Starting a business of any kind is a multi-step process that requires attention to detail and making the right choices to ensure everything is legal and ready to go. Starting a fleet business sounds daunting because you’ll be dealing with vehicles, vehicle maintenance, specialized insurance and licensing and more. Walk yourself through each of the most important steps to ensure you get everything you need to start your new fleet business. Check with local departments of transportation to ensure you have all the regulatory boxes checked as well. Starting a fleet car or truck business isn’t as hard as you think, but you can do it if that’s your desire.

Put Business Idea on Paper

What is your vision and mission for your business? How will you make money? Who are your target clients? These are all the basic ingredients of a good business plan. Putting your business idea onto paper and creating a plan makes it more real. It helps you hash out details and think through critical aspects of business processes. You can even write down information about competitors, and put options for different vendors in the plan.

Create Proper Business Structure

Once you have a plan, you’ll need to work with your state to register your business. Will you have shareholders? Will you have members? You’ll need to work with a business lawyer if needed to create your business structure. This structure becomes the legal entity that all your business dealings will come out of. Creating this structure accurately has a lot of legal connotations and benefits.

Secure Capital

Business owners mistakenly think that it’s impossible to get money to start up or grow a business. While it might take some time, grit, and perseverance, there are a number of ways to secure capital for your fleet car or truck business. When you have a unique business plan and concept that meets a specific need, you are more likely to get investors or banks to lend you some money. Investors will want a portion of the profits, but lenders just want their money back with a little interest until it’s paid off.

Make Sure You Have All the Permits You Need

Running a fleet business does require some extra steps. There are permits and regulations you must follow in order to operate this kind of business. You’ll need to find out if you or your employees need a CDL, USDOT Number, and more. These different permits allow you to operate your business. Additionally, verifying you have the correct permits to travel between states is also critical if any of your fleet drivers will cross state lines.

Get Insurance

You need business liability insurance, insurance to cover the cars, insurance to cover the employees, and more. It’s important to think through all your assets and liabilities to ensure you get adequate coverage from your insurance company. Each car should have coverage that will pay for the replacement cost, damage to other cars, injury to your staff, and injury to other drivers and passengers as well.

Decide on Cars

Now you can start getting to the fun part. Deciding on the cars or vehicles that will work best for your fleet business is critical. Will you be delivering goods? Will you be transporting people? These of course will play into the kinds of vehicles you invest in. Your budget will also play a role. Additionally, if your fleet business will be focused on providing transportation to individuals

Business Processes

Processes can help you run your business more efficiently on every front. What are your best practices for onboarding new employees? How will you onboard new customers? How will you manage maintenance and other important repairs? Additionally, looking at things like how your company will pay for gas while your drivers are on the road is also important to think through. One option is to have the employees pay with their own credit cards and then get reimbursed. Another option is to use fuel cards for businesses that only work for those specific expenses. Your business processes can be refined as you go, but knowing the important tasks that must happen to make your business run and creating a plan to make it happen is critical.