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The 6 Best Trucking Business Loans For Truckers & Startup Trucking Companies

A business loan for truckers is a great way to support your commercial transport business. The key is to know what type of financing provides the greatest ROI for trucking companies.

    Chris Motola
  • UPDATED

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Best Trucking Business Loans

Trucking business loans can be useful to both owner-operators and business owners who oversee a trucking operation. Trucking business loans can be used to expand your fleet, hire new employees, or update your infrastructure. Having a reliable lender for trucking business loans can be critical for keeping operations humming along smoothly.

Below, we’ll look at some of the best places you can find small business loans for truckers, and the types of loans available for truckers.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Lendio

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Best for trucking startups.
Best for trucking startups.

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OnDeck

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Best for trucking business loans.
Best for trucking business loans.

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National Funding

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Best for no downpayment financing.
Best for no downpayment financing.

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Fundbox

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Best loans for truckers with bad credit.
Best loans for truckers with bad credit.

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SmartBiz

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Best for SBA trucking loans.
Best for SBA trucking loans.

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BlueVine

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Best for owner-operators.
Best for owner-operators.

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

How To Use Trucking Business Loans

Trucking business loans can be used to finance a variety of expenses, whether they’re specific to the trucking industry or common to businesses in general.

For example, you can use a trucking business loan for:

  • Expanding Your Fleet Or Operation: Working capital loans can be a great way to expand your existing operations.
  • Purchasing Commercial Trucks & Equipment: There’s an entire segment of equipment financing that’s focused on financing semis, including leases with buyout clauses specifically geared toward long- and short-haul vehicles.
  • Hire Additional Drivers: If you’re experiencing a sudden surge in demand, a loan can be a way to bring on additional help quickly.
  • Save On Inventory Purchases: Loans can be a convenient way to make economy-of-scale purchases.
  • Invest In Trucking Technology: Logistics is more than just the vehicle. Staying up-to-date with technology that makes your business more efficient takes investment.

Best Loans For Truckers & Trucking Companies

Unsure of where to start to get a loan for your trucking company? Whether you need financing to purchase new equipment, have credit challenges, or need a flexible line of credit to improve cash flow, start your search with these lenders that offer funding to trucking businesses.

1. Lendio: Best For Trucking Startups

Lendio


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Pros

  • Multiple types of financing are available
  • Fast & easy application process
  • Funding available for startups

Cons

  • Rates can be expensive
  • Startup funding can take two to four weeks to disburse

Lendio is a great choice for trucking startups. Unlike other lenders on this list, Lendio isn’t a direct lender. Instead, this loan aggregator works with multiple lending partners to provide you with different funding offers, even if you’re a new business.

Through Lendio, you can apply for many different types of financing, from short-term loans to lines of credit, SBA loans, and startup loans. Lendio will use your information to match you with lenders, helping you compare your options and get the best rates and lowest terms for your situation.

Lendio offers startup loans up to $750,000 with terms up to 25 years.

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2. OnDeck: Best For Trucking Business Loans

OnDeck


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Pros

  • Fast & easy application process
  • Funds are disbursed quickly
  • Low credit score requirements

Cons

  • Rates can be expensive
  • Short repayment terms

If you want to purchase a truck but want to bypass the hassles of receiving a bank loan, you may find fast funding through OnDeck. OnDeck offers two loan products that may work for your trucking business: lines of credit and term loans.

Lines of credit up to $100,000 are available to qualified borrowers. These come with 12-month repayment terms. You may also apply for a term loan of up to $250,000 to purchase your truck, other equipment, or for other large purchases for your trucking company. Repayment terms of up to 18 months are available for OnDeck’s term loans.

Though repayment terms are shorter and costs may be higher for an OnDeck loan, funding is relatively fast and easy. OnDeck also has much lower borrower qualifications than banks, such as a minimum credit score of 600 and a minimum time in business of just one year.

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3. National Funding: Best For No Downpayment Financing

National Funding


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Pros

  • Funds are disbursed quickly
  • Low credit score requirements
  • No downpayment necessary

Cons

  • Rates can be expensive
  • Some additional fees charged

National Funding is one of the older and more well-established alternative lenders on the market. While the company is known more for its short-term business loans, it also offers equipment financing that can be used to acquire vehicles like trucks.

