Auto Transport Business Startup - Part 1 - Auto Transport Intel


Posted by on December 18, 2017

AUTO TRANSPORT BUSINESS STARTUP – Part 1 of 2 How To Start An Auto Transport Business by Jay W. of Auto Transport Intel NOTE: Due to the size of this blog, this post is ONLY STEPS 1-10. CLICK HERE for STEPS 11-20. Also: keep this info free & please do any amazon shopping by clicking


How To Start An Auto Transport Business by Jay W. of Auto Transport Intel

NOTE: Due to the size of this blog, this post is ONLY STEPS 1-10. CLICK HERE for STEPS 11-20.

Also: keep this info free & please do any amazon shopping by clicking through links on this page. buy anything you want & any commissions will go back into Auto transport intel. thank you! 

How To Start A New Car Hauling Company

YES, you've finally made the decision to start a new Auto Transport Business but you can’t find all the information you need in one place, right? You’re ready to become a Car Hauler and Owner-Operator but nobody’s given you a road map or full answer. Well, I wrote this for you.

20 Steps To Become A New Car Hauler

First, I ask that you read all twenty steps before you finish step one - so you are not blind-sided later. Always be thinking about what's coming next, so you can get to step twenty before you run out of time, energy, and most of all, money. Remember: this advice is based on research, experience and feedback. Every new business is a gamble. Verify everything. Assume nothing. ***Before you proceed, click here and download this 162 page PDF called "A Motor Carrier's Guide To Improving Highway Safety" because the FMCSA and DOT will expect you to know it backwards and forwards:


  • What Are You Hauling? We all know that an Auto Transport Business moves vehicles, cars, trucks, vans, etc. How many will you carry at a time? This will determine your Trailer Capacity - and size of truck.
  • Where Are You Hauling? If you plan to haul Intrastate (only within one state), some steps will differ from Interstate. Either way, you will need to become very familiar with Local State Transportation Laws and Business Operating Regulations. Click here to find your state and research local laws:
  • How Are You Going To Get Your Loads? You must find out what the average load pays on routes you will travel. How will you obtain new orders and get paid to move those units? Are you going to rely primarily on Load Boards - or can you get direct access to Brokers, Dealers and individual Customers?
  • What Experience Do You Have? If you have no Truck Driving or mechanical experience, think about how you are going to get the experience to make car hauling work for you.
  • What Equipment Do You Already Have? Most new car haulers at least start with a used Truck and Trailer. If you are starting from scratch, make sure you have plenty of money in your budget.
  • Define Job Roles. If you are the owner, driver, dispatcher, and accountant, write it down and own it.


If you can't get a Medical Card, you need to go back to step one. If you can't physically drive, you will need to find a good, reliable driver to make money as an Auto Transport Business. Visit to learn how to obtain your new medical card.


Every business needs working capital and a brand new Auto Transport Business can easily require a $100,000 initial investment. Whether you’re halfway there, you have an investor, you have a partnership, or you’re just starting out, consult with your Tax Professional to set up a new company, apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and set up a Business Checking Account. Click here to get started: This is also a good time to look into using QuickBooks Accounting Software   


Now that you have a company and a business plan, it's time to shop for equipment. NOTE! You should have your insurance lined up BEFORE you buy equipment. Do not buy equipment you cannot insure! Since you are just starting out, we're going to focus on Pickup Trucks vs. Semis as well as 3-4 Car Hauling Trailers instead of a 10-car stinger. Here's a Shopping List (with an average range of cost):
  • Truck: 3500 dually, price $40,000-$50,000
  • Trailer: 3-4 car capacity, price $5,000-$10,000
  • Insurance: $1M automobile liability + per vehicle cargo, $15,000-$30,000 annually
  • Fuel: $1,000/week
  • Maintenance: $5,000-$15,000 annually
  • Business Expenses: $1,000 set up
  • Central Dispatch Load Board: $1,000 annually
The most difficult item on this list to obtain can be inexpensive Motor Carrier Insurance. Not all Insurance Companies are equal as there are many parameters to consider when choosing coverage. Talk with several insurance agents to discuss what is going to work vs. what’s too expensive for your new Auto Transport Business (think $50K max cargo ins / vehicle).


It's now time for you to get very acquainted with your new boss, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Visit and closely follow their six "Steps In The FMCSA Registration Process". Here you will apply for your USDOT Number, your MC Operating Authority, begin following State Registration Requirements and learn more about your new Safety Assurance Program. Important: Be sure to file Form BOC-3 with the FMCSA:  Also, if at a later time there are any changes to your basic Auto Transport Business profile information, be sure to update your registration with the FMCSA using the MCS-150 form


Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) is a Federally-Mandated and State-Administered Program pertaining to all motor carriers engaging in Interstate Commerce. Click here to register: This is also a good time to apply for your Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC): which is a unique two-to-four-letter code used by federal agencies to identify your transportation company.


