How Do I Start Pilot Car Business

If pilot navigating for huge oversized cargo interests you, then you should start your own pilot car services business. It’s an easy business to start and the overhead is fair compared to a conventional retail store.

If these features interest you then this business guideline will help you get started right away.

Attend a training course

Search the web for institutions that offer pilot car training courses. Find an institution which is nearest to your community. Apply to attend the course and enroll yourself. Learn the basics of pilot navigating and road side safety driving. Understand the basics on how to provide route guidance to lead your clients carrying oversized cargo. Learn also the basics how to alert other in coming motorists of your presence and maintain the harmony of the traffic. Finish the course and get certified.

Obtain the right business licenses and register for a business name.

Check with your state on which licenses and permits you need to operate your business. Get your hands on the necessary forms. Make sure you read them first before you fill them out. Then submit these forms to process your licenses. Such forms normally have corresponding fees so be prepared ahead of time. Also consider naming your business. Registering for a business name is important for pilot car services. It gives your company an identity against other competitor pilot car services. Of course check with the state if your chosen name is already registered. If it’s not in use then immediately reserve that business name by registering it.

Buy your automobile and purchase other needed equipments.

Check with your state if they have an official automobile type that they approve for pilot car services. Purchase your automobile according to their requirements. Register this automobile. Your automobile must pass state laws and regulations for it to be approved. Having said that, consider how you will fund such an automobile. You may have to take a bank loan or borrow money from friends and relatives to help you with your startup overhead.

Along with your automobile, you should also hire a driver who also has attended a pilot car course. He should have a valid driver’s license and competent with road maps.

Aside from your automobile and hiring a driver, you will need to invest on other safety accessory equipment such as safety signage attached on top of your vehicle which the oversized cargo truck driver can see. Use the knowledge you have gained in your training course and invest on other safety equipment.

Get insurance

Insuring your business will be a wise business decision to protect you and your business against potential liability. Schedule to set time to meet with an insurance broker. Purchase the insurance you need to protect yourself against risk.

Determine your rate, expenses and promoting your services.

Most likely you will charge your clients by based on the route you take and the length of the mileage. Survey other competitor rates and average your rate near their prices. After knowing your rate, it is also a good idea to determine your expenses for operating your business such as salaries, insurance, repairs and others. Purchase a software product to help keep track of your expenses so you have accurate records. Make sure your rate can cover your expenses and still have something leftover for you. Next allocate an expense column for your advertising overhead such as flyers, newspaper ad promotions, business cards and bumper stickers.

128 Comments

  • rodney bentley said on February 19, 2009
    where is a training course and how long will it take and how much i live in fruithurst. thank you
  • rodney bentley said on February 23, 2009
    want training course.
  • Kimberly Ayala said on April 20, 2009
    My husband and I recently lost our jobs. We have been truck driver for a long time, and have always been interested in starting our own pilot car business. We would love to know how to go about this and what all we need to know. We would like to know where we need to go to get the training for this and if there might be any companies that would possibly train also. Also we would like to know how long the training course would take and how much money we would need to actually start our own business. If you could tell us all the basics of what we would need, that would be very appreciated. Thank You.
  • ron Anderson said on June 19, 2009
    I would like to know how long the class is and if it's close enough to me. The cost too.
  • john coffman said on June 27, 2009
    where to go in phoenix, az for class. already have vehicle and most equipments.
  • bob said on July 14, 2009
    You don't need a training course. All you need to do is go to the DMV and ask them you need to study for the certified escort exam, they will give you a booklet study go pass the exam and you are licensed to do business. Make sure you have the proper insurance though.
  • Steve Warren said on December 12, 2009
    I am in the process of starting a pilot car business. I need some advice on the insurance needs. Where do I go for this type of information.
  • kjb said on December 16, 2009
    I want to start a pilot car business in Platteville, WI 53818
  • GEORGE BROWN said on January 18, 2010
    i am interested in starting a pilot car business in barberton ohio usa
  • Cindy Divine said on January 27, 2010
    Riverside Ca. Truck driver for 36 years want to start pilot car service please send info.
  • Brian W. Molloy said on January 29, 2010
    I have been a truck driver for 33 yr. The last 15 doing oversize loads. The last 3 yr doing super loads in wind energy. I already have a pick up set up still my certification and maybe some lease on with just to get started.
  • Dan Larsen said on February 8, 2010
    Casper Wy. 82605. What gov. funding is avialable if any.
  • Bob Ortez said on February 16, 2010
    I am interested in learning about starting a pilot car business in Fort Collins, Colorado. Training, costs, insurance, how to get contracts/business.
  • Kevin Denny said on April 7, 2010
    how do i open a pilot car business in Granbury, TX. USA.
  • paul said on May 2, 2010
    i would like to start a pilot car business in Shohola PA, US
  • Max Rice said on May 5, 2010
    Utah DOT Certified 04/26/10 in Dallas TX. What's next step? How do I promote business/advertise/& obtain clients? What are Insurance requirements?
  • Lee Kirk said on May 12, 2010
    Beckley, WV. Where do you go to get your certification to have a pilot car business?
  • johanna gardner said on June 10, 2010
    how to i get certified in the south east. i am talking about the 8 or 9 states .
  • Rick Lance said on June 23, 2010
    I live in CANTON Ohio. I would like to start a pilot car company. What training do I need? How do I find out the laws in neighboring states I'm checking on insurance now. any information would be nice Thank You Rick Lance
  • June Hill said on June 28, 2010
    A number of states have certification test and some other states will accept other state certifications. It is more important that you learn how to do the job properly than to get any certifications. Find another experienced pilot car driver who is willing to take you along and train you. Certifications classes will only teach you the law, not the job. I would be something akin to passing the written CDL Test and then going out on your first load.

