Starting up a new truck business – whether you intend operating one truck or many – is a major decision that should be based on quality advice and information.
We recommend that very early in your planning process, you get professional advice from people and organisations such as lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and Inland Revenue. You can also talk to our contact centre for advice on the vehicle use rules and regulations with which you must comply.
Getting a transport service licence
In most situations you'll need a goods service licence to operate a trucking business.
You must also ensure that transport service licence labels are displayed in all trucks, either as close as practical to the bottom inside of the windscreen on the passenger's side, or in the window behind the passenger seat.
Your vehicles must meet higher safety standards before you can operate them in a licensed transport service. These include registration and annual licensing requirements and routine certificate of fitness inspections. Your vehicles must continue to meet these safety standards while operated in a transport service.
When buying vehicles for your business, you should also be aware of the safety features common in many modern vehicles and any features that could affect the environment.
All vehicles are defined by class, with standards applying to each class.
To help you choose trucks that are suitable for the type of service you expect them to provide, we've developed a heavy vehicle selection guide.
Operating your vehicles safely
It's important that you maintain your trucks in a safe and serviceable condition at all times.
Attending to faults straight away will keep you in business and save you money in the long term – and it will help you to achieve consistently good Operator Rating System (ORS) scores.
For more information on maintaining your trucks in a safe and compliant condition, check out:
Incorrect loading practices can contribute to truck and trailer rollovers and loads falling off vehicles.
All trucks should be designed and operated so that loads can be restrained. The minimum standard for load restraint is the Truck loading code.
Road user charges apply to:
all vehicles with a manufacturers’ gross laden weight of more than 3500kg or over, and
all vehicles powered by a fuel not taxed at source, such as diesel.
You must ensure that your drivers hold a current and valid licence and endorsements for the class of vehicle they are driving.
As a transport service licence holder, you can also access TORO (the Transport Organisation Register Online) to:
No matter how sophisticated a vehicle’s technology, driver behaviour is the most crucial factor in avoiding crashes.
You can improve safety for your drivers and other road users by investing in driver training – so they know how to use their vehicles, and have a good understanding of your expectations of their behaviour while driving.
More driver training options are available through MITO, the training organisation for the road transport industry.
Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, a work-related vehicle is considered part of the workplace. This means that the health and safety rules applying to the workplace also apply to work-related motor vehicles.
Every dent, prang, speeding ticket or collision involving your trucks will affect your business's financial bottom line. So it makes sense – and can save lives – to encourage safe driving by making it an integral part of your business policy.
The 'chain of responsibility' recognises that everyone who influences a driver's behaviour and compliance should, and must, be held accountable if that influence results in non-compliance.
Ensuring your truck operations are efficient is one of the keys to your business's success.
A number of resources provide useful information on improving operational efficiency. These include:
Best practice in freight operations, (external link) produced by Environment Canterbury
information on transporting overdimension and overweight loads.
Contact us for advice on and help with complying with all transport-related rules, regulations, and vehicle standards and requirements.