The International Registration Plan (IRP) relates to motor carrier highway usage and fees (or Cab Card) To apply, a business owner must make a trip to the State Capitol to Apply in Person. During the IRP application, the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) application begins the process of paying Quarterly Taxes based on where fuel gallons are purchased versus where those gallons are consumed. Obtaining Apportioned Plates and a corresponding fuel license (IFTA sticker) are the result of properly completing this process. Note: If your total Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is going to be over 55,000 pounds, now is the time to find out more about IRS Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return:

8) EARN YOUR CDL A & Learn Loading/Unloading 

To create a truly successful Auto Transport Business, you must learn best loading and unloading practices such as proper distribution of weight on the trailer and best tie-down techniques. Furthermore, you really should earn your Class A Commercial Driver's License (CDL A). Having a CDL will improve many aspects of your trucking business and ensures that a driver is legally permitted to operate any vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more for commercial use. In fact, if the weight rating of the trailer is over rated over 10,000 pounds, most states and DOT officers will require the driver to have a CDL A. Visit:


Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing is required for every motor carrier operating under the authority of the FMCSA. When you think of the DOT, think “Zero Tolerance”. In addition, your Auto Transport Business is responsible for maintaining an ongoing DOT/FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Program which can be facilitated by a Consortium or Third-Party Administrator. You don’t ever want to be suspected of not taking these drug and alcohol testing and regulations seriously. Not testing may cost you your business.


The FMCSA ELD Rule is a December 2017 Legal Mandate that requires virtually all motor carriers to use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to electronically record Hours Of Service (HOS). The ELD device is a piece of hardware that connects to a truck's engine via diagnostic port. Some ELDs communicate to a mobile app via bluetooth which the driver will need to download and learn how to properly operate. NOTE: Only FMCSA registered ELD providers can be considered as authorized options for your Auto Transport Business.  

NOTE: Due to the size of this blog, this post is ONLY STEPS 1-10. CLICK HERE for STEPS 11-20.



I truly hope this article helps you. And if it has, or if you have further questions, please visit my YouTube channel at: or send me an email. And again, I urge you to verify this information and double check with the FMCSA, DOT or any state law or agency for specifics and details of any licensing or regulatory process. YouTube Certified TubeBuddy - Auto Transport Intel
Learn More - Click Here:
Disclaimer: Everything in this article is public information and it’s purpose is to help you get organized. As a result, I have not asked anyone to pay me for this advice so I cannot (and will not) be held liable for any errors or omissions contained herein by any individual or company. In addition, I also want to give a very special thanks to my Owner-Operator friends for providing incredible feedback during the construction of this article. And to all the Auto Transport Industry and Community members who strive to improve our Ecosystem, I tip my hat and thank you as well. For the Greatest Success in Life comes to those who have built Great Relationships. Jay W. | Car Hauling Dispatcher |


  1. John blevins

    Hey john b Dayton TN…looking to buy a 7 car trailer from the bank need some load board sheets to show volume, also do you broker loads? Thanks john call 423 667 9907

    • Jay W

      Hi, John. What kind of load board sheets are you looking for? Are you looking for a dispatcher to help you stay loaded? When do you plan to start hauling? Thanks, Jay.

  2. David

    Gm I have a tractor trailer already ..I was going to drive for a company out of the port in my city, but I want to do car hauling as well . How much driving experience is required to do car hauling as a new owner operator I also have my Twic card already and since I have a semi trailer already which car hauler should I get a 3-4 or larger ..Your videos are very helpful Thanking you in Advance !

    • Jay W

      Hi, David. Since your question is in-depth to driving and you’re seeking a trailer recommendation, I advise you to visit my YouTube channel and ask this question in the comments below Trailers and Insurance: – and I also recommend that you join the live chat Tuesday night asking the same. I believe that will help you get pointed in the right direction. And thanks for the question. – Jay

      • Andrew

        Hi jay I am looking to get in to transporting car with a 3 car trailer is there money in it? What would I need to do to get started?

        • Jay W

          Hi, Andrew. Thanks for the question. I think you’re best bet is to talk to Ty at CTS Business Coaching: to discuss where you are now and where you want to be. You can also send your contact info to autotransportintel at gmail dot com. Thanks, again.

  3. Anthony

    Thanks Jay for helpful uploads. Is there any info for single vehicle hauler how to save on insurance and if MC. and DOT need it to take loads from Central Dispatch.Just trying to make some profit out of this.Out of CDL still have company .

