A trucking company is a company that is involved in transporting large quantities of raw materials, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers or from warehouses to retail distribution centers, or from seaport to warehouse et al.
There are many Canadians working in the trucking industry. Over 302,000 truck drivers are thought to be employed by the sector, which represents 2 percent of all Canadian workers.
In Canada, the market for the local freight trucking industry is predicted to grow by 4.9 percent in 2023. Between 2017 and 2022, the market size of the Canadian local freight trucking industry has grown by 5.0%. Available data show that in terms of revenue, the long-distance trucking business in Canada will be worth $27.2 billion in 2023.
Steps on How to Start a Trucking Business in Canada
Table of Contents
Conduct Market Research
To be able to optimize revenue from the trucking business in Canada, you would need a trustworthy market analysis. Creating market-based research questions in line with your overall business purpose should be the first step in the market research process for your trucking company.
In this regard, you should look for information that will provide you with trustworthy insight into what your potential market will be looking for in a trucking company, information to help you run your Canadian trucking business with less stress, and information to help you grow the business to profitability in the shortest amount of time.
a. Who is the Target Market for Trucking Business?
- Construction companies
- E-commerce businesses
- Merchants and Warehouse Operators
- Retailers who would want to move their goods from one location to another
- Manufacturers (food products, spare parts, furniture manufacturers, home appliances manufacturers et al)
- Households who would want to move from one apartment to another
- Corporate organizations who would want to move from one office to another
- Government agencies that have cause to move light goods and materials from one location to another.
b. Is the Trucking Business a Profitable Business in Canada?
Yes, the trucking business is very profitable. Available data shows that in terms of revenue, the long-distance trucking business will be worth $27.2 billion in 2023.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to the trucking business and they are;
- LTL or Partial Truckload.
- FTL or Full Truckload.
- Flat Bed Trucking Service.
- Refrigerated Trucks or Reefer Trucks.
- Intermodal Freight Shipping.
- Expedited Trucking Service.
- White Glove Service.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- J&R Transport Inc.
- Paige Logistics Ltd
- N&N Logistics Inc.
- Arrow Transportation
- McKevitt Trucking Limited
- Brian Kurtz Trucking Ltd
- Searcy Trucking Ltd
- Skelton Truck Lines
- The ERB Group of Companies
- JADE TRANSPORT LTD
- J & R Hall Transport Inc.
- Harris Transport Ltd
- Payne Transportation Ltd
- D4 Logistics Inc
- United World Transportation
- 3PL Links Inc.
- Doug Coleman Trucking Ltd.
- Ivan Armstrong Trucking
- Wildwood Transport Inc.
- Transport N Service Inc.
e. Are There City or Province Regulations or Zoning Laws for Trucking Businesses in Canada?
Yes, there are province regulations and zoning laws for trucking businesses in Canada, and players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing similar businesses in the province where their business is domiciled.
Please note that the federal government of Canada regulates the transportation sector in the country. Each trucking company is required by the federal government to comply with local laws in its home province. A truck driver needs to get ten hours off each day.
A truck driver is only permitted to drive for 13 hours every day. After 14 hours on the job in a day, it will be illegal to continue to drive a truck.
f. Is There a Franchise for Trucking Business?
Yes, there are franchise opportunities for a trucking company, and here are some of them;
- BlueGrace Logistics
- Craters & Freighters
- Worldwide Express
- United Shipping, Inc.
- SUPPLY POINTe
- United Charis Transport LLC
- Unishippers Global Logistics LLC
- AIT Freight Systems.
- TWO MEN AND A TRUCK.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Trucking Business in Canada?
- A Feasibility Report
- Business and Marketing Plans
- Business Licenses and Permits
- A Class D License
- Goods and Services Tax/ Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST)
- A Corporate Bank Account
- Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
Choose a Memorable Business Name
When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a trucking business are;
Creative Trucking Business Name ideas
- Truck Boss© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Winnipeg Star® Trucking Company, Ltd
- Mercury Bright© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Logistics Solutions® Trucking Company, Inc.
- Trucking King™ Trucking Company, Inc.
- Sharon Line™ Trucking Company, Ltd.
- Squeak Trucks© Trucking Company, Ltd
- Justin Trucks® Trucking Company, Inc.
- Star Trucks© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Concord Randel© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Joe Spotless® Trucking Company, Ltd
- Moses Trucks® Trucking Company, Ltd
- Rise Up™ Trucking Company, Ltd
- Rally Round© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Justin Ben® Trucking Company, Inc.
- Fort Hornby™ Trucking Company, Inc.
- Aylmer Guys™ Trucking Company, Inc.
- Strathroy Green© Trucking Company, Inc.
- Joel Jamez® Trucking Company, Ltd
- Etobicoke Team™ Trucking Company, Inc.
Register Your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for a Trucking Company in Canada?
