Owner Operator Startup Checklist for Box Truck Business

How To Start A Box Truck Business in 10 Simple Steps?

Are you looking for an interesting way to make money? If so, you can consider starting a box trucking business with your cube vans.

You don’t need a lot of money and time to start hauling loads with box trucking business.

You can start business entity in just two weeks with a good plan, even as a sole proprietorship, with a new box truck or a used box truck or box van of gross vehicle weight rating (GCWR) of even less then 26,000 LBS.

Sounds interesting, right? So, read this guidelines to learn how to successfully start a box trucking company as well understand state laws, requirements and any strict regulations.

Two men in uniform moves sofa

12 Proven Ways To Start A Box Truck Business Entity as Owner Operator 

  • Business Checking Account and Credit Card

After you’ve established your company and found the best customers through effective advertising and online marketing, you’ll need to open a business checking account that will allow you to pay vendors, make deposits, and send/receive payments from customers.

Active business credit cards are also required to track customer transactions and keep records of customers, vendors, and payment details. It will also help to keep track of your balances and credit reports on a regular basis.

Additionally, you must determine which business savings account is best for you, as well as which banking system is most beneficial.

If you are wrangled on how to get started, check out Novo Banking. They are ideal for small businesses because they provide free credit card processing, free business checking, and free merchant accounts with low startup fees.

White mini truck on the highweay

  • Work With Box Truck Load Boards

In addition to business checking accounts and credit cards, you will also need a box truck load board to start a box trucking business.

Box truck loads boards can help you get your first few loads, earn some money, and learn how much freight you’ll need and what rates you can charge.

Moreover, truck load boards are highly competitive, so DAT is essential for start-up loads, especially if you’re new to the industry and don’t have any drivers or past loads.

They provide freight analyses, shippers and brokers to keep you and your business running smoothly, as well as useful information for setting freight rates.

Two parked 6-wheel trucks

  • Analyze Your Strength and Weaknesses as Box Truck Owner Operator

Your first step to starting a box trucking company is doing a realistic self-assessment best ways to deploy your cube vans.

If you have prior experience in the business, either as a driver, independent contractor or employee, it would be of great help. It will help you build a successful career even if you are new to this sector.

Know your weaknesses and strengths per the trucking company to be aware of your ability.

You can also hire a professional familiar with different sides of the business.  Try asking yourself questions so you can know about your goals.

Ask yourself whether you have a similar experience? Is there a better opportunity in this business field?

white delivery truck on the street

  • Hirer or Owner-Operator Trucking Business

Next, you need to understand whether you want to run an owner-operator business, independent contractor or you want to be a hirer.

If you wish to establish your business entity from scratch in no time as a sole proprietorship, you must choose an owner-operator.

But if you are an independent driver, you can choose the hirer model as you are likely to have the required skills for making your business successful.

It’s important to remember that this path is not suited for everyone as some people only like to handle the office side of work.

Van driver with packages on the seat

You must decide whether you want to hire drivers or you will be driving yourself.

To start your own box truck business successfully, you also need to have fleet management knowledge, working capital, and a good understanding of legal liability to make better decisions.

  • Draw Up Your Business Plan and Register It

First do register your trucking business and get vital permits. You need to draw up a realistic and successful business plan regardless of the type of trucking business operation you wish to start.

You need a comprehensive business plan that can help you understand exactly where your business will head in the next few years. A firm legal structure will impact your personal liability, taxes and business registration requirements.

Don’t how draw a detailed business plan? Not a big problem, you can check out the Small Business Administration – SBA tool to help you write a solid business plan for a sole proprietorship.

Man moves loaded pallet with manual forklift

Plus, the SBA has great funding department that is much sought after partly due to low-interest rate and generous repayment terms. However you must a clean credit history and a good credit score to secure SBA commercial truck financing.

While creating a rock-solid business plan, don’t forget to include employees, required skills, equipment, and financing upon incorporating as an LLC and applying for Employer Identification Number – EIN through the IRS online portal or by mail or fax and open a bank account in your state of operations.

3D graphic of a forklift loading a truck

The EIN is like a federal tax ID, more like social security number for the business entity. These are important elements that will provide you with desired growth in both the long and short term.

You can get your company off the ground with the help of a well-written plan, as it can help you apply for commercial box truck business financing.

  • Get the Right Permits and Commercial Driver’s License

The trucking business is a well-regulated sector that requires several permits, documents, and business licenses to bring a company into legal operations.

You need a CDL- commercial driver’s license for your used or new box truck, US DOT number, and motor carrier number as you plan to start a box truck business.

The DOT number is a proof that your company has been legally register to operate and haul loads. Before your box truck business runs, you must install electronic logging devices.

