A car hauling business involves shipping a car from one location to another. In the trucking industry, the vehicle is loaded in the truck and then transported to the required location. Starting a hauling business can be a good investment in getting excellent returns if you are a truck driver. You can start an auto transport business from home and later advance your business with a fleet of trucks.
You can start by running your business from home and later grow your company with a fleet of trucks. Drivers in this industry manage the delivery of many cars during each trip. However, regardless of your driving experience, you need some business savvy to thrive in this industry. This article provides you with step by step guide to get you ready for your hauling car business. Let’s dive into each step to get your business off the ground.
1. Learn The Basics
Competitor research is critical before putting up any business. Learning the basics should give you a snapshot of the market in the area. You need to know how much other similar companies charge, the distance they cover, the niche they fulfill and how they do their advertisements. You can also consider what you can emulate from your competitors, including how you can fill the gaps in the market in that area. With the information that you get, focus on going beyond your competitors.
Operating some equipment, such as trailers and trucks, is complex. You need many skills to operate all or parts of the moving equipment and load and unload correctly. These critical aspects will affect the success of your business once you establish it.
2. Decide On The Equipment
Think about the equipment you want and begin to price shop. Depending on the route you want to run and your budget, figure out the equipment that will work for you. If you are planning to operate long distances, you can consider owning a larger carrier. You can also consider ¾ car setup if you are planning to operate within regional distances.
Equipment will determine the quality of service you will offer. Therefore decide on the number of towing trucks, haulers, winches, tie-down straps, and trailers you want in your car hauling business. Do comprehensive research on the cost of buying the equipment. As you figure out equipment, do not forget to include trucking software. The software will be of great use in keeping track of fuel tax records and truck mileage, as well as mapping routes. Generally speaking, the software will make your administration tasks easier and, at the same time, saves your company money.
3. Get A Commercial Driving License(CDL)
A CDL is the first requirement to operate large and heavy commercial vehicles. Sometimes you may be required to obtain special endorsements such as Passenger vehicles, Tankers, Air Brakes, and Hazardous materials. Each type of commercial driving license and endorsement requires you to pass a skills test and a written test. For hazardous material, you will be required to undergo a TSA( transportation security administration ) security threat assessment.
You can take advantage of online instruction websites that offer free CDL practice tests to familiarize yourself with the real tests. For instance, Driving-test is an approved driving theory training provider.
4. Choose The Name Of Your Car Hauling Business
Choosing the name of your business is important since it is the brand of your car hauling company. Ensure to choose a meaningful and memorable name. The name that you will choose should allow for business expansion in the future. Mostly, location-based business names may cause difficulties in the future as you may want to expand your business. When choosing the name of your car hauling business, keep it simple. It should be easy to spell, pronounce, and remember. Your business name should also be available. Check your business desired name against the registered business names and trademark databases to see if it is available. It is also wise to think about marketing currently and in the future. Go for a name that can reflect the desired focus of your car-hauling company. The name that you will give to your business will remain as the business brand now in the future. Therefore, take your time and come up with an amazing name.
5. Develop A Business Plan
Developing a business plan is important for both an existing and new business. A business plan features what you will be transporting, your goals, where you will find customers, and your plans to grow your car-hauling company. A car-hauling business plan will act as a guide that will enable you to manage unexpected costs and responsibilities.
Your car hauling business is an important document that needs to be updated annually to accommodate the changes and growth in your business. It can be of help in case you may need to raise funding or plan out how to advance your business.
You must take your car-hauling business plan seriously. It is a snapshot of your business as it stands currently, and it outlines your growth plan for a couple of upcoming years. Besides including market research that supports your business plans, it explains your business goals and how to achieve them.
Creating a business plan will require you to have significant knowledge of this industry. If you are unfamiliar with developing a business plan, contract someone with experience and knowledge to help you out.
6. Estimate The Overall Business Cost
Before starting your car hauling business, it is crucial to develop a budget that will guide your spending. The budget should highlight the primary, ongoing, and future expenses. It should also outline the source of your working capital, the costs of daily operations, and how to handle unexpected expenses.
In your budget, highlight the startup and ongoing expenses. The startup costs include the costs of Insurance, equipment, CDL, operating authority, fixed, and variables. Based on your goals, you need a trailer, rig, or truck to get started. Depending on the kinds of loads you will be moving, research the best equipment to purchase. If your budget allows, you can buy a new truck. However, you can also begin your car hauling business with a used truck. As per Best Truckin, a truck can cost between $15000 and $175000 depending on the make and model. The cost of acquiring a commercial driving license is quite affordable. However, the cost varies based on the state. For budgeting purposes, including the cost for the complete process of obtaining a CDL.
The ongoing expenses include tollgate fees, fuel and maintenance costs, annual permit fees, insurance premiums, Heavy vehicle use tax, and International registration plan plates. Meet them in order of their priorities to ensure your business keeps running.
7. Identify Insurance
Protecting your business is a key component in establishing a successful company. You need Insurance to protect the cargo you are moving and equipment. It is a good idea to research the insurance company to know the one that can offer you the best policy and rates. However, you can think about various insurances, including fleet insurance, minder insurance, and motor trade insurance. If you are shipping customers’ vehicles, minder insurance can work well for you. You need to consider motor trade insurance if you are operating a vehicle transporting business. Motor trade insurance will cover your business as well as your employees. Fleet insurance will serve you well if your focus is on a group of transporter vehicles.
