4 necessities for starting a commercial transportation business in New York City. Commercial trucking can be a lucrative business. Retail stores need stock brought in and many large trucking companies don’t like their drivers navigating tight city streets to deliver it. This gives small businesses an opportunity to step in and build a business based on getting products to their customers.
Starting your business in Manhattan has its own share of challenges. In addition to competing with established businesses, you have a higher overhead to deal with than in most cities. No one ever said it was cheap to live in New York and businesses bring those higher overhead expenses with them. Unless you are starting out of your home – which for a panel truck business is unlikely – you will need a loading dock, personnel to unload and shift the cargo, the space to sort pallets for delivery and everything that goes with it.
The first thing you will need is money. Enough to buy or lease the panel trucks, lease the warehouse space, hire the employees and cover your overhead while you get contracts. Contracts, of course, are the bread and butter of your business. The more contracts you have, the more steady money you will have coming in and the more you can move your business plan forward.
Of course, getting a contract is difficult without having the business infrastructure behind it that you will need to complete the contract. As you build your company, you will have to balance what you can do versus what you need to make.
Starting small, with one contract that you can fill with a small truck and minimal staffing will allow you to ease into the market. You can gain experience while meeting modest goals. Your experience will help you determine which contracts you should go after and the steady money will allow you to expand to meet them.
One man with a truck is quite capable of handling some small retail chain’s deliveries on a weekly basis. Bigger contracts will, of course, require investing more money to buy trucks, hire workers and expand your loading facilities.
The Bare Minimum
To get your foot in the door, you need, at least:
- A truck. It doesn’t have to be new or fancy as used commercial truck sales are readily available. If you cannot afford to buy, leasing a truck can be an option for the short term.
- A driver. Panel trucks do not require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in most cases. Unless you are carrying hazardous materials or passengers, your regular license should be fine. You will have to carry insurance on your drivers so clean driving records are important.
- Warehouse and a loading dock. This doesn’t have to be large or fancy, either, and many companies will lease space for a reasonable fee for small businesses. It keeps your costs down while you are building your company.
- A business license and insurance. Getting your business license is a straightforward process. Insurance can be a bit trickier but once they are in hand, you are ready to go.
Expanding past the first contract will require planning and hard work. Because most contracts go to either established companies or the business that puts in the lowest bid, you will spend quite some time building your business. The more contracts you have, the higher your gross income will be, but every contract will have costs associated with it that will lower your profit margin.
Commercial trucking – on this small of a scale – can be a challenging business, but the rewards of creating and running your company can be much greater than just the money you make.