1. Starting a Trucking Business: Obtain Clients
2. An Overview on Finding Trucking Contracts
3. How to Find More Loads
4. Prospecting
5. Networking
6. Being a Government Contractor

Landing trucking business contracts involves finding and winning the right clients. By keeping your customers happy, you'll gain repeat business and land more contracts. 

Starting a Trucking Business: Obtain Clients

The trucking industry is a highly competitive, demanding business, and trucking business owners need to be proactive in finding customers. If you're an owner, check online bidding sites for available accounts and contracts. A number of sites focus on contract bidding.

In many cases, the owner who offers the lowest bid lands a contract. Although it won't result in a lot of profit, bidding low is usually best for startups. Other avenues for finding clients and contracts include placing classified ads.

Remember that no matter how great your fleet is, making your clients happy is very important. Satisfied clients often recommend quality trucking companies to people they know. This is why it's vital to provide the best service you can during all phases of transport — before, during, and after the job.

In addition, when clients receive excellent service, they're much more likely to come back to you.

An Overview on Finding Trucking Contracts

New owner-operators often find their biggest challenge is finding loads. Small trucking company owners can have a difficult time with this, and not being unable to find enough loads is why many small companies go out of business.

Constantly looking for loads, however, isn't the best strategy. Hunting for loads is a short-term mentality that won't build your business much. Instead of looking for loads, look for clients and long-term relationships. All clients with merchandise need to move that merchandise somehow.

Trucking company owners must learn how to outbid their competition. It's imperative to know your costs in order to win a trucking contract that's beneficial to your bottom line.

How to Find More Loads

Each owner-operator may have a favorite method of finding more loads. Some common ways include the following:

  • Prospecting 
  • Networking 
  • Being a government contractor 

You don't have to stick with load boards, which tend to have so much competition that you'll make little profit. 

Prospecting

It can take more work at the outset, but you may land some contracts through prospecting. This will require you to do some research to find out the following information: 

  • Which shippers are in your area 
  • What these shippers ship 
  • Where they ship

Reach out and make contact once you find suitable prospects. You can either make cold calls or go to their business. Introduce yourself, inquire about their trucking needs, and be prepared to follow up with them in the future. Even if you don't land a contract right away, an opportunity could open up later.

Consider prospecting to be a numbers game, so it's important to keep at it.

Networking

Most small businesses, including trucking companies, rely heavily on networking for their success. Build up your number of contacts by going to events where you're likely to meet shippers and getting involved with industry groups.

Just being out and meeting new people and talking to them can pay surprising dividends as well. It's a small investment of time, but being social in real life can result in a big payoff. The contacts you make might give you industry tips on how you can grow your business.

Being a Government Contractor

One of the largest shippers in the U.S. is the federal government, which outsources many jobs to small fleets and owner-operators like you. An example is the Postal Service. Each day, this government entity moves freight via independent contractors

In addition to the federal government, city and state governments have transportation needs. Chances are you're close to at least one government agency. To be a government contractor, you'll have to go through some extra steps. For starters, you must register to be one. You can always contact the government agency you wish to work for for more details.

In many cases, the hardest part of landing a contract is finding suitable clients or knowing where to look to find them. Once you land a job, provide outstanding service so the client will give you repeat business and even recommend your company to others.

If you need help with trucking contracts, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.