    There's a ton more than this to know and generally new, untrained escorts fail in the first six months. Drivers won't hire an unskilled, inexperienced, dangerous pilot car driver when the same money will get them experienced, qualified, competent escorts. Learn the job and then worry about getting started.
  • TAMI said on July 13, 2010
    WE ARE TIRED OF THE HUMDRUM ROUTINE OF AN OFFICE. HOW CAN 2 GIRLS FROM DAVENPORT, IA START A PILOT CAR BUSINESS. ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO GET STARTED?
  • earl lafave said on July 13, 2010
    want to start a nation wide pilot service. are there any training facilities in alabama? whats the cost? where can i get a book on rules and regs per state?
  • gerry freeman said on July 19, 2010
    i would like to began pilot car job, but do not know where to begin. have driven big trucks since 1979 but would like a change. i live in north mississippi. please direct me in whom to contact in this area. possibly tn. thank you and waiting
  • Rick Kelly said on July 22, 2010
    My wife and I have been in the trucking and const business for 30+yrs. We are wanting to start a pilot escort service in Jacksonville, Florida. We already have some customers and are giving up the loads. We need to find a certification class nearby. The school in Florida keeps canceling the classes. Thank you for any advice. Rick, Sheila.
  • Kevin Bolton said on July 22, 2010
    Sandy Valley NV.60 miles so. of Las Vegas, I have 25 years of haz. mat. driving my wife and I would like to check into pilot escort business thanks for any advice you may have.
  • ruby blake said on August 13, 2010
    would like to start escort svc out of houston texas need information on classes.
  • adrian blair said on August 20, 2010
    I'm from Pocatello, Idaho & would like to know how to find out information on the training course needed & the cost if possible. thanks
  • Lavonda Lambert said on August 26, 2010
    I have my pilot/escort certification that I got through a company that trained me. What I need to know is how do I go about setting up my vehicle. What all do I need. I can remember some of the stuff but not all of what I need to have. If anyone could help me I would be grateful.
  • ryan labarge said on August 27, 2010
    wanting to start a pilot car service in mi do i just need dmv test and the safety equipment? also is it uncommon for pilot services drive in teams of 2 in one vehicle
  • brian sipe said on August 29, 2010
    Yes i'm wanting to start a pilot car service in western panot far from the ohio line and near interstate 80. I am wondering where i would go to attend a training course in my area and what kind of car or truck i need and who i would contact any help would be greatly appreciated
  • larry walton said on August 31, 2010
    I own an escort service here n nashville tenn (funeral) i want 2 get my pilot car license 2 do wide load escort my no. 615-438-7903
  • Ernest Bruneau said on September 9, 2010
    north west Ontario pilot car services, Dryden Ontario Canada. I have currently 2 cars lead and chase how much more involved is it to upgrade to pole car? Are there many disadvantages to running pole as opposed to simple lead other than navigation needs. I've lost a fair number of loads not being pole car ready. I could really use advice in this matter as co. up here are afraid to give the info because they are worried about my being a threat to their business. 807 2238733.please help a guy out maybe I can return the favor meeting you load at a border crossing sometime. THANKS ERNIE
  • ken woodcock said on September 19, 2010
    i too would like to get into pilot car service where do i start how do i get hired, is there a demand, i am retired and to young to sit at home[59] and i love to travel dont drink, no drugs excellent driving record
  • Kevin Penacho said on September 28, 2010
    I would like to get into a job piloting loads how do I get a job or a business to hire me or get started I've been driving a big truck for 23 years and I'm ready for something different.
  • SANDRA LILLY said on September 30, 2010
    want to learn more about pilot car company
  • Sondra Hummell said on October 12, 2010
    I live in Mississippi and want to obtain pilot car certification. Where do i go? We already have all the equipment and vehicles. just need certifications
  • Judy A. Maurer said on October 14, 2010
    My husband has been a owner operator in Milwaukee, WI for 16 years. He has just started doing all Heavy Haul & I want to get certified to be a pilot car driver under the trucking business please let me know where I can go for certification.
