Starting a trucking business is adding to an industry that is vital to the interests of the U.S. economy. Commercial business entities rely on truckers to transport goods both cross country and around the neighborhood. Whether you are building a large trucking business or concentrating on a smaller service within a defined area, you’ll want to put together a trucking business that is garnering profits that are sizable and sustainable for the long haul.
Starting a trucking business is not a simple task; however, it can be one that is structured into a workable and highly-sustainable format for years of long-term growth. One of the major steps to take as you start your business is found in the creation of your business plan. A segmented, well-devised plan supports your efforts, outlines your goals, and specifies your forecast as the business grows. If you do not yet have a business plan, use this trucking business plan template as a comprehensive guide. Although your business may not require every step of the plan offered here, use it as an overall template and include everything needed to create a business focused on profitability.
Research the Market
The first step in writing a trucking business plan is to research the industry, competitive market and the target audience you are counting on as your primary income generators. Research the trends in the trucking industry as a general overview, followed by research into the direct competitors you’ll face in the geographic area you’re entering. Determine the pricing models of your competitors, analyze the offers placed before consumers and decide how your company will offer services the others do not. In addition, research potential and current clients to determine their main points of concern and strategize to overcome those concerns.
Establish Mission and Objectives
The next step in starting a business is the creation of your mission and objectives. Creating these will bring stability to the actions that follow, maintain focus on profitability and encourage decisions based on the primary purposes of the business. Outline both short-term and long-term goals to create a roadmap to follow as the business enters the growth mode.
Create the Operational Plan
The operational plan for a trucking business is a crucial component of success, as the operational grid defines the quality and consistency of service. This segment of your business plan will outline all routine daily tasks, as well as inform the maintenance, care, and preparation of the trucks in service. The drivers, managers, customer service team and others will also be included to create a clear picture of roles and responsibilities.
Build a Financial Forecast
As a startup, your business may not yet have income to record; however, this is the perfect time to create a financial forecast of projected income and expenses. A defined forecast will set the expectations and goals you’ve created into place and assure investors or lenders of your detailed concentration on this business. If investors are interested, you’ll want to note that they most often will not require repayment; however, investors will want partial ownership of the business. If lenders offer a loan amount, that will need to be repaid with interest on a secure schedule. Consider both options carefully before making a selection for startup funding.
Select the Legal Entity for the Business
There are several forms of legal entities available for a trucking business; choosing one that best suits the needs of your business is the key to the right structure in your plan. Consider obtaining advice from an accountant before making your choice and also consider the liability personally that you may carry in addition to business liability. In addition, register your legal entity with the IRS to obtain a tax identification number and open a business bank account to ensure there is a clear distinction between your personal income and expenses and your business banking activities. All these tasks can be overwhelming and best left to professionals. Read a detailed post by SmallBusinessHQ to learn more about two business formation services to make the process easier.
Construct Winning Marketing Strategies
The trucking industry calls for a set of marketing strategies that reach the client at the best time and in the most viable way. That may include visiting clients, a directed campaign to potential clients or a blanket approach to a trade membership. Analyze your clients within the trucking industry, ask them what they want or need and build a demographic of potential clients. All these efforts will lead to the marketing efforts that best reach your clients. Use traditional or digital marketing tools, as clients prefer, to make offers and define the unique offers of your trucking business.
With the completion of your business plan, you will be prepared to apply for startup funding, set operations in place, analyze competitors and clients, drive marketing strategies and anticipate a healthy and profitable business in the months and years ahead.