It’s easy to break into the transport and logistics industry; the real challenge is maintaining a profitable business venture in a competitive environment. Aspiring business owners need to create a solid business plan, financing, and recruitment strategies before opening their doors to the public.
Whether you run a one-person business or operate 150 trucks, always be prepared for stiff competition. With that said, here’s what you need to know before starting a transport and logistics business:
Choose a Transport Niche
Choosing your niche means identifying your target audience and the service(s) you offer. Here are some of the categories of transport businesses you can choose from:
Personal transport. Companies that cater to individuals or small groups, like taxi companies or limousine rentals.
Local transport. Consumer goods, materials, livestock, and more fall under this category.
International transport. This refers to the transport of all categories but at a global scale. Companies that pick international transport usually offer air-based delivery or sea shipping.
Choose one niche and learn all you need to know about it. Suppose you’re not sure which niche to choose, research the supply and demand in your area. Identify a relevant problem or a need and formulate a solution. If you address a pressing issue, you’ll have a steady client base even before you open your business.
Consider the Expenses
Understanding your business’ finances increases your chances of success. For instance, you need to figure out how to fund your company. Are you planning to bootstrap? Apply for an unsecured business loan? Or ask for financial assistance from angel investors?
The Small Business Administration is a great resource for both small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Before you apply for a loan, be sure to create a comprehensive business plan because many lenders ask to review your plan before approving your loan application.
You also need to consider the expenses associated with running a transport and logistics business, including fuel prices, maintenance costs, license and toll fees, insurance, and hiring and training fees. You might also want to invest in an enclosed parking space when your vehicles are off the road, as well as safety features like CCTV monitoring, alarms, dashcams, etc.
Charge the Appropriate Rate
The rate you charge determines the profit you’re going to make. It should be high enough to cover your expenses and make a profit. If you set your rate too high without a basis, you can lose potential customers to your competitors. This is why it’s important to understand your finances, calculate your expenses and conduct market research.
It’s also important to note that other companies provide the same services, not to mention competing with brokers with appealing offers. If you want to increase your price, be sure to offer added value that your customers will love, like expedited shipping or a tracking app.
Here are some of the factors you need to consider when determining the right rate:
-Type of goods transported
-Type of transportation
-Weight of the goods
-Shipping method used
-Distances and time
Use Automated Tools
Thanks to today’s technological advancements, you don’t have to run your transport and logistics business manually. Every business owner knows how important it is to constantly improve transport management to stand out from the competition.
One of the ways to do so is to use a reliable internal knowledge base and transport management software. Good software allows business owners to keep all data related to transport operations in one area. It could also track shipment scheduling, including the cargo, driver, and fuel usage. This information allows business owners to save time, money, and effort.
Set a Budget
The costs of running a transport and logistics business depend on the niche you choose. For example, running a taxi company with three vehicles is cheaper than a large logistics fleet with 15 delivery vans. But regardless of the size of your company, you can plan for these expenses.
It’s important to set budget, goals and benchmarks, but here are some of the things you need to consider:
-The amount of revenue you need to maintain operations
-The amount of money you want to invest in advertising and marketing
-How much you spend on manpower, supplies, and equipment
-The amount of debt your business has in expenses and loans
Running a transport and logistics business can definitely be profitable. Follow the tips mentioned above so you can enjoy a successful company amid stiff competition.
The post What You Need to Know Before Starting a Transport and Logistics Business appeared first on Global Trade Magazine.
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