Transportation Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Transportation Business Plan
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their transportation businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a transportation business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
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What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your transportation business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a transportation business, or grow your existing transportation business, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your transportation business in order to improve your chances of success. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Sources of Funding for Transportation Companies
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a transportation business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for transportation businesses.
How to Write a Business Plan for a Transportation Company
If you want to start a transportation business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below we detail what you should include in each section of your own business plan:
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of transportation business you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a transportation business that you would like to grow, or are you operating transportation businesses in multiple markets?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the transportation industry. Discuss the type of transportation business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company analysis, you will detail the type of transportation business you are operating.
For example, you might operate one of the following types of transportation businesses:
- Moving Van Transportation : this type of transportation company specializes in large vans or small fleet trucks to move individuals to a new home. Larger companies are able to move the family or individual to a different country.
- Medical Transportation: this type of transportation company specializes in the transportation of medical supplies and/or devices and equipment.
- Taxi Company: this type of transportation company focuses on individuals needing to get to different locations. These trips are often short and within the same city or neighborhood. Many individuals utilize taxi companies for pickup or dropoff from the airport.
In addition to explaining the type of transportation business you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to question such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, number of positive reviews, reaching X amount of clients served, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the transportation industry.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the transportation industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section:
- How big is the transportation industry (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your transportation business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments:individuals, seniors, families, and companies that need to transport their products.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of transportation business you operate. Clearly, companies would respond to different marketing promotions than individuals, for example.
Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.
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Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other transportation businesses.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes transportation companies such as limousines, bicycle services, car rental companies, etc.
With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other transportation businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be transportation businesses located very close to your location.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of vehicles do they operate?
- What areas do they serve?
- What type of transportation company are they?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Are your vehicles more fully-equipped than the competition?
- Will you provide transportation services that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you provide faster delivery time?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a transportation company, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of transportation company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to transportation services, will you provide GPS tracking, 24/7/365 service, client communication, and any other services?
Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.
Place : Place refers to the location of your transportation company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your transportation business located near a warehouse district, an office complex, an urban setting, or a busy neighborhood, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.
Promotions : The final part of your transportation marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Advertising in local papers and magazines
- Social media marketing
- Local radio advertising
While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your transportation business, including cleaning the vehicle, any necessary mechanical needs the vehicle may require, fueling the vehicle, and informing clients of location and status updates.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to obtain your XXth client, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your transportation business to a new location.
To demonstrate your transportation business’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing transportation businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a transportation business or is connected to a wide network of professional associations.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.
Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you take on one new client at a time or multiple new clients with multiple vehicles and drivers ? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your transportation business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a transportation business:
- Cost of vehicles
- Cost of fuel and transportation overhead
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your vehicle lease or cost, types of customer you will be targeting, and the areas your transportation business will serve.
Putting together a business plan for your transportation business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the transportation industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful transportation business.
Transportation Business Plan FAQs
What is the easiest way to complete my transportation business plan.
Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Transportation Business Plan.
What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of transportation business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a transportation business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of transportation businesses?
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Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.
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Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates
Trucking Business Plan Template
Trucking company business plan.
You’ve come to the right place to create your trucking business plan.
We have helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their trucking companies.
Trucking Business Plan Example
Below is a sample trucking business plan template to help you write a trucking business plan for your own company.
On The Road Trucking (OTRT) is a new trucking company located in Dallas, Texas. The company was founded by Michael Williams, a trucking and logistics professional who has over 20 years of management experience in trucking and logistics. Michael is confident in his ability to effectively negotiate contracts, oversee drivers and employees, and minimize costs as he ventures out to start his own trucking company. Michael plans on recruiting a team of highly qualified drivers, sales representatives, client relationship managers, and dispatchers to carry out the day-to-day operations of the company.
On The Road Trucking will provide a comprehensive array of trucking and logistics services for any business or individual in need of freight distribution. OTRT will use the latest technology to ensure that every shipment is distributed efficiently and handled with the best of care. On The Road Trucking will be the ultimate choice in the Dallas, Texas area for customized trucking services.
The following are the services that On The Road Trucking will provide:
- Dedicated fleet services
- Flatbed transportation services
- Local distribution services
- Logistics services
- Warehousing services
On The Road Trucking will target all businesses and individuals in need of freight services. OTRT will begin by targeting small business owners in need of distribution services and individuals in need of shipping services who may not be able to get service from a larger trucking company because their shipment size is too small. No matter the client, On The Road Trucking will deliver a customer-centric experience where they will customize each shipment to match the customer’s specific requirements.
On The Road Trucking will be owned and operated by Michael Williams. He has recruited another experienced trucking professional and former CPA, Steve Brown to be the CFO of the new company and manage the financial oversight of the accounting department.
Michael Williams is a graduate of the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He has been working at a local trucking company for over two decades as a Transportation Manager, and is well-versed in all aspects of the trucking industry. Micheal’s organizational skills and customer-first approach have garnered his reputation for being a cost-effective logistics manager with high standards for customer service.
