Transportation services are a key service in the day-to-day running of modern life. Whether you’re commuting to work, running errands, or traveling for leisure, transportation plays a major role in our daily lives. As such, there are countless opportunities to become involved in the transportation industry.
However, when you are thinking about setting up a transportation business, you’ll need to choose an option that has potential, and one that could bring you the success you have been dreaming of. So if you’re looking to start a transportation company but don’t know where to start, here are some viable options for you to consider.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Business in the Transportation Industry
Many people get into the transportation business without knowing what it really entails or even carrying out thorough feasibility research. Like any other business, numerous things must be addressed and challenges must be overcome if you want to be successful.
Complete a Swot Analysis On Your Competition
Regardless of how easy it is to start up a business, there will always be some type of challenge or threat that you will need to face. A lot of these will come from competitor companies who may lower their prices to a point where you find it difficult to match – even after reducing your operating costs to the barest minimum.
That’s why looking at – and analyzing – the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of your competitors and their business plan, strategy, and results will be very beneficial to you as a potential business owner.
A SWOT analysis is used to strategize for short-term and long-term decisions and also helps to identify the most critical areas that need to be improved for the business to more effectively compete. It is a great tool to use if you want to know what to incorporate into your business plan, and what you should ignore – which could be the difference between success and failure.
Study The Market
When you have figured out which type of business you would like to start, you must carry out research that looks into the relevance of your service or product. After all, you can’t have a business without a loyal customer base!
What this means for you as a potential business owner is that you must think about the demographics in your business territory. Look at the overall age of your target market, and also consider where you will be running your business. You should then consider your findings and let them shape your business model.
For instance, if you opt to start a food delivery business, there is little to no point in establishing partnerships with expensive, upmarket restaurants if the territory you are operating in consists of lower-income families or poor students who cannot afford to use your services!
Your best bet would be to advertise your business to the right target market immediately after launching. In this case, you should set aside a particular budget so you can explore different modes of advertising.
Consider Sources of Funding
Funding a business is not always easy to find for an up-and-coming entrepreneur. In fact, many business ideas and start-ups have failed because of financing (or a lack thereof). This is quite risky if you have not conducted enough thorough research into the field you want to go into, and have no idea as to what you must do to keep it afloat.
Thankfully there are many known available sources of funding to choose from. Nearly all business people are faced with different available options. The overall decision depends on personal preference, which one will benefit the business the most, and the type of scale that you want to start (small, medium, or large).
Most times, your savings might not cover a quarter of the financial requirements for a start-up, and it is then your business plan can be used to get funds from other places. This is why you should always have a clear business plan that provides concise strategies for running and organically growing your business.
Without a business plan, no serious investor would take you seriously and might feel you are wasting their time. There are several financing options available if you intend to raise money to start your transportation business. Some of these options include:
- Using personal savings
- Asking family and friends for a contribution
- Small business loans or business grants
- Having a business partner
- Getting an investor on board
Carve Out Time for the Business
As a successful entrepreneur, you will have the freedom and flexibility to create your own schedule. Though it sounds great, this can be both a good and a bad thing – mainly because you will have to ensure that you don’t overwhelm yourself with work while still putting in enough time to develop ideas and effective marketing strategies.
One of the best and most natural ways you can carve out time for the business is to schedule work when your family and friends are busy. This means you won’t have to sacrifice valuable time with your loved ones, and you can still dedicate enough time to accomplish your tasks.
After everything is set up, you would need to work hard by putting in time and effort to ensure that you build clientele and that your business becomes a success, especially in the first year of the business. You must also set boundaries and be firm with your work-life balance so that you can carve out time for the business to deliver an experience that your customers won’t soon forget.
Franchising or a Fresh Business?
At its best, franchising gives you the chance to venture into an existing and highly successful business model that already comes with a successful training program, a proven track record, and expert technical support. Many well-known franchises have pretty impressive success rates, with very minimal opportunities for failure.
So, depending on the type of franchise that you select, you may be able to choose between starting from the ground up somewhere completely new or purchasing an already established, fully operational location. Buying a franchise also has its advantages, as it means you get guidance from those that you are buying the franchise from.
You also get to worry less about other aspects of the business such as getting customers to help start the business. On the other hand, starting with a quality, fresh business idea ensures that you are completely your own boss, and also gives you total control over marketing strategies, the vision, and the overall objectives of your company.
With start up costs beginning at $10,000, starting your own business in any capacity will be significantly less expensive than the costs associated with many franchises. And if all goes well, your unique idea may become a franchise one day!
In summary, you’ll have to decide between franchising or a fresh business. But if you can afford it then you may want to consider a franchise before a completely fresh start.
