How to start a box truck business in 2023? 

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

A box truck business involves the transportation of goods using box trucks – vehicles that carry cargo in a separate enclosed box on the back. The business can be incredibly profitable due to the constant demand for freight transportation. This article will guide you through the steps to start your own box truck business.

Understanding the box truck industry

Before diving into the business, it’s essential to grasp the industry’s workings. The box truck industry is diverse, with businesses ranging from freight delivery to moving services. Therefore, you need to determine what type of box truck business you want to establish. Furthermore, understanding your potential customers is crucial. For instance, if you’re going into freight delivery, your customers could be manufacturers, wholesalers, or retailers.

Box truck business plan development

The success of any business hinges on a well-structured business plan. A box truck business is no exception. Your business plan should contain the following:

Executive summary: A brief overview of your business idea, including your business’s name, what you’ll be doing, and why you believe it’ll be successful.

Company description: Detail what your box truck business will do and what sets it apart from competitors.

Market analysis: Research on your industry, target market, and competition.

Organization and management: Your business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, etc.), management team, and staffing requirements.

Services and products: Explain the services you’ll provide or what you’ll be hauling.

Marketing and sales strategy: How you’ll attract and retain customers.

Funding request: If you’re seeking investors, this section should detail how much you need.

Financial projections: Provide an outlook for the next five years backed by market research.

Starting a box truck business requires you to comply with specific legal requirements. These include registering your business with the state and obtaining necessary licenses and permits. Make sure to check both federal and state regulations.

Equally important is insuring your business. Box trucks are prone to accidents, which can lead to substantial financial losses. Therefore, a comprehensive insurance policy is essential to protect your business.

Acquiring a fleet

Purchasing your box trucks is a significant step. You must decide whether to buy new or used trucks. Both options have their pros and cons. While new trucks are more reliable, used trucks are cheaper.

Key factors to consider when purchasing a box truck include the size, engine type, fuel efficiency, and the truck’s overall condition (for used trucks). Regular maintenance and safety checks are vital to prolong the truck’s life and ensure safety on the road.

Hiring and training staff 

Your drivers are the backbone of your business. Therefore, hiring reliable and experienced drivers is crucial. Background checks and drug tests are necessary measures during the hiring process.

Thorough training programs are essential to equip your drivers with the necessary skills and ensure they understand your business’s operations. Happy and well-trained employees can significantly reduce turnover and boost your business’s reputation.

Where to find loads for your box truck business? 

Finding loads for your box truck business is an essential step for getting your business running and profitable. Here are a few methods:

1. Load boards: 

These are online platforms where shippers and freight brokers post loads they need to be transported. You can search for jobs that suit your capacity and location. Some popular load boards include DAT,, and Freightquote.

2. Networking: 

Building relationships within the industry can open up opportunities. Attending industry events, expos, or joining local business groups can help you meet potential clients.

3. Freight brokers: 

These individuals or companies connect shippers with carriers. Working with a reputable freight broker can help you find consistent loads.

4. Direct contract with businesses: 

Approach businesses in your area that may need regular transportation services. This could be manufacturers, retailers, or construction companies. Establishing a direct contract with a business can provide a steady stream of work.

5. Online marketplaces: 

Websites such as uShip or Shiply can provide access to a broad range of jobs. These sites allow you to bid on listed jobs.

Here are five well-regarded online marketplaces for box truck businesses to find loads.

The 5 best online marketplace for box truck insurance to find loads

1. DAT Load Board: 

DAT is one of the biggest and most trusted online freight marketplaces in the trucking industry. They offer tools for finding loads and trucks, as well as varied features like carrier monitoring, truck posting, and negotiation rates.


Another popular load board,, offers a comprehensive platform for carriers to find loads. They also provide additional features such as freight matching, carrier performance ratings, and a negotiation tool.

3. uShip: 

uShip is a global online marketplace for shipping services. Individuals and businesses can compare quotes from hundreds of carriers, including box truck operators.

4. Freightquote by C.H. Robinson: 

Freightquote is a self-service shipping tool that allows you to find the best carrier for any load. It provides instant freight rates and a vast carrier network.

5. Direct Freight: 

Direct Freight offers a load board that provides numerous features such as email alerts when a load matching your search gets posted, weather reports, routing, and credit scores and reports.

Remember to assess the services, terms, and reputation of an online marketplace before deciding to use them. The right one will depend on your specific needs, such as the type of loads you plan to carry, preferred routes, and the level of support you need.

6. Build a business website and utilize social media: 

This helps promote your services to a wider audience. Prospective clients can easily find and contact you for their transportation needs.

Remember that building a successful business takes time and patience. It may take a while to find regular clients and loads, but consistent quality service and effective marketing can help you establish your business in the box truck industry.

here are five well-regarded freight brokers in the industry. However, I recommend conducting your own research as the industry dynamics can change rapidly.