Steve Brown has been the accounting manager for a local trucking company for over ten years. Prior to his experience in trucking, Steve worked as a CPA in a local tax firm. Michael relies strongly on Steve’s attention to detail, diligence, and focus on cost-saving solutions.
On The Road Trucking will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:
- Proactive, helpful, and highly qualified team of sales representatives and dispatchers that are able to effectively navigate the journey of both customers and drivers.
- Customized service that allows for a small business or an individual to have their requirements accommodated. On The Road Trucking takes care of everything from truck inspections and maintenance to scheduling drivers, loading/unloading, and short-and-long range distribution.
- On The Road Trucking offers the best pricing for customized and small shipments compared to the competition.
On The Road Trucking is seeking $300,000 in debt financing to launch its trucking business. The funding will be dedicated towards securing the warehouse and purchasing the trucks. Funding will also be dedicated towards three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for the print ads and association memberships. The breakout of the funding is below:
- Warehouse build-out: $50,000
- Trucks, equipment, and supplies: $20,000
- Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $180,000
- Marketing costs: $30,000
- Working capital: $20,000
The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for On The Road Trucking.
Who is on the road trucking .
On The Road Trucking is a newly established trucking company in Dallas, Texas. On The Road Trucking will be the most reliable, secure, and efficient choice for small business owners and individuals in Dallas and the surrounding communities. OTRT will provide a personalized approach to trucking services for anyone in need of freight transportation. Their full-service approach includes comprehensive truck driver oversight, short-distance distribution, small shipments, and customized service.
On The Road Trucking’s team of professionals are highly qualified and experienced in trucking and logistics operations. OTRT removes all headaches that come with dealing with trucking companies and ensures all issues are taken care off expeditiously while delivering the best customer service.
On The Road Trucking History
OTRT is owned and operated by Michael Williams, a long-time trucking and logistics professional who has a Business Management degree. He worked at a local trucking company for over two decades where he served as Lead Transportation Manager for the last five years, and is well-versed in all aspects of the trucking and transportation industry. Micheal used his industry expertise to reach out to potential customers who may need small-size distribution services that are not offered by larger trucking businesses and letting them know about the services OTRT will offer.
Since incorporation, On The Road Trucking has achieved the following milestones:
- Registered On The Road Trucking, LLC to transact business in the state of Texas.
- Identified the target location for the warehouse.
- Contacted numerous small businesses to let them know about the services that will be offered.
- Began recruiting drivers, sales representatives, and dispatchers.
On The Road Trucking Services
The following will be the services On The Road Trucking will provide:
As the primary source of land freight distribution in the United States, the trucking industry is a $730B industry.
There are approximately 900,000 available truck drivers across the country. The demand for drivers is much higher than the supply, which means there is a lot of opportunity for new companies to recruit people to become truck drivers by offering them better incentives than currently being offered by larger trucking companies. Additionally, a new trend in trucking is the increasing popularity of shorter or local hauls compared to long-distance. This poses an opportunity for companies to cater to the customers demanding short-distance hauls.
Some challenges for trucking industry operators include rising fuel costs and an increased use of online booking and monitoring technology, which can leave traditional companies behind if they are using outdated systems. New entrants can benefit from using the latest technology from the outset, providing drivers with incentives to work with them, and implementing cost-effective solutions to reduce their fuel costs.
Demographic profile of target market.
On The Road Trucking will target anyone in need of trucking services in Dallas, Texas and surrounding areas. Primarily, the company will target small businesses and individuals that may need local distribution or have small size hauls. Below is a snapshot of this market.
OTRT will primarily target the following customer profiles:
- Small business owners
- Small manufacturing companies
- Individuals in need of freight transportation services
Direct and indirect competitors.
On The Road Trucking will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A company description of each competitor is below.
Texas Truck Services
Texas Truck Services provides trucking services, logistics services, freight distribution, and warehousing services. Located in Dallas, Texas Truck Services offers local service to the Dallas area. Texas Truck Services’s team of experienced professionals assures the hauls are run smoothly, freeing the customer from worry over whether their shipments will arrive on time and in good condition.
US Trucking & Logistics
US Trucking & Logistics is a Dallas-based trucking and logistics company that provides freight distribution services for small businesses across Texas. The management team is composed of former truck drivers and business management professionals who are familiar with the trucking industry in Texas. US Trucking & Logistics uses electric vehicles to reduce its fuel costs, which allows the company to pass these savings on to its customers.
Best Trucking is a trusted Dallas-based trucking company that provides superior trucking and logistics service to customers in Dallas and the surrounding areas. Best Trucking provides shipping, receiving, packaging, and disposal services. The Best Trucking team of logistics experts ensures that each shipment is delivered with the highest security standards and that the entire freight process is smooth and seamless for its customers.
