How to Start a Local Hauling Business

A local hauling business can be very easy to start and lucrative. Often called a hot shot service, it can usually be operated with a vehicle that you already own and out of your home office. You deliver goods, documents or medical supplies to businesses, clinics, organizations or possibly individual residences. The type of delivery contracts you have will determine the size of the vehicle you will need.

Hot Shot Service

Develop a company name, logo and plan that fits with a hauling business. The name should tell potential clients what your business does without any further explanation. For example, you could name it Bob’s Hot Shot Service or Bob’s Local Hauling and Delivery. The business plan should include a mission statement, goals, a SWOT analysis, an action and marketing plan, a financial plan and an established time for measuring success. Research the industry of hot shoting or local hauling services and rates. Visit for assistance with developing a business plan.

Obtain all the required licensing and insurance for a hauling business. Be sure to purchase commercial auto insurance. An individual auto policy will not usually cover business operations or hauling businesses. It is critical that you do not simply ride off using your standard coverage. Disclose your activity and vehicle-for-hire status to your insurer, which will require a new policy. This will protect your client’s property in the event of an accident. Many cities require special licenses for delivery vehicles, and many states require commercial license plates. Check with your state, county and city.

Develop a niche or standard within your local market. You can haul anything from business supplies to large industrial equipment like pumps and motors. Determine what kinds of items you would like to deliver. This will in turn determine what kind of vehicle you will need. Delivering documents to a courthouse and office supplies to a corporation can be done with a car, truck or van. Delivering equipment to an oilfield or industrial location may require a pickup truck, flatbed or bobtail truck. Develop your niche and be sure that it fits into your current starting budget.

Purchase all the required materials for your hauling business. If you will be hauling items in a pickup truck, be sure to purchase tarps to cover your load or possibly a bed cover. Visit for discounted prices on high-quality tarps and load coverings. Medical deliveries may require refrigeration or a sterile containment pod. You can visit for information on medical-grade portable refrigeration.

Develop a marketing and ad campaign. The center of any good marketing plan is a well-developed website that outlines your services, rates, insurance and bonding and contact information. This business should be advertised in the local yellow pages. Since this is a business-to-business operation, plan on making cold calls and door-to-door sales attempts. There is no better way to spread the word about your business. Mailers and door hangers will not work in this situation.

Develop your pricing strategy. Delivery businesses usually have a standard flat fee within a given area and a mileage fee for traveling outside that radius. For example, you could advertise a flat fee of $50 and an additional $3 per mile outside a 15-mile radius. Purchase a handheld GPS to map your deliveries. The TomTom is a great device; see