Well, it’s not only the start of a new year but the start of a whole new decade. What better time to bite the bullet and get that trucking business that you have always wanted finally up and running.
It can be profitable, but like any business, it is not without potential pitfalls. There are always certain risks, and in logistics, there are the additional risks of accidents etc. We believe, however, that where there is a will, and the right actions are taken from day 1, there is always a way to succeed.
We hope this small 2 part series on the 4 cornerstones of starting a trucking business will assist you and get you steering a clear path to success. Obviously, this is essentially about starting a trucking business in South Africa, but many of the principles are applicable anywhere.
The 4 cornerstones.
The essential 4 cornerstones to ensure you lay a solid foundation are:
- 1. Set up – Having a great business plan and covering all the bases
- Funding – Ways to raise start-up and on-going capital
- Compliance – Having the right licenses and permits to operate legally
- The vehicles – Hire or buy – and what to buy
In this first part, we will cover the first 2 cornerstones.
- Set up
As with any business, it is essential to have a ‘Business plan.’ From day one, decide what type of business you want to have. Will it be a small contained business with one or two vehicles – or are you aiming for a fleet and big business in the long run?
Will, you mostly hire free-lance Drivers, or would you prefer to hire permanent staff over which you believe you will have more control. Will you outsource or handle your own administration, finances, project management, marketing etc.?
Perhaps a list of costs that will be incurred will help to get an idea of what kind of initial and on-going funding you will require. Take all these into account:
Administration and Accounting – the cost of handling this
Office supplies and on-going cleaning etc.
Premises – Hire or purchase of business premises and include garage facilities for vehicles
Advertising and marketing
Hire or purchase of vehicles
Servicing and maintenance of vehicles (This may be initially included in some deals with reputable truck dealers if you are buying new vehicles)
Registration and certificates, petrol, tolls, traffic fines and parking costs
Drivers hire or salaries
Think long and hard about this to ensure you cover all the bases in your proposed budget and establish firm, clear goals for the business, in the short and long term. This is all part of the ‘Business plan’ – and ensure the inclusion of precisely what profit margins you predict, to make your proposal to funding sources as attractive as possible.
Having established our business plan and cost structure, you will, most likely, need to raise some form of funding. If you have the luxury of doing so, always look for assistance from family or friends, who may offer interest-free loans, but remember your commitment to them is just as great as obtaining formal finance.
You other options then are to:
Form a conglomerate of family, friends, and small investors to all input a smaller amount, until you have your required capital. This is called ‘Crowdfunding.’
Appeal to bankers for a business loan
Appeal to any local ‘small business’ start-up funding association
Talk to an ‘Angel’ investor. In this case, it is better to ensure it is an investor with knowledge of and experience in your industry
Get the right trucks for the job
We will cover this more extensively in the ‘Vehicles’ cornerstone in part 2 of part of this article, but remember that FAW trucks offer any trucking business the best possible option if they choose to purchase new or used vehicles.
Contact us or go to our website to find a dealership near you and find out about our incredible range of tried and tested top quality freight carriers, truck tractors, tippers and mixers, which come standard with competitive warranties, 24hr roadside assistance and are built in South Africa for Africa.
Make 2020 your best year ever as you get your new trucking business off the ground and let FAW partner with you all the way to the top!