Starting a business can be challenging. There are legal, financial, and personal hoops to jump through before you ever take on your first client. Starting a hauling business is worth the effort because you can make great money hauling equipment, oversized objects, and scrap metals.
If you’re ready to take the leap, here’s how.
Test The Waters
Before jumping in, see what the business would be like. Put out the word online that you’re looking to haul and see who responds. When you find a client, you can reserve a flatbed truck on a site like this, do the job, and determine if you think the business is the right fit for you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Can you do this long-term?
- Will you make enough money?
- Are you willing to make such a big commitment?
- Are you starting a business at the right time and for the right reasons?
- How will this affect your other commitments?
- Can you handle the pressures of running your own business?
Asking these questions will help you decide if this is really the job for you.
Buy Your Equipment
If you’ve decided the business is for you, there are a few things you’re going to need:
- A truck that can carry lots of weight.
- A dolly to help you move heavy objects without hurting your back.
- Straps and bungee cords to secure the items you’re hauling.
- Tarps and moving blankets to keep the items in good condition.
Having the right equipment is essential to do the job properly.
Businesses are required to have proper insurance for themselves, their workers, and their vehicles. You will most likely need cargo and liability insurance. It’s best to check with an insurance broker to determine what’s right for you.
Many states require licensing to run a small business, especially if you’re going to have employees. Check into your local laws and find out what’s necessary to run your business legally. You don’t want to get started and then find out you’ve made a huge legal error.
Decide What Your Goals Are
Deciding on some basic goals upfront will keep things in perspective and help you develop a plan. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when setting your goals:
- Is this going to remain a small business or are you looking to grow?
- How many employees and vehicles would you eventually like to have?
- How many customers would you like to have?
- How many customers could you realistically take on?
- If you want more customers than you could currently take on, what changes do you need to make to allow that to happen?
- Is this something you want to do until you retire, or is it a temporary situation?
Being honest with yourself about your overall goals will help you build your business in a way that benefits you.
Just like other small businesses, the success of your hauling company depends on marketing. If people don’t know about you, they can’t hire you. Here are a few ways to get the word out:
- Ask your family and friends to tell people about you. Word of mouth is an excellent seller.
- Post your services on hiring sites online.
- Visit other local businesses that might need hauling services and give them a card.
- Take out ads on relevant websites.
- Create social media accounts for your business. Developing an online brand will make people more likely to hire you.
- Offer discounts to new customers.
- Offer discounts to existing customers who refer someone to you.
- Get as many positive reviews online as possible. People feel more secure hiring you when they can see you’ve got happy customers.
- Consider putting up physical ads. Flyers, bench ads, etc.
The more ways you find to market, the more customers you’ll end up with. Be creative, and enlist as many people as possible to help you.
Build A Good Reputation
Your reputation is important. A reputation for good service is the best thing a business can have. Keeping your customers happy encourages them to tell others about you, which means more work. Guarantee you keep a good reputation by:
- Keeping your word. Do what you said you’d do for the price you said you’d do it.
- Be humble. You wouldn’t have a business without your customers, so let them know you’re thankful for their business.
- Take responsibility for mistakes and do your best to make them right. Genuinely apologizing and admitting fault can help smooth over tricky situations.
- Be honest with people. No one likes working with someone who misleads them.
- Help others when you can. Volunteering in your community is a good way to get your name out in a positive way.
- Be professional at all times. You can’t take back a first impression and you never know who is watching.
A good reputation is the key to more business.
Grow As Needed
If you’re in the business for the long haul, you’ll have to grow as your demand does. If you’re doing well, invest in your company by upgrading your equipment or hiring more help. You always want your business to be able to keep up with your customers.
At least once a year, sit down and evaluate how the business is doing and how you’re feeling about it. Tax season is a good time to do this as you’ll have all your financial documents out anyway. Here are a few things to consider:
- Are you making enough money to justify the business and pay your expenses?
- How many hauling jobs is your business doing in a month?
- Is there a steady rate of growth in the business? If not, how can you change that?
- Is there anything you need to add to the business to keep it going?
- Were there any unexpected setbacks this year, and have they been resolved?
- Are there any issues you’re aware of that could negatively impact the business in the future?
- Are you still happy with the business and willing to keep it going?
It’s important to check in with yourself regularly about what you want from your business. Asking these questions at least once a year can keep you on track.
Starting a hauling business takes planning, dedication, time, and lots of hard work but there are also lots of rewards. If you’ve decided it’s really something you’d like to do, use these steps as a guide to begin.