself.
Why You Need a Trucking Business Plan
If you want to start a trucking business or expand an existing one, the first thing you need to do is to write a business plan. A business plan is also necessary for attracting investors who want to know if your trucking business is on the right track and worth investing in.
A solid, detailed plan gives you a clear path to follow, forces you to examine the viability of a trucking business idea, and may help you better understand your company’s finances and competition.
Trucking business owners who have a business plan grow 30% faster than those who don’t, and 71% of fast-growing businesses have one.
A trucking business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Free: Business Plan Examples
Do you need help creating a business plan? Check out these six free, proven business plan examples from different industries to help you write your own.
Funding Sources for Trucking Business
Small Business Administration programs provide funding for trucking companies. SBA loans offer new financing options for small businesses that don’t qualify for conventional business loans. These funds can be used in a variety of ways, including equipment purchases, business expansion, and working capital.
An equipment lender might be able to help you with financing. This type of lender sells and manufactures trucks and equipment. They offer competitive financing packages for those in the trucking industry. Vehicles and equipment are used as collateral.
Despite a highly fragmented industry, you may still be able to attract venture capital by meeting the standards set by equity investors. Most business owners find that if their company is managed well and has a capital base of about $20 million, they can easily attract investors.
Franchise agreements can help you expand your business quickly. As part of such an arrangement, other owner-operators operate their trucks under your name and pay you a franchise fee plus a share in their profits.
Freight Bill Factoring Financing
A significant challenge for your trucking business will be a delay in revenue while you have to meet operational expenses constantly. With freight bill factoring financing, you can solve these cash flow problems immediately. This facility enables your freight company to pay bills in advance without needing to push clients. The freight factoring company buys your existing freight invoices with immediate payment, then waits for your clients to pay them.
The use of bank loans can aid in cash flow problems or in expanding a trucking business. Banks, however, set strict conditions. As your company’s balance sheet will be scrutinized by the bank, you must have a good operational history. In addition, you will need fixed assets to satisfy the lender since most banks rarely consider rolling stock (fleet of wheels) as collateral.
How to Write a Trucking Business Plan
To write a trucking business plan, you don’t need to be an expert. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to write a trucking business plan, or you can just download our proven sample business plans to get a better idea.
The executive summary is the most important part of the document since it outlines the whole business plan. Despite the fact that it appears first in the plan, write the executive summary last so you may condense key concepts from the other nine parts.
It’s a part that catches the investor’s eye and provides key information about your company’s overview and upcoming short- and long-term goals.
Tell them what kind of trucking business you have and what stage you’re in; for example, are you a startup, do you have a trucking company that you want to expand, or do you have a lot of trucking businesses?
Finally, an executive summary should provide investors with a preview of what they may expect from the rest of your document.
- Provide a high-level overview of the trucking industry
- The name, location, and mission of your trucking company
- A description of your trucking business, including management, advisors, and a brief history
- Discuss the type of trucking business you are operating, Give an overview of your target customers., and how your company differs from competitors in the industry
- Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales, and partnership plans.
- And give an overview of your financial plan
Check out these executive summary examples to help you write a perfect one for your trucking business plan.
Free: Executive Summary Examples
An executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, and it need not be challenging to write. This is why we have put together some awesome free Executive Summary examples for you.
The company analysis follows the executive summary as the second section of a trucking business plan. Your company overview in a business plan will be short and clear, similar to the executive summary.
Even if they just have a few minutes, your reader has to understand what your company does and who your customers are.
The following sections will be included in your business plan’s Company Analysis:
- Company summary: Your company analysis will describe the type of trucking business you are running and its future goals.
The type of trucking business you might be focused on (For hire truckload carriers, Less than truckload carriers, Household movers, Inter-modal trucking, etc)
- Company history: When and why did you start your trucking business?
- What milestones have you achieved so far? Your milestones could include served 100th customer, new fleet purchase, etc.
- Legal structure and ownership: Do you have S-Corp status? Is it an LLC? A sole proprietorship? Describe your legal structure.
- Mission statement: An overview of your trucking company’s guiding principles. Learn how to write a perfect mission statement.
You need to include an overview of the trucking business in the industry analysis you performed before sitting down to write your trucking business plan.
While this research may appear to be unnecessary, it helps you to build strategies that maximize business opportunities while lowering or avoiding the identified risk.
Furthermore, market research can improve your strategy, especially if it identifies market trends. For instance, if there is a trend toward long-haul trucking, it would be beneficial to include such services in your business plan.
The third purpose for conducting market research is to demonstrate to readers that you are an industry expert.
Industry analysis can be presented as a 8-step process when written as part of a company’s business plan.