You have four alternatives for business structures in Canada, but the corporation is the one that most people in this industry take into account. Because a corporation has limited liability—the owners are not liable for the debts or liabilities of the business.
Additionally, it is necessary to be incorporated in order to transact business with governments or other companies, and business income can be distributed in the form of dividends or salaries, allowing you to minimize your tax liability.
Please note that all Canadian businesses must register their names in their respective provinces or territories, with the exception of sole proprietorships that use only the owner’s legal name without any additions (except in Newfoundland and Labrador, where neither partnerships nor sole proprietorships are required to register their names).
b. Steps to Form a Corporation in Canada
- Whether it is a federal or provincial/territorial incorporation, register your business.
- Contact the Canada Revenue Agency to open a corporate income tax account and obtain a federal business number (CRA).
- In all other Canadian jurisdictions where you want to conduct business, register as an extra-provincial or extra-territorial corporation.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Trucking Company in Canada?
- General Business License
- A Class D License
- Provincial Permits
- Signage Permit
- Operational State Facility Inspections for your parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Trucking Company in Canada?
You don’t need any certifications to start a trucking company in Canada.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Trucking Company in Canada?
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run a trucking company in Canada;
- Goods and Services Tax/ Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST)
- Council Permit
- Business and liability insurance
- A Class D License
- State Permit and Building Approval
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Contract Document
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
If you have plans to start a trucking business in Canada, you probably won’t need to file for trademark protection or intellectual property protection. This is true because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to run the company successfully without needing to take legal action against anyone who uses your intellectual property.
Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Trucking Company in Canada?
There are a few factors that might affect the initial costs of starting a trucking company, therefore they are not all the same. But in general, it will cost $50,000 to over $1 million to establish a trucking company in Canada, and that amount may easily increase based on your business aims and ambitions.
For example, the price of a truck depends largely on its size, and light-duty class 2 and 3 trucks run $25,000 to $45,000. Medium duty class 4 trucks run $35,000 to $50,000. Medium duty class 5 trucks run $45,000 to $70,000.
b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Trucking Company
- The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services totaling – $1,200.
- Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $80.
- The cost of hiring a business consultant (writing of business plans inclusive) – $4,500.
- Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $12,400.
- The cost of logistics software, accounting software, CRM software, and Payroll Software – $3,500
- The cost of leasing a facility (long-term lease agreement) – $105,600.
- The cost for facility remodeling and installations – $20,000.
- The cost for the purchase of trucks: $300,000
- Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
- Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $50,000
- The cost of launching an official website – $1,200
- The cost for our grand opening party – $3,000
- Miscellaneous – $2,500.
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Trucking Company in Canada?
- The size of the trucking company (number of trucks you want to start the business with)
- The choice of location
- The required licenses and permits
- The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
- The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the trucking company
- The cost of furnishing and equipping the trucking company
- The cost of the insurance policy covers
- The cost of registering the business
- Cost of recruiting and training your staff
- The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
- The cost of the grand opening of the trucking company
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?
Essentially, building a new facility for your trucking business is not required, but if you have the necessary funding, it will pay to create your own parking lot and administrative office. The fact is that you will have the chance to design a facility that properly reflects your overall business aims and vision if you are building or remodeling a facility.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Trucking Business?
- Gas and lubricants
- Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage and software renewal fees et al)
- Salaries of employees
- Trucks maintenance
- Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $68,000 Per Year
- Admin and HR Manager – $48,000 Per Year
- Transport and Logistics Manager $48,000 Per Year
- Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer) – $42,000 Per Year
- Accountant $38,000 Per Year
- Truck Drivers – $36,800 Per Year
- Material Handlers/Yard Spotters/Forklifts Operators – $28,000 Per Year
- Customer Service Officer (Receptionist) – $26,100 Per Year
- Security Guard -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Trucking Business in Canada
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from, the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Highland Trucks™ Trucking Company, Inc. is a registered and licensed trucking company that will be based in Regina, Saskatchewan. Highland Trucks™ Trucking Company, Inc. is a trucking, hauling, and transportation company that is designed to service various industries. We specialize in providing complete supply chain solutions.
Highland Trucks™ Trucking Company, Inc. is dedicated to offering excellent service and ensuring that items are transported in a legal and safe manner. Our goal is to give our cherished customers our undivided attention. We maintain competitive prices, customer happiness, and retention.
b. Products and Service
- Transporting large quantities of raw materials and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers and also from seaports to warehouses et al.
c. Mission Statement
Our mission at Trucking King™ Trucking Company, Inc. is to ensure your items get to their destinations in a dependable and timely manner by providing safe professional transportation services while utilizing highly trained personnel, cutting-edge information systems, and a contemporary, well-maintained fleet.
