How to start your own fleet business

If you’re a truck driver or have been involved in the commercial industry, you may wonder what it takes to own and run your own fleet. Starting your own fleet business can be challenging and rewarding as it involves a lot of moving parts, from contracts, hiring drivers, taking care of payroll, maintaining fleet equipment, and more.

But what exactly do you need to become a fleet owner? Here are the first basic steps you will need to take.

Develop your business plan. Who are your customers? What’s the market? Come up with a basic overview of your expenses. How many vehicles and employees do you plan on having? Will you purchase or lease your fleet vehicles? What are all the costs associated with maintaining these vehicles including insurance, and overhead costs when it comes to housing your fleet?

If you don’t already have a commercial driver’s license, obtain one. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows you to operate commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks, cargo vans, buses, and more. In Virginia, a CDL is valid for 8 years and testing consists of a 3-part exam – a knowledge test, endorsement knowledge test, and skills test. You can go to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles’s website to find out more about what’s required to obtain a CDL and any additional endorsements.

Buy your fleet equipment. This may involve using your own personal funds or a loan. The most important consideration is what type of freight your fleet will haul. You will need to figure out what trailer capacity you’ll need, and what type of trailer you’ll need if applicable. There are many different types of fleet vehicles to choose from, as it all depends on your business’s needs and customers.

Figure out if there are any regulatory compliances or requirements at the federal and state level you will need to fulfill. This will usually involve getting a USDOT number so that you can operate across state lines on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation, obtaining IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) decals for your vehicles if operating in multiple states, paying a heavy use vehicle tax, and other licensing requirements.

Becoming a fleet owner is a very big step. Luckily, there are many resources, tips, and guides available out there to help you figure out exactly what you’ll need to jumpstart your own fleet business.

Quarles is here for your fleet’s needs – whether you’re looking for high quality fuel, on-site fueling, GPS management, fleet fuel cards – we’ve got it all. Take a look at all of our fleet fueling products on our website at or call us at 877-444-3835.