Starting an RV transport business can be a daily vacation. However, you need a plan that explains your business model and illustrates how you will be successful. Keys to your success are identifying your market, industry knowledge and product pricing. Other factors affecting your business are -- types of licenses and insurance required, fuel costs, expenses and logistical issues.
Start by choosing your company name and legally structuring your business entity, such as an S corporation or limited liability company (LLC). The structure is important to limit your personal liability. Many transportation companies are structured as an LLC. Use a business law attorney to help set-up the company.
Obtain your business Employee Identification Number (EIN), address, phone number and business cards. Open your bank account and credit lines in your company name. It is vital to separate the business from you personally and obtain business credit lines as well as credit and debit cards. Credit is critical in the RV business because of the extensive travel and potential unforeseen expenses. General operating expenses include -- fuel, food, lodging, road tolls and repair costs, which are your responsibility.
Draft your business plan and financial projections. This document should address -- how you get paid (check, wire or credit card), who meets you for RV pickup, delivery schedules, time frames based on geographical location, pre-pickup notification and destination notification processes. Your plan is designed to help you understand the RV business. The financial projections guide you on pricing, which is based on -- mileage, delivery destination and RV size -- to ensure that all your expenses are covered while still making a profit.
Obtain the appropriate driver's license, auto and liability insurances. Because you are self employed you will not need workers compensation insurance. If you are transporting over 26,000 lbs. you will need a CDL-A (commercial) license. Generally, you need only a clean, valid, regular driver's license. You will need a copy of the declaration of truck insurance in the minimum amount of $500,000. Check with the individual or company you are transporting for to ensure they also have appropriate vehicle insurance.
Draft the necessary business contracts and agreements. You will need a driver's and mileage log. Use a GPS system to track your trip. It will help in maintaining records and eliminating mileage discrepancies. Obtain contracts from RV dealers and transportation brokers upon completing the business plan. This strategy works well because you will have completed your due diligence and industry research, which will be valuable in negotiating your initial contracts.
Purchase a 3/4-ton pickup truck with towing capability. Ensure that your towing package can facilitate a variety of RV types. Also, purchase emergency equipment, tools and a first aid kit. For example, a fire extinguisher, flash light with extra batteries and emergency roadside reflectors are essentials. Do not skimp on the truck. Make certain to obtain a good drive-train warranty. Also, have phone numbers for roadside services and maintenance.
Begin towing your first RV across country. If you are traveling across country setup business relationships at your destinations. This logistics strategy enhances efficiencies and improves profits.
Launch your website once you have completed your initial contracts. Ask customers for referrals and testimonials to use on your website.
Using credit and debit cards is a good method for efficiently tracking all expenses for end of year tax preparation purposes. Obtaining initial contracts is valuable in obtaining your credit line from your bank. If you need to use personal credit, obtain a personal loan and use that as collateral for the business credit line by making a loan to the business. Be certain to draft a loan agreement between you and the company.
As with many businesses it is important to limit your personal liability exposure. Speak with your attorney and insurance agent in order to protect yourself legally. If you are taking out a personal loan, be certain that you can service the debt for a period of six months.
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