Best Transportation Businesses for 2023
1. Car Rental
If you’ve received enough investment capital, then a car rental service will be a profitable and lucrative transportation business to invest in. It also sees consistent high consumer demand across the globe, especially in terms of private transportation.
Car rental services will always be something that people need, so developing a loyal clientele base will not be too difficult of a task. Even more so if you can develop a solid, persuasive, and strategic marketing plan. Primary operations would include scheduling customer reservations, handling paperwork, and supplying a rental car.
However, we also want to draw attention to the expansion possibilities of this type of business. What might start with a few cars available for rental could lead to many locations being opened around the country. As the demand for this type of service isn’t seeing a decline anytime soon, you’ll likely be able to experience steady profits.
Sometimes you may prefer to be chauffeured around a new city rather than navigating the roads in your own vehicle, and that is okay! That’s where taxi services come in really handy. The taxi is one of the oldest modes of transportation that is still widely used today. And, best of all, it is just as profitable and lucrative as it was 50 years ago – if not more!
If you are considering starting up a taxi service, you’ll have to pump enough start-up capital into it. Despite this, having several private taxi cabs at your disposal will generate you a considerable, steady income. It will also allow you to expand your business in the future if you want to, or if demand calls for it.
3. Ferry Services
Road transportation is currently the most widely-used means of transportation around the world. But it doesn’t come without its cons. That’s where alternative modes of transportation are absolutely essential. Water transport (via ferry) remains one of the most underdeveloped and under-exploited means of transport across the developing world.
But that doesn’t diminish its necessity. The global ferry industry is actually similar in size to the commercial airline industry, showing that the potential of this business area is definitely something worth investigating! However, it’s a very competitive market.
This means that conducting your research into competitors and then the subsequent demand for the service is absolutely crucial. Overall, founding your own ferry service will require skill, effort, dedication, and, most importantly, a passion for what you are doing. But the payoff could be astronomical.
Limousines are a classic mode of transport that is still in high demand everywhere. If it is set up and operated properly, it can be highly profitable, too. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for limousine operators to earn six-figure incomes in certain parts of the world!
in 2023, limousines are no longer limited to iconic stretched Cadillac and Lincoln automobiles. Instead, there’s a variety of available options that range from mile-long Hummers to themed vehicles with stunning in-built hot tubs, club-level disco lights, and even decorated minibars.
Not only is operating a limousine service a hands-on way to help a client make a statement at a particular event, but it also helps to guarantee a loyal list of repeat clientele (as long as you get the service right). There are no limits to the potential of limousine services!
As more people are turning to the convenience of online shopping, the need for courier service businesses has become much more apparent. There are thousands of parcels including envelopes, large shipments, and small packages that must be picked up or delivered each day.
If you opted to start a courier service, you could target areas where you may see a significant profit. The least expensive way to get started in the courier industry is to subcontract your services to an established courier company. However, the better option is to start your own courier service outright.
This involves hiring other operators on a revenue-sharing basis to make deliveries on your behalf while you focus on marketing and generally building the business. After all, if you can establish a good rapport with customers, then the potential for scaling and expanding your business is almost unmatched.
Taking the time out of your day to attend a medical appointment can be an inconvenience (and a complete struggle) at the best of times. This is especially true for the elderly and individuals who struggle with mobility.
This means that finding a safe and reliable mode of transport that will get them to their appointment in plenty of time without the hassle or potential risks of public transport such as buses or a taxi is very important. Enter private medical transportation.
From a financial perspective, a medical transportation business could provide you with impressive earning potential, especially if the client feels happy and safe, and wants to repeat their service in the future. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to set up. It is also quite a competitive industry to be in. However, there is definitely a gap in the market for more of this type of transportation.
With the increasing demand for shipping services offering reasonable prices while promising reliability, speed, and convenience, there’s no better time to take the plunge into this type of business!
As it currently stands, 2022 marks rapid growth and change within this particular industry. This is largely thanks to a new and overtly large dependence on online shopping. Though this sounds great in theory, you must familiarize yourself with a few things, including:
- The competitiveness of the shipping/maritime industry
- Why it is such a capital intensive business
- The ins and outs of import and export procedures.
Overall, this venture continues to scale to new heights of success and would provide you with amazing business opportunities. It will be no easy task to establish your business. But if you want to jump on board, now is the time!
Interstate delivery is a quick, efficient, and safe way of transporting packaged goods between two or more US states. But that isn’t the only thing it is good for. As a business opportunity, it is a great way to expand your business footprint, boost credibility with clients in multiple areas, and can also help to broaden your supply base to generate profits and stability.
Starting an interstate delivery service might also help respond to market demand, which gives you the chance to increase your market share and capitalize on the growing rate of your brand. Overall, it would be an excellent business opportunity for several reasons including demand, convenience, and the fact that it isn’t too difficult to establish.
