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Best Trucking Business Loans for 2021

Large financial institutions generally won’t provide financing for companies in their initial phases or funding for businesses that don’t have a reliable track record. This guide presents detailed information on the top trucking business loans available, and which factors to consider before you apply.

At a glance You’d be surprised how many alternative lenders out there offer trucking business loans. The main issue is finding a loan that best meets your capital and operating financial needs. Let’s take a look at the top small business funding solutions so you can get a clearer idea of what types of loans are currently on the market.

Introduction

Over 70% of all domestic freight tonnage is delivered and transported by trucks, making this a worthy industry to become a part of. In addition, with the growth of online shopping, the demand for shipping is also growing. As such, many shoppers expect their purchases to be delivered within days, making the need for more trucks even more pressing. Fortunately, there are many online lenders willing to finance trucking business loans, provided you have a solid business plan. Read our guide to view the top loan types and lenders for the trucking business industry.

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Short Overview of The Best Trucking Business Loans

Here’s a quick overview of the types available for trucking business loans.

Financing Need

Best Loan Type

Loan Features 

Recommended Lender

Startup capital

SBA loan

  • Amount: Up to $5 mil
  • Term: Up to 25 years
  • Interest: From 6% and up
  • Time to get the loan: Up to 2 weeks

SmartBiz

Equipment 

Equipment financing

  • Amount: 100% value of equipment
  • Term: Up to 6 years
  • Interest: Between 4% and 40%
  • Time to get the loan: Up to 48 hours 

Fundera

Trucking factoring

Invoice factoring

  • Amount: Up to 100% of the invoice value
  • Term: When the client pays
  • Factor fee: 1% - 3%
  • Time to get the loan: Up to 24 hours

Fundbox

Payroll, fuel, & maintenance

Business line of credit

  • Amount: Up to $500,000
  • Term: Up to 18 months
  • Interest: Between 7% and 25%
  • Time to get the loan: Up to 24 hours

BlueVine

Business expansion

Short- to medium-term loans

Standard Short-Term Loan Features:


  • Amount: Up to $250,000
  • Term: Up to 18 months
  • Interest: From 14%
  • Time to get the loan: 24 hours

Standard Medium-Term Loan Features:


  • Amount: Up to $500,000
  • Term: 2 to 5 years
  • Interest: From 7% to 30%
  • Time to get the loan: 2 to 3 weeks

OnDeck

Upgrade old outdated equipment, hire skilled workers, buy new tools, keep vehicles and equipment in top condition

 

Merchant Cash Advance

  • Amount: Up to $500,000
  • Term: No set terms
  • Interest: One-time factor rate
  • Time to get the loan: 72 hours

 

Fora Financial

Trucking Business Loans Explained

Now that you’ve seen an overview of each of the top loan types you can apply for, it’s time to take a closer look at each loan category. 

1. SmartBiz - Best for SBA Loan

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are available from financial institutions that work together with government entities. The government entity will guarantee up to 85% of the loan amount. An SBA loan will help you obtain the initial capital outlay you need to get your business started. SBA loans also provide you with education on how to spend the funds wisely in order to ensure that your turnover meets your monthly repayments.

An SBA loan can help your trucking business in its initial months. A loan of this type can provide you with the finances you need to obtain real estate and your initial assets, irrespective of whether you are looking to lease or purchase. If you plan out your business plan well, you may not need to apply for an additional trucking business loan. 

SmartBiz is an approved SBA lender, giving you the potential to access government grants. Since truck drivers are in high demand, SmartBiz can easily find the best loan option for you, as they are looking to provide new drivers with funding opportunities. 

2. Fundera - Best for Equipment Financing

Equipment financing is one of the most sought-after trucking business loan types in the industry. An equipment financing loan can cover your need for tools, safety gear, and maintenance equipment. Fortunately, financial lenders can cover up to the entire value of the equipment you require. 

As an entrepreneur in the trucking industry, you will need to make provisions for storing tools at the warehouse and within your vehicles. You may also need to purchase truck attachments, depending on the nature of your business. Lenders may also give you a lower interest rate for equipment financing than the rate you would get with an SBA loan, so consider your options carefully.

Fundera is a qualified lender for startup loans, SBA loans, and merchant cash advances, but it also has a selection of equipment financing for the trucking industry. You won’t need a track record to apply, as long as you can present a viable business plan.

3. Fundbox - Best for Invoice Factoring

Also known as invoice financing, these loans are handy when your clients owe you payments. Instead of relying on your capital and operating budgets, a lender can “buy” your invoices from you. The lender will then take a small transaction percentage of the invoice as a fee, this is called a factor fee. When the customer pays, the lender will deduct the fee before you receive your payment.

