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How to Start a Transportation Business With One Van

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Starting a transportation business can be one of the trickiest ventures to get off the ground.

Now, if you add in the fact that you’re starting with only one van, it can feel downright impossible.

That’s because it’s not easy to secure clients and get the word around that you’re a new company on the scene.

If you notice, though, we’ve mentioned that it’s tricky, challenging, and not easy, but have we said it’s impossible? No!

Today’s article is your guide to learning how to start a transportation business with one van.

You’ll know what costs to expect, if it’s worth it, and what you’ll need to remember!

How Profitable Is Owning a Transportation Business With One Van?

The transportation business as a whole is profitable. But a transportation venture with only one van?

Sadly, not so much. It’ll take you a long time to start making any kind of profit, and it’ll also take effort to get there.

Yet, if you look at the transportation industry, you’ll find that it’s a 1.6 trillion dollar industry!

This means there are many sectors to explore and make money from—even with just a single van.

Also, According to ZipRecruiter, an average transportation business owner earns more than $244,000 annually.

What’s more, you can even make more than that if you offer the best driving jobs and beat the competition!

What You’ll Need to Start a Transportation Business With One Van [& Associated Costs]

Putting the van aside, you’ll need a couple of things to get started. For example:

  • Paperwork: Depending on what you move around in your van, you’ll need several permits first. This means putting one number to specify the budget would be a mistake. Keep with you around $10,000—$15,000 while finishing the paperwork.
  • Marketing: As this is a one-van business, marketing and advertising should be your priority. You’ll need a marketing agency or a freelance marketer to help you. These will cost you $50—$200 per hour.
  • Fuel and Maintenance: Transportation means driving, and, of course, this means loads of gas. As of March 2023, gas prices are around $3.568 per gallon, with the prices going up and down constantly. This means you should plan a monthly fuel and maintenance budget of $1000–$2000.

Do I Need a License or Certificates to Start a Transportation Business With One Van?

Yes, to start a transportation business with one van, you’ll need various licenses.

Yet, because this business can range from cargo transportation to moving people, the license you need may vary.

Here are the most common ones:

  1. General Business License
  2. Federal Tax ID Number
  3. Entity formation (includes four types: sole proprietorship, partnership, cooperation, and limited liability company)
  4. Commercial driver’s license
  5. Heavy load or cargo permits

Why You Should Consider Starting a Transportation Business With One Van As a Side Hustle

Side-hustling any business isn’t an easy task to achieve. It can be time-consuming and stressful.

But side-hustling a transportation venture that you own with only one van offers many benefits!

These benefits include:

  • Flexibility: Being the boss comes with the privilege of setting your timetable. You can enjoy work whenever you want, as well as set time aside for your family and loved ones.
  • Low startup costs: All you need to get this show on the road is probably less than $20,000! This means you can stop worrying about financial risks and focus more on your entrepreneurial plans.
  • High demand: Today, transportation isn’t just a want; it’s a need for many people today. From work, food, and other essentials, you’ll find that the transportation business is almost always in demand. Put simply, you guarantee job security for life!
  • Psychological rewards: Starting your venture can allow you to express yourself and be creative. It allows for a general sense of control and freedom of expression you wouldn’t have as an employee. Essentially, it tests your metal and allows you to grow simultaneously.

How to Start a Transportation Business With One Van in 6 Simple Steps

vector graphic showing an illustration of how to start a transportation business with one van

Now that you know what to consider before starting this business, it’s time to learn how to do it!

1. Research the Market

The first step in creating a successful business venture is researching local and national markets.

This is to help you determine if there’s an actual need for your services in your area of choice.

After all, there’s no use in operating in a spot saturated with other transportation services.

What’s more, you can use this research to identify any gaps in the opposition.

Their weakness can be your strength—if you plan well!

2. Pick a Niche

Once you’re through the primary research, you’ll find something important: gaps in the market.

These are empty—or weak—spots that exist in the transportation industry overall.

These weaknesses will help you decide what niche you can follow to build a name for yourself.

Among those niches, you’ll find:

  • Moving services
  • Courier services
  • Medical transportation services
  • Taxi cab services

Of course, you don’t have to tie yourself to a particular niche because of demand and supply.

If you want to pick a specific niche because you’re passionate about it, go for it!

Just make sure you do enough research to make your services stand out from the crowds.

3. Form a Business Plan

Considering that the first two steps contain a lot of research, it’s time to put that research into a business plan.

