It’s never easy to start a new business, and running one that requires a lot of physical movement is certainly a challenge. However, getting into a fleet business is something that is certainly worthwhile. Whether you want to expand your current business by introducing your very own vehicle fleet or wish to provide goods transportation services to others, starting a fleet business is a win-win situation. No matter how well you have planned, there still are some essential things you have to consider. So, please stick with us as we discuss the six essential factors you should never miss out on when starting your fleet business.
- Create a Business Plan
If you have had prior experience with driving trucks, you might get an edge on your counterparts. Still, many things need to be taken care of. The most important ones are making a business plan and developing business skills. The up-front planning you do for your business will determine its success. Here are some points you need to keep in mind when planning:
- Think of precisely how you could set up the business and the path you will take to organize everything to work in synchronization.
- Figure out the market niche you will cater to, research your competitors who provide the same services already, and think of ideas that can make your business model stand out from the rest.
- Understand the basics of fleet management like setting up routes, scheduling, billing, and related stuff for smooth operations and better outcomes.
- Identify your customer base and work on a marketing plan that converts to sales when you are all set up.
- Asset Tracking
When running a fleet, it is crucial to keep track of your vehicles and crew as they are the most valuable asset of your business. In case of an unfortunate event like an accident, roadblock, or vehicle breakdown, a GPS tracker can provide valuable insights so that you know what’s going on and plan accordingly. Nowadays, you can find sophisticated GPS tracking devices that not only keep track of the working hours of a driver or record footage but also let you know when the driver is distracted, set up driving alerts for the driver, and give access to previous footage so that you can work on improving your services. Many fleet companies have tried a GPS dashcam. They claim that devices like these are indeed helpful when carrying out their everyday operations. However, not every fleet business requires a fully-loaded GPS device. The best way is to determine your requirements beforehand and take your time to research the provided features before you pick one.
- Complete Your Documentation
The respective authorities set up several regulatory compliance requirements that a vehicle fleet company has to fulfill before starting its operations. The criteria to meet are all set by the relevant authorities of the country you operate in. For example, in the U.S, a fleet business has to obtain a USDOT number, sign an international fuel tax agreement (FTA), set up a legal team, and get clearance from the U.S Department of Transportation.
- Equipment for Your Business
The type of freight you want to operate will ultimately decide the type of vehicles you require for loading, unloading, and safe transportation. Figure out the kind of cargo the vehicles will be hauling and choose a truck well-suited to bear that specific load. Besides selecting trucks, you have to choose trailers that keep the goods safe. For example, refrigerator trailers are the first choice when transporting food items. In contrast, a flatbed trailer can transport oversized and heavy machinery with ease. Moreover, depending on your budget, decide whether you would purchase the vehicles upfront or lease them.
- Hire Employees
The most important employees in a fleet business are the drivers. You can either hire employees directly or sign a contract to allow them to work as a subcontractor. Most subcontractors have their trucks that mean you don’t have to maintain, repair, or insure the vehicle. However, they charge a higher price because of the services they offer.
- Sort Out FInances
For a business to be successful, conduct a cost analysis and keep the cost of operations to a minimum. For example, keep a tab on your fuel costs, join a fuel network for discounts, and always make an overview of your expenses and income for easy understanding.
Fleet management might seem too complicated at first, but everything will become smooth as you move forward through the learning curve. So, do your homework and keep the above-mentioned points in mind to set up a vehicle fleet with ease.