How Do I Start a Light Pickup Truck Delivery Business?
Starting a pickup truck delivery service is relatively straightforward for a motivated and creative independent contractor. Light pickup truck jobs don't end with transporting goods from point A to point B. There are several side jobs to help you fill your days and earn money.
Knowing what to expect before starting a delivery business can help you avoid bumps along the entrepreneurial road when you start marketing your venture.
Your truck is your workhorse, but overwork it and you could be out of a job. A light-duty, half-ton truck can carry about a half ton of items in the bed and cab combined. What that weight represents in terms of household items is approximately one grand piano or 10 bookcases. Basically, the bigger the engine, the more weight a vehicle can carry. Check your owner's manual or ask the manufacturer about the maximum load.
As for towing capacity, a light-duty pickup can typically pull about 10,000 pounds or more, making a utility trailer a savvy business investment to consider.
Beyond a reliable truck, you might need:
- A moving dolly or appliance dolly to maneuver large, heavy items.
- Ratchet straps and bungee cords to secure lightweight or breakable items.
- Stretch wrap to keep everything clean.
- Tarpaulins for protection from weather.
- Moving blankets to protect fragile cargo.
Your pickup truck isn't going to load itself unless it's equipped with a truck-mounted crane. Are your back, shoulders, neck and knees fit to lift heavy items, or do you plan to hire a muscly helper? If so, you're a step closer to putting your entrepreneurial wheels to the pavement.
Before you can obtain business permits and licenses, your venture needs a name. Choose something memorable and fitting, such as Carry On Delivery, Town and Country Delivery Services or A to Z Delivery. If the name you want doesn't pop up in an internet search, then there's a good chance it's available, but run a trademark search to be sure.
Industry requirements vary by business type and locale. Your state agency's website is a good starting point for legal information and business name searches.
Don't assume that your home insurance covers your home-based business. You'll need proper liability coverage for your drivers, equipment (both on and off premises), your clients and the belongings that you deliver for them.
Let your vehicle-insurance and life-insurance providers know you'll be operating a delivery service so they can provide proper coverage too.
Besides furniture and appliances, items you can expect to move with a light pickup truck include:
- New or secondhand goods like lawn equipment and large power tools.
- Big, delicate items like grandfather clocks.
- Topsoil, rocks or gravel.
- Office equipment.
With the right permits and insurance, other services you can consider offering include:
- Local moving services (small jobs, anyhow).
- Ride sharing via an app. Consider signing up with Uber, Lyft or GoShare to reach more clients like folks who are moving or have awkward items to carry, such as lots of luggage.
- Vehicle wrapping to advertise products or services other than your own.
- Snow plowing if you invest in a plow to mount on your truck.
- Large animal moving if you own, rent or purchase a livestock trailer.
- Hot shot driving for other delivery companies such as Fetchit, online giants such as Amazon or local retailers like mattress companies.
- Truck rental.
How much you earn as a small delivery-business owner depends on what you charge. Undercutting your competitors by too much is bad business and reduces the industry rate. Determine your costs for fuel, maintenance, insurance, staff wages and so on, factor in a profit and aim to charge the average amount that your peers charge or a little more or less.
Someone with a reliable truck, strong back, pleasant personality and a good understanding of the legal obligations involved makes an ideal candidate for running a light pickup truck delivery service. Is this the right venture for you?