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People who want to start a business in the trucking industry have a lot of opportunities. It costs about $6,000 to $15,000 to start a trucking business, plus another $15,000 to $175,000 to purchase a truck. Getting a grant lets you pay some of these expenses without going further into debt.
Numerous federal and private programs are available to help individuals secure funding for their trucking companies. Truck companies can take advantage of these programs, depending on their business needs.
All federal and state programs do not pay grants directly to individuals, but rather allocate them to assistance programs.
There are several financial assistance programs offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that can benefit trucking companies. Small business owners can bid on government contracts through the 8(a) program. Qualified businesses are expected to receive at least 5% of all federal contracts every year.
In general, SBA loans have low-interest rates, long repayment terms, smaller down payments, and fewer restrictions on how they can be spent than private loans. A loan up to $150,000 can be guaranteed by the SBA to 85%, whereas additional funding can be guaranteed at 75%.
Depending on the needs of the business, the SBA 7(a) Loan Program offers different financing options. The 7(a) Small Loan program offers up to $350,000, the 7(a) Express Loan program approves in 36 hours, and international trade programs are also available.
Small businesses most commonly use the 7(a) Standard Loan to obtain financing and receive up to $5 million. Veterans can access up to $5 million through the Veteran’s Advantage loan program if they own at least 51% of their company.
If you have a compelling story to tell, consider entering FedEx’s annual Small Business Grant Contest. They typically favor applicants who have a unique and standout story. Winners receive $50,000 to invest in their startups.
A group of 100 candidates will be chosen for the final round. Three winners will receive the grand prize of $50,000, while seven first-place winners will be awarded $20,000. FedEx’s goal is to help small businesses overcome challenges and thrive in their community.
Small business owners of all types can seek help from the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). This organization issues growth grants of up to $4,000 that can be used for “marketing, advertising, hiring employees, extending facilities and other business-specific needs,” according to their website. The monthly winners receive $4,000 for expanding their business venture.
Trucking business owners are usually self-employed unless they run their enterprises as corporations. You may be eligible for a Growth Grant if you are a current NASE member, and you can only apply 90 days after joining the organization.
Entrepreneurs with military experience can apply for grants based on their prior service. Veteran Entrepreneur Portal offers veteran business owners access to loans and grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
You must meet each program’s eligibility requirements, which usually include following compliance guidelines. A service-related disability qualifies you for the VR&E Self-Employment Track, which offers assistance for methods like creating a business plan.
Grants are available from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for truckers operating from qualifying areas. The amount awarded ranges from $10,000 to $500,000, with smaller requests receiving top priority. Trucking companies can obtain funding for various purposes, including equipment acquisition, leadership training, and revolving loan funds.
If you want to qualify, you must establish your business in an area on the outskirts of a large city with a population of 50,000 or more. Visit the USDA website to view a list of areas that qualify. For rural businesses with fewer than 50 new employees and gross revenues less than $1 million, this grant program offers technical assistance and training.
Small businesses can receive USDA grant funding, but private companies cannot apply directly for funding. Governments, nonprofits, state agencies, and federally recognized tribes must instead apply directly to the government for funding.
In 1979, the Ford Foundation established the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) as a vehicle for combining public and private investments to support communities and individuals. LISC focuses on assisting entrepreneurial businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans, and companies in historically underserved communities. In addition to the proposed benefits to the community, grant applications are evaluated based on the impact of the pandemic on small businesses.
Through its Rural Relief Small Business Grants, LISC offers funding between $5,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses. A rural community of 50,000 or less is required to qualify for this program. Trucking companies and other businesses that operate from a mobile location will be considered eligible based on the address where the vehicle is stored.
LISC also offers regional small business grant opportunities. There are currently funding opportunities for trucking companies in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and Henrico and Chesterfield counties in Virginia.
Check the website frequently to ensure you don’t miss out on upcoming grant opportunities. Applications are accepted in periodic rounds.
The nature of trucking requires drivers to cover a lot of ground, which means recurring fuel expenses and vehicle maintenance. Fuel cards allow trucking companies to earn rebates and points on these costs.
Fuel cards that offer the best rewards tend to have minimal or no monthly fees and reward you for every gallon of gasoline you purchase. The United States has thousands of gas stations that accept this form of payment.
Nav provides small businesses with financing solutions. Small business owners can now apply for up to $10,000 in grants through a new grant program that is awarded twice every quarter.
Interested business owners are entailed to share their stories on their company’s official Facebook page. After completing an application, businesses receive a voting link, which they must distribute and rack up the votes to qualify as finalists. From the 200 businesses that receive the most votes online, Nav selects only five finalists.
The winner receives $10,000 in funding, while the runner-up receives $5,000. The application process and grant terms are flexible, despite the limited number and funding of the grants.
Amber Grant applications are open to women who own or operate trucking companies. They aim to uplift and support women who are starting their own small businesses.
This organization offers grants of $2,000 each to 12 winners, and the winners are eligible for a prize of $25,000. To win, applicants need to share their inspirational stories and reveal what they would do with the grant money. An application fee of $15 is required to enter.
If you are a member of a marginalized group, you can apply to the Minority Business Development Agency. There are MBDA business centers located all over the country that can help you locate grants that are relevant to your trucking business. Business Consortium Fund of the National Minority Supplier Development Council can assist you with loans.
The trucking industry is an integral part of U.S. economic infrastructure, moving goods throughout the country 365 days a year. Although there are no direct grants from the government for commercial trucking companies, federally-funded grant programs are designed to help these businesses obtain the funding they need.
Are you interested in learning more about various government programs and grants that can help you with your financial needs? Read more of Gov Relations’ resources on our website!