    • Jay W

      That’s an interesting question, Anthony. Since I don’t have the answer, I highly recommend joining the live chat on Tuesday night and maybe someone can help point you in the right direction. Also, you might try asking this in the comments of a Hotshot Dave video. I hope that helps.

  4. Vimar amaro

    Hey jay can you help me out get some loads i have a 3 car trailer and I just starting with my own property if you can text me faster this is my number 5512321461

      • Nontu

        Hi Jay, I’m female 30 thinking of starting my own 3 car hauling. I want to hire someone because I’m not sure if I can manage by myself. what would you advice in regards to hiring a driver when starting a new business vs driving the truck myself? Is it even advised to hire a driver?

  5. chris stanberry

    How are you doing J? I love your videos and they have been a huge help ( that’s for speaking true). I have been driving tracker trailer’s for over 12 year ( CDL), and I have a twit card(Houston TX). I have followed your outline which is great, but my worry is that with all the sources that you have given to get loads, would it be easier to just get a dispatcher to find the loads for me until I build up my own clientele. I know your busy so I would be more than willing to compensate for a few minutes of your time.

  6. Mirzo

    Hi Jay,
    I’d like to research expenses that you paying in car hauler business
    Can you please tell me exact list of expenses I have to pay (exept of MC insurance)
    I know that I should pay IFTA, Highway tax, what else – name and time (once a year or every quarter…)
    Thank you and have a good day!

  7. julie flatinger

    Hi I want to get started in the car hauler industry….. I have a ford f250 power stroke and a 3 car carhauler…. do I need cdl? do I need dot number?

  8. Andy Cruz

    Hey so I am a delivery driver for a big foodservice delivery company. I am in the process of moving to Arizona, I will have a healthy amount of money, not 100k though. Is it okay to finance your tractor, trailer or do you recommend having everything you can paid off? I will be selling another home off next summer so I definitely will be able to pay a bunch of those things off at that point. Would like to hear your input and recommendations and I thank you in advance for your response.

    • Jay W

      Cutting down on expenses is a great idea, but I bet you have a lot more questions than that. Would you be interested in a 1-hour auto transport business coaching session with 2 industry experts that can answer your questions for only $100? If so, please email your contact info to: so we can schedule a time.

      • Colli Bethelmy

        Hello Jay,

        You have been a big help getting started.
        I am in Dallas, TX. I already have my Truck and Trailer. I am working on my CDL. I need business leads. I am still waiting on my Final Authority approval. I have the DOT number already. I need leads on loads pending final authority. I am willing to work under someone elses authority until my is finalized.
        Can you point me in the right direction?
        Colli Bethelmy



    I just started small towing company with two 2018/2019 international MV trucks and provide local tow services to AAA here in Maryland, one of my driver advising me to look into CAR HAULING as add on in existing company/service, I just googled here and got to this page/forum, could you please advice me “will it beneficial” OR just stay away and do what i am doing. 410-FOUR FOUR 6-SIX ZERO ZERO ZERO.


  10. Robert Ochoa

    Hey Jay,
    Great article! Since it is geared towards interstate multi vehicle hauling…If I only want to haul instate and only 1 car/motorcycle from dealer to customer to deliver their car for service or sales department or customer just hauling their junk out of the dealer to their driveway or vice versa, mostly 150 to 200 mile radius, what would be my minimum requirements? So far I have an enclosed 28 foot 8.5 trailer GVWR 9,999 lbs.
    Thanks in advance!!! Happy Holidays!!!!

    • Jay W

      Great questions, Robert. And we have the answers you need. Please send me an email with your phone number: autotransportintel at gmail dot com so we can talk. Thanks.

  11. Alexis

    New to the car hauling industry and looking for a qualified dispatcher. Home base is East Hartford, CT. Any suggestions?
    Also, do you offer a dispatcher training?

    • Jay W

      Thank you! That means so much. I know what it’s like to need help in this industry and I work hard every day to make this channel the place where everyone can go to Learn More About Car Shipping. And please say hello if you ever make it to the live chat on a Tuesday night.

  12. Mark G Christianson


    Cool job on everything you do!

    I have had my CDL A since 1985 and I have that many years experience. Lets see, 2019-1985=34 years experience.

    I have an option to retire from a union job in the San Francisco bay area this year in July. I’m getting tired of working for someone else. It is a great job and decent pay. I will get a pension and lifetime medical.

    I was a 10 car carrier from 1989-1995 and was an O/O for 3 of those years. I got out of it for some family issues. At the time there wasn’t so many regulations and lass permits. I hauled brand new cars from a port to dealerships in California.

    Currently I am looking into getting back into auto transporting and you have THE INFO that I have been looking for!

    My question is this…. since I know longer have my old permits or their numbers, how/where can I find them in order to get re-registered/permitted? I cannot find any info on the Federal, State or DMV websites, on looking up or reinstating my old permits. I did, however, file a voluntary stop/cease to the numbers I had at that time. I wish I still had my files!!!