In addition, you need to know about the permits and necessary business licenses from your local authorities that you need to run your box truck business smoothly and legally before you join loads boards, Amazon freight or even deal with individuals.

Free delivery and shipping graphics

  • Secure Comprehensive Insurance 

You need to have truck business insurance as a box truck business owner. It’s an absolute necessity and priority to cover myriads of issues including accident fault.

From issuing operating permits to cargo and liability-appropriate insurance, proper insurance coverage is required.

Your box truck business needs appropriate insurance because it is a protective measure. Since box trucks run on high mileage and demanding schedules, it can result in inevitable maintenance demand.

In addition, when you run one truck on the road, it can cripple your company.

The regular premiums you get for your box truck ensure that the carrier is at the risk of breakdowns, possible accidents, damages, and other major issues.

Loaded pallet of boxes on a truck lift

  • Secure Sufficient Financing 

When you decide to start a new trucking business, you need to have enough financing to support payroll, office supplies, insurance, and legal fees.

It’s seen that small lenders and banks do not focus on extensive operational history. They are willing to consider the loan application. Even approaching reputable leasing companies will greatly enhance your take off.


  • Setup Your Fleet

You need to have good-quality box trucks to start a successful box truck business.

So, after getting funding, possibly with a low interest rate, you must purchase the best box trucks. You must also consider opening a business bank account.

Before purchasing trucks, asking yourself some questions can be helpful. You can ask yourself what truck will suit your box truck business model?

Do you want to make short-route operations, or will it be long-haul? What sort of cargo can handle your box truck business requirements?

Properly scan the truck target market to find the right truck that matches your box truck business needs and routes. Doing this and opening a business bank account will make your box truck business successful.

An empty long box truck with a lift

  • Start with a Web-Based TMS 

You must stay at the top of your cash flow after your box truck business starts running smoothly.

By opting for a web-based transportation management system software, you can efficiently and cost-effectively keep the cash flow running all the time.

Such software can also streamline your operations without causing a hindrance to your box truck business processing.

  • Hire Truck Drivers and Employees 

Even with years of experience, you cannot run a new trucking business solo.

You can only grow your business entity if you have skilled employees who can efficiently manage the books, do book jobs, and answer the phone.

  • Find Customers 

After establishing your trucking business, you must find potential customers. You must target market your company, build a network, and advertise across different channels. Good to connect with retailers such as appliances shop, hardware stores, and consignment centers with excess inventory.

Animated graphic of a truck at a stop

Why Box Truck Business Plan is Absolute Important?

Starting a box truck business is highly lucrative. If you have significant business experience or are passionate about starting a business, you can create a plan.

Once the plan is created, you can work accordingly.

Importance of trucking authority and how to get it?

As a truck business owner, you must obtain trucking authority in order to get the necessary permits, select your loads and runs, and secure the right to conduct your business safely.

Graphic of an heavy duty trailer head

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that all commercial motor vehicle drivers, whether private or commercial-owned (CMV), obtain State specific trucking authority to avoid the extra, time-consuming paperwork and all the excessive obstacles that can get in your way when running your business.

Getting your trucking authority can be done through the FMCSA website and learning all the necessary requirements.

Follow these steps for a more detailed approach:

  • Determine the precise level of authority required.
  • Check that you have completed all driving requirements, such as maintenance reports, driver logs, safety records, and drug testing.
  • Apply for your license on the FMCSA website.
  • Secure your UCR permit, and pay for your Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) if necessary.
  • Register for an IRP and set up your Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), then wait for FMCSA to conduct additional reviews and issue your trucking authority.

How does process agent for trucking company works?

Process agents are required for a trucking company to obtain the necessary federal permits and meet all government compliance and regulatory requirements.

The process agents ensure that you meet all government compliance including the International Registration Plan (IRP), International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), which are necessary for safety and security to ensure the day-to-day operation of the trucking company.

Another frequently asked question by prospective box truck business owners is: Can I be my own process agent for boc 3? The answer is simple. No, you cannot.

Before their authority can be issued, all truck company owners must file a BOC-3 form with the FMCSA, and only a process agent has the authority to do so.

The boc 3 process agent ensures continuous compliance with FMCSA safety, health, and other regulations and assists truck company owners in maintaining an active interstate operating status.

Heavy duty trucks on the highway

How to start a box truck business with amazon?

Amazon is one of the most profitable places to start a trucking company. All you must do is follow the checklist and the business opportunities are limitless.

To get started as an Amazon truck business, capitalize on the Amazon Relay program and take advantage of their load board. 

The first step is to sign up for Amazon Relay as a carrier. To become an Amazon carrier, you must have an active DOT number, a valid MC number, and satisfactory insurance and license checks.