On The Road Trucking will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:
- Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly qualified team of trucking and logistics experts with extensive experience in the field.
- Use of the latest trucking and logistics technology to ensure each haul is handled with the best of care and delivered efficiently.
- On The Road Trucking offers local distribution and takes small hauls that may be denied by larger trucking companies.
Brand & value proposition.
On The Road Trucking will offer the following unique value propositions to its clientele:
- Highly-qualified team of skilled employees that is able to provide a comprehensive set of trucking services (shipping, receiving, monitoring, short-distance, small hauls).
- Customized approach to freight distribution, leveraging technology and flexibility to provide the highest quality of service to its customers.
The promotions strategy for On The Road Trucking is as follows:
Word of Mouth/Referrals Michael Williams has built up an extensive list of contacts over the years by providing exceptional service and expertise to his clients. Once Michael advised them he was leaving to open his own trucking business, they committed to follow him to his new company and help spread the word of On The Road Trucking.
Professional Associations and Networking On The Road Trucking will become a member of Texas Trucking Association (TTA), and American Trucking Association (ATA). They will focus their networking efforts on expanding their client network.
Print Advertising On The Road Trucking will invest in professionally designed print ads to include in industry publications.
Website/SEO Marketing On The Road Trucking will utilize their in-house marketing director that designed their print ads to also design their website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all their services. The website will also list their contact information and provide information for people looking to become drivers. The marketing director will also manage the company’s website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that anytime someone types in the Google or Bing search engine “Dallas trucking company” or “trucking near me”, On The Road Trucking will be listed at the top of the search results.
The pricing of On The Road Trucking will be moderate and on par with competitors so customers feel they receive value when purchasing their services.
The following will be the operations plan for On The Road Trucking.
- Michael Williams will be the Co-Owner and President of the company. He will oversee all staff and manage client relations. Michael has spent the past year recruiting the following staff:
- Steve Brown – Co-Owner and CFO who will be responsible for overseeing the accounts payable, accounts receivable, and managing the accounting department.
- Beth Davis – Staff Accountant will provide all client accounting, tax payments, and monthly financial reporting. She will report directly to Steve Brown.
- Tim Garcia – Marketing Manager who will provide all marketing, advertising, and PR for OTRT.
- John Anderson – Safety Manager who will provide oversight on all maintenance and safety inspections of the vehicles and drivers.
On The Road Trucking will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.
7/1/2022 – Finalize lease on warehouse
7/15/2022 – Finalize personnel and staff employment contracts for the management team
8/1/2022 – Finalize contracts for sales representatives, dispatchers, and initial drivers
9/15/2022 – Begin networking at industry events
10/22/2022 – Begin moving into On The Road Trucking warehouse and securing trucks
11/1/2022 – On The Road Trucking opens for business
Michael Williams is a graduate of the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He has been working at a local trucking company for over two decades, most recently as a Transportation Manager, and is well-versed in all aspects of the trucking industry. Micheal’s organizational skills and customer-first approach have garnered his reputation for being a cost-effective logistics manager with high standards for customer service.
Key revenue & costs.
The revenue drivers for On The Road Trucking are the trucking fees they will charge to the customers for their services. Most trucking companies charge a per-mile rate. Average per-mile rates vary, but are typically between $2.30-3.30.
The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff a trucking operation. The expenses will be the payroll cost, rent, utilities, fuel and maintenance for the trucks, and marketing materials.
Funding Requirements and Use of Funds
The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.
- Number of Trucks in Fleet: 10
- Average Fees per Truck per Month: $20,000
- Warehouse Lease per Year: $100,000
Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, trucking business plan faqs, what is a trucking business plan.
A trucking business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your trucking business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.
You can easily complete your trucking business plan using our Trucking Business Plan Template here .
What are the Main Types of Trucking Companies?
There are a number of different kinds of trucking companies, some examples include: For- Hire Truckload Carriers, Less Than Truckload Carriers, Hotshot Truckers, Household Movers and Inter-Modal trucking.
How Do You Get Funding for Your Trucking Business Plan?
Trucking companies are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.
What are the Steps To Start a Trucking Business?
Starting a trucking business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.
1. Develop A Trucking Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed trucking business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.
2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your trucking business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your trucking business is in compliance with local laws.
3. Register Your Trucking Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your trucking business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.
4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your trucking business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.
5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.
6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.
7. Acquire Necessary Trucking Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your trucking business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.
8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your trucking business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.
Learn more about how to start a successful trucking business:
- How to Start a Trucking Business
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How to Write a Business Plan for Your Trucking Company
Have you always wanted to own a trucking company and become your own boss, but you don’t know the first thing about starting a business? We can help you! We’ll explain the elements commonly found in a traditional business plan, give examples to help complete it, and take a deep dive into planning for your trucking company’s finances.
The “How to Write a Business Plan for Your Trucking Company” Whitepaper will help you:
- Determine the services you’ll provide, who you’ll hire, where you’ll find customers, and more.
