How to Start a Transportation Company

Transportation companies transport goods or people via taxis, shuttles, ferries, limousines, buses or freight companies. If you’re interested in starting a transportation company, you will first need to define a structure for your business. Start with a business plan to help you identify a need and any competition.

Define your business. Freight companies move vehicles across the nation and overseas for commercial and individual clients, such as car dealers who may need to move a handful of cars to another locale or individuals whose jobs have moved them across the country. A freight company will have significantly higher start-up costs, insurance needs and manpower. Local transport companies may service hotels, restaurants, schools, and tourists. A school bus service may charter kids to school. Another option is to start a moving company for residents moving within the local area.

Get licensed, insured and registered. Select a relevant name for your business that includes the type of service you provide and then register your business and purchase liability insurance. Obtain the required license for your company. For example, if your company will include buses, trucks or vehicles designed to carry more than 16 people, you will need a commercial driving license. If operating a school bus company, contact your local motor vehicle department to learn the requirements for procuring a school bus driver’s license. Additionally, companies that move passengers or cargo across state lines may be required to obtain a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number.

Find a location for your business. A taxi or shuttle service should be situated near hotels, airports or downtown. If operating a school bus service or freight company, look to move into an old warehouse to eliminate construction costs and zoning concerns.

Procure your commercial vehicles. Find reliable mechanics who are skilled on your particular makes and models. When first starting, you may have a small fleet, which means that anytime a vehicle breaks down, you are literally losing money. Quick repairs are imperative. Purchase commercial auto insurance for your vehicles. Hire trained and licensed drivers with clean records. Purchase workers’ compensation for your employees.

Procure a website for your transport business. Then invest in reservation software that can help you organize and track your reservations. Look for software that can integrate with your site and will provide your customers with accurate quotes, assign staff and vehicles, and display trip routes, cancellations, baggage options, freight handling and accommodations. On your site, detail policies for pets, cancellations and reservations. Hire a dispatcher or receptionist to take calls.