Our vision as a trucking company is to be committed and ensure safe, efficient, and reliable transportation services to all our customers at competitive rates.
d. Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of a trucking company are to transport goods from one location to another.
e. Organizational Structure
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
- Admin and HR Manager
- Transport and Logistics Manager
- Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer)
- Truck Drivers
- Material Handlers / Yard Spotters / Forklifts Operators
- Customer Service Officer (Receptionist)
a. SWOT Analysis
- Excellent operational history.
- Attention to detail.
- Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
- Experience and trained professionals.
- Large storage facility.
- Excellent customer testimonials.
- Reliable and efficient trucks and service.
- Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
- The owner is new to large-scale marketing
- We will need a loan to build our facility and purchase trucks and vans
- The owner is currently running the business solo
- Lack of economies of scale.
- Growing shipping and eCommerce activities in Canada
- Build upon existing clientele
- Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets
- Increase in the number of families moving from one apartment to another
- Increase in the movement of goods from one location to another
- Increase in production activities and warehousing.
- Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
- The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
- Competition in the area could increase
- Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
- The transport department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses.
b. How Do Trucking Companies Make Money?
Trucking companies make money by charging clients for moving their goods from one location to another.
c. Payment Options
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via check
- Payment via mobile money transfer
- Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Let people know about your trucking company by sending introductory letters and brochures to businesses that are involved in manufacturing and other important stakeholders in and around your city and province.
- Use your friends and relatives to spread the news about your business.
- Print up flyers and business cards and place them in key locations such as offices, libraries, public spaces, railway stations, etc.
- Post information about your business and the services you provide on noticeboards in locations such as seaports, business districts, neighborhood coffee shops, etc.
- Publish a brief or classified ad about your business and the services you provide in a local newspaper or other media.
- Make use of referral systems like agencies to draw clients who might require your services.
- Promote our company in appropriate periodicals, newspapers, TV, and radio.
- Participate in pertinent expos, seminars, business fairs, and other events to promote our services.
- Use a direct marketing strategy, encourage word-of-mouth advertising from delighted and devoted customers, and join local business and industry associations to promote your offerings.
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?
Generally, most trucking companies charge an hourly rate that generally includes a moving truck, all the equipment, miscellaneous materials, and the movers. The more moving helpers or trucks are needed for your specific move, the higher the hourly rate will be.
b. How Much Profit Do Trucking Company Owners Make a Year in Canada?
It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a trucking company owner should net more than $146,250 per year or $75 per hour assuming they have steady clientele.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- The capacity of the trucking company (number and sizes of trucks owned)
- The types of related service offerings (warehousing and advertising et al)
- The location of the trucking company
- The management style of the trucking company
- The business approach of the trucking company
- The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the trucking company
- The number of years the trucking company is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Trucking Company?
The profit margin of a trucking company is not fixed. It could range from 25 percent to 65 percent depending on the distance of the goods to be transported.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Below is the sales forecast for a Trucking company. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in Canada;
- First Fiscal Year: $320,000
- Second Fiscal Year: $680,000
- Third Fiscal Year: $920,000
Set Up your Shop/Office
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for a Trucking Company in Canada?
- The demography of the location especially as it relates to manufacturing, warehousing, eCommerce activities, and shipping
- The demand for the haulage services offered by trucking companies in the location
- The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of trucking companies and owner-operated trucking businesses in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What City is Best to Open a Trucking Business in Canada?
- Toronto, Ontario
- Montreal, Quebec
- Calgary, Alberta
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Edmonton, Alberta
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Mississauga, Ontario
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Brampton, Ontario
- Hamilton, Ontario.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Trucking Company?
You should be prepared to purchase forklift, loaders, pallets, and crates et al. So also, you will definitely need computers or laptops, an internet facility, a telephone, a fax machine, and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard trucking company, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, transport and logistics manager, marketing and sales executive (business developer), accountant, truck drivers, material handlers/yard spotters/forklifts operators and customer service officer (receptionist).
Launch the Business Proper
No trucking company these days opens its doors for business without first planning an opening party to formally establish the company. If you have a limited budget, you may choose to hold a soft opening party rather than a large opening party.
The deal is that, by properly launching your trucking company, you will be able to formally notify locals of your community that your trucking company is open for business.
a. What Makes a Trucking Company Successful?
- Choose a good location and reliable trucks to launch the business
- Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
- Throw an open house grand party before officially opening the trucking company
- Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
- Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your trucking company
- Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your trucking company
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Trucking Company?
- The business is open for the day’s work
- The trucks are washed, cleaned, and ready for picking up and transporting goods
- Customer requests are taken and they are scheduled or attended to
- Schedule maintenance of trucks is carried out
- Marketing/website upkeep
- Supply ordering
- Administrative duties
- The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Trucking Company?
- Good driving skills
- Customer services skills
- Interpersonal skill
- Logistics and material handling skills
- Business management skills
- Bargaining skill
- Work experience in the transport and logistics industry
- Experience in managing people
- Experience in business administration
- Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.