5 best freight brokers for box truck businesses to find loads 

Here are the 5 best freight brokers for box truck businesses to find loads. However, remember to assess the services, terms, and reputation of a freight broker before deciding to work with them. The right broker will depend on your specific needs, such as the type of loads you plan to carry, preferred routes, and the level of support you need.

1. C.H. Robinson: One of the world’s largest logistics platforms, C.H. Robinson provides a variety of freight services, including truckload, LTL, and intermodal.

2. TQL (Total Quality Logistics): TQL is known for its excellent customer service and has a vast network of carriers. It offers services like truckload, LTL, and intermodal freight transportation.

3. Echo Global Logistics: Echo is a leading provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services. It offers truckload, LTL, intermodal, and expedited transportation solutions.

4. XPO Logistics: XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics provider of cutting-edge supply chain solutions. It has a broad range of freight services, including intermodal, drayage, and expedited.

5. Coyote Logistics: A UPS company, Coyote Logistics is known for its strong carrier relationships and diverse, centralized transportation solutions.

Operational efficiency and growth strategies

Effective operations are the key to profitability. This includes efficient route planning to save time and fuel and adopting technology such as GPS and fleet management software to streamline your operations and provide real-time tracking.

Additionally, consider implementing a preventative maintenance program for your fleet to mitigate costly repairs and minimize downtime.

As your business grows, you might want to consider expansion strategies. This could include adding more trucks to your fleet, expanding your geographic service area, or diversifying the services you offer.

How much does it cost to start a box truck insurance? 

The main expenses of starting and running a box truck business can be broken down into startup costs and ongoing operational costs.

Startup costs:

  1. Vehicle purchase or lease: This is likely your largest initial expense. The cost of a box truck can range from $20,000 to $50,000 for a new model. Used models can be significantly cheaper. If you opt to lease, expect to pay a few thousand dollars per year.
  2. Insurance: Commercial box truck insurance is more expensive than personal vehicle insurance. It can range from $2,000 to $3,000 per year, per vehicle. Learn more about box truck insurance cost here.
  3. Business registration and licensing: The costs for registering your business and obtaining necessary licenses vary depending on your state. These typically amount to a few hundred dollars.
  4. Initial marketing costs: These include the cost of building a website, creating business cards, or other promotional materials. This can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Ongoing operational costs:

  1. Fuel: This is a major recurring expense in a box truck business. Depending on your routes and fuel prices, this can amount to several thousands of dollars annually per truck.
  2. Maintenance and repairs: Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your trucks in good running condition. Set aside a portion of your budget for routine maintenance and unexpected repairs. The average can be around $15,000 to $20,000 per year, per vehicle, but it varies depending on the vehicle’s age and condition.
  3. Driver salaries: If you hire drivers, you need to pay their salaries, which can range widely depending on the region and the amount of work. The average truck driver salary in the U.S. is about $45,000 per year.
  4. Office expenses: If you operate from an office, you’ll have costs such as rent, utilities, office supplies, and possibly salaries for office staff.

As a rough estimate, in the first year, you might spend around $50,000 to $100,000 considering all the startup and operational costs, assuming you’re starting with one truck. In the 2nd and 3rd year, some costs such as vehicle purchase and business setup will not recur, so expenses might be lower, around $30,000 to $70,000 per year.

Please note that these are rough estimates and actual costs can vary greatly depending on various factors like the region you operate in, the specific nature of your operations, the number of trucks you operate, etc. Always do a detailed financial analysis before starting your business.

Here’s an approximate breakdown of expenses for a box truck business over three years. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and your actual costs may vary depending on numerous factors.

Expense CategoryYear 1Year 2Year 3
Vehicle Purchase/Lease$30,000$10,000$10,000
Business Registration & Licensing$500$200$200
Initial Marketing$1,000$500$500
Maintenance & Repairs$10,000$15,000$15,000
Driver Salaries$45,000$45,000$45,000
Office Expenses$5,000$5,000$5,000

This table assumes you purchase one truck in Year 1 and lease it in Year 2 and Year 3, you have one driver, and your operational scope remains consistent over the three years. It’s also important to note that there could be other incidental costs like fees for load boards, accounting or legal services, etc., which are not accounted for in this table.

Lastly, while the vehicle purchase is listed as a Year 1 cost, remember that this could vary based on how you decide to finance the vehicle purchase, whether you lease, buy outright, or take a loan.

How much is the revenue of box truck businesses? 

The revenue of a box truck business depends on numerous factors such as the number of trucks, the number of loads moved, the type of cargo, distance traveled, and the rates negotiated with shippers or brokers. Here’s a rough estimate of potential revenues based on a single truck operation:

Revenue CategoryYear 1Year 2Year 3
Revenue from Operations$150,000$165,000$181,500

Assumptions for this estimation are:

  • A single truck is operating for about 300 days in a year (considering off days and maintenance).
  • The truck is making around $500 a day. This could vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above.
  • The revenue grows 10% each year as the business expands, negotiates better rates, finds better clients, etc.

