There are different types of trucking businesses thriving in the trucking industry. They can be classified by route, such as local, regional, or national carriers, and they can also be classified based on the type of load shipping, such as LTL (less than truckload), FTL (full truckload), reefer (refrigerated goods), white glove (special handling), and expedited (time-sensitive). Additionally, trucking companies can also be classified based on their business structure, including independent contractors, owner-operators, fleet owner-operators, and large trucking corporations.
If you run a trucking company, getting a trucking business loan can be vital for the smooth operation of your business. But before you apply for a small business loan, it is crucial to understand if your trucking company falls under the category of trucking small business.
In this article, we will explore the different types of trucking small businesses, and list down various small business loan options for your trucking company. We will also discuss the pros and cons of each type of loan to help you make an informed decision when choosing a loan that fits your business needs.
Different Types of Trucking Small Businesses
1. Owner-Operator Trucking Business
In an owner-operator trucking business, the owner of the truck is also the driver of the truck. In other words, the owner drives the truck while managing the business. An owner-operator trucking business enjoys complete control over the type of load they transport and the companies they work with. This type of trucking business has the potential for higher earnings, and an opportunity to build a successful business. However, it also comes with greater responsibility and risk as the owner is responsible for all business expenses, and income can be unpredictable.
- More control over schedule, routes, loads, and clients.
- Potential to earn more money compared to being a company driver.
- Opportunity to build a business and gain financial independence.
- Responsible for all business expenses.
- Income can be unpredictable, especially during slow periods.
- Higher financial risk compared to being a company driver.
2. Fleet Trucking Business
A fleet trucking business involves owning and operating multiple trucks to handle larger load contracts and generate higher revenue. Unlike owner-operators, a fleet trucking business owner hires a few drivers to work for his or her business. While fleet trucking companies can earn large profits, the fleet owners also have to manage the payroll of drivers, maintenance of trucks, etc.
- Ability to handle more loads and larger contracts
- Economies of scale when purchasing fuel and supplies
- Potential for higher revenue compared to owner-operator businesses
- High costs associated with maintaining multiple trucks
- Complexities of managing drivers, logistics, and supply chain
- Need for regulatory compliance and safety measures
Small Business Loans for Owner-Operator Trucking Businesses
Emergency Business Loans
As an owner-operator, you would know how sudden breakdowns or repairs of trucks can adversely affect your business. Since you rely on the truck to conduct your business, a damaged truck can bring your operations to a standstill.
Emergency business loans are designed to provide quick access to funds for trucking businesses to cover unexpected expenses, such as accidents or urgent truck repairs. These types of loans provide short-term financial relief to ensure your owner-operator trucking company manages to quickly fix the damages to the truck.
Emergency business loans can be handy to pay for truck repairs after an accident in case the rejects your claim or pays only a small portion of repair expenses.
- Fast access to funds during unexpected situations.
- Can help businesses get back on track and continue their operations smoothly.
- Defaulting on the loan can damage the business’s credit score.
- Some lenders might need collateral against the loan.
Working Capital Loans
Owner-operators struggling with cash flow problems can rely on working capital loans for the temporary influx of money. Any expense that is crucial for your business operation can be covered by working capital loans.
It provides financing to cover the day-to-day expenses of owner-operator trucking companies, such as fuel costs, truck maintenance costs, and insurance premiums.
- Helps businesses cover daily expenses and maintain cash flow.
- Helps keep the operations running when the business is slow.
- Can’t be used for expenses unrelated to day-to-day business functioning.
Short-Term Business Loans
Short-term business loans provide a temporary financial boost for trucking businesses to cover any expenses related to your business such as unpaid bills, truck upgrades, etc. This type of financing needs to be repaid in six to eighteen months depending on your loan amount and lending contract.
Owner-operator trucking companies can use short term business loans to pay for bills when the business is slow or to install safety/tech upgrades to your truck. For example, one can utilize this type of loan to install reefer units in your truck to transport refrigerated goods or upgrade truck suspension to reduce damages to the load. Short-term loans can also be used to cover tech upgrades like inbuilt GPS or integration to improve the efficiency of your trucking business.
- Quick access to funds to address immediate needs.
- Can help businesses stay competitive by investing in upgrades and enhancements.
- A short repayment period helps businesses avoid long-term debt.
- Higher interest rates compared to long-term loans.
- May not provide sufficient funds for larger expenses.