- Create specific goals and plans for growth.
- Project your trucking company’s costs, expenses, and profits.
- Plan to build a successful trucking company.
Download The Free Guide:
Watch our video series to follow along.
Our How to Write a Business Plan video series goes over the key points of writing a business plan to help you get a 360-degree picture of your trucking company.
- Part One: Discover the basics of a trucking company business plan and determine what kind of trucking company you want to own.
- Part Two: Dive deep into your trucking company’s future finances. We explain how you can build a successful trucking company with three important financial projections.
What’s in this Guide to Write a Business Plan for Your Trucking Company
Section 1 | getting started with your trucking company business plan.
A business plan is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a plan for your business’s future. It’s a way to think through how you want to run your trucking business and come up with strategies for how to be successful.
In this section, we’ll talk about some business components in your plan and give some examples to get you started. There’s a Business Plan Template provided when you download the guide.
- What types of services will you provide?
- Who will you hire?
- What products/services do you need?
- What will be your competitive edge?
- What does your industry sector look like?
- Where will you find customers?
- What do you know about your competitors?
- What are your main goals?
- What is your short-term growth plan?
- What is your long-term growth plan?
- What will your expenses be?
- What will it take to make a profit?
Section 2 | Trucking Company Executive Summary and Mission Statement
In section 2, we’ll cover creating an executive summary and mission statement for your trucking company. We’ve included the Business Plan Executive Summary template in the guide. Follow along and complete each field using your answers on the Business Plan Questionnaire as a starting point.
Section 3 | Trucking Company Business Plan Financials
Finally, in section 3, we will go through some financials. There are worksheets to help you create an income statement projection, estimate your revenue and expenses, calculating your break-even point and desired monthly profits.
If you follow along and complete the templates, you will have completed a business plan for your trucking company! So, what’s next? Learn more about how the Apex Startup Program can help you get started and check out our other resources.
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In his book Bounce Back: Survive and Thrive in a Business Crisis , author and long-time business broker Richard Mowrey advises: “Never operate your business without a written business plan.” If you have your own trucking business, even as an independent owner-operator , you need a business plan just like any other small business.
If you’re like many trucker entrepreneurs, you might never have created a trucking business plan or even know what goes into one. But they are vital roadmaps to the most important thing to any business: profit .
And if you need to approach lenders, investors, or partners to finance your trucking business, the first thing many of them will want to see is your business plan. Let’s look at how to create a trucking business plan.
Steps to take before writing a business plan for your trucking company
Believe it or not, your new trucking company should be an official business before you start writing a business plan. Start here:
- Register your trucking company as a business with your business name. There are several ways to register your company, including a sole proprietorship with a DBA, an LLC, a C Corp, or an S Corp. You can register in your state or another one. If you’re unsure which to choose, look to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) online guides . Many local chapters also offer free advice.
- Get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS with your business name. Apply online here .
- Get a federal Department of Transportation (DOT) number. You’ll need to state where you will operate, the number of trucks you will run, and what materials you will be hauling.
- Apply for a motor vehicle carrier (MC) number here .
- File a BOC-3 with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to give you a presence in the states where you will operate.
- Get truck insurance . Talk to an agent about recommendations and requirements in your state and the states where you will be operating.
- Get your apportioned plates and set up an International Registration Plan. This will help you domestically, too, if your lane includes California.
- Set up an International Fuel Tax Agreement ( IFTA ) to normalize fuel taxes in every state and Canadian province.
- Get a Unified Carrier Registration by visiting UCR.gov.
This seems like a lot of steps, and it is. But it’s important to know what each step means. For example, the UCR is how you pay fees to supplement motor carrier registration, education, and safety. Be aware that annual and/or ongoing costs may be associated with each step.
Information you need to create your trucking business plan
Once you’ve registered, it’s time to research even more deeply so that you’re fully equipped to write a business plan. Educate yourself on industry basics and general business knowledge like cash flow, profit and loss (P&L), return on investment (ROI), and other standard terms. If you haven’t already, also do the following:
- Figure out what assets you have and what they are worth. Your truck may be an asset if it’s paid off. Otherwise, it might be a liability. Understand the difference between those terms.
- What will it cost to operate your business? Tally up your projected average fuel cost , miles per gallon, and miles driven. Operation and maintenance costs help you figure out where to set your rates to be profitable.
- Learn how to manage costs and project revenue (the money you will make), and expenses to determine your profit margin.
- Know the going rates in different freight lanes .
- Set up your operating procedures for different freight types and where they’ll be picked up and dropped off. These are the “logistics of the logistics business.”
- Understand spot market vs. contract market rates.
- Decide if you will add fuel surcharges to your rates, balancing the pros and cons.
All these steps are especially necessary if you will be seeking financing. Lenders will want to know how you plan to make money, as well as your backup plan if things get bumpy.
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What to include in a trucking company business plan.