The Amazon Relay program is an excellent way for trucking startups to increase sales while meeting freight shipping requirements.

Furthermore, Amazon freight operations can provide you with a comprehensive set of programs and solutions for dealing with the challenges of moving goods.

They will also provide access to their mobile app, which will allow you to track shipments, locations, weights and dimensions of your items, as well as consignee information.

Man scan amazon package with a device

How much do box truck owners make?

Box truck owners have a lucrative income on an average scale. The average annual wage for a BOX truck owner operator in the United States is $106,319 as of August 2022.

The wide range in average pay for a box truck owner operator suggests that there may be numerous opportunities for advancement and higher pay based on experience level, location, and other factors.

Although different states have different pay grades, the average annual pay box truck owners make in major US cities are highlighted in the table below:

State Annual Salary Hourly Wage
New York $104,993 $50.45
Washington $105,407 $50.68
California $96,711 $46.50
Michigan $88, 827 $42.71
Texas $84,761 $40.75
Florida $79,462 $38.20
Georgia $74,087 $35.62

What is Amazon box truck owner operator salary?

Amazon box truck owners earn between $27,000 and $395,500 per year. Most Amazon owner operator truck driver salaries currently range from $78,000 (25th percentile) to $292,500 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) earning $370,500 per year across the United States.

Amazon truck owners make more money than regular full-time drivers, who earn between $25,001 and $40,500 per year.

With a startup cost of around $40,000, you can expect an annual profit of $100,000-$300,000 and a revenue potential of up to $3.5 million.

Box truck parked at a warehouse

What is box truck owner operator pay per mile?

The average box truck owner operator earns about $1.20 per mile. Box truck owner-operators have the highest profit margins in the trucking industry and make about 80% of all profits from their companies.

Although reports claim that annual salaries as high as $264,000 and as low as $33,000 are possible, the majority of box truck owner operator salaries currently range from $52,000 (25th percentile) to $156,000 (75th percentile), with the highest earners (90th percentile) making $208,000 per mile annually across the United States.

Large 6-wheel truck


What expert do I consult for a box truck business checklist? 

If you want to start a box truck business, you should contact transportation industry professionals who can help you get started successfully. There is a plethora of industry professionals online and onsite, but you must determine which industry experts you can trust and should collaborate with to build your box truck business on a budget. 

Some good examples include CloudTrucks, aPurple, and a few others. Avoid contacting companies with a poor track record as this can result in a costly mistake and a delay in the start-up of your box truck business.

A blue truck at a loading term

Box truck business start-up costs? 

Box truck startup capital is heavily influenced by the truck size and capacity that you select. Light-duty trucks cost between $25,000 and $45,000. A medium-duty class 6 truck, on the other hand, costs $50,000 to $100,000.

When starting a box truck business, you’ll need at least $10,000 as an initial investment, plus some cash for working capital or business inventory.

The average down payment for a truck is $5,000-$10,000, with additional costs such as insurance, legal fees, and maintenance totaling $20,000-$25,000.

Senior citizen poses on the road

How to get box truck contracts and freight?

Box truck contracts and freight are cost-effective options for box truck companies to buy equipment, provide shipping services, and create their profit opportunities by becoming carriers.

You can get it from Amazon Relay or a third-party freight company at a lower cost. To be accepted, you must have a valid MC number, DOT number, and carrier entity type.

Additionally, consider deals with freight forwarders, 3PL companies (third-party logistics providers), and freight brokers.

You will also require some checks and insurance policies such as commercial general liability, auto liability, trailer replacement coverage, cargo coverage, workers’ compensation, and employer liability.

Two heavy duty trucks on the highway

Is Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) vital for box trucking?

Yes, a box trucking company must be registered as a unified carrier. It is required in almost all U.S. states and is necessary for your trucking company to operate legally.

The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement are part of a federally mandated, state-managed program that went into effect on September 10, 2007 and provides important insurance and security benefits to trucking companies.

Under this program, states collect fees (ranging from $60 to $60,000) from motor carriers, motor private carriers, freight forwarders, brokers, and leasing companies based on the number of qualifying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in their fleets.


Starting a box truck business entity sounds fun, but it requires significant effort. You will have a lot of work from legal paperwork, finding funding, and hiring employees to attract clients.

As well you must decide specific type of jobs like junk removal jobs (like clean out garages, storage units, waste disposal and basements full of junk) freight carrier, transporting home item such as appliances or furniture.

You must decide if you want start out as sole proprietor or open an LCC, file for EIN as well carrying freight or cargo accross state line which require Unified Carrier Registration – UCR.

A white mini truck at a loading terminal