  • Scott Burns said on October 19, 2010
    Marinette WI What year did it start that pilot car drives have to be certified by law?
  • Kenneth Dupree said on December 3, 2010
    I have been driving for 10 yrs., 5 of them oversize. I would like more info.on truck escorting service and how to get certified. I live in Marksville,La.
  • Rodger Meek said on December 27, 2010
    My husband is an ex-trucker and I had my flaggers license in colorado but let it lapse, we are interested in starting our own pilot car business. We are located in sulphur springs texas 75482
  • jermie coleman said on January 18, 2011
    i would like to start a business in new york and i would like to know how much the class cost as well
  • eugene courdle said on January 19, 2011
    live in Ga need Fl. certification for pilot car for oversize.
  • Terry Brinson said on January 20, 2011
    I'm very interested in starting a pilot car business in Garden City, Ks. Can you please send me all the information that I need. Cost and other. Where would the nearest classes be.
  • Ken Phillips said on January 25, 2011
    Springfield, MA. I have my cert. and safety equipment. Anyone know any recognizable insurance companies?
  • Glenn LaGrange said on January 27, 2011
    Beaumont Texas I have my own courier business , and am interested in starting a Pilot Car business. Wanting to know the closest school for a training course. Also like to know the cost and other important info. Would like to sit down and talk with someone in the business also travel with someone on an escort trip.
  • David said on February 13, 2011
    We are thinking about a pilot car business in Grand Junction CO and we would like to know the cost and where the nearest school is for this.
  • Josh Sorensen said on March 11, 2011
    We are starting a pilot car/escort business. We are in Utah but would like to be able to work in surrounding states. What kind of reciprocity agreements are there out there? Am I required to do any other licensing for each state?
  • Brian said on March 26, 2011
    I am looking for a place where i can get a cert. as a pilot car operator ( canada )
  • Perry Neal said on April 8, 2011
    I am looking for a training location near me so I can get a certificate for Pilot escort training. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
  • Damon Whitmill said on May 1, 2011
    Kansas city mo. Trying to start company any info is helpful thank you
  • TERRELL K REESE said on May 24, 2011
    I LIVE IN ATL,GA I,WOULD LIKE TO GET A FLAG CAR BUSINESS START IN COLLEGE PARK GA I HAVE THE EXPERIENCE HAULING OVERSIZE LOAD HEAVY EQUIPMENT & cdl license certificate for state of md for escort driver , any helpful info for ga i would thankful for info.
  • Dustin said on July 24, 2011
    I live in Arkansas and am wanting to get into the pilot car business. Arkansas doesnt require you to get certified and cant fond any classes in my area. Can I get certified out of state or does it need to be my state? I also was told to get my certification to run the remote for turning the trailers carrying the turbine blades. Where can you get that, thats close to my area?
  • Angela Clark said on August 5, 2011
    I live in MS but want to get my escort/pilot car certification in FL because of their higher requirements and I can't seem to locate classes down there. Every search returns CO, WA, MI, etc. Where are the classes in FL? Thank you.
  • MICHAEL HIETT said on September 15, 2011
    Are there any classes near north alabama Albertville,al
  • Karen Durrett said on September 23, 2011
    I live n amarillo texas, usa. I have a class A drivers license. Used to haul explosives for the Dept of Defense. I need to find out about pilot cars and here i can get the class need.
  • Jon West said on October 4, 2011
    I would like to operate out of Killeen, Texas and surrounding states. I have been a heavy haul driver for 15 years and am familiar with pilot cars. What type of vehicle is required and what signs and equipment are required. How much insurance and where do I get certified? I need as much information as you are able to give me.
  • Ota Stevenson, Inc. said on October 5, 2011
    Salisbury, Md. Would like to know where to go to get a license and is it good for other states other than the one you apply in.
  • Duane Strehle said on October 6, 2011