More than just a roadmap of how to run your business, business plans show financial institutions, lenders, investors, and potential partners that you’re an excellent person to do business with. You are essentially selling them on you, your business, and why investing in you and your plan is a good idea.
According to the SBA, there are standard things to include in any plan. Here are two of the most important:
- Industry knowledge. Detail any expertise you have in the trucking industry and any area you plan to specialize in. Your investors will want to know that you are more than a driver.
Demonstrate that you have what it takes to start a trucking business. You are not only a truck driver. You are a professional, capable of running a successful trucking company, and understand what it will take to operate a business, be profitable in the trucking industry, and find business success. Make sure you outline how you will stand out from your competition. Avoid buzzwords like friendlier, faster, on-time, reliable, etc. Everyone uses those.
Simon Sinek probably says it best: “People buy from you because of why you do what you do, not because of what you do.” You likely got into trucking for a reason. Maybe there’s a passion beyond just making money. That “why” and the reason you want to run a trucking business needs to come through in everything you do and say. That will set you apart and hopefully get investors and other financial backers excited.
- General business knowledge. Your business plan should show that you know things go wrong in business and that you have a plan for them. It should demonstrate that you understand how to keep your business running, build a client base, and track expenses, profit, loss, and cash flow. It should also show that you’re financially savvy overall, with knowledge of taxes and corporate structure.
Before they invest in your company, financial backers will be investing in you and who you are. Most of all, your business plan should include you.
How to write a trucking business plan
If you’re going to include yourself in your business plan, you also need to set your strategy apart from others. Tailor it to showcase who you and your company are, what you’re doing, and how it’s different. Keep the above section in mind, but also know that it’s somewhat of a formula. Investors expect to see specific elements in a particular format and order.
The business plan you create is for investors and financial backers, but also you. Set it up in a way you understand and can refer to often. Here are the essential parts and what each one means.
This is a brief description of your company but also yourself. Why are you starting a trucking company? Showcase who you are and what sets you apart. This is your chance to make a great first impression, and you won’t get a second one. Consider hiring a professional writer or editor to help with your executive summary and give your plan a final polish once you’ve got the basics down. For best results, write this section last.
This is the “About Us” section. Here, you can go into more detail about who you are and your business experience and knowledge. Finally, reiterate what sets you apart from your competition. Sample details:
- Will you specialize in a specific freight area?
- Will you specialize in a particular region, cargo type, or logistics arm?
- Do you have a unique partnership opportunity with connections?
- Who will be working with you? Will you have other managers?
- Who will your employees be? What characteristics do they have that will make them valuable parts of your team?
Use this section to describe your ideal client and how you plan to connect to them and build a client base. This is the meat and potatoes of what your business does or will do.
If the company description is the “who” behind your business, the operational plan is the “how” and the “what.” What are the critical roles in your company? How will you handle routing and dispatch? Will you be both operating a route and running the business? Will there be other drivers?
Secondly, describe how you will use technology to keep your business profitable. For example:
- You can use load boards to find reliable brokers and money-making loads quickly and plan optimal routes for maximum profitability.
- Freight factoring helps you get paid quickly, rather than waiting for the load broker to pay. You can even apply for advances and get broker credit checks right away.
- Show that you plan to use other small business software for accounting, mileage tracking, and more. Automating your accounting process will save you both time and money.
Trucking has become a high-tech industry. It’s essential to show how you will take advantage of advanced routing and other tactics to make your business as profitable as possible. Using technology will help set your trucking company apart from your competition.
Here, include the details of the services you provide to your customers. There are two vital things in this section:
- Include the customer perspective. What problem do they have that you are solving? Maybe you’re making gas truck runs to specific areas in Idaho because they don’t have a fuel pipeline system or local refineries. Explain how that is profitable. This shows why your services are in demand.
- Breaking down your logic shows that you understand the market and profitability. Include pricing, materials you haul, and other details. If you include detailed pricing, explain why you set your pricing that way.
The trucking market is crowded. What need do you meet, and how well do you understand it? This is what you explain here. Talk about your target market, how large or small it is, who your competition is, and what your customers need that you will provide. Demonstrating a thorough understanding of your competition illustrates your ability to “beat” them.
You’ll also need to know how much of the market you can expect to gain and how you plan to get there. Include profit and loss projections and how you came to those conclusions. Finally, show that you understand government regulations and how they affect your business.
- Competitor analysis. This section is all about your competitors. Who are they? Who are their customers? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How will you fill a gap that they currently aren’t targeting as well as possible?
- Pricing and margins. What is your pricing structure? How do your prices compare to those of your competition? What margins do you need to turn a profit?
- Industry regulations. Federal and state laws can sink a trucking company if you don’t fully understand them and develop a compliance plan. Detail such regulations as Hours of Service limits, fuel emissions requirements, and the various permits and licenses you will need. Then explain how you will ensure that your company complies.