    My plan is to get up and running just before I retire so my current income will help me on the financing rate for equipment. I haven’t decided if I will go class A hotshot or just go big with another 10 car. I want to do this for 5 -10 years.

    • Jay W

      Thanks for the praise and for contacting me, Mark. I think you could benefit greatly from a coaching session with CTS:

      You can either go to the website and schedule an appointment or send me an email with your contact info, email address and phone number to: autotransportintel at gmail dot com.

      From there, my business partner, Ty, will be happy to help you explore your options.

      Thanks, again.


  13. John

    Jay, I’m looking into getting in to the car hauling business. Im working with my buddies dads company that hauls shed and he has now started to haul cars. Ive recently just got my CDL permit and I’ve been wanting to own my own company for a while now, you information and helpful tips and replies has helped me along way. hopeful by spring i will be doing this on my own. if i have any question do you mind me emailing you? thank you.

  14. William

    Hey Jay,

    I’m looking into starting an auto transport business. I have the money to start it and I was looking to doing it part time. Mainly to understand the business. I’ve been doing research and my biggest concern is how do I know what kind of work is available? Is there any website I can check for current listings up for bid? Also if I look into this more I may want to take some training from you. Thanks in advance, this page was already a big help.


    • admin

      Thanks for contacting me, Will. Please send an email with your contact info to autotransportintel at gmail dot com. Thank you.


    I am looking to start a owner operator 2 car enclosed /w 3500 Dodge Ram Dully. I have not purchase yet, but I have them lined up. I am up here in Northern California. Is there a board I can go to.

  16. Kendra perry

    How can I get with company like hertz drive time enterprise so that I can make sure I’m loaded everyday

    • Jay W

      That’s a great question to be asking! My recommendation is for you to talk to Ty at CTS Business Coaching. Just sign up at: or send me an email with your contact info to autotransportintel at gmail dot com. We’re here to help.

  17. Leavern

    I’m about to start working for a car hauling company to get some experience car hauling. I also want to start my own company as well hauling cars. Was thinking about getting a pickup with a 3-4 car hauling trailer and hire a driver while I still work for the company as well. Would that be a smart choice to do?

    • Jay W

      Thanks for the question! My advice to you is for you to talk to my friend (and business partner), Ty – to get honest transport business coaching advice ASAP. Please send an email to autotransportintel at gmail dot com with your contact info so I can connect you. And thanks, again.

  18. Guram

    Hello Jay ,
    thank you a lot , you give a lot of information !
    maybe you know where to rent truck with trailer for beginning, i just want be sure if it work with me =) , and after that i’ll buy some truck


  19. Israel

    Hey Jay, I’ve got a question. I was wondering if there was a particular time of year when the car hauling industry gets busier than usual, and if so, when and where does it happen? I’m in the northeast, NJ to be exact. Thanks for any insight you may have. Also wanted to ask, how far out should I be looking to use a mentor such as yourself? I’m in the process of saving up my money and getting my credit better, and had a goal of starting my business in 12 months

  20. Jessica Vazquez

    Hi Jay, thanks for making this awesome list! The link to the FMCSA’s “A Motor Carrier’s Guide To Improving Highway Safety” isn’t working. I found a “Motor Carrier Safety Planner” on the site, is that something they replaced??

  21. nontu

    Hi J, Im currently located in CT and wanting to start a hauling business. I’m unsure of my target market and where to even start the business, where it’s not going to run fast. I’m also trying to hire someone for starters. what would you advice? Can you recommend states where the business is really good. ?

  22. Mike

    Hey Jay
    It’s Mike here,

    I am Dispatcher for car haulers
    I am ready to dispatching car haulers
    I have a wide network and tremendous business relationships with good brokers so I can easily provide good loads for trucks
    Please let me know – 267-744-4142
    Thank you and hope to hear from you

  23. Dennis - B.D.L Auto transport LLC

    Hi jay just want to say thank you for everything you do. It’s made a vary difficult path just a little easier to follow.
    I do have some questions on picking my route? I would like to know the best or busiest from my home base of CT. I hear that going into Florida is easy but coming out there’s not much leaving there. Best route CT to where? Is my question I’m starting up with a 10 car stinger and would love to stay loaded not dead headed.

    • Jay W

      Hi, Dennis.

      Thanks for watching! I’m really glad to hear that ATI is helping you and your business.

      To address your question, I truly recommend a CTS Business Coaching session with my business partner and lead coach, Ty Thompson. Please visit: to sign up, or you can email your contact info to autotransportintel at gmail dot com. Believe me, Ty would love to talk to you.

      I hope that helps, and please keep tuning in.




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