A box truck, also known as a straight truck, box van, or cube van is a truck that is specifically designed to navigate urban centers without difficulty, making it the ideal option for local freight-hauling jobs. This is why box trucks are often used by companies transporting home appliances or furniture or are used as moving trucks that can be rented by individuals.
Data made available by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that as of February 2021, the number of for-hire carriers (box trucks inclusive) on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration totaled 996,894, private carriers totaled 813,440 and other interstate motor carriers totaled 83,235.
Steps on How to Start a Box Truck Business
Table of Content
1. Conduct Market Research
If you are considering starting a box truck business, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.
In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, tell you what your potential market will be looking for from a box truck business, and also help you operate your box truck business with less stress.
a. Who is the Target Market for Box truck business?
- E-commerce businesses
- Merchants and Warehouse Operators
- Retailers who would want to move their goods from one location to another
- Households who would want to move from one apartment to another
- Corporate organizations who want to move from one office to another
- Government agencies who have cause to move light goods and materials
- Non-Profits and Charity organizations
b. Is the Box truck business a Profitable Business?
Yes, the box truck business is indeed profitable. Available data shows that a self-operated box truck business can make around $100,000 – $150,000 per year gross.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the box truck business because the box truck business is a subset of the moving and storage industry.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- UST Logistical Systems
- INTERWEST UTAH LLC
- Diverse Logistics
- INTERWEST MOVING AND STORAGE INC.
- Coleman Worldwide Moving
- Atlantic Transport Systems
- Peasley Transfer & Storage
- Gulf Coast Air Freight
- Atabala LLC
- Carolina Logistics Inc
- Priority Dispatch, Inc.
- Just Steer Dispatch
- MVSN Trucking
- MVP Dispatching Solutions LLC
- Argo Expedite
- Karco Carrier LLC
- LJC Logistics, LLC
- C2F Freight LLC
- Metro Trans Logistics LLC
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Box truck business?
No, there are no county or state regulations or zoning laws for box truck businesses, but players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing similar businesses where their business is domiciled. Please note that trucks are required to stop at motor carrier safety and weight inspection stations when signs direct them to do so.
In the United States, a box truck can be rented by someone without a commercial driver’s license (CDL) license if it has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or less. Any truck or van with a rating of 26,001 pounds or more requires at least a Class B CDL.
f. Is There a Franchise for Box Truck Business?
Yes, there are franchise opportunities for the box truck business, and here are some of them;
- Moving U & Junk U.
- You Move Me.
- Tailored Living.
- HomeVestors® of America.
- Blue Moon Estate Sales
- UNITS Moving & Portable Storage.
- Two Men and a Truck
g. What Do You Need to Start a Box Truck Business?
- A Feasibility Report
- Business and Marketing Plans
- Business Licenses and Permits
- Box Trucks
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
- A Corporate Bank Account
- IRP Plates
- Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
Choose a Memorable Business Name
When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a box truck business are;
Creative Box Truck Business Name ideas
- We Move© Box Trucking, Inc.
- Danny Beck® Urban Trucking, LLC
- TEE© Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
- Logistics Solutions® Box Truck Company, Inc.
- Transport King™ Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
- Green Line™ Box Truck Company, LLC.
- Luke Elton and Co© Urban Trucking Company, LLC
- Swift Guys® Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
- Star Line© Box Truck Company, Inc.
- Cheetah© Box Truck Company, Inc.
- Safe Hands® Moving and Storage Company, LLC
- Garry Line® Moving and Storage Company, LLC
- Convoy™ Moving and Storage Company, LLC
- Tammy Rogers© Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
- Sun Rise® Box Truck Company, Inc.
- Don Pedro™ Box Truck Company, Inc.
- Speed Link™ Box Truck Company, Inc.
- Andy Best© Box Truck Company, Inc.
- Fidelis Martinez® Moving and Storage Company, LLC
- Eagle Line™ Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
Register Your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for a Box truck business?
Even though there are several options such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation, when it comes to the box truck business, the one that most players consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.
Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below. Most new single-member LLCs classified as disregarded entities will need to obtain an EIN.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Box truck business?