    Most states have a department of transportation (DOT) office that specifically handles Escort Driver permitting. Try to google them and contact them first with your questions. Be prepared for their impatience because everything you need to know will be taught in the escort driver class. If you call them, I'd recommend that you ask only for a list of dates and locations for escort driver classes. Then contact the schools and get the instructor's phone number and have him/her answer all your questions regarding vehicle, equipment, insurance coverage req's before you take the class.
  • ann rainey said on October 22, 2011
    i live in clovis nm and would like to start my own pilot car business or else work under someone else. How do i get started?
  • donald bennett said on November 2, 2011
    alexandria louisiana where is the closest class to get certification for escort car
  • Colleen said on November 2, 2011
    Just started a business. So far I have put $21000.00 in it and still counting. A lot of companies pay 30-60-90 days out before u see a dime. You need to keep your books up and make sure of your pays. Its not as easy as people think it is. You need to get your WA. Certification. That is the most Important one. Also the insurance cost around 4000 for 6months. Make sure you are covered in all states. Some only cover you up to 500 miles from your home. Get a truck with 4x4. In case you need this for snow country.
  • Joan Luiser said on November 7, 2011
    I am in Apopka, Florida and am trying to find classes to become a pilot/escort service for oversized loads. I have a company to work for, but need the training. Where is there somewhere local? I see they have some in Gainsville, Fl. but that is a 3 hour drive. Do you know of any closer to me for the training and all? Thank you for your help and I look forward to hearing back from you soon. Please send all information I need as the trucking company drives in Florida and GA, VA, SC, NC, ME, MD and a few others. Looking forward to hearing back from you with all the information I need. Thank you, Joan Luiser
  • Jeff Crum said on November 8, 2011
    Not sure why you have 21000 in it, unless you went and bought a new car to do it in. I have a small pilot car service, mostly doing wind energy jobs. If you are interested in a contractor relationship let me know, we do a cost share on insurance, do the billing and dispatch for you. Send me an email and we can talk..windblownpilotcars@gmail.com
  • Lyndyl Tidwell said on November 12, 2011
    Where can I find classes to attend pilot/escort training in Texas
  • Kirby said on November 16, 2011
    I have two late model 4X4 pickups that I want to put into service as chase vehicles. I'm in Salt Lake City, UT and can cover most western states. I'm going to take the UDOT training/certification class and have another person interested in driving one of my trucks. I'd like to know if anyone knows how to get in touch with brokers until I can build my own client base?
  • Duncan Nall said on November 18, 2011
    I Have my utah and new mexico cert, i have been running pilot for mobile homes. but running with them is far and few between because most that are del do not require a pilot car. I would like to get in to running with heavy loads or windmill blades but dont know how to go about getting in touch with the rite people to get started. my service is called GET R DONE PILOT CAR SERVICE. I am located in Dodd City Texas I am close to the ok line and not real far from the ark line.
  • Iacovos Stratiou said on January 10, 2012
    Where do I to register my pilot car business. Richmond Tx.
  • rls said on February 26, 2012
    Would like to know how to get started in the state of nebraska, what equipment, permits, gps, maps etc. Thanks
  • Timothy Schorer said on March 11, 2012
    Does NY offer a class in Albany? I know that if I get certified for NY it is good in all other states.
  • michelle mace said on March 16, 2012
    my boss has put me on the task of getting our pilot car up and running. i have been looking for over a week and can find nothing that helps me. in WI the loads have to be really big to need a pilot car so having our home state on anything is not going to help. we have someone hired to drive the car we just need to know how to keep him moving. my boss thought there would be a load bored like there is for loading our trucks, i have been unable to find anything even close.
  • dean said on April 13, 2012
    if i get certified by mdv michigan will this allow me to go to any state
  • May Lauter said on April 19, 2012