Management and personnel
Your business plan should cover your approach to hiring people if you plan to have staff or additional office help. Explain your hiring process and how you will onboard new employees. Owner-operators and carriers will have to follow the compliance standards of the shippers and brokers they work with.
Make sure you get ahead of this and understand basic industry standards, regulatory compliance, and safety records before taking on additional carriers. If you hire a non-compliant carrier or one with a less-than-stellar safety record, you could be putting your entire business at risk before it ever gets off the ground.
Hiring good, qualified drivers with solid performance records will go a long way toward helping you grow your business, so you can expand your operation to additional freight lanes. You should also have a plan for retaining them since the market is highly competitive and good drivers are in high demand.
If managing people and doing paperwork is not your strong suit, you might think about hiring management or other personnel to help you run your business. Discuss how you plan to add people in management roles as your needs grow.
Sales and marketing strategies
In a crowded market, getting noticed is the number one issue. Explain your marketing strategies. Detail how you will reach new customers and build a loyal base.
At the same time, you must explain how you will handle sales—going out and landing new customers. You can use brokers or other services, or you could hire sales personnel to call potential customers for you. Whatever your method, you need to have a sales strategy and outline it here.
How far out do you need to predict your finances? The general rule is five years. You can always adjust your plan as the industry changes, but you need to show your investors that you have a plan. This also gives you a roadmap to follow. Evaluate future opportunities based on your business plan.
For example, let’s say you want to purchase a new truck to serve a new territory, but it’s a type of truck and cargo you didn’t have in your business plan. Do you have enough of that specific experience to meet those needs realistically? Is this an opportunity or a distraction? How will it affect your finances, both short and long term?
Not all business plans include this section. But if you need money, investors or partners will want to see how much you need. Calculate this by subtracting the money you currently have from your total projected costs. List your assets and what you’re contributing to jumpstart the business. Investors like to see that you have a stake before investing their money in your venture. You can include a cash flow statement and a profit and loss statement to help present your situation.
Putting it all together
A trucking business plan is just like any other small company business plan. You need to know your industry, show that you understand it, and provide a solid financial plan for running a profitable business.
But a trucking business plan is not only for investors. It’s also a roadmap from now to where you’ll be in five years and beyond. If you need help writing your business plan, the SBA and other small business groups offer some great free resources to get you started.
When you’re ready, we’re here to be your trucking business partner. Founded in 1995, Truckstop built the internet’s first digital load board to help carriers find loads to move. Today, Truckstop is one of the largest and most trusted brands in the freight transportation industry, connecting tens of thousands of carriers and brokers with technology solutions to manage the entire freight lifecycle.
Truckstop solutions include freight matching , marketplace rates, partner screening and monitoring tools, freight tracking and visibility, transportation management systems (TMS), integrations with most major industry software partners, and complete payment solutions.
We are constantly evolving to help you manage every step of the freight lifecycle. Get started today or check out our blog for successful trucking business tips.
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The World's Leading Business Plan Template Directory
Trucking Business Plan Template
I. executive summary.
This Section's Contents
Products served, customer focus, management team, success factors, financial highlights.
[Company Name] offers transportation services throughout the U.S. With a total of [x] trucks ranging from light to heavy, [Company Name] can meet any transportation need and works with small to large sized businesses. Timeliness, security, and cost-efficiency are the main driving factors for the success of [Company Name]. Through advanced technology, all transactions and deliveries are monitored to make sure that there are no delays or damages on the goods that are being transported. Every delivery is handled with the highest form of professionalism by a responsible and well-trained crew that strives to provide the best service and experience to every client.
[Company Name] will be able to provide local and long-distance transportation services:
- General Freight
- Refrigerated Freight
- Dry Bulk Freight
- Bulk Liquids
[Company Name] will primarily serve manufacturers and distributors within the U.S. The demographics of these customers are as follows:
- 300,000 manufacturing businesses
- 400,000 wholesale businesses
- 1.1 million retail businesses
[Company Name] is headed by its founder, [Founder’s Name] who graduated from [University] with a degree in Business Administration. Prior to starting [Company Name], [Founder’s Name] worked as an operations manager at a freight logistics company [x] years where he was able to learn the ins and outs of the transportation industry. This experience will be the company’s most valuable asset.
[Company Name] is uniquely qualified to succeed for the following reasons:
- [Company Name] will fill a specific market niche in the growing manufacturing and wholesale industries.
- In addition, we have surveyed the target market and received extremely positive feedback saying that they explicitly want to make use of our services when launched.
- The U.S. has a robust business environment with a large number of businesses needing transportation services like ours
- The management team has a track record of success in the trucking services business.
[Company Name] is seeking a total funding of $230,000 of debt capital to open its trucking business. The capital will be used for funding capital expenditures and location build-out, hiring initial employees, marketing expenses and working capital.
Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:
- Headquarters design/build: $90,000
- Working capital: $140,000 to pay for marketing, salaries, and lease costs until [Company Name] reaches break-even
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Trucking Business Plan Home I. Executive Summary II. Company Overview III. Industry Analysis IV. Customer Analysis V. Competitive Analysis VI. Marketing Plan VII. Operations Plan VIII. Management Team IX. Financial Plan
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5 Components of A Successful Transportation Business Plan
Business Planning for Transportation Businesses Using Invoice Factoring
No matter if you are just starting a transportation business or if you are looking to expand your current transportation business into a new market, you should have a plan. We have compiled 5 must-have essentials to include in your business plan to ensure that you can reach any venture with ease.
1. Vision Statement
The first and most important element of your transportation business plan is your vision statement. A vision statement, or sometimes known as a mission statement, is a statement that acts as a road map to your company’s future.
You want your vision statement to be a guide to transformational initiatives. This can be accomplished by defining the direction that you want your company to grow in.
A vision statement can be a series of statements starting “My business will…” or one statement starting with the goal and ending with a “My business will…” statement that acts as the action you will need to take to get to your goal.
A vision statement is the key to fully understand what you want from your transportation business and fully understanding what it will take to get it to that point.
2. Description of Your Company
Being able to describe your company in its entirety in a brief, concise statement will make it clear to yourself, your partners, and your employee what it is that you do. This is more than just stating, “my business is a transportation business”. Dig deep and find out exactly what your company is and what it provides to your customers that your competitors can’t.
3. Description of Your Services
Just as you would with your company, you should be able to able to give a detailed description of the services your transportation business provides. As you are drafting descriptions, remember to include reasons why your services are different from other transportation businesses.
Another element to include when describing your services is pricing, rates and other financial factors. This will help you mark the current pricing of your services so when you refer back to your business plan, you can see whether or not it would be beneficial to increase your pricing to meet your goals.
4. Market Analysis
If you are planning on expanding into new markets, it is crucial to do a market analysis of the market you are currently in and the market you are expanding into. Discuss the marketing you are trying to ensure, the competitors in that market, where you fit into the market, and what type of market share you believe you can secure.
5. Budgeting Using Transportation Invoice Factoring
To accomplish any goal, you’ll need to establish a budget. Because of the invoice based nature of your work, you are constantly waiting for invoices to be paid and processed, putting limits on your working capital. With transportation invoice factoring , you will be able to get immediate payment for your invoices. An invoice factoring company will purchase your outstanding invoices to give you a 96% advance in just 24 hours or less. With this, you will have access to more working capital to increase your transportation business plan’s budget.
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Tip 1: determine the goals., tip 2: explain your services and company., tip 3: determine the projected budget., tip 4: smoothen out the logistics., share this post on your network, you may also like these articles, 14+ sample project assessment plan in pdf.
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How to write a trucking business plan.
Here we will be addressing the important factor of how to write a business plan for a trucking business. Whether you have a small business startup or are working to turn around an existing business into a more successful trucking company, you need a solid business plan. You may think that a business plan is not really needed for truckers whether you are a one man show or a larger trucking company with a fleet of trucks. However, to be a successful motor carrier or even successful in any form of business, business planning is step one. You have to know and be able to effectively present to others such as partners, investors, and even larger clients that need to know that you are serious about your company and just how you plan to make your business lucrative and successful so that you will be around long term for their needs.
There is a lot more to this business than getting your CDL and driving a truck that you will have to deal with and be prepared for. Within this article we will be covering specifics to form your business plan template such as what a trucking business plan is and what it consists of such as an effective summary, company description, your services, a market analysis, a sales and marketing plan, as well as your fundings requests and financial projections.
What is a Trucking Business Plan?
No need to make things more complicated than they are, a trucking company business plan is exactly that: a plan for your startup business whether you plan to be an owner-operator or launch a larger scale carrier. It tracks the goals of your trucking company, milestones, operating costs, and profits. You might say that It is a road map on how you want your business to grow. However, it is also never a finished product. As your business grows and changes so should your trucking business plan to reflect those very changes. Consult and tweak your plan often to keep your goals in sight. Getting into this industry you should already know that trucking is a different ball game from most businesses out there and with that in mind your business plan will need to tailor to addressing those differences. When setting your goals there are a few questions to keep in mind some of the areas specific to the trucking industry such as your trucking niche. Basically where you fit in within the trucking industry as whole. It should also lay out specifics on your projected home time. Operating area and types of freight in which you plan to haul. You will need to break down operating cost into your cost per mile and factor it against market trends to show how you plan to maintain financial stability.
You will need to develop an executive summary for your trucking company. This is truly a vital part that will initially hold the attention of those reading through your business strategy. Here you will want to include an effective overview of your company. This can sound simple but you really need to put some thought and effort into this. Your company overview should briefly address the most important points of your company and operations such as your history, management, location, even a mission statement and description of your legal structure.