- General Business License
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
- IRP Plates
- Zonal Permits
- Signage Permit
- Operational State Facility Inspections for your parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to start a Box Truck Business?
You don’t need any certifications to start a box truck business
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Box Truck Business?
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have if you want to legally run a box truck business in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Building Approval (For your parking)
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
- IRP Plates
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Document
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
If you are considering starting a box truck business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Box Truck Business?
The startup cost for a box truck business is not uniform. Factors such as the number of box trucks or vans, the size, the brand, and the model of the box trucks will affect the cost. But basically, a box truck business will cost from $200,000 – $600,000 to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.
The price of a box truck depends largely on its size. Light-duty class 2 and 3 trucks run from $25,000 to $45,000. Medium duty class 4 trucks run from $35,000 to $50,000. Medium duty class 5 trucks run $45,000 to $70,000.
b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Box Truck Business
- The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services totaling – $1,200.
- Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $80.
- The cost for hiring a business consultant (writing of business plans inclusive) – $4,500.
- Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and property-casualty) coverage at a total premium – $12,400.
- The cost of logistics software, accounting software, CRM software, and Payroll Software – $1,500
- The cost for leasing a facility (long-term lease agreement) – $105,600.
- The cost for facility remodeling and installations – $20,000.
- The cost for the purchase of box trucks and vans: $100,000
- Other start-up expenses including stationery – $500
- Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
- Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $50,000
- The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,150
- The cost for the purchase of office furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Sound System, tables and chairs et al) – $8,000.
- The cost of launching an official website – $600
- Miscellaneous – $2,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Box Truck Business?
- The size of box truck business (number of trucks and to start the business with)
- The choice of location
- The required licenses and permits
- The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
- The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the box truck business
- The cost of furnishing and equipping the facility
- The cost for insurance policy covers
- The cost for registering the business
- Cost of recruiting and training your staff
- The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?
It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your box truck business, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your parking facility and administrative office. The truth is that building a facility will help you come up with a facility that will fit perfectly into your overall business goals.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Box truck business?
- Gas and lubricants
- Utility bills (phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
- Salaries of employees
- Trucks maintenance
- Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $68,000 Per Year
- Admin and HR Manager – $48,000 Per Year
- Transport and Logistics Manager $48,000 Per Year
- Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer) – $42,000 Per Year
- Accountant $38,000 Per Year
- Box Truck and Van Drivers – $36,800 Per Year
- Material Handlers/Yard Spotters/Forklifts Operators – $28,000 Per Year
- Customer Service Officer (Receptionist) – $26,100 Per Year
- Security Guard -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Box Truck Business
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Logistics Solutions® Box Truck Company, Inc. is a licensed box truck company that will be based in Brooklyn Park – Minnesota.
We are in business to provide local and long-distance transportation of household and office goods; warehousing and storage services; packing and packaging services; processing, distribution, and logistics consulting; merchandise sales, and other related services. We will provide daily services all around Minnesota and across the United States of America and Canada.
b. Products and Service
- Local and long-distance transportation of household and office goods
- Warehousing and storage services
- Packing and Packaging services
- Process, distribution, and logistics consulting and advisory Services
- Delivery Services
- Home Moving Services
- Hauling Services
- Towing Services
c. Mission Statement
Our mission is to ensure that we build a successful box truck company that will operate not just in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota but in the whole of the United States of America and Canada; a company that will boast of having some of the best and reliable material handlers and transporters in the whole of the United States of America.
Our vision is to become one of the preferred choices for individuals and organizations when it comes to moving and storage of light-duty furniture/appliances in the United States of America and Canada.
d. Goals and Objectives
The goal and objective of our box truck business are to transport goods within short distances in urban centers without difficulty, making it the ideal option for local freight-hauling jobs.
e. Organizational Structure
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
- Admin and HR Manager
- Transport and Logistics Manager
- Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer)
- Box Truck and Van Drivers
- Material Handlers/Yard Spotters/Forklifts Operators
- Customer Service Officer (Receptionist)
a. SWOT Analysis
- Excellent operational history
- Attention to detail.
- Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
- Experience and trained professionals.
- Large storage facility.
- Excellent customer testimonials.
- Reliable and efficient box trucks and service.
- Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
- The owner is new to large scale marketing
- We will need a loan to build our facility and to purchase box trucks and vans
- The owner is currently running the business solo
- Lack of economies of scale
- Growing eCommerce activities in the United States.
- Build upon existing clientele
- Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
- Increase in the number of families moving from one apartment to another.
- Increase in the movement of goods from one location to another
- Increase in production activities and warehousing.
- Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
- First-year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
- Competition in the area could increase
- Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
- The transport department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses
b. How Do Box Truck Businesses Make Money?
Box truck businesses make money by charging clients for moving their goods from one location to another; by advertising on their trucks, and by providing short storage facilities for clients.
c. Payment Options
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via check
- Payment via mobile money transfer
- Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Introduce Your box truck business by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to corporate organizations, merchants and warehouse operators, households, and key stakeholders in and around your city and state
- Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, and train stations et al.
- Use friends and family to spread the word about your business
- Post information about your company and the services you offer on bulletin boards in places like schools, libraries, local coffee shops et al
- Place a small or classified advertisement in the newspaper, or local publication about your company and the services you offer
- Leverage on referral networks such as agencies that will attract clients who would need your services
- Advertise your business in relevant magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio stations.
- Attend relevant expos, seminars, and business fairs et al to market your services
- Engage in direct marketing approach
- Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied students
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry to market your services.
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?
Generally, most box truck businesses charge an hourly rate that generally includes a moving truck, all the equipment, miscellaneous materials, and movers. The more hands or trucks needed for your move, the higher the hourly rate will be. For example, a truck and 2 movers may cost $120 per hour. We will follow industry standards.
b. How Much Profit Do Box Truck Business Owners Make in a Year?
It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a box truck business should net more than $110,275 per year assuming they have steady clientele.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- The capacity of the box truck business (number of box trucks owned)
- The types of related services and product offerings (warehousing and advertising)
- The location the box truck business is covering
- The management style of the box truck business
- The business approach of the box truck business
- The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the box truck business.
- The number of years the box truck business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Box Truck Business?
The profit margin of a box truck business is not fixed. It could range from 55 percent to 85 percent depending on the distance of the goods to be transported.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Below is the sales forecast of a Box truck business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;
- First Fiscal Year: $320,000
- Second Fiscal Year: $580,000
- Third Fiscal Year: $760,000
Set Up your Office
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for a Box truck business?
- The demography of the location especially as it relates to eCommerce activities and shipping
- The demand for haulage services offered by box truck businesses in the location
- The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of box truck businesses and owner-operated trucking businesses in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Box Truck Business?
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Saint Joseph, MO
- Port Allen, LA
- Rock Hill, MO
- Atlanta, GA
- West Sacramento, CA
- West Chester, OH
- Austin, Tx
- Westbrook, ME
- Idaho Falls, ID
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Box truck business?
You should be prepared to purchase forklifts, mini-loaders, pallets, and crates et al. You will also need computers or laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine, office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard box truck business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, transport and logistics manager, marketing and sales executive (business developer), accountant, box truck and van drivers, material handlers/yard spotters/forklifts operators and customer service officer (receptionist).
Launch the Business Proper
You can choose to organize an opening party to officially launch the business. You can do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party. The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the box truck business, you will be able to officially inform people in your city that your box truck business is open for business.
a. What Makes a Box Truck Business Successful?
- Choose a good location and reliable box trucks to launch the business
- Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
- Throw a party before officially opening the business
- Be deliberate with your marketing and sales approach
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing to promote your box truck business
- Leverage on all available online and offline platforms to promote your box truck business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Box Truck Business?
- The business is open for the day’s work
- The box trucks are washed, cleaned, and made ready for deliveries
- Customers requests are taken and they are scheduled or attended to
- Schedule maintenance of box trucks are carried out
- Marketing/website upkeep
- Supply ordering
- Administrative duties
- Trucks are returned and parked after the day’s deliveries
- The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Box Truck Business?
- Good driving skills
- Customer services skills
- Interpersonal skill
- Logistics and material handling skills
- Business management skills
- Bargaining skill
- Work experience in the transport and logistics industry
- Experience in managing people
- Experience in business administration
- Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.