- Give a quick overview of the trucking industry. Define the trucking business in terms of size (in dollars), historical background, service region, and products.
- Examine previous trends and growth patterns in the trucking industry.
- Identify the market’s major competitors.
- Age, gender, and general lifestyle of the targeted market
- Determine the factors that have an impact on the trucking industry. These might include government regulatory rules and other businesses’ competitive activities.
- Using research data, the industry forecast expected growth over the next five to ten years. Predictions should be made for both the long and short term.
- Describe how your trucking business intends to position itself in the industry. Concentrate on how your trucking business can benefit from opportunities highlighted in the industry.
The first condition for a trucking business is to identify its target customers clearly. Customers can be categorized into the following segments: Other trucking companies, Merchants (importers, exporters, traders, suppliers, wholesalers, and dealers), Manufacturers, Construction companies, Household, Corporate organizations, Small business owners etc.
The customer analysis section is an important part of any trucking business plan since it evaluates the consumer segments that your company serves. It identifies target customers, determines what those customers want, and then explains how the product will meet those requirements.
Customer analysis may be divided into two parts: psychosocial profiles (why your trucking services suits a customer’s lifestyle) and demographic profiles (descriptions of a customer’s demographic qualities).
With regards to demographics, include information about: When moving residential, the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of your customers. When targeting businesses, describe what kind of business, size, and location your target customers are.
The psychological profiles of your target clients reveal their wants and needs. The better you understand and identify these demands, the better your chances of attracting and retaining customers will be.
It is necessary to do a competitor analysis. Because you may use their data to define your goals, marketing plans, tactics, new product lines, pricing, and more. Use competitor analysis to:
- Identify the strength and weakness of your trucking business competition.
- Search for opportunities to distinguish your trucking company from competitors.
- Set your service’s price.
On the market, you will almost certainly discover some extremely powerful competitors, some of whom will be offering trucking services similar to yours at unbelievably low costs. However, not every competitor offer with low-cost, low-quality services.
The first step is to determine who your direct and indirect competitors are.
The direct competition consists of other trucking businesses that offer essentially the same services or to the same people as you do.
Your indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from you that aren’t direct competitors.
This includes hauling products, driveway services or other segments of the trucking industry.
Once you’ve identified the competition, concentrate on the direct, head-to-head competitors, since they are the most threatening to your trucking business— but keep an eye on the indirect competition as well, just in case.
Provide an overview of each direct competitor’s business and detail their strengths and weaknesses.
You will be able to position yourself competitively in the market if you perform proper competition research. Perform a SWOT Analysis to learn your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and competitive advantages in the following areas:
- Prices – Are they offer cheaper trucking services or more costly than you and other competitors, what value do buyers get for that price?
- Quality – Are they offer premium trucking services, the perceived worth in the eyes of the customers
- Customer service – How they respond to their consumers, whether they treat them poorly or well, and the degrees of satisfaction customers show
- Reputation — The sum of everything mentioned above: their credibility, how loved the brand is, and the loyalty of their customers
The final section of your competitive analysis should include a list of your areas of competitive advantage. for example: Are you going to offer premium t trucking services? Will you offer unique trucking services that your competitors don’t offer? Will you offer better pricing or will you offer greater customer support?
Consider how you will outperform your competitors and include them in this portion of your trucking business plan.
Free: SWOT Analysis Examples
Take advantage of our free SWOT analysis examples. Make your business future-proof by identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats using this free SWOT Analysis Template.
Creating a marketing plan for a trucking business involves identifying the target demographic and finding trucking services that suit their preferences.
As part of your marketing plan for a Trucking company, you should include:
Pricing and Product Strategy
Your trucking business must offer services that are different from those of your competitors. Research what your competitors offer and how they price their trucking services. Unique services identifies your trucking business as the place to go for unique services and differentiates it from others.
Placing and Promotions
The place is where you have your trucking business. List the locations where customers can avail your services. Do you run a trucking business near several manufacturing companies or oil and gas sectors?
Promoting your trucking business is the final part of your marketing plan. In this step, you document how you will drive customers to purchase your trucking business. A few marketing methods you could consider are:
- Direct mail
- Search engine optimization
- Marketing on social media
- Pay Per Click marketing
You should also think about your trucking company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which should explain why clients should choose you over other trucking businesses. Ensure that your USP is reflected in your marketing.
Suggested Resources: If you are a DIY business plan writer, this guide on how to write a marketing plan in a business plan might be helpful for you.
While the previous sections of your described your goals, your operational plan in a business plan discusses how you will achieve them.