Your business plan should include the following:

  • An executive summary that describes, in short, what’s your company, its objectives, and goals
  • A detailed company description that dives deep into products, advantages, and competition
  • The organization’s structure and what entity format you’ll follow
  • Your budget and financial projections

This step is one of the most important because it helps you visualize the future and plan accordingly.

4. Build Contacts

Unfortunately, you might struggle to get clients because you’re starting with just one van.

The best way to fix this issue is by building a client list.

You can achieve this by following the plan below:

  1. Identify your target audience and collect contact information through networking events or social media
  2. Create a database using a customer relationship management tool
  3. Reach out to your potential clients via e-mails, phone calls, or even social media and explain your services
  4. Update the list and repeat

This will take a lot of effort, but it’ll be worth it.

5. Set Your Prices

Setting up your prices isn’t a matter of picking a number and sticking to it.

Instead, you must look around and see what others charge for your services.

With that information, you can gauge how much you can price your service without overcharging or undercharging clients.

After that, you can look back at your costs and how much profit you need to make to break even.

This will help you narrow down the price number and give you a competitive yet profitable figure.

6. Develop a Marketing Strategy

Last, but certainly not least, you need to work on a solid marketing campaign to gain more clients.

One of the best ways to do this is to hire a marketing agency that can help you build a plan and execute it themselves.

Another excellent idea is to use social media ads like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

We recommend going with the professional, though, as they’ll help you build a better story that can pique attention.

Things to Consider When Building a Transportation Business With One Van

So far, it looks like starting a transportation business with one van is more than possible!

But before you take the leap, there are a few things you need to consider. For instance:

Can You Run a Transportation Business With One Van by Yourself?

If your answer to this question is hesitancy or a clear no, don’t worry.

You can shift this around by enhancing your knowledge of the transportation industry and running a business.

There are online courses, college courses, and books that can help you prepare.

What’s the Best Type of Van for the Transportation Business?

If you don’t already have the van, then this is something you need to prioritize.

And sadly, we can’t tell you which one to buy precisely, as it depends on your business services.

There are a few things you can look for, though, including:

  1. Size
  2. Comfort
  3. Safety features
  4. Fuel Efficiency

Are You Able to Work Long Hours?

Though you’ll enjoy a lot of flexibility later when your business is established, the early days will be very demanding.

You’ll find yourself working extra hours or shifts to keep the business running.

This leads us to wonder: can you handle this kind of workload, or will you sit and calculate mileage until you can go home?

INSPIRATION: Transportation Business With One Van Ideas

Here are a couple of ideas that can help you get started:

  • Transportation for People With Special Needs: Getting somewhere when you have a physical disability can be a hindrance. Thankfully, you can help bridge this gap by providing proper service for those who need it.
  • Transportation for Perishable Goods: Flowers, vegetables, and fruits are all subject to spoilage, which is why business owners seek fast transit for them! This is a market you can exploit if you have the right van!
  • Transportation for Kids: Children are always on the move, and the parents are the ones who need to drive them around. If your van is big enough and safe, this can be a very profitable venture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Transportation Business is Most Profitable?

To say there’s just one transportation business that’s most profitable is a bit of a stretch.

Many transport ideas can help you generate a nice income, which include the following: 1) Taxi cab service, 2) Towing services, 3) Shipping services, 4) Food items transportation, 5) Emergency medical transportation.

Is It Hard to Start a Transport Business?

Generally, starting any business isn’t that hard, but it all depends on you as a person.

If you don’t have any knowledge, you’ll have difficulty building up the business from scratch.

Also, if you’re generally lazy or unwilling to learn, the path to success will be a long one.

Similar Businesses to Consider Starting

If, after reading this guide, you don’t feel this particular venture is the one for you, don’t worry!

There are many other similar opportunities for you to explore. For example:

  • How to Start a Trucking Business: Trucking is more or less the same as our venture here, except that you’re using a truck! Also, this is a much bigger business operation as it doesn’t depend on one vehicle.
  • How to Start a Box Truck Business: Box trucks have a significant advantage over vans; they can haul more and carry more items, making transportation more efficient and cost-effective.
  • How to Start a Trucking Business With One Truck: If you were interested in the previous trucking business idea but have only one truck, this guide will help you out.

Wrapping Up

Did you enjoy learning how to start a transportation business with one van?

If you did, please share with us what you liked in the comments and what you’d like to see next!

To help freshen up your memory, starting a transportation business with only one van isn’t impossible.

You only need to research the market to figure out what it needs and what your competition is like.

After that, you can pick your niche and form a proper business plan to follow.

Lastly, outline your pricing plan and start advertising your services to the public.

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