9. Private Ambulance
While government-issued transportation exists in many countries, a lot of it is generally pre-occupied and not available in case of a medical emergency. This applies to the ambulance which is often as privately-owned as they are public entities.
This opens up the opportunity for you to start your private ambulance service to provide both emergency and non-emergency medical transportation for many individuals directly from their home or residential address to the hospital.
This competitively priced business is great for both short and long-haul journeys. If you’re serious about starting this business, a private ambulance transportation business will work anywhere there is a demand for it. However, you will need to ensure that you undertake proper marketing planning so you can implement particular elements that will help you to form a closer relationship with your potential customers.
10. Gas Filling / Electric-Charging Station
Depending on the type of car, drivers will either need to stop and refill their vehicle with gas or stop at an electric charging station to replenish their car’s battery – especially on long journeys. So having both gas filling stations and electric charging stations is non-negotiable in this area of business.
The majority of average, everyday people will not have a gas station on their property. Thanks to the amazing possibilities of this business venture, you could be the one to provide this vital service to people around your area!
In terms of this business, you must cater to everyone. Though sales of electric and hybrid cars are on the rise, there are still many fully operational cars that run solely on gasoline that are out on the road today. Thanks to high potential and a low risk of failure, this is one of the most logical transportation business ideas.
11. Auto-Body Store
Operating an auto-body store is one of the most profitable transportation business ideas. This is because it focuses exclusively on carrying out external work to a car’s body. As more people are becoming more conscious about maintaining their cars, it’s an excellent business to start.
Some of the main responsibilities of an auto body store include repairing dents, bumpers, and other damage to the car’s body after minor or major collisions. But that’s not all. Running your own auto-body store business means you will also be responsible for offering general maintenance services for your clients.
This could include anything from repairing paintwork and repainting it to match the factory colors, to replacing or repairing glass. You could also sell automobile spare parts at retail prices. However, this business venture would require moderate to high investment depending on the size of the business which you want to start.
It’s a fact that we often don’t consider how food, beverages, and medications are transported. As consumers become more informed about their health and what they put into their bodies, the demand for fresher foods and products from around the globe takes precedence in place of processed foods.
This raises a logistical challenge and identifies a gap in the market for more businesses that revolve around cold-chain logistics. This process involves an uninterrupted series of storage and distribution activities that help to maintain a given temperature range throughout a sales cycle.
Put simply, it helps to extend and ensure the shelf life of products including seafood, frozen food, and biopharmaceutical products. Cold-chain logistics isn’t always plain sailing, and there is a lot to learn about the process. But because of the great increase in demand, it would most definitely be a worthwhile business to start up!
13. Aircraft Maintenance
There is a distinct gap in the market for this type of transportation business thanks to a rise in the amount of aircraft currently in operation. Poor maintenance practices happen to be one of the most common causes of aircraft malfunctions. To combat this, airline operators have the responsibility of routinely checking and maintaining their aircraft.
Unfortunately, it can be costly to ensure that airline employed mechanics are up-to-date with technological advances and re-certifications in their field. That’s where outsourcing an aircraft maintenance business would be highly beneficial.
An aircraft maintenance business could also ensure that multiple master mechanics are re-certified annually at no additional cost to the airlines, passengers, or freight – saving them money while ensuring that you make a significant profit.
If you have the necessary knowledge and skills then starting your own aircraft maintenance business might be a great way to tap into aviation industry profits.
14. Takeaway Delivery Service
Takeaway delivery services are convenient, easy, and oh-so-delicious. They can have a significantly positive impact on the lives of busy individuals who may not have the time to cook their own food, or on those who simply don’t have the skills to make their own meals.
It’s been said that over 60% of U.S. customers order takeaway or delivery once a week. This demonstrates that there is a significant requirement for this service.
With technologically advanced apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates dominating this current space, there is quite a lot of competition out there. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a space for another takeaway delivery service to join the ranks!
There are some things you need to consider if you want to start your own takeaway delivery business. This includes the delivery route, the menu, and also what promotional and marketing strategies you would have to undertake to boost the profile of your company.
With this service, customers don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home to get their groceries – which makes it extremely convenient. As a result, customers will make fewer impulse purchases, and may even be more mindful of what they are ordering.
In this business, your profit will largely come from membership fees and markups on the price of food. You might also have to charge additional fees based on the location of the home and the quantity of food that has been ordered.
Additionally, initial start up costs won’t be as high as other forms of transportation as you don’t generally need a formal space to conduct this business. Instead, you should invest in well-developed technology so customers can order easily. You will, however, have to cover costs including employee salaries, insurance, equipment maintenance, gas, and a marketing budget.
