Starting any business is a big, complicated step that requires a lot of planning and knowledge. If you’re going into something like transport and logistics, you might have even more to think about than most. We’re here to help you get off to a good start with four key steps to starting a transport and logistics business.
1. Understand Telematics
If you haven’t already heard this word, now’s probably the time to get an understanding of what it means. Telematics is a crucial part of any company with commercial vehicles. In the US, it’s required by law that you use electronic logging devices to gather data about your vehicles.
Telematics is about monitoring the movement or location of vehicles. Telematics systems gather data about driver behavior, vehicle location and activity, and engine diagnostics. They’re of great benefit when it comes to fleet management. To get a better handle on telematics, review guides on what it is. Educating yourself on this area is important before your business is properly up and running.
One of the first things you’re going to need to do is figure out how much capital you need to get started, and also how much you will require monthly to keep the business running. This is crucial to taking out whatever loans you need and creating a winning business plan with appropriate goals.
Be careful when you calculate a budget, and don’t forget the important things like licenses, toll expenses, driver training and vehicle maintenance. Base these expected costs on research on how expensive all these things currently are, and not only if you go for the cheapest options. Remember to leave yourself a buffer for unexpected expenses, because you’ll probably go over budget at least a little bit, no matter how well you’ve planned.
3. Choose Your Logistics Vehicles Carefully
Your vehicles need to be chosen based on the needs of your business. Some important things to consider: is this long-haul transportation or shorter distances? What supplies will they carry, and how much of it? What terrains will they drive in? Some obvious examples are that a courier company needs a different type of vehicle than a moving company, and long distances have different requirements than shorter ones.
Once you’ve figured out the kind of vehicle your business needs, be just as careful about the make, model and state of them. Buying well-maintained, well-made, newer, and safe vehicles will reduce the risk of accidents and hugely reduce the cost of maintenance and repairs. Vehicles that are in good shape will cost more to buy, but they will cost less to maintain.
4. Get the Proper Insurance
Once you have your vehicles, it’s time to insure them. Cheaper is not always better when it comes to insurance. Don’t just go for what you’re legally required to have. Get the best possible coverage you can, even if that means spending a lot more money. In the long run, this might be what saves your business from financial ruin.
Accidents happen so easily in this field, no matter how good your vehicles are or how experienced your drivers are. The last thing you want is something that isn’t covered by your insurance racking up huge bills in an instant.