Accounts Receivable Financing
Accounts receivable financing is a type of small business financing where a trucking company receives funds based on its outstanding invoices. It is a useful option for trucking businesses needing quick cash flow access without taking on more debt.
Owner-operators can get a loan amount of up to 80% of unpaid invoices. Once the invoices are paid by clients, you can repay the loan to the lender with interest. However, if your client fails to pay the invoice, your business would still be liable to repay the loan to the lender.
- Provides quick access to cash flow without taking on debt
- Helps businesses avoid cash flow gaps while waiting for invoices to be paid
- No need to wait for invoices to be paid before accessing funds
- Requires a high volume of outstanding invoices to be eligible
- This may require businesses to relinquish control of their invoices
Small Business Loans for Fleet Trucking Business
In addition to emergency loans, working capital loans, and short-term loans, there are other types of small business loans that can help a fleet trucking business. Here are a few funding options for truck fleet owners:
Commercial Truck Financing
Old trucks are often prone to accidents, and unexpected breakdowns, bringing down the overall efficiency of your trucking business. When the cost of repair becomes more than the actual value of the truck, it is time to invest in a new truck. This is where commercial truck financing can help.
Commercial truck financing is a type of small business loan that provides capital for fleet trucking businesses to purchase or lease new trucks. This type of financing is essential for fleet businesses, especially when a company needs to expand its fleet or replace old trucks.
If you purchase a new truck with commercial truck loans, you don’t need to offer additional collateral as the lender would treat the truck as collateral in case of loan default.
- Provides funding for purchasing or leasing new trucks
- Can help businesses expand their fleet and increase revenue
- Allows businesses to preserve working capital for other expenses
- Might require a down payment to get the loan approved.
- The new truck you purchase acts as collateral for the loan.
Business Expansion Loans
Business expansion loans provide funding for fleet trucking businesses to grow and expand their operations. Here are some scenarios when business expansion loans might be needed:
- Acquiring a competitor: When a fleet trucking business wants to expand its market share or acquire new routes, it may need financing to acquire a competitor or a smaller business.
- Adding more trucks to the fleet: When a fleet trucking business has more demand for its services than it can meet, it may need to purchase additional trucks to expand its fleet and handle more loads.
- Expanding into new markets: When a fleet trucking business wants to expand into new markets, it may need financing to cover the costs of licensing, hiring new drivers, and other associated expenses. For example, this loan can help you manage the cost of upgrading from a Regional Carrier to a National Carrier.
- Provides funding for significant business growth opportunities
- Can help trucking businesses increase revenue and profitability
- Allows businesses to invest in long-term projects
- May require collateral to secure the loan
- Repayment periods can be shorter than the expected timeframe for achieving ROI
Payroll loans help fleet trucking businesses cover unexpected personnel costs. Some scenarios when payroll loans might be needed are:
- Hiring new drivers: When a fleet trucking business is growing or expanding, it may need financing to cover the costs of hiring new drivers.
- Seasonal or slow periods: When business is slow, fleet trucking businesses may need payroll loans to cover the costs of paying their drivers and employees.
- Retaining qualified drivers: When a fleet trucking business wants to retain its best drivers, it may need to offer competitive salaries and benefits, which can be covered with payroll loans.
- Provides funding for payroll expenses
- Helps maintain cash flow during slow periods
- Aids in hiring and retaining qualified drivers
- Regular repayments may affect cash flow
Business Marketing Loans
Business marketing loans provide funding for fleet trucking businesses to invest in marketing efforts and promote their services to potential customers. Here are some scenarios when business marketing loans might be needed:
- Creating Brand Awareness: One way to expand your business is by reaching out to new target customers within your area of operation. This can be done by launching an advertising campaign. Any costs related to creating promotional materials, running online ads, or hiring a marketing agency can be covered through business marketing loans.
- Reaching Skilled Candidates: Your fleet trucking company can ensure that your employment opportunities reach qualified, experienced, and skilled drivers through paid media promotions. The cost of such digital promotions to attract the right talent can be covered through business marketing loans.
- Rebranding: When a fleet trucking business wants to rebrand, it may need financing to cover the costs of developing a new brand identity, designing a new logo, and updating its website and marketing materials.
- Provides funding for marketing expenses
- Helps businesses create brand awareness and reach new customers
- Can lead to increased revenue and profitability
- Repayments may affect cash flow.