8. Decide On A Location
Location is important to consider when creating a hauling car business. Before deciding on a location to set up your business, consider the space you require for your vehicles or fleet. The site needs to have enough space to allow the loading and unloading of haulers. You must choose a large enough room that provides a bit of space for your business growth and expansion.
It would be best if you considered other factors such as accessibility, security, and skills base in the area. Of course, you require a site that allows easy access to main routes that quickly link up with your target customers. Rental properties are steeper in more commercialized areas. It will cost you a bit low to look for a space out of town but a place well linked with good roads. Always consider a location that is accessible by car.
Knowing the possibilities of criminal activities around your chosen location will help you prepare and reinforce adequate precautions. Your location can influence the odds of crime rate that can impact your insurance premiums.
Your proximity to other car-hauling businesses can lead to the success or failure of your business. If the area has a high, this is a warning sign, and you should expand your limits to a new location.
Remember to research the business rates of the area. Consider rates such as utility bills, taxes in the area, and rent to ensure that you can afford the room you want to rent.
9. Set Up Contact Information
Your business is positioned on a flow of communication between your company and clients. That is why you need to set up your business contact information, such as business email, physical address, and website. Your email address should be professional to make your business trustworthy. Avoid fancy email addresses at all costs.
Building a website is crucial because it will act as an online presence. Develop it in a way that will convince clients of your services. When creating a website, maximize keywords and search engine optimization practices. These practices will help the website pages to rank higher in the search engines; hence your business will be easily noticed. You can develop your car hauling business website using Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace. However, if you are still getting familiar with website development, consider hiring a web designer to help you customize your business website.
10. Get The Required Licenses And Permits
Before you can acquire a license or permit to operate your business, You should begin by choosing a legal structure for your car hauling company. The most common legal structures are sole proprietorship, partnerships, limited liability companies, C corporations, and s corporations. Register it with the business name, including where you want to operate your business.
As you begin your business, a sole proprietorship is a good entity to start with. A sole proprietorship is an entity where the business and the business owner bear the same legal name. It is easy to begin and operate. The main drawback is that the owner is liable for all obligations and debts of the business.
Once you register your business entity, you should fulfill the required legal requirements, including vehicle operator licenses and permits. Failure to acquire the required licenses can result in the government such as fines, suspension of your business license, or permanent business shutdown. Some of the permits you need to have are international fuel tax agreements, unified carrier registration fees, heavy vehicle use tax, MC number, and international registration plan taxes. Ensure to pay the fees in good time to keep off from having your truck or trailer placed out of service. Paying your fees late can result in paying heavy fines.
To thrive in your car-hauling business, you must recognize the power of networking. Nowadays, business people are taking advantage of the social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, forums, and Instagram to connect with others. To maximize your network, link all your social media channels to your business website. Connecting with others in this industry will give you a platform to pick the advice to see you off the ground.
As you maintain professional relationships with like-minded people, you increase your chances of getting possible business deals. Consistently reinforce your already existing networks by adding more like-minded people.
Today, business people use social media to generate leads, build relationships, and recruit talent. It would be best if you did much of the same with your car-hauling business. Social media platforms will help you communicate with prospective customers and truck drivers. You will also catch up with the latest development in this platform quickly. You can do this by yourself. However, it is better for you if your budget allows it and you are in a position to recruit a social media manager.
12. Sign Up For The Load Board
If FMCSA has approved you, you can now register for the load board. Load boards are a marketplace where shippers with a load who want it moved to connect with freight carriers. It is a platform where shippers, freight brokers, and owner-operators can post and find loads. This marketplace will help keep freight moving and save you time. Depending on the load board you will sign up for, you will find other services, such as
load matching, FMCSA verification, and mobile access. Load board also allows you to search message boards, credit information, and finance of loads that are in the process of getting approved.
The load board will provide you with a platform to search for opportunities. When you get loads from shippers, you will agree on moving freight costs. It would be best if you were well acquainted with determining lane density. Lane density will influence the rate at which you will charge the loads. If you are not familiar with loading and out loading, feel free. Most loading platforms constitute a rate-sourcing tool to help you establish rates that you will give your clients.
13. Advertise And Market Your Business
The car hauling business is ripe with opportunities. However, you must do more than sit down and wait for customers to search for you amidst the high competition. This is where marketing comes in! Marketing will enhance the growth of your car hauling business, build brand awareness, and gain quality leads. Marketing is an excellent tool to improve your credibility as far as this industry is concerned. It develops a network of new and existing customers.
In the digital era today, marketing should be easy for you. Make use of a clear and user-friendly informative website to advertise your business. A website will create a platform for clients to contact you and for them to understand your credibility. To make it easy to navigate your website, optimize it for mobile browsing. Complicating your business will give your prospective customers reasons to leave your website. It would be best if you made your website content concise and exciting. Leverage professional graphics, photos, and call–to–action.
Car hauling business can be a profitable venture if planned well. Following the above steps, you can comfortably open a car hauling business. However, you must work hard and remain updated with the latest trends. Be consistent in outdoing your competitors. When your business grows, consider recruiting a logistic officer to help it stay organized in all stages of its growth. You must be patient with your business, but eventually, you will see a considerable return—all the best as you start your journey of becoming your own boss.