Jun 18, 2024
Travis palmer

Cost to Start a Trucking Company: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Starting a trucking company can be a lucrative business venture, but it requires a significant initial investment. This comprehensive guide outlines the key costs involved in starting a trucking company, financing options, and tips for budgeting to ensure a successful launch.

1. Initial Costs

Truck Purchase or Lease


  • New Truck: $80,000 - $150,000+
  • Used Truck: $30,000 - $80,000


  • Lease Payments: $1,000 - $2,500 per month

Down Payment:

If financing or leasing a truck, you may need a down payment, typically 10-20% of the truck's value.

Licenses and Permits

USDOT Number:

  • Cost: $300 (one-time fee)

MC Number:

  • Cost: $300 (one-time fee)

IRP Plates:

  • Cost: $1,500 - $2,000 annually

IFTA Decals:

  • Cost: $10 - $20 per truck annually


Types of Coverage:

  • Primary Liability: $5,000 - $7,000 per year
  • Physical Damage: $2,000 - $3,000 per year
  • Cargo Insurance: $400 - $1,200 per year
  • Non-Trucking Liability: $450 - $600 per year
  • Workers' Compensation: $2,000 - $6,000 per year

Business Formation and Legal Fees

Business Registration:

  • Cost: $50 - $500 (varies by state)

Legal Fees:

  • Cost: $500 - $1,500 (depending on complexity)

2. Operating Costs


Average Cost:

  • Cost: $0.40 - $0.60 per mile

Maintenance and Repairs

Regular Maintenance:

  • Cost: $0.15 - $0.20 per mile


  • Cost: Varies, budget for $5,000 - $10,000 annually per truck

Driver Salaries


  • Salary: Variable, often depends on miles driven

Hired Driver:

  • Salary: $45,000 - $70,000 annually

Administrative Costs

Office Space and Supplies:

  • Cost: $500 - $2,000 per month

Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Cost: $1,000 - $5,000 annually


ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices):

  • Cost: $500 - $1,200 per truck (initial cost)
  • Monthly Service Fee: $25 - $50 per truck

GPS and Fleet Management Software:

  • Cost: $250 - $600 per truck (initial cost)
  • Monthly Service Fee: $20 - $50 per truck

3. Financing Options

Small Business Loans

SBA Loans:

  • Loan Amount: Up to $5 million
  • Interest Rates: 5.5% - 8%

Bank Loans:

  • Loan Amount: Varies
  • Interest Rates: 4% - 13%

Equipment Financing

Truck Loans:

  • Loan Amount: Up to 100% of truck value
  • Interest Rates: 5% - 20%


Truck Leases:

  • Lease Amount: Depends on the truck's value and lease terms
  • Monthly Payments: $1,000 - $2,500



  • Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe


Angel Investors and Venture Capital:

  • Equity Financing: Exchange a percentage of ownership for funding

4. Tips for Budgeting

Create a Detailed Business Plan

  • Outline Costs: Include all startup and operating costs.
  • Revenue Projections: Estimate income based on market research and industry benchmarks.
  • Profit Margins: Calculate expected profit margins and break-even points.

Build a Cash Reserve

  • Emergency Fund: Set aside funds for unexpected expenses and slow periods.

Shop Around for the Best Deals

  • Compare Prices: Get multiple quotes for trucks, insurance, and services.
  • Negotiate Terms: Don’t hesitate to negotiate better terms with suppliers and lenders.

Monitor Expenses Closely

  • Track Costs: Use accounting software to monitor expenses and cash flow.
  • Adjust Budget: Regularly review and adjust your budget as needed.


Starting a trucking company involves significant initial and ongoing costs, but with careful planning and budgeting, it can be a highly profitable venture. By understanding the key expenses, exploring financing options, and following best practices for financial management, you can set your trucking business up for success.

Ready to explore your funding options and secure the right financial solutions for your business? Get offers today! Fill out an application with Approvd and discover the best funding solutions for your business. For more business, credit, and financial insights, visit our Approvd blog page.

About the Author

With over 20 years of experience in the business loan marketplace at Approvd, our expert has helped countless small business owners navigate the complexities of securing the right funding. Passionate about empowering entrepreneurs, our expert combines industry knowledge with a deep understanding of the challenges faced by small businesses today.

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