National Funding offers up to $150,000 in loans or leases to qualified borrowers, with terms of two to five years. To qualify, you’ll need to have been in business for two years, have a credit score of at least 600, and have at least $250,000 in annual revenue.

While National Funding isn’t the cheapest option for financing, borrowers may appreciate that they don’t need to come up with a downpayment to get a trucking loan.

Get Started With National Funding

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4. Fundbox: Best Loans For Truckers With Bad Credit

Fundbox


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Pros

  • Low credit score requirements
  • Funds are disbursed quickly
  • Fast & easy application process

Cons

  • Rates can be expensive
  • Short repayment terms

Fundbox may be able to offer you loans for truckers or trucking businesses with bad credit.

Through Fundbox, you can receive a revolving line of credit up to $150,000, even if you have credit challenges. You can use your line of credit for almost anything, from making a big equipment purchase to handling an emergency expense.

To qualify for a line of credit, you must have a credit score of at least 600. Annual revenue of $100,000 and in operation for at least six months is required. You must also share your business transactions through your business bank account or accounting software.

Once approved, you can access your line of credit instantly. Once a draw is initiated on your line of credit, you’ll receive funds in your business bank account as quickly as the next business day. Your outstanding balance is repaid over a term of 12 or 24 weeks.

Get Started With Fundbox

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5. SmartBiz: Best For SBA Trucking Loans

SmartBiz


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Pros

  • Low rates & long repayment terms
  • High borrowing limits

Cons

  • Long application process
  • Funds can take a while to disburse

SmartBiz takes the guesswork out of securing an SBA loan. SmartBiz streamlines the SBA application process, allowing you to prequalify in just minutes. After submitting an application, SmartBiz connects you with bank and non-bank lenders to help you secure the funding you need for your business.

Through SmartBiz, you can receive up to $5 million in funding for your trucking business with low rates and long repayment terms. You may also be able to receive funding in as little as seven days, although the process may be a bit longer for some borrowers. Funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including the purchase of a commercial truck or other equipment, hiring new employees, or expanding your business.

If an SBA loan isn’t right for you, SmartBiz can also help connect you with a lender to receive a bank term loan of up to $500,000.

Get Started With SmartBiz

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6. BlueVine: Best For Owner Operators

BlueVine


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Pros

  • Financing is available for startups
  • Low credit score requirements

Cons

  • Rates can be expensive
  • Short repayment terms

Since our last update, BlueVine has moved away from invoice factoring, but the lender’s line of credit option will still come in handy for owner-operators who need a rainy day fund.

BlueVine offers credit limits of up $250,000 that can be used for just about anything. This includes emergency expenses, equipment purchases, or just for use as working capital to help with operational costs. BlueVine has lines of credit for six or 12 months, with interest rates ranging from 0.3%-6.5%, depending on your creditworthiness and the term length of your line of credit.

To qualify, you’ll need to have been in business for six months, have a credit score of 600, and monthly revenue of at least $10,000.

Get Started With BlueVine

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Types Of Business Loans For Commercial Truckers

When it comes to types of financing for trucking companies, you have several options. For the purchase of a commercial truck, you should consider equipment financing. You may also be able to qualify for the SBA Microloans program, which provides up to $50,000 in financing for expenses.

Short-term loans, lines of credit, and small business credit cards are also available to you, but these typically come at a higher cost, and may not be appropriate for big-ticket items like trucks.

Let’s look at the different types of loans available to find the best fit for your commercial trucking or transport company.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Trucking Loans

The Small Business Administration offers several programs that provide funding for trucking companies. SBA loans are backed by the government, opening up new financing opportunities for small businesses that don’t qualify for conventional business loans. (Read our guide on everything you need to know about SBA loans if you are still learning about your options.) SBA loans for trucking companies are flexible and can be used for a number of purposes, including the purchase of a commercial truck and other equipment, business expansion, or for use as working capital for operating expenses.

