How to Become a Private Fleet Owner

Have you ever imagined how to become a private fleet owner, or what that entails? Learning how to become a private fleet owner comes with understanding a few industry basics that set you apart from commercial truck driving. Some key differentiating values include outstanding customer service, exceptionally safe driving performance, and longevity of service to one company. Read on to learn more about what private fleet ownership entails, whether it’s right for you, and the steps you can take to get there.

What is a Private Fleet Owner?

As a private fleet owner, you’ll operate an in-house team of trucks and your primary business would not be trucking. You are responsible for: 

  • Employing and compensating your own drivers
  • Owning and maintaining equipment (such as tractors, trailers, etc.)
  • Paying for fuel 
  • Insuring your assets 

Overall, what differentiates a private fleet from other types of trucking companies is that it handles transportation in-house rather than through enlisting a third party. A private fleet is also not the same as being a for-hire trucking company owner, nor an owner-operator. 

Additionally, it’s important to note the differences between these 3 types of trucking companies. For-hire trucking companies are probably the type of fleet you are most familiar with. These companies are third-party carriers and do not have their own equipment. Owner-operators fall under the same umbrella. Rather than consisting of employee drivers, owner-operators are primarily small business owners and independent contractors that sell services directly to shippers. 

If you are interested in sustainability or eco-friendly initiatives, fleet electrification might also be of interest to you. Many companies have begun to make the switch to fleet electrification, which refers to vehicles that run partially or fully on electrical power. Show your consumers that you care about the environment and learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of fleet electrification. 


A 5-Step Guide on How to Become a Private Fleet Owner

Is Private fleet ownership For You? Before jumping into these steps, ask yourself some fundamental questions. Could you afford your own fleet? Would personal product delivery be a significant benefit to your customers? Are the risks that come with owning a fleet worth it? Ensure that the pros outweigh the cons before becoming a private fleet owner. Here is a 6-step guide on how to become a private fleet owner.

  1. Map Out a Business Plan

Write down your projected expenses. Your business plan should account for the number of vehicles in your fleet, your decision to either purchase or lease vehicles, the cost of insurance, maintenance, housing of your fleet, and employee overhead.

  1. Get Your CDL

Getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) has never been easier or more effective than with the Truck Driver’s Institute. The CDL test includes a written exam portion and a road test. With our 15-day training program, you can get your CDL in as little as 3 weeks. 

  1. Buy Your Fleet and Equipment

Private fleet owners save on costs in the long run by purchasing specialized vehicles and equipment. When buying your fleet, consider the type of trailer needed, ideal trailer capacity, and whether the vehicle engines are powerful enough for the jobs. It’s worth it to mention that tractors and trailers can also be leased, finance-leased, and/or rented, which provide cost-saving options upfront. 

  1. Get Insurance Coverage

Depending on whether you lease or buy your equipment, protecting your fleet is critical in the case of unfortunate events. Possible plans you may want to consider include Non-Trucking Liability Insurance, Physical Damage Coverage, Motor Truck Cargo Coverage, and Lease Gap coverage.

  1. Comply with Regulatory Requirements 

In order to become a successful private fleet owner, you must obtain a USDOT and/or MC number, intrastate licensing, pay an annual heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT), and display your international fuel tax agreement (IFTA) credentials. 


What Owning a Private Fleet Can Offer You

Maximize Control and Eliminate Uncertainty

Eliminate uncertainty by owning a private fleet. By becoming a private fleet owner, you can ensure your business has guaranteed capacity. If you have high-volume shipments running on consistent lanes, it might benefit you to have complete control over those shipments. This is one of the biggest draws to private fleet ownership, and it’s something important you’ll need to consider based on your own business needs and goals.

Minimize Cost and Specialize

If you need specialized equipment, owning a private fleet may be the most cost-effective way to go. There are circumstances, for example, when a standard 53-foot freight trailer is not optimal for transportation and delivery. This standard trailer has swing doors and is too wide for residential areas. If you have a large volume of cargo, a roll-up door and liftgate can make loading and unloading freight fast and easy. 

As a private fleet owner, you’ll have your own operating authority as a for-hire carrier. According to the National Private Truck Council (NPTC), this means that you can produce revenue and lower net operating costs by selling the capacity of the private fleet that is not used or required by the parent company. 

Perfect Your Branding

Private fleets are excellent for optimizing branding and advertising. As a shipper, you have control over the hiring and training of your drivers. This gives you the agency to craft your company’s image on the road. Whether it be branded equipment or uniformed drivers, a private fleet is sure to make a unique and lasting impression. 

Quality Customer Service 

In addition, your drivers are practically built-in customer service representatives on every load. Private fleet owners can ensure complete end-to-end visibility and quality customer service to customers. A private fleet is managed by a professionally-trained team of private fleet specialists.

Become a Private Fleet Owner With TDI’s Help

The journey to becoming a private fleet owner may seem daunting, but TDI is here to make sure that you have all the tools you need to achieve your goals. With the price of gas rising, the trucking industry continues to need more drivers. The time is prime to jumpstart your trucking career. 

At the Truck Driver Institute, tens of thousands of drivers have gotten licensed and now work in high-paying positions all over the US. With 11 campuses in 7 states, Truck Driver Institute is ready to help you become our next graduate. Get started with TDI today, or call us at 800-848-7364.

Get Started

Get your Class A CDL in our friendly, supportive CDL training program. TRAIN with experienced instructors – multiple good-paying, secure job choices with benefits available for eligible graduates. EARN $700 – $1000+ / week to start as a truck driver. Get started today by filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!