How to start a logistics transportation company

How to start a logistics transportation company

Practically everything in this world is transported from one place to another during some time of its life cycle. And there are a variety of ways to transport these things. By plane, car, ship, truck, internet and Bluetooth – they are all a form transport that is used by people on a daily basis.

We’ll be focussing on the transportation of goods via large container-bearing trucks, much like the DAF trucks from the Babcock International Group. In South Africa, we’ve heard many horror stories of overturned trucks, fatigued drivers and the impact of long-distance driving on the mind and body.

There are many vehicles ergonomically and practically designed for the task of transportation. And there will always be a market of companies needing goods and services delivered from one place to another. With that in mind, it doesn’t sound like the worst idea to start your own logistics transportation company, does it? You just need to know how and where to start, which is the information we’re about to share with you.

“Show me the money”


As with any business venture, you’re going to need the financing to get it up and running, buy and maintain your vehicle’s, build your warehouses, build a brand and market your business. This is why your first concern is finding the money to start this logistics business.

You’ll need to come up with a solid business plan and a budget that allows for money to be used when accidents happen, a vehicle breaks down or some other unexpected event occurs. And in this business, there can be a lot of those.

Don’t forget insurance


Something else you’ll need to budget for is for business, liability and vehicle insurance to cover all of your bases. You’ll need to find an insurance company that is used to dealing with your type of industry, vehicles and business.

Most of the elements your drivers will deal with on the road are out of their control and they need to be protected as much as your vehicles do. It’s not advisable to start any business without insurance policies, especially one that poses such high risk.

What are you transporting?


The next thing you need to decide on is what you’ll be transporting. What kind of transportation business do you want to operate? This will have an effect on the type of vehicles you buy to do the job the qualifications of the people you hire. A few options include fuel transport, container transport, speciality transport and livestock transport.

Once you’ve made this decision, you can turn to companies like Babcock South Africa or Babcock International for their transport solution services. You can organise which vehicles you want, their service plans, your financing, vehicle maintenance as well as your drivers’ training through them. They’re associated with some of the best brands in the industry and provide comprehensive services that can jump-start your logistics business in no time.

Find your four-to-18 wheels


Now, you can’t have a transportation business without your transport vehicles. And you can’t take this investment lightly. Once you know what you need from the vehicle (when you’ve decided on the type of transporting business you want), you need to choose between new or used trucks.

It’s usually recommended that for companies starting out, used trucks are the better option to go for. Mostly because it’s the more affordable option and starting a business can already be a costly venture before any of the assets have been bought. As your company grows and you have more clients (and more money) coming in, then you can look into financing a brand new 18-wheeler transport vehicle.   

The most important aspects to look out for in a truck are cab-comfortability for the driver, fuel economy for long-haul vehicles and trips, vehicle safety features and fully operational with all its parts maintained in good quality. You’ll also need to decide how many of these vehicles you want to start out with (based on what you can afford). Eventually, you will have a large fleet of transport vehicles to get you all around South Africa.  

Where are your transporting to


Once you have your vehicles, you’ll need to set some boundaries. You can’t expect your two or three trucks to go to every corner of the country. It will keep business slow and that’s not how you want to start out.

The best option is to decide on the furthest you’ll transport to (for now) and find the routes that will get you there the quickest. Just be sure that these routes accommodate heavy vehicles. But you’re looking for the least traffic and a route with rest stops along the way for the overnight trips. It’s not safe for your drivers to nap in the truck’s cab and definitely not safe for them to drive when they’re tired, especially in such a large vehicle.  

Don’t forget to make sure your drivers have their necessary heavy-vehicle code licences and make sure to prioritise marketing if you really want business to start with a boom. And there you have it, a logistics transportation company of your own.

Authored by: mjones

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