There is a lot more to your business than just delivering a truck load. Within the company description you will begin to go more into detail here than in the summary. This should be a more detailed introduction to your company, giving a look into your background, the business owners and management team, and overall what you bring to the table that will set you apart from all the competition out there in the industry, besides just being truck drivers. Particularly how many years of experience you bring to the table and what the specific niche or focus within the industry your trucking company will be focused on.
In providing information about your services you will want to give consideration to the details on the service in which you will offer through your trucking business. You will Describe here type of business you will be involved in within the trucking industry and how they will be efficiently executed. You should also include here information on the various price points that you will have in place for your services and to which industries that you will provide your trucking services to.
A market analysis detailing out your particular target market in the trucking industry is important to include in your plan to set you on the right path as well as showing those interested in your business that you have done your homework on the industry trends and are on a path for success. For this section you will need to have a solid understanding of what a target market, competitive analysis, industry analysis is as well as pricing and margins.
A target market by definition is a group of consumers at which a product of service is aimed. Essentially, your customers. You can start by identifying who that market is looking at your current client bases or examining those of your competition and your competitive advantage. Basically, in trucking this boils down to the type of freight you are planning to haul.
Within the competitive analysis you will examine how you will stand up against your competition. To do this you will complete an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your current and potential competitors while providing both an offensive and defensive strategy to identify both opportunity and threats within your business path.
An industry analysis in the industry trends that you need to examine and know how to appropriately predict what the industry will do so that you can prepare for those changes appropriately.
Hopefully at this point in your path you can put some thought into your pricing and margins. Afterall, the most important part of a business is to make sure your pricing is appropriate and attractive to keep clients wanting to utilize your services while also maintaining profitability. If you are not making enough money to stay afloat, you will not last in the industry. Again, you can get your feet wet here by looking at the pricing strategies of others trucking companies to give you an idea of where you need to be and then appropriately dial those numbers in to fit the specifics of your particular situation.
Sales and Marketing
Do you have a sales strategy? Did you think that you would open your doors and magically just have continuous work coming in. Well, reality doesn’t work that way unfortunately. Even in trucking, a sales and marketing strategy are key components to a successful and long term business. It will be expected to see well formulated answers in your trucking business plan as to how you plan to address these areas.
You will need to give an outline of sales and marketing strategies. This will include how you plan to advertise for your business. This can range from making cold calls to using paid ads within social media platforms to find your potential customers and everything in between.
Do you plan on having a sales team or are you a one person show? If you have a team in mind you will need to address the fact of how you will pay them by either giving them a salary or commission based compensations. If you are the one doing it all then you will need to factor what measures you have in place to make sure you are balancing your efforts here as well as moving the loads.
Within these figures you will need to cover how sales will be secured, whether you will have set pricing or give individual quotes as well as giving details on how you will find your prospective clients.
You might be catching on that in your business plan money is a major topic to cover in detail. Especially if you are needing investors to make your business a reality this part is absolutely vital.
Here you will be covering just how funding you are projecting to need to get your business up and running. You need to take the time to go into great detail here covering all the avenues of where that money will go and why. This can be things such as purchasing equipment for operations, overhead expenses, employee salaries and so forth.
For someone to invest in you they want to know that their money is in good hands and that they will get a return on their investment. Beyond that, you can expect that most investors have done this before and they will be looking closely at these answers to judge if your company is one they want to do business with or not.
Finally, you will need to include the financial projections for your business. Stating how your company has done thus far and how you see your company will continue to do, financially speaking, under the above set guidelines.
The financial projections section of your business plan will need to include relevant balance sheets which are financial statements that summarize your company’s assets (what you own), your liabilities (what you owe), and equity (money invested into the business, plus profits).
You will also need to include your profit-loss statement, also referred to as an income statement. This lists your revenues and expenses, and tells you the profit or loss of your business for a given period of time. It is helpful for planning and to help control operations expenses.
Additionally, you will include a sales forecast and cash flow statements.
Your sales forecast is the foundation of your business plan. People measure a business and its growth by its sales. Your sales forecast sets the standard for expenses, profits and growth. For the cash flow statement, this is a forecast to predict your financial needs in advance. We are specifically talking about money you can spend here. “Cash” includes your checking account, savings, and liquid securities like money market funds. It is not just coins and bills as the term would make you believe.
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How to Write a Business Plan for a Transportation Company ... segments:individuals, seniors, families, and companies that need to transport their products.
On The Road Trucking (OTRT) is a new trucking company located in Dallas, Texas. The company was founded by Michael Williams, a trucking and logistics
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How to Start a Transport Business Plan · Tip 1: Determine the Goals. · Tip 2: Explain Your Services and Company. · Tip 3: Determine the Projected Budget. · Tip 4:
What is a Trucking Business Plan? · Executive Summary · Company Description · Services · Market Analysis · Sales and Marketing · Funding Request.
Whether you're going to be an owner-operator driving your own rig or whether you're going to start a company and hire drivers, any bank that