SBA trucking loans options include:

  • SBA 7(a) Loans: The SBA 7(a) loan program is one of the SBA’s most popular offerings. With a 7(a) loan, borrowers can receive up to $5 million to be used for almost any business purpose, including the purchase of equipment or machinery, real estate or land purchases, or even acquiring another business. Read our guide on the SBA 7(a) loan, including info on rates, terms, and eligibility.
  • SBA 504 Loans: Less versatile, but still appropriate for heavy equipment, is the SBA 504 loan, which provides long-term fixed-rate financing of up to $5 million.
  • SBA Microloans:  If you run a smaller trucking operation or you’re an owner-operator and you have an expense that requires $50,000 or less, the SBA microloans program may be an option for you. The average loan distributed through this program is $13,000. Funds can be used toward the purchase of machinery or equipment, working capital, or supplies.
  • Veterans Advantage Loans: These loans are for servicemembers and veterans. These loans offer the same rates and terms as 7(a) loans but have reduced guarantee fees.

Equipment Financing For Transport Businesses

Equipment financing is exactly what it sounds like: funding that is used to purchase equipment. In the trucking industry, this could mean the purchase of a new or used commercial truck, a trailer, or other long-term physical assets that are necessary for operations. This type of funding allows you to break down the cost of expensive equipment into smaller payments that are easier to manage.

There are two types of equipment financing:

  • Equipment Loans: With a loan, you’ll make scheduled payments that go toward the principal balance and interest. Once all payments have been made, the equipment is yours. If you plan to keep your equipment for many years, this is the best option for you.
  • Equipment Leases: When you lease equipment, you’re essentially renting from the lender. You make payments each month to be able to use the equipment. Once your lease is over, you’ll return the equipment and can upgrade to the latest model. In some cases, you may be able to pay the remaining balance if you’d like to own the equipment outright. With leases, monthly payments may be more affordable and it’s possible to find leases that don’t require a down payment. However, the total cost of the lease typically winds up being more expensive than loans due to higher interest rates.


Medium-Term Installment Loans

A medium-term installment loan is a loan that is paid off over a period of 1 to 5 years. With this type of loan, you can break down the cost of a purchase or receive working capital while repaying with low monthly payments.

Medium-term installment loans can be used for any business purpose. These loans can be used for the purchase of new equipment. You can use the funds for working capital. Loan proceeds can be used for business expansion or acquisitions. You can even use these loans to refinance existing debt.


Business Lines Of Credit

Getting a business line of credit is similar to a credit card. A borrower has a credit limit set by the lender and can make multiple draws as needed up to and including the credit limit. With a business line of credit, you only pay interest and fees on the borrowed amount. For example, if you have a total credit line of $200,000 but have only spent $50,000, you’ll only pay interest or fees on the $50,000.

A line of credit can be used for any business expense, from unexpected emergencies to covering operational expenses or purchasing equipment.


Short-Term Trucking Business Loans

Short-term business loans are loans that are paid back over a very short period of time. This period of time varies, but it will not exceed one year.

Short-term loans are one of the most expensive forms of credit, so it is best to only use these loans when absolutely necessary. Because funding is fast (potentially as short as 24 hours), a short-term loan is best for emergency situations when time is of the essence. It’s probably not going to be something you’d buy a truck with.

Borrowers that have not been in business long or have low personal or business credit scores may have no other options than to seek a short-term loan. If this is the case, the return on investment should be calculated to determine if the loan is worth the high cost.


Business Credit Cards

When used responsibly, a business credit card can be an enormous asset to a trucking business. A business credit card offers a revolving line of credit that can be used any time it’s needed. This is especially helpful when an emergency arises.

With responsible use that includes paying off (or paying down) your card each month, you’ll even be able to boost your credit score while having access to extra capital when you need it. In addition, many credit cards offer rewards programs that allow you to earn points or cash back after every qualifying purchase. Read our guide to the best business rewards programs for more information about these options.

Invoice Factoring For Transport Businesses

If you have unpaid invoices affecting your cash flow, consider invoice factoring for company trucking.

Invoice factoring isn’t technically a loan. Instead, you sell your unpaid invoices to a lender. The lender purchases your invoice for a discount. This discount goes to the lender for providing a fee, while the remainder of the balance goes into your pocket.

