Starting a cargo van business can be a lucrative endeavor, but it is important to understand the process and necessary steps involved in order to be successful.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own cargo van business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Cargo Van Business
1. Choose Your Type of Cargo Van Business
The first step in launching a cargo van business is to identify the type of cargo van business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
E-commerce Delivery Service: You will need to purchase a van and outfit it with the necessary equipment, such as racks or shelves, to accommodate different types of merchandise. You will also need to set up an online presence for your business and market your services to potential customers.
Food Delivery Service: If you choose to launch a food delivery service, you will need to buy a van that has been outfitted with a refrigerator or freezer. You will also need to develop relationships with local restaurants and food businesses in order to secure contracts for your services.
Courier Service: A courier service involves delivering packages and other items for businesses or individuals. You will need to purchase a van and outfit it with the necessary equipment, such as racks or shelves, to accommodate your merchandise. You will also need to develop relationships with local businesses in order to secure contracts for your services.
2. Name Your Cargo Van Business
Give your cargo van business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your cargo van business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your cargo van business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so people will want to do business with you.
3. Determine Your Cargo Van Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a cargo van business including:
- Picking up and delivering food to restaurants
- Picking up and delivering food to customers
- Picking up and delivering packages for businesses
- Picking up and delivering items for individuals
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your cargo van business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your cargo van business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common cargo van business structures.
5. Write a Cargo Van Business Plan
All cargo van business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
Read our article about how to write a cargo van business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your cargo van business.
For example, if you are operating a food delivery service, you will need to obtain a food handler’s license. And if you are transporting hazardous materials, you will need to have the proper permits.
You must also register your cargo van business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your cargo van business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your cargo van business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your cargo van business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a cargo van business to help you determine if funding is needed.
Read our article about how to fund your cargo van business.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your cargo van business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a GPS system for your cargo van, and routing software to help you plan the most efficient routes for your deliveries.
In addition, there are various applications that can help you manage and track your inventory, customers, and employees.
9. Market Your Cargo Van Business to Potential Clients
Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the cargo van industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Cargo van businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Creating a company brochure or flier
- Advertising in trade publications
- Sponsoring local events
- Creating partnerships with other businesses
Read our article about how to market your cargo van business for more tips.
10. Get New Clients & Grow Your Business
When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential clients.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these clients. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your cargo van business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your cargo van business to learn more.
Starting a Cargo Van Business FAQs
Why Start a Cargo Van Business?
There are many reasons to start a cargo van business. Perhaps you're an entrepreneur who's looking for a new challenge. Or maybe you're looking for a way to be your own boss and control your own destiny. Whatever the reason, starting a cargo van business can be a great way to achieve your goals.
What is Needed to Start a Successful Cargo Van Business?
To start a successful cargo van business, you'll need a few things. First, you'll need a good business plan. This will help you map out the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Second, you'll need to find the right vehicle for your business. Third, you'll need to get the right insurance in place. And fourth, you'll need to market your business to potential clients.
What are Some Tips for Starting a Cargo Van Business?
Here are a few tips for starting a cargo van business:
- Find the right vehicle. You'll need to find a cargo van that's large enough to accommodate your needs.
- Get the necessary insurance in place. You'll need to get liability insurance and other types of coverage in place before you start your business.
- Create a website. You'll need to create a website so potential clients can learn more about your services.
- Promote your business. You'll need to promote your business through social media and other channels.
- Start gathering clients. You'll need to start gathering clients and executing on your business plan.
Where Can I Find a Simple Checklist for Starting a Cargo Van Business?
A simple checklist to use when starting a cargo van business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Cargo Van Company: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Cargo Van Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Cargo Van Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Cargo Van Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Cargo Van Business to Potential Clients: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need.
- Get Clients & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Starting a cargo van business can be a great way to make money while helping others. You’ll need to research the market and get the necessary permits and licenses. You’ll also have to create a website and promote your business through social media and other channels. And finally, start gathering clients and executing on your business plan.