    I am in Houston, Tx got my UTAH certification what all equipment do I need to get started and I am driving a KIA Sorento SUV. I have my Class CDL Licenses. And do you recommend a General Liability policy for just being a front and back escort vehicle for I am not doing high pole, for I am getting a pilot car insurance of 1 million dollars. Any information you may have to help me to get started would be great help..thanks
  • Sherb House said on May 13, 2012
    Located in way upstate new York. 10 miles from Canada. Montral is 1 hr away. I am interested in all details of starting my own escort vehicle service. Can you provide or get me to a web that has the info. I am passable at the US/Canada border.
  • Gwen said on May 16, 2012
    Located in Corpus Christi, Texas and wanted some info on how to get certified in truck escorting. Haven't had any luck finding any real info on the Internet. Your help would be most appreciated!
  • us pilot corporation said on June 13, 2012
    I live in California and run pilot cars. Contact us at uspilotco@yahoo.com and checkout our web site. I'm sure we can help you get your pilot car company started
  • Timothy Edmiston said on June 18, 2012
    Benton ky need to know we're to go to get the training. Needed to do pilot car work
  • Teresa Long said on June 28, 2012
    Raceland, La, I have had my CDL, driving (big trucks) and escorting for 19 1/2 yrs. Until recently I have never had to escort in a state that requires a certificate to do so, LA only requires the escort vehicle be certified, so escorting through tx, ms, al, tn, mo, etc has never been a problem My question is: do I still need to take a class to escort in Fl,UT,and the other ones that require the certif. legally even though I have a CDL class A? which means I can legally drive an oversize load through these states, but I can't escort one with out that certification class?? any help would be appreciated.
  • Richard Anderson said on July 11, 2012
    I recently sold my restaurant business. For parttime I have been chasing cars for an auto dealer here in Upper Michigan/Wisconsin. We have talked about opening a Pilot Car operation. My thoughts are that I should work for one before jumping into the business. Your thoughts.
  • Dave Miller said on July 14, 2012
    Located in east Tn, need to find out more on certification for doing pilot car work. also where to get the right insurance i would need to do the job. thanks any and all info would be greatly appreciated.
  • Pam berry said on July 19, 2012
    Three Rivers, MI need to where to take classes for pilot car certification and where to go
  • Tony Jackson said on July 19, 2012
    How do i get certified for a Truck car pilot car escort car in ohio
  • The Pilot Car Company said on July 20, 2012
    I am a pilot car service, would like to assist anyone needing a pilot car driver in the midwest region. I'm out of KS. Available any time. Please feel free to call me at The Pilot Car Company 913-708-2209 or e-mail me at ThePilotCarCo@yahoo.com. Safety is #1.
  • Lee B. said on August 5, 2012
    Everyone - just google for th National Pilot Car Association & it will give you the infor for class. It appears about $189 is the normal fee for new certifications. The classes I've found are one day classes. LLC cost about $50 - $150 to register and saves your personal assets in the event of a mishap & your personal insurance company should be able to either assist or guide you forward to get your insurance. I'm going to start my own operator/owner pilot business and was surprised how easy it is to final out the info needed.
  • James said on August 13, 2012
    I'm wanting to start up Pilot Car Services in Long Beach, CA. However, I want to use motorcycles instead of cars or trucks. Does anyone know if CA will allow use of motorcycles for pilot escorting services? James
  • danny said on September 17, 2012
    I would like to be certified and recognized in all states to pilot trucks, equipment, etc. where should I acquire my licensing?
  • Tanya Griffitths said on September 17, 2012
    Interested in taking the class for pilot car to start my own business. Where would they have it in Phonix Arizona. I actually live in Queen Creek ,Arizona, if there's one closer. How would I find the class I've looked a little and it come up with out of state only. Is there one in Arizona and when is it?
  • larry allen said on October 12, 2012
    annie lee traffic patrol llc newport news va need to get pilot car certification in virginia. do i need to take a class,if so where do i go?