This is a very simplified estimation. In reality, daily earnings can fluctuate and some days the truck might not have any loads at all. Also, the truck’s capacity utilization can significantly impact revenues – a truck fully loaded will generate more revenue compared to a truck that’s partially loaded.

Here are some of the key factors influencing the revenue of a box truck business:

  1. Number of loads: The more loads your truck carries, the more revenue it generates.
  2. Rates: The rates negotiated with shippers or brokers significantly impact the revenue. Rates can vary based on factors like the type of cargo, distance, urgency, etc.
  3. Distance: Longer distance trips generally bring in more revenue. However, they also mean higher fuel and maintenance costs.
  4. Type of cargo: Some types of cargo might fetch higher rates due to their size, weight, fragility, or special handling requirements.
  5. Operating days: The number of days your truck is on the road affects your revenue. This depends on driver availability, maintenance schedules, and demand patterns.
  6. Capacity utilization: Trucks that are fully loaded will generate more revenue compared to trucks that are partially loaded.

Remember, these are rough estimates and the actual numbers can vary significantly based on local conditions, competition, and your business model. Always do a detailed financial analysis before starting your business.

How much profit do box truck businesses expect to generate? 

Based on the expenses and revenue that we forecast above, here is the estimated profit of box truck business in the first 3 years: 

Year 1 Year 2Year 3
Net Profit$45,500$76,300$92,800

How to start an Amazon box truck insurance? 

Starting an Amazon box truck business, often referred to as an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP), involves delivering packages on behalf of Amazon. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start your own Amazon DSP:

1. Understand the business model

As an Amazon DSP, your business is to manage a team of drivers and a fleet of delivery vehicles, ensuring Amazon packages reach their destinations in a timely manner. Unlike traditional box truck businesses where you find clients, here, Amazon is your primary client.

2. Meet Amazon’s requirements

To qualify as an Amazon DSP, you must meet the company’s requirements. This usually includes a minimum liquid capital, previous business ownership or leadership experience, and the ability to hire and manage a team. Also, you must be willing to operate a business with 20-40 vans. Check Amazon’s official DSP page for the most recent requirements.

3. Apply through Amazon’s website

Amazon has a straightforward application process for prospective DSPs. If you meet the requirements, you can fill out an application form on their website. After reviewing your application, Amazon might invite you for an interview.

4. Develop a business plan

Even though Amazon is your primary client, having a business plan is still important. It should outline your financial projections, operations, staffing, and growth strategies. This will help you stay organized and be prepared for future challenges.

5. Setup your business

Register your business, obtain necessary licenses, permits, and insurance. Remember to adhere to the legal requirements of your state and local government.

6. Purchase or lease your fleet

Amazon has partnerships with companies to get discounts on lease vehicles designed for package delivery. If you prefer owning your vehicles, you could purchase them, but leasing might be more cost-effective.

7. Hiring and training staff

Hire delivery drivers to operate your fleet. Amazon provides resources to help train your drivers, but you’ll need to handle the recruitment process.

8. Operationalize your business

Once you’re set up, you can begin operations. Your primary responsibility will be to ensure packages are delivered on time within your designated delivery area. You’ll manage your drivers, handle logistics, and maintain your fleet.

9. Expand your business

After successfully running your DSP, consider expanding. This could mean adding more vehicles to your fleet or increasing your delivery territory.

Remember, being a DSP means you’re partnering with Amazon, but you’re still running your own independent business. It’s essential to manage and grow it effectively to ensure its success.

How much revenue does Amazon box truck business expect to earn monthly? 

Based on industry discussions and some third-party reports, it appears that independent box truck operators might expect to earn somewhere around $1.50 to $3.00 per mile. This is a rough estimate and actual rates could be lower or higher.

Let’s assume that your truck operates 20 days a month, covers about 200 miles per day, and that you earn $2.00 per mile. In this case, your estimated monthly revenue would be:

20 days * 200 miles/day * $2.00/mile = $8,000

Please note that this is a rough estimate and actual earnings can vary based on the factors mentioned above. Also, remember that from this gross revenue, you need to subtract your operational costs (fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc.) to get your net income.


Starting a box truck business can be a lucrative venture, especially if you have a well-thought-out plan and a deep understanding of the industry. While it requires considerable effort and upfront investment, the potential for profit and growth is significant.

By understanding your market, developing a robust business plan, complying with legal requirements, acquiring a reliable fleet, hiring and training competent staff, effectively marketing your business, and implementing efficient operational and growth strategies, you can build a successful box truck business.

Remember, every business has its challenges, and the road to success might be rocky. However, with determination, patience, and the right resources, you’ll be well on your way to owning a profitable box truck business.

As you embark on this journey, always be open to learning, adapting, and innovating. The business landscape is always changing, and those who can pivot and adapt are the ones who succeed. Best of luck on your entrepreneurial journey!

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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