With the growing demand for commercial transport, setting up a transport business has become a lucrative option for many. Though this business has no strict entry barriers, opening and running it successfully for years to come is no cakewalk.
A lot goes behind a successful transport business, and if you understand its nitty-gritty, you will be a step ahead of your competitors. If you have decided to start a transport business in India, our practical tips will help you move forward in the right direction.
- Build a Robust Business Plan
A business without a business plan is similar to a headless chicken. You cannot expect to succeed in any business if you are unclear about your goals and ways to achieve them.
So before anything else, start working on your business plan that covers the vision, mission, goals, expected operating costs, information about your competitors, your USP, and a lot more.
Transport business is a vast segment, and it can be broadly categorized into passenger transport business and goods transport business. These can be further sub-categorized into small niches, so you should decide at the beginning which segment of the transport business you want to get into.
Conduct thorough market research before preparing your business plan, as it will provide you the required insights essential for starting the business. You also need to decide how many fleets of vehicles you want to begin with, what will be their primary route, etc.
Once you’ve finalized and documented all these details in your business plan, you will have a clear vision of how to proceed. A well-drafted business can help you navigate your way to success, so never prepare it in a hurry.
- Secure Investment
Transport business is capital-intensive, so you cannot run it without adequate funds. If you have an excellent transport business model in mind, you might want to pitch your idea to investors. Else, you can always approach banks for a business loan.
Before you start reaching out to investors or banks, be ready with your business plan as they will use it as a base to take their funding decision.
Founders decide the fleet size, vehicle models, expected operating costs & revenue figures, and other important figures at the early stage. They know how much funds they need to start and keep their business running.
While presenting this figure in front of bank officials or investors, be ready to give the rationale you used to arrive at this figure; else, sourcing funds will be challenging.
Also Read – GST on Sale of Old and Used Vehicles Reduced
- Get Insurance for All Commercial Vehicles
If you’re setting up a transport business that primarily deals with interstate or intrastate transportation of goods, you will need to get all your commercial vehicles insured from a good insurance provider.
Since these vehicles carry huge loads and cover long distances, chances of them meeting unfortunate road accidents, theft of goods, towing, and other unpleasant events increase manifolds.
To keep yourself safe from losses arising from such incidents, you must protect yourself and your business by getting good vehicle insurance for all employed vehicles. You can look for goods carrying vehicle insurance online from popular and trustworthy insurance websites and safeguard your vehicles by purchasing insurance offering maximum coverage.
It not only covers your commercial vehicles for financial damages/losses, but also gives you peace of mind.
- Be Ready with all the Mandatory Documents Essential to Run Your Business
Starting any business in India comes with truckloads of paperwork and compliances. If you don’t obtain the necessary certificates or licenses, you won’t be allowed to commence your business legally.
So if you’ve got a robust business plan and also sourced the funding, it’s time to arrange the following:
- Company Incorporation Certificate
Issued by the state government, a company incorporation certificate is a formal document highlighting the company’s formation.
This certificate recognizes your business as a separate legal entity, providing personal liability protection to the founders or owners. If you want to carry commercial activities under your business name, be sure to get a company incorporation certificate at the earliest.
- Shop Act License
Every commercial establishment owner should get a shop act license before commencing business activities. This act supervises and administers establishments wherein commercial activities take place, and ensures the people working there have good working conditions and rights as they should be.
- Company PAN Card
A company PAN card is a must-have for business entities who either pay taxes or will be paying it in the near future. This 10-character string of letters and digits also serves as identity proof for various purposes.
- Tax Identification Number (TIN)
A TIN is an 11-character long identification number assigned to commercial enterprises for smooth tracking of their transactions by the concerned authorities. If you will be carrying intrastate and interstate transactions, be sure you get a TIN for your business at the earliest.
- Udyog Aadhar Certificate
If you’re starting on a small or medium level, you should get a Udyog Aadhar certificate issued by the ministry of MSMEs. It will help your business get legal recognition in the eyes of the law.
- GST Registration Certificate
Though individuals/businesses crossing a set revenue threshold limit are required to register under GST, certain businesses have to get registered under GST, irrespective of their revenue, and transport is one of them. If you’ll be offering interstate transport services as part of your business, you must get a GST registration certificate.
- Vehicle Registration Certificate
The transport business is heavily dependent on vehicles, and you cannot run your business on unregistered vehicles. So make sure you have the registration certificate of all vehicles working under your business name to keep penalties or fines at bay.
- Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate
If you’re planning to start a public transport business, where customers can book a car for their preferred destination, you should ensure that you have a pollution control certificate for all the cars running under your brand/business name. Even if you have other business models involving commercial cars, you’ll need this certificate for each vehicle.
- Driving License of All Drivers
Even if one driver working with your transport company is caught driving without a valid driving license, you can be in trouble. So before hiring any driver, ensure that every driver has a valid driving license that is renewed on time.
- Vehicle Fitness Certificate
To be eligible to safely transport goods or people from one place to another, commercial vehicles must be fit in every aspect before plying on the road. For this, commercial vehicles are inspected by a Regional Transport Office (RTO) to see if the vehicle is in perfect working condition or not.
Before you put your commercial vehicles to use, get a vehicle fitness certificate by filing a form on the RTO official website. Once you fill an online application form by entering your vehicle’s registration number and other essential details, you get an application number that is later used to get details regarding the date, time, and venue for your vehicle inspection. You have to appear at the scheduled date, time, and venue to get the vehicle(s) incepted. Once the inspection is done and no fault is found, you can get the vehicle fitness certificate.This certificate should be renewed without fail before expiry to avoid any heavy penalty or fine.
- Hire the Best People
You cannot run a transport business alone. If you want your upcoming transport business to be successful, you should have the right people working with you from day one.
Hire skilled people who can reduce pressure from your shoulders by doing their work with utmost perfection. You will need many knowledgeable and experienced people to handle various day-to-day operational tasks in the transport business, so look for people with the zeal to excel at whatever they do.
From experienced drivers to well-spoken customer support executives, accounts professionals to back office people- you will need many people who can perform these duties well. You can start looking for ideal candidates on job portals, professional networking sites or ask your professional network for references.
Getting into the transport business can be easy, but running it successfully, in the long run, is not. If you start the transport business with the right knowledge, mindset, and resources, you’ll likely face fewer roadblocks in your way to success. So take a good look at all the tips discussed above, and get them to use for maximum benefit.