You may struggle to get clients that consistently pay in the first few months you are in business. If you obtain a contract with a government entity or top-end brand, there may be a clause that reflects a long payment waiting period of 24 working days. Truck factoring can help you claim the funds you need to cover your daily expenses, while you await payment of your invoices. 

Fundbox provides small business loans and invoice factoring. Fundbox has a fast application process and you’ll receive funds quickly, as long as you can show them that your clients are reliable. Also, you won’t need a high credit score to qualify.

4. BlueVine - Best for Business Line of Credit

What do you do when you need instant funds and you don’t want to touch your existing finances? A business line of credit provides the security of operating money that you can draw as needed while only paying interest on what you use. You can view it as a revolving loan, as once you repay a certain amount this amount becomes available again.

Drivers usually receive payment based on how far they drive. It may be hard to estimate what your fuel, payroll, and maintenance costs will be for the month. A business line of credit will let you cover these expenses until you can pay back the money.

BlueVine is our choice lender for a business line of credit. You can use its online portal to manage your funds while enjoying a lengthy repayment period. 

5. OnDeck - Best for Short-Term Loan

Short-to-medium-term loans are helpful if you need funding for your business over several years. You’ll generally apply for these types of loans after you’ve been in business for a few years. Fortunately, you can use your track record when financing your future endeavors.

After a few successful seasons, you may want to buy more trucks and hire more drivers. Maybe you want to open a new garage in a different state and expand your horizons. These loans are ideal when it comes to growing the scale of your operations.

OnDeck is more lenient than other lenders when it comes to credit scores and loan requirements. It also offers repayment discounts if you qualify. Besides term loans, it also offers a business line of credit.

6. Fora Financial - Best for Merchant Cash Advance

This type of finance can help the trucking business to have ample cash flow available for those unexpected expenses for repairs and fuel. It may also help to hire skilled workers to expand the business and meet current demands.

Fora Financial is recommended for those trucking businesses who want to expand or need money fast for expenses or even breakdowns. You can get $5,000 to $500,000 in as little as 72 hours from approval and there are no restrictions on what you use it for.

There are no set terms for repaying this type of loan and you may also get great discounts for early paying off of the loan. Also, no collateral is needed for getting approved for a merchant cash advance loan. This is a great way to cover short term expenses.

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How Much Does it Cost to Open a Trucking Business?

Determining how much it’ll cost to fund small business loans for a trucking business can be tricky. It depends on the scale of your planned operations and how far your services will extend. How many trucks are you planning to run in your first year, how many drivers will you hire, and are you planning to grow it in the second year?

As a general look at the potential costs, here are a few elements to consider:

  • Initial startup costs: $15,000
  • Business registration: $1,500
  • IRP plates: Up to $3,000 per vehicle
  • Tax and permits for heavy vehicles: $600 per vehicle
  • State-specific tax: $500 per vehicle
  • Drivers: Around $35,000 per annum per driver
  • New or used vehicles: Up to $200,000 per vehicle
  • Vehicle insurance: Around $10,000 per truck
  • Marketing campaigns: From $5,000 up
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Obtaining a warehouse or headquarters

Another aspect to evaluate is whether you should lease or purchase your vehicles and equipment during your first few years. Renting trucks may save you on the initial capital outlay but will eat at your monthly revenue. If you have a bad season, you may lose part of all of your available fleet. Then again, you don’t want purchased trucks and have them standing still. If this happens you won’t be making a return on your investment.

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How to Choose the Best Trucking Business Loans

The trucking industry can be challenging at the best of times. Financial institutes don’t like approving trucking business loans, as there are too many factors that can impact your expenses. For instance, you may have to deal with blown tires, burst radiators, and failing motors after long hauls.

Before you jump headlong into one of these financing solutions, check to see what the terms and conditions are. Review what the funding covers for your specific business and if it caters to all your needs. You’ll also need to see what qualifications you need to get approval.

In many cases, you’ll need quick access to your funds. If you have a business line of credit and one of your trucks breaks down, you can’t wait 24 hours for the money to become available. Finally, ensure that the repayment amount, interest rate, and loan period match your business plan objectives.

See Our Additional Guides on Industry-Specific Loans

Bottom Line

If you think starting a trucking business is as easy as climbing into your rig and driving off into the sunset, think again. There are many financial considerations before you can apply for loans, and you’ll need to ensure that you pick a suitable solution for your company. We hope that this article has guided you on the right road.