Many steps are available to start up a box truck business. Several things need to take place before the start-up process begins. To start, you must decide what you are hauling, what type of business and insurance you need, the highways and states’ legalities, an entire truck inspection, and much more. We go further into detail with each step, so enjoy the information we offer.
Decide What Type of Business
This process is described as making plans for the start-up. It is best to have a reliable box truck to handle the loads and trips taken. Then you want to know if it will be an LLC or a sole proprietorship and choose a name for the company.
It states that the sole proprietor owns and operates the company. In a sole proprietorship, it is considered doing business as or DBA. The tax ID is the business owner’s Social Security number.
An LLC is a more legal aspect of protecting the owner’s personal assets. If something happens when another person files a lawsuit, they can only file against the company and not the owner.
For example, the owner’s home, personal vehicles, accounts, and other personal assets can’t be touched in the lawsuit, only the business assets and accounts. It takes a lawyer and fees to draw up the paperwork, and an Employee Identification Number (EIN) is issued for tax and legal purposes.
Getting the Truck Ready for the Tasks Ahead
There needs to be a checklist drawn up to ensure the truck and box are entirely safe. Everything must operate according to all state highway rules and regulations. Each state carries different highway rules, so knowing the laws and following them without failure is critical.
These are some things to ensure the box truck has while in operation:
- Current and up-to-date insurance and registration for the box truck and load;
- Roadside emergency hazard equipment;
- Straps for securing loads;
- All lights, including running lights, must work;
- Doors, latches, lifting equipment, and all items to handle the job are in excellent working condition;
- Tires must not be bald and have no less than 1/4″ tread at all times.
- Engine and transmission and all mechanical components must operate at total capacity;
- Maintenance and pre-trip inspections are a priority.
Weigh the Risk
Every company has good and bad issues that need consideration to see if the box truck business will be a good investment and generate a reasonable profit. These are the pros and cons of what to look forward to in the industry:
- There is a big profit to make because the services of a box truck aren’t cheap.
- The industry always has a steady demand for work because someone needs a box truck for moving and transporting supplies and other miscellaneous items.
- The investment is worth it, considering the overhead is between $30K to $50K because the return will pay off the overhead quickly.
- You are your boss, make your schedules, and have control over the balance of business and personal life.
- Profits plummet when fuel prices skyrocket.
- The cost of maintenance is expensive and is often required to stay in business.
Know the Market
Knowing the market and competitors is critical to getting business and keeping it. Some items are awkward to transport, so you should know what you are hauling from point A to point B.
The good idea is to lease the vehicle for a year or two to get your branded name out into the public eye. Work to establish trust, and then you can be confident to go solo with your own customers.
You will know how to set the service price according to what is being transported. It will give a clearer picture of what the competitors are charging. Job boards are also available for specific software owners/operators to bid on and receive jobs.
Register and Kickoff the Business
Once all the insurance and legal stuff is handled, you must register for business so taxes, bank accounts, and other business needs are met. Start-ups work best in the state the company is operating in, but when it grows and reaches other states, the business must be registered in other states where it travels and conducts business.
All plans must be in a strategic form to have money to operate. Fuel, maintenance, and insurance are the priorities for staying in business. Everything after the expenses is profit.
Funding is necessary to begin. It may require taking out a loan or getting a government grant, but you will still need out-of-pocket money to show the loan companies you are serious about starting a new venture. Here are some of the options available:
- Venture Capital: Investors can help fund your business, but it works better to have them expand the business instead of starting it up. Investors would rather invest in a company that shows margins.
- Bank Loans: You must provide a business plan and an excellent credit history to have a bank offer the start-up loan.
- Government Grants: Some government grants are available that help fund a business that is starting. Grants are money given that does not have to be paid back.
- SBA Loans: Lenders offer business start-up loans from the Small Business Administration. These loans are for businesses only, and the money cannot be used for anything else but the company. There are heavy fines and possible jail time for fraud if the money is used for personal use.
Obtaining Licenses or Permits
The vehicle must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to receive a Motor Carrier Authority number. This is a step that can’t be overlooked. Other permits and licenses are available through OSHA.
Depending on the vehicle’s gross weight and the items you are hauling, a Chaufer’s license may cover it, but it may require getting a CDL through the State DMV. It will take research on your part, and contact the State Troopers’ office or the local DMV for further details.
Then there are the city and county permits and licenses that may be required.
Every location is different, so contact the City Hall or County Courthouse. We advise going with a professional who knows all the information to steer you in the right direction.
Getting the Right Insurance
There are several things to consider when getting insurance. You will need the following insurance:
- Liability insurance in case you are the cause of a wreck. It is a mandatory law for all vehicles to have this as the minimum insurance. Comp and collision are another option, but may only be required if the box truck is financed.
- Workers Comp insurance will help if you get hurt in an accident. It is most critical to have this insurance if you have a team of drivers operating your company vehicles.
- Load insurance is also essential if something happens to the shipment from the loading time up to the drop-off point. Most companies you will haul for require the owner to have substantial insurance on the load.
A Business Account
It is critical to keep business and personal accounts separate. It can be a devastating headache if all funds are together. Then you will have to separate them if you get audited. The best route is to have a business account and use it to pay your desired salary.
If you are a DBA company, it will take a business certificate filed by the county court to open a business banking account. If the company is an LLC, a copy of the paperwork must be issued to the bank as proof of owning the business.
The business bank statements are handed over to a CPA to determine the taxes for profit and loss. All the information on the business expenses for tax deductions is available, and the CPA will go from there.
Marketing in the Box Truck Industry
Marketing is a crucial factor that will make or break any business. Advertising is best done through word of mouth and built-up experiences with customers. Various marketing strategies are available through websites, apps, and software programs.
As you expand over the years through marketing, you can continue to grow your box truck business and hire a team to assist with the added loads. The primary objective is to stay busy and run the business efficiently. This means load planning through the responses from the chosen marketing strategies used.