Professional packers and movers typically offer end-to-end packing and shifting services for individuals, families, businesses, and big organizations. A full-service package will typically include the packing of commercial and household goods, loading, transportation, unloading, and then rearranging according to client specifications.
This is an essential, efficient, convenient, and time-saving business that will be very useful to people everywhere. As long as you have identified a place in the market for this service, and you have the vehicles, knowledge, and equipment necessary, then you really can’t go wrong with starting up your own business in this area!
17. Short Haul Courier
A short-haul courier service refers to a commercial vehicle being driven over a relatively short distance in a day and returning to a home base at the end of each shift. The main roles and responsibilities include delivering packages and documents to institutions, businesses, government agencies, and individuals all within a 150 to 200-mile radius.
One of the greatest benefits of potentially starting up a short-haul courier business is that workers will spend significantly less time on the road than long-haul drivers, ensuring a much better work-life balance than other forms of transportation.
You would have to generate customers, recruit drivers, and figure out the best routes to offer your services to make your business stand out from others.
18. Airport Transport Service
Many passengers find that traveling between countries via air travel is far more efficient and budget-friendly than other methods. The trickiest part is getting to and from the airport without having to spend lots of money. With this service, there is always a guaranteed seat for all passengers. It is also highly cost-effective which is exactly what a passenger may need if they have blown their vacation budget!
Airport transport is a very lucrative venture that could provide high rewards. However, you must take on a lot of responsibility such as providing the transport vehicles including buses, cars, and vans. As a result, you might find this business venture to be highly capital intensive. But the payoff is more than worth it.
19. School Transport Service
A school transport service is a highly convenient business to set up if you’re looking to take your first steps into the transportation industry. It serves a purpose and is a globally applicable idea. Parents, college, and school authorities are always on the look for a trustworthy pool car service for their students to get them safely from their homes to school and back.
It could be either capital intense or moderate depending on the number of schools you want to work with and the number of vehicles you want to put out there. But one thing is certain, the school bus transportation business is indeed a profitable and thriving business if it is well located.
You can’t state the profitability of a school transport business in your city until you conduct relevant research. With that, you will be able to make an informed decision whether to go ahead with the business in your location or not.
20. Water Tank Supply
A water tank supply business is another fascinating business idea that you could start. It is favored thanks to its significance in the lives of its customers. Specifically, in the way it collects water that can then be used for plants or to assist in cleaning the home.
So if you’re focused on providing a quality product that also endorses health and well-being for customers all over the globe, this is the business for you! This business venture has lots of earning potential and also comes with the possibility of building strong connections with other companies during the years of operation.
To get started, you’ll need to figure out where you want to operate, and just how many people require the service. You will then need to officially register the water transport tanks that will be used in your business with a water corporation in your state. This must be approved before you begin to provide a service. You must also obtain a water-hauling license during this process.
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.
Note that the rise of tourism has brought so much money into every tourism-targeted business. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this massive inflow of cash has been the boating industry. In this modern age, starting and running a charter boat business is a very lucrative and exciting way to earn a living.
If you enjoy traveling, meticulous planning, and helping others have unforgettable experiences, then you should consider becoming a tour guide. Becoming a tour guide can be quite inexpensive, you can manage very well with limited staff and little upfront cost.
However, you have to realize that this is a job that rewards people who hustle, who are good at networking, and don’t mind the uncertainty of the gig economy. While there are numerous benefits to being a tour guide, starting a tour guide business is hard work.
A trucking company is involved in transporting large quantities of raw materials, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. Please note that the trucking industry hauled 72.5 percent of all freight transported in the United States in 2019, equating to 11.84 billion tons.
The trucking industry was a $791.7 billion industry in that same year, representing 80.4 percent of the nation’s freight bill. As of May 2015, over 90.0 percent of companies in the United States long-distance freight trucking industry are owner-operators.
Typically, hotshot truckers haul construction materials, heavy equipment, machinery, or farm materials. Hauls can be anywhere from 50 miles away to across the country (though most often they are local). Hotshot trucking is used for hauling smaller, more time-sensitive LTL loads within a specific timeframe, and usually to a single customer or location. Hotshot loads are usually delivered using medium-duty trucks that pull flatbed trailers.
A freight forwarding company is a company that serves as a middleman between transportation services and the shippers. Freight forwarding companies are tasked with arranging the whole process including the storage and shipment of the goods.
They also negotiate the cost of the transport and choose the most reliable, fastest, and most economical route. A freight forwarding company helps you arrange your imports and exports. They prepare documentation, track cargo, file insurance claims, and do many other things.
2022 is a year of great change for many businesses across several large industries. The transportation industry is no different, and there is ample opportunity for all of these businesses to find their niche within the current market.
Therefore, if you are considering one of the options on this list, it’s really important that you consider the overall demand for the service you want to provide, and whether you will be able to make a significant profit.