An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it’s also helpful for you and employees because it pushes you to think about tactics and deadlines.
Your operational plan should be able to answer the following questions:
- Who – Personnel in charge of completing specific tasks.
- What – A breakdown of the responsibilities of each personnel.
- Where – The location of everyday operations.
- When –The deadlines for completing tasks and goals.
- How much – The amount of money required for each department to perform their job.
Your operations plan should be divided into two individual parts, as seen below.
Your daily short-term processes include all the tasks involved in running your trucking business, such as serving customers, purchasing supplies, and maintaining trucks etc.
Long-term goals are milestones you hope to reach. It may be the date when you expect to serve your 1000th customer or when you hope to reach $X in sales. Another example would be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or start a new location or service.
The management team section in a business plan‘ outlines your management team, staff, resources, and how your trucking business ownership is structured.
This part may be easily organized by dividing it into the following points:
- Ownership Structure
- Internal Management Team
- External Management Resources
- Human Resources
This section outlines your trucking business’s legal structure. If your company is a sole proprietorship, it may simply be one phrase. It might be longer if your company is a partnership or a corporation. You should make it a point to clarify who owns what part of the business.
Internal Management Team
This section should not only outline who is on your management team but also how each person’s skill set and experiences will contribute to the growth of your trucking business. Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct expertise in the trucking business. If this is the case, highlight your experience and skills.
External Management Resources
Think of these external management resources as your internal management team’s backup. Consider forming an advisory board if your team is lacking expertise and experience with trucking business.
An advisory board would consist of 3 to 7 people who would serve as mentors to your trucking company. They would assist in answering queries and providing strategic direction.
If necessary, search for advisory board members with expertise running trucking business.
Describe all of your company’s external professional advisers, such as accountants, bankers, attorneys, IT experts, business consultants, and/or business coaches.
The final topic to consider in the management area of your trucking business plan is your human resource needs.
As part of your financial plan, you should present a 5-year financial statement broken down monthly or quarterly for the first year, and then annually. Financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
Read Later: How to write a financial plan in a business plan
A profit and loss statement is more commonly called an income statement. It shows your revenue and subtracts your expenses to determine whether you were profitable or not.
As you develop your income statement, you need to develop assumptions. Will you serve 50 customers per day or 300? Will sales grow by 3% or 15% per year? Your choice of assumptions will greatly impact your business’s financial forecasts. Conduct as much research as possible in order to ground your assumptions in reality.
Want to learn how to make an income statement? Download our free income statement templates to make a stunning one for you.
Free: Income Statement Template
Create a financial statement for your business by downloading our free income statement templates.
While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities.
The balance sheet shows your trucking business’s net value at a specific point in time. It categorizes all of your company’s financial data into three categories:
- Assets: Tangible goods with the monetary worth that the company owns.
- Liabilities: Debt owing to a company’s creditor.
- Equity: The net difference when the total liabilities are subtracted from the total assets.
The equation that expresses the relationship between these financial data elements is Assets = Liabilities + Equity.
Create a pro forma balance sheet for your trucking business plan that highlights the information in the income statement and cash flow projections. A balance sheet is normally prepared once a year by a company.
Balance sheets indicate your assets and liabilities, and while they contain a lot of information, they are simplified to highlight the most important things you need to know.
For example, spending $150,000 to build out your trucking business will not result in instant revenues. Rather, it is an asset that should help you earn money for many years to come.
Similarly, if a bank sends you a check for $100,000, you do not have to pay it back right now. Rather, that is a liability that you will repay over time.
Want to learn how to make an balance sheet? Download our free balance sheet templates to make a beautiful balance sheet template.
Cash Flow Statement:
Your cash flow statement will help you determine how much money you need to start or grow your trucking business. In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a trucking business:
- Fees for registering a trucking business
- Taxes and licenses costs
- Business insurance
- Acquiring the US
- DOT number
- Cost of Buying trucks: new vs. used
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
Free: Balance Sheet Template
Create a financial statement for your business by downloading our free balance sheet templates.
List any additional material you cannot include elsewhere, such as resumes from key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit histories.
Attach your full financial projections along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling in the appendix.
Bonus Tip: Learn what to include in a business plan appendix when writing a trucking business plan.
Summary of the Trucking Business Plan
A trucking business plan is a worthwhile investment. As long as you follow the template above, you will become an expert in no time. By following the template, you will understand the Trucking business, your competition, and your customers. The plan will help you understand the steps necessary to launch and grow your Trucking business.
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We will show you some real-world business plan examples so you may know how to write your own, especially if you are seeking a bank loan or an outside investment and need to use SBA-approved formatting.