How to start a box truck business

Are you planning to start your box truck business? Wondering what it takes to run a successful box truck business? You are in the right place. We’ll walk you through the most practical steps of starting a box truck business.

A box truck business is a business where you get paid to deliver local loads. In most cases, the freight will fall under the LTL sector. Before we get into how to start a box truck business, let’s just understand how much you can make through this business.

How much can you make in a box truck business?

This is such a tricky question because it depends on various factors like:

  • What type of box truck you operate?
  • How many loads do you deliver?
  • Where you operate your business?
  • How well do you manage your business expenses?

On average, you can earn $110,000 per year and can go up to $293,000 running your box truck business.

How to start a box truck business

How to start a box truck business?

1. Set up your business

The first step in starting your box truck business is fulfilling all the legal requirements. This could be hectic and confusing, but trust me you can pretty much do everything online by yourself. The following are the legal requirements for starting your box truck business.

  • Register your business – As part of the legal requirement, FMCSA wants you to register your business. You can either set up your business as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or a company. The cost of registering your business may vary for different states but is usually around $300. Refer to the FMCSA’s official website to know more.
  • Obtain an EIN, or Employer Identification Number – EIN acts as a personal security number for your business which you can get for free.
  • Apply for an MC number or USDOT number – If your truck has a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds, you’ll need to obtain an MC or USDOT number. You must provide some basic documents like identification documents, bank statements, and details about your liability insurance to the FMCSA.
  • File BOC-3 Form- This appoints a service of process agent in the states that you will operate. 
  • Get your Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) You also need a UCR if you are transporting cargo across state lines. Make sure you renew it every year on or before Dec 31.

2. Get Insurance for your business

Getting trucking insurance is one of the most crucial aspects of starting a box truck business. There are a few important things to think about when picking the right insurance. You need to consider what kind of coverage you want and how much. There are two main types: liability and collision insurance. Liability insurance helps if your truck damages other people’s property. Collision insurance helps if your trucks get damaged. You might also want insurance that covers medical costs if a driver gets hurt in an accident.

You can explore insurance companies like Sentry and Progressive or just use an insurance aggregator like Coverwallet to get a quote from different insurance companies in one place.

3. Type of box trucks to buy

The biggest problem to solve when starting a box truck business is what type of box truck to buy.

Box trucks are generally 10 to 26 feet long and can range from Class 3 (12,500 LB) to Class 7 (33,000 LB). Choosing the right truck will increase your profitability. Meaning, that when you buy a box truck below 26,000 pounds, you don’t need a CDL, which could save a lot of money. 

If you have no clue of what suits your requirements, just look around for the type of box trucks operated in your city or the best way, call your local manufacturers and ask what kind of box trucks they would prefer. This may seem straight to the face but could save you thousands of dollars in your business journey.

A brand new box truck will cost you anywhere between $25,000 to $90,000. You can always go for used trucks if you think this is out of your budget. Obviously there are other options like leasing and renting. But the wise decision would be:

How to start a box truck business

4. Tools and Equipment

Before picking up loads and starting to make money, you need to buy some tools and equipment. Apart from pallet jacks, load bars, straps, and GPSs the two important pieces of equipment every box truck business needs are:

  • ELD
  • Fuel Card

ELD: An Electronic Logging Device is a tool attached to your truck that helps in recording all of your driving hours. It is required by law to install an ELD in your truck to make sure you are compliant with the HOS rules. Motive has one of the best ELDs in the market at affordable prices.

Fuel Card: Fuel cards help minimize the fuel expenses of your box truck business. The advantage of using fuel cards is, you can:

  • Get detailed reports of your fuel expenses
  • Set spending limits
  • Get more discounts at the fuel station

When purchasing a fuel card, make sure that the company you are working with has a huge network of fuel stations and offers the best discounts. 

One such company is RTS, which has a network of more than 2400 fuel stations and offers a discount of 25 cents per gallon. 

5. How to find loads for box trucks?

To run a successful box truck business you need to find consistent and profitable loads. The best ways to find high paying loads are:

  • Load board – They are an online marketplace where brokers and shippers list their loads. It usually has a monthly or annual fee. Some of the best load boards in the market are DAT, Sylectus, and Amazon Relay
  • Freight brokers – Freight brokers help to connect you with the shipper for a certain commission (usually 15% – 25%)
  • Get into B2C business – One of the underrated ways of finding high paying loads is by doing B2C business. To get started, all you need is a website and online presence. Some of the best sites to get moving jobs are TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, and Dolly.
  • Truck dispatchers – Truck dispatchers negotiate the highest rates for your freight loads. Some also handle back office support like sending invoices, tracking payments, and so on.

Check out our latest blog on how to find truck loads if you want to learn step-by-step of finding high paying loads.


Starting a box truck business requires careful planning, adherence to regulations, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. These steps will help you build a successful and sustainable box truck business. Good luck on your new journey!

Yoga Laxmi
Social Media Marketer at OpenFR8 | More posts

I am copyright writer with OpenFR8. I take a little bit of time to complete my blogs because I undergo research and analysis of each and every article to gather accurate information. For me, writing is not just a job; it feeds my creativity and desire to share insightful information with readers. As a writer, I like to present content that is valuable and easily understood by every individual. I believe in the power of words, and if they are used in a good manner, they can create many positive changes around us.

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