This is a great option for businesses that have multiple unpaid invoices and don’t want to seek other types of financing. Invoice factoring also has lower credit score, annual revenue, and time in business requirements, making it easy to qualify provided you have eligible invoices.

Fuel Cards For Trucking Companies & Owner Operators

One big expense that’s hard to ignore is the cost of fuel and maintenance for your trucks. Whether you own a single truck or an entire fleet, one financing option to keep in mind is a fuel card.

Fuel cards can be used to gas up your rigs, while some can also be used to pay for maintenance and repairs at select locations. Having fuel cards for your drivers can also help you track and manage expenses while they’re out on the road. Additionally, you may even receive savings at the pump, cash back, or rewards just for using your cards.

Don’t have a fuel card for your trucking business? Check out our article on the best fuel cards for truckers and trucking companies and start saving today.

Choosing A Trucking Loan That Makes Sense For Your Business

No matter what your financial needs, there’s a loan available to help you start your trucking company or expand your existing trucking business. The key is to understand your options, shop around, and determine if the return on investment exceeds the cost of the loan. Even if your funding needs are urgent, it’s critical to borrow responsibly to put your trucking business on the road to success.

Trucking Business Loan FAQs

Can I get a trucking business loan if I have bad credit?

If you have a lower credit score due to past mistakes, there are still loan options available to you. While higher credit scores are required for SBA loans, borrowers with poor credit can qualify for other loans, including short-term options, lines of credit, and business credit cards.

In order to get the most affordable loan and the best repayment terms, it’s best to go into the application process with a solid credit score. If possible, take steps to rebuild your credit (read our article on the five ways to improve personal credit) before applying to lower your financing costs.

I am an owner-operator. What are my best business loan options?

As an owner-operator, there are a number of loan options out there. Equipment financing or an SBA Microloan may help with the purchase of a commercial truck. Or consider a business line of credit, short-term loan, or business credit card for your everyday operational expenses.

I’m starting a trucking company. Am I eligible for a trucking startup loan? What are my best options?

There are many options available for trucking startup companies. The best option for borrowers with credit scores in the high 600s is a loan from the SBA. SBA loans provide low interest rates and flexible repayment terms for startups and established businesses.

Because you won’t have traditional documentation like business tax returns and financial statements, your application will need to include a detailed business plan and future financial projections. You’ll also need to prove that you have industry experience in order to qualify.

If you have a good credit score, you could also consider taking out a personal loan versus a business loan. With a personal loan, qualifying will be based on your own income and credit score, with no requirements for annual revenues, business credit score, or time in business. This is another affordable loan for borrowers that want to start their own business.

Can I get a grant for my trucking company?

Most businesses do not qualify for startup grants. If you find a grant that you are eligible for, it’s important to note that competition will be stiff. The process for receiving a grant for truckers also doesn’t happen overnight, so if you need money for your trucking company fast, you’ll want to explore other options, including the loans mentioned in this post or other options, such as P2P lending or the best crowdfunding sites for entrepreneurs.

Can you get an SBA loan to start a trucking company?

Yes, it is possible to get an SBA loan to start a trucking company. In particular, SBA microloans and SBA Community Advantage Loans are appropriate for startups.

Can I get a business loan for a trucking company?

Yes, trucking companies are eligible for many of the same business loans as other companies. In particular, trucking companies may benefit from equipment financing.

How easy is it to get commercial truck loans?

As with any business loan, that will depend on your time in business, revenue, and business credit. Learn more about how to get semi-truck financing today.

In Summary: Best Loans For Truckers & Trucking Companies

  1. Lendio: Best for trucking startups.
  2. OnDeck: Best for trucking business loans.
  3. National Funding: Best for no downpayment financing.
  4. Fundbox: Best loans for truckers with bad credit.
  5. SmartBiz: Best for SBA trucking loans.
  6. BlueVine: Best for owner-operators.
Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
An expert in personal and business loans and financial health, Chris Motola has been writing about small business finance and payments for over 5 years. He has been cited in various industry publications, including Forbes Advisor, GoBankingRates, and Medium. Chris is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
Chris Motola
View Chris Motola's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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