How to Start a Shipping Business

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When you've decided to start a shipping business, there's a lot to plan for. Besides aiming to do the job better than your competitors, here are some tips and tricks that will help get you started.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Trucks and drivers
  • Packaging
  • Vendors/consumers

Check with a lawyer in your area to get your business plan hammered out, and make sure that your business idea is legal and can be operated from your area. Consider the current shipping industry in your area and how you may market and compete with it.

Search for funding for your business idea. You can use your own credit to get a business loan, or you can look for investors. If you are soliciting others for funds, you will want to make sure that your methods are legal and appropriate. When determining how much money you will need to start your business, this may be a good time to set the prices you intend to charge your consumers so that you will know how quickly you will be able to re-pay any loans.

After you have the legalities and funds sorted out, find people who will allow you to ship their products. This can be done any number of ways. The best way to start is to approach local businesses and talk with them about their current shipping uses and practices, so that you may convince them to switch to your service.

Shop for business insurance. Get quotes from a variety of providers, and make sure that you are aware of all of the coverage options. Research what each policy provides for the money you will have to pay. Choose the one that is best for your budget and business goals.

Meet with a web and graphic design firm. These professionals will help you develop your corporate branding. With your guidance and a few ideas from you about what your want your image to be in the eyes of the public, you can have graphics created for your logo, which you can use on your business cards, invoices, shipping labels, stationary, your website--anything ever having to do with your business. After you have developed your corporate image, you can then translate that over to a website to increase your consumer base. The professional designer will be able to help you decide what your business needs based on what you want, and what your budget is.

Meet with an advertising and marketing firm. Taking what you have developed with the graphic design and web design company, this firm will be able to help you decide what course of action you need to take to market and advertise your services to your consumer base. It is very possible that this firm will also be able to work on your website (if the previous company did not offer this service) to optimize it for the web, so that more people will be able to find your company from the search engines.

From there, you will want to obtain trucks to use to ship the products. There are several legalities here, so you will once again need to discuss your course of action with a legal team. Start with a small number of trucks until you know how well your business is going to do, so that you do not start with too much debt, and you will be able to work yourself into profit sooner.

Hire drivers, being sure to carefully look at their driving records, and work history so that you may hire the people you believe are the lowest risk to your business. Make sure that you are fully aware of your legal obligations as an employer, as well as your legal rights as such.

With your drivers, trucks, and products in hand, you can develop the routes and get going.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your legal team close, as there are many facets of running a business, and you need to be sure you stay in compliance with all of them.
  • Keep an eye on your advertising campaigns and your website traffic. Constantly look for ways to improve your business from that aspect.
  • Keep your business small until you know how well it is going to do.

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