  • Steve Burkard said on November 3, 2012
    My business is based out of NEW YORK STATE. Do I have to charge SALES or ROAD taxes for my SERVICES. I only guide. I do not carry goods. Strictly Pilot car services. Thank you.
  • TERRELL K REESE said on November 13, 2012
    TERRELL REESE COLLEGE PARK GA I HAVE 15 YEARS OF HEAVY HAULING AND 5 YEARS OF ESCORT VEHICLE OPERATOR CERTIFICATE FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA LOOKING FOR WORK IN GA ,ALA FLA, SC,NC VA.
  • Jim Pace said on November 25, 2012
    I live in CA. and is interested in starting a Pilot Service, and suggestions that would help.
  • Thomas White said on November 26, 2012
    I live in Greenbush Mi. I am interested in hauling for any company that run 100% legal. I have driven a tractor trailer for about 30 years and the daily rigors and physical labor of loading high end top security vehicles is taking its tol on both physical as well mental health.I'm 56 years and do not have a problem with travel into canada or the lower 48 states. I worked for Art Brockman in the 80''s I have pulled and loaded 100 ft loads. Based on all the new law changes in thirty years I wish to run my own operation and eventually began an instruction class on how to do it in a safe manner. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
  • Stacy Crook said on December 6, 2012
    I live in a small town of Elkhart, IL. I work in Springfield. My husband and I have been wanting to try to start our own business for a few years but are having a hard time taping into something. We currently work retail but I have driven a school bus in the past. He has also tried for a CDL. We are interested in the pilot car business. We love to travel and we are both good at reading maps. Many things we have researched as far as being your own contractor to move campers or in the trucking business have stipulations to driving as a team. I would hope with getting into the pilot/escort business there would be no stipulation. We are wondering if there are vehicle requirements in the state of Illinois and how do we go about getting training, licenses, insurance, etc. Thanks
  • Franklin Vaughn said on December 24, 2012
    Hi looking to start my own pilot car escort service for escorting oversize loads and or mobile homes or anything requiring an escort i live in florida in okalooosa county. And was wondering what all i need to get started as far as paperwork and license and permits. thanks.
  • nate dondero said on December 30, 2012
    Us pilot corp does a classes and will answer any questions that you have. contact nate at uspilotco@yahoo.com or 760-937-3446
  • DA Tinney said on January 1, 2013
    Im looking for a pilot car school in Houston or Dallas Texas.
  • CG said on January 6, 2013
    Does anyone know how much do you make yearly, doing pilot trucking in canada?
  • Duane Campbell said on January 6, 2013
    Hi, I am currently in CA. looking for a load. I live in NC. I am certified in NC. I do have all the Amber light permits and Super Load permits. I am ready to get back on the road. Any assistance you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Duane Campbell, Owner/Operator
  • Gene Emahiser said on January 6, 2013
    I am retired trucker. Have a daughter that is a chase car owner operator. My personal experience regarding operating in Canada is that it isn't worth it, period. For instance, besides the hassle coming and going across the borders, the RCMP seem to have one ON for truckers and related... for instance, not wearing a seat belt in Sask. is over 700 bucks. Try that one on for a salary eater. Good advice? Stay trucking, OR pilot car, and GO TO NW NORTH DAKOTA. TALK ABOUT A GOLD RUSH... You can, with little effort at all, come away from there in a year or two with a new truck paid for... look into Williston North Dakota... good luck.
  • CG said on January 6, 2013
    I meant in Alberta canada, if that makes any difference. Not going across the border.
  • Billy Johnson said on May 25, 2013
    Hello, my name is Billy Johnson. I live in Dallas,Tx. I got Utah certified 3/2013. I have TWIC Card, Passport, Medical Card, CDL: Class A, Hazmat,Tank,Triples,P, Medical card, 0 Tickets, 0 Accidents. I'm seeking to get started with an established Escort/Pilot Car Service. I'm willing to drive nation wide and Canada. Also,I'm seeking tip's on the best price/company for the required $1,000,000 Liability Policy. Thanks Billy 972 998 6756

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