As someone who has been in the industry for a long time, I understand completely the complications that come with starting and operating your own company. The transportation industry in general, and the trucking industry especially, is one of the most highly competitive industries in the United States economy. It is very hard to get the rates you need with the ever increasing cost of fuel. There are ways to adjust costs and maximize prophits through "small" changes.
For instance, many carriers now, especially the major players, are now paying drivers per mile instead of a percentage of the loads they haul. It is more cost effective this way with the cost of running a truck increasing.
Customers, shippers, and manufactuerers are becoming more and more irritated with straight brokerage companies. Utilizing brokers cuts prohits for everyone. With competitive rates, a carrier has more chance than ever to convince customers and shippers that using a straight carrier, they can increase their production while minimizing the over all costs. When you use a broker, the money is getting cut five times. You have the shipper's pay, the broker's, pay, the driver's pay, the dispatcher's pay, and the company's pay. Try finding direct shipper freight, freight coming directly from a warehouse, manufacturer, or distributor.
There is a ever increasing demand for carriers to be able to drop trailers. This allows customers and shippers to unload and load trailers when they need to without having the burden of paying detention time, a cost which, in the long run, does more harm than good to everyone. Make sure that your company has enough trailers to be able to drop.
When contacting potential customers, offer out-sourcing the purchasing department as a part of your service, also know as third party logistics. Look up "third party logistics" on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-party_logistics_provider for more information. This is a good way to off set costs.
I hope this has helped you a little.....