FreightWaves Ratings cuts through the noise of freight technology product reviews to make you a smarter buyer

How To Start a Trucking Company Without Driving

When people think of truck driving they initially only think of the drivers and semi-trucks that they see on the road. But behind it, all is the people running the company and keeping everything in order. Starting your own trucking company can be done without you having to drive or get your own CDL. While it comes with its own responsibilities, you can run your own trucking company without ever driving one of your trucks. 

Do You Need a CDL to Own a Trucking Company? 

You will not need a CDL to start your own trucking company. A CDL only is needed if you are going to be behind the wheel of a truck yourself. As the owner, if you are staying in the office or at least off the road and hiring other individuals to drive the trucks, there will be no reason for you to have a CDL

Pros & Cons of Starting a Trucking Company Without a CDL

That being said, while it is not required, it would not be a bad idea to have a CDL yourself so you can offer assistance or tips to your drivers. Having real-world experience can give you a better idea of the ins and outs of the hob and avoid holding unrealistic expectations. But this can also be accomplished by staying connected with your drivers and listening to their feedback. 

But not having a CDL is not necessarily a bad thing. Running your own business takes a lot of work on the back end off of the road. You are busy managing your drivers and loads to make sure that everyone gets paid. That in itself will take up a lot of time. 

What to Know Ahead of Time

Before diving into more of the details of how to actually build a trucking company, here are some factors that you will need to keep in mind that will help you in the future. 

  • Paperwork–Starting any company requires paperwork and permits. You will specifically need a USDOT Number which is required of all new trucking companies. 
  • Capital–Truck company owners must purchase permits, insurance, trucks and so much more. This requires a decent amount of capital. It can cost you up to $15,000 before even purchasing equipment. 
  • Insurance–You will need some sort of commercial insurance for your trucks and drivers but the requirements will vary based on the state you are in. That being said, having only the minimum coverage may save you money now but it will not provide the best protection for you or your client’s loads. 
  • Hiring Drivers and Subcontracting–Since you are wanting to run your company without your own CDL, you will need people to drive your trucks. Hiring and sub contracting drivers will be the way that you actually earn money as a trucking company. 
  • Trucking Authority–Once everything is in order, you must have trucking authority from the government. This simply gives you permission to be paid to move freight, but you must have this before you start your business. 

7 Steps for Starting a Trucking Company Without Driving

While these do not list every last detail of what must be done, these simple steps will set you up with what you need to look for when starting your own trucking company without driving. 

Step 1: Prepare Your Business Plan

Diving headfirst into creating a business is all fine and well but it is best to approach with a plan. There are a number of forms for different permits that you will need as well as insurance coverage and even just finding clients to complete deliveries for. 

You need to figure out what kind of trucking company you want to be–whether it’s local or long-distance. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and how they can be complemented in your business. Since you have already established that you yourself are not going to be a driver you know you will need a driver to cover that side of the business. 

Perhaps in the office, you cannot cover every aspect of the organization and coils use an assistant. Knowing all of this and recognizing how you can accomplish these tasks to reach your goal of starting the business will help you to be more successful. 

Step 2: Understand the Requirements to Register a Trucking Company

It is important that you understand what you need to have in regards to requirements. Most trucking companies will need to meet requirements at both a state and federal level by submitting forms for things such as:

  • EIN number
  • MC/DOT number
  • DUNS number
  • File for FMCSA
  • Boc-3

Step 3: Financing Your First Truck

There are options to rent trucks from other companies but the focus here is going to be on financing the truck yourself. To finance a truck you simply have to apply with a  financing company or with a bank to obtain the loan to buy your truck. 

On average you should expect to be paying at least $15,000 or more for your truck. This can be included in whatever loans you get. The best plan is to buy one truck and start earning money with that and expand as you bring in more capital. 

Step 4: Get Insurance

This step is one of the most important steps in starting your business since if you don’t complete this you will not receive USDOT approval. The minimum requirements are general liability coverage for a minimum of $750,000 and a $75,000 surety bond. Remember to have the insurance card in the truck in case your driver ever needs to prove the insurance. 

Step 5: Hire CDL Drivers

Since you have decided to not pick up a CDL, it is only necessary that you hire a driver with a CDL to drive your truck. You can hire more than one driver but keep in mind that if you only have one truck you can only use one driver. 

There are two ways by which you can obtain a driver for your business. You can directly hire the driver as an employee and have them fill out a W-2, or you can hire them as a contractor with a 1099 or W-9 where they are self-employed and you are simply contracting them as a driver. 

Step 6: Find Loads

As you begin your business it can be difficult to find clients and loads to deliver. A great way to find work especially as a new business is with freight brokers and with the help of trucking consultants. Another way to improve your ability to find additional clients is through investing in advertisements for your business.

Step 7: Manage Your Fleet, Customers & Finances

While you may not be driving one of the trucks, you will be vital to the success of your trucking company. As you grow your fleet, you will have more that needs to be managed from regulation compliance and finding loads to something as simple as making sure you can pay for the gas. 

A great tip to manage your fleet is always to make sure your trucks are stocked and ready for the road. Whether that means topping off the oil, checking tire pressure, or anything else, you always want to be road-ready. As you grow another great tip is to always have a backup driver ready in case of any unfortunate circumstances.

To keep your business running you need to know that your customers are happy and will want you to take care of their deliveries in the future. Take the time to connect in any way with clients. Maybe call and check that they are satisfied with the pickup and delivery process and ask how you could improve going forward. 

The last side to running your business is keeping up with the finances. If you are not strong with numbers then have a professional help you with the bookkeeping. It is the highest priority that your employees get paid while also maintaining your fleet. 

Sometimes invoices from clients will take time to clear but there are ways to get your money faster by selling your invoices to a factoring company. Even established trucking companies will use factoring companies to keep their business flowing smoothly. 

Growing as a Business Guru

When you start a business you don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to be willing to learn and research what it is you don’t know. That research could be with government information regarding requirements or even sitting down with experienced truck drivers to find out what your business should be doing. 

If you’re thinking that running your own business might not be the route for you, obtaining your CDL license still allows you the freedom of choosing the jobs that are right for you!


Can You Own a Trucking Company Without Driving?

Yes, you can. You will just need to hire drivers for your company.

How Do I Start a Trucking Business Without a CDL?

Just like any other business, you’ll need the capital to invest in the proper equipment and pay for the appropriate registrations. The only difference in this scenario is that you will need to hire a driver with a CDL to drive your truck.

Do You Need a CDL To Buy a Semi?

You do not need a CDL to buy a semi truck since the owner and driver can technically be two different people.

We are excited to announce the launch of, a revolutionary resource designed to transform how consumers choose auto-shipping companies. Check it out today!

Where the best truck drivers go to find jobs nationwide!