How to Write a Trucking Business Plan
Here we will be addressing the important factor of how to write a business plan for a trucking business. Whether you have a small business startup or are working to turn around an existing business into a more successful trucking company, you need a solid business plan. You may think that a business plan is not really needed for truckers whether you are a one man show or a larger trucking company with a fleet of trucks. However, to be a successful motor carrier or even successful in any form of business, business planning is step one. You have to know and be able to effectively present to others such as partners, investors, and even larger clients that need to know that you are serious about your company and just how you plan to make your business lucrative and successful so that you will be around long term for their needs.
There is a lot more to this business than getting your CDL and driving a truck that you will have to deal with and be prepared for. Within this article we will be covering specifics to form your business plan template such as what a trucking business plan is and what it consists of such as an effective summary, company description, your services, a market analysis, a sales and marketing plan, as well as your fundings requests and financial projections.
What is a Trucking Business Plan?
No need to make things more complicated than they are, a trucking company business plan is exactly that: a plan for your startup business whether you plan to be an owner-operator or launch a larger scale carrier. It tracks the goals of your trucking company, milestones, operating costs, and profits. You might say that It is a road map on how you want your business to grow. However, it is also never a finished product. As your business grows and changes so should your trucking business plan to reflect those very changes. Consult and tweak your plan often to keep your goals in sight. Getting into this industry you should already know that trucking is a different ball game from most businesses out there and with that in mind your business plan will need to tailor to addressing those differences. When setting your goals there are a few questions to keep in mind some of the areas specific to the trucking industry such as your trucking niche. Basically where you fit in within the trucking industry as whole. It should also lay out specifics on your projected home time. Operating area and types of freight in which you plan to haul. You will need to break down operating cost into your cost per mile and factor it against market trends to show how you plan to maintain financial stability.
You will need to develop an executive summary for your trucking company. This is truly a vital part that will initially hold the attention of those reading through your business strategy. Here you will want to include an effective overview of your company. This can sound simple but you really need to put some thought and effort into this. Your company overview should briefly address the most important points of your company and operations such as your history, management, location, even a mission statement and description of your legal structure.
There is a lot more to your business than just delivering a truck load. Within the company description you will begin to go more into detail here than in the summary. This should be a more detailed introduction to your company, giving a look into your background, the business owners and management team, and overall what you bring to the table that will set you apart from all the competition out there in the industry, besides just being truck drivers. Particularly how many years of experience you bring to the table and what the specific niche or focus within the industry your trucking company will be focused on.
In providing information about your services you will want to give consideration to the details on the service in which you will offer through your trucking business. You will Describe here type of business you will be involved in within the trucking industry and how they will be efficiently executed. You should also include here information on the various price points that you will have in place for your services and to which industries that you will provide your trucking services to.
A market analysis detailing out your particular target market in the trucking industry is important to include in your plan to set you on the right path as well as showing those interested in your business that you have done your homework on the industry trends and are on a path for success. For this section you will need to have a solid understanding of what a target market, competitive analysis, industry analysis is as well as pricing and margins.
A target market by definition is a group of consumers at which a product of service is aimed. Essentially, your customers. You can start by identifying who that market is looking at your current client bases or examining those of your competition and your competitive advantage. Basically, in trucking this boils down to the type of freight you are planning to haul.
Within the competitive analysis you will examine how you will stand up against your competition. To do this you will complete an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your current and potential competitors while providing both an offensive and defensive strategy to identify both opportunity and threats within your business path.
An industry analysis in the industry trends that you need to examine and know how to appropriately predict what the industry will do so that you can prepare for those changes appropriately.
Hopefully at this point in your path you can put some thought into your pricing and margins. Afterall, the most important part of a business is to make sure your pricing is appropriate and attractive to keep clients wanting to utilize your services while also maintaining profitability. If you are not making enough money to stay afloat, you will not last in the industry. Again, you can get your feet wet here by looking at the pricing strategies of others trucking companies to give you an idea of where you need to be and then appropriately dial those numbers in to fit the specifics of your particular situation.
Sales and Marketing
Do you have a sales strategy? Did you think that you would open your doors and magically just have continuous work coming in. Well, reality doesn’t work that way unfortunately. Even in trucking, a sales and marketing strategy are key components to a successful and long term business. It will be expected to see well formulated answers in your trucking business plan as to how you plan to address these areas.
You will need to give an outline of sales and marketing strategies. This will include how you plan to advertise for your business. This can range from making cold calls to using paid ads within social media platforms to find your potential customers and everything in between.
Do you plan on having a sales team or are you a one person show? If you have a team in mind you will need to address the fact of how you will pay them by either giving them a salary or commission based compensations. If you are the one doing it all then you will need to factor what measures you have in place to make sure you are balancing your efforts here as well as moving the loads.
Within these figures you will need to cover how sales will be secured, whether you will have set pricing or give individual quotes as well as giving details on how you will find your prospective clients.
You might be catching on that in your business plan money is a major topic to cover in detail. Especially if you are needing investors to make your business a reality this part is absolutely vital.
Here you will be covering just how funding you are projecting to need to get your business up and running. You need to take the time to go into great detail here covering all the avenues of where that money will go and why. This can be things such as purchasing equipment for operations, overhead expenses, employee salaries and so forth.
For someone to invest in you they want to know that their money is in good hands and that they will get a return on their investment. Beyond that, you can expect that most investors have done this before and they will be looking closely at these answers to judge if your company is one they want to do business with or not.
Finally, you will need to include the financial projections for your business. Stating how your company has done thus far and how you see your company will continue to do, financially speaking, under the above set guidelines.
The financial projections section of your business plan will need to include relevant balance sheets which are financial statements that summarize your company’s assets (what you own), your liabilities (what you owe), and equity (money invested into the business, plus profits).
You will also need to include your profit-loss statement, also referred to as an income statement. This lists your revenues and expenses, and tells you the profit or loss of your business for a given period of time. It is helpful for planning and to help control operations expenses.
Additionally, you will include a sales forecast and cash flow statements.
Your sales forecast is the foundation of your business plan. People measure a business and its growth by its sales. Your sales forecast sets the standard for expenses, profits and growth. For the cash flow statement, this is a forecast to predict your financial needs in advance. We are specifically talking about money you can spend here. “Cash” includes your checking account, savings, and liquid securities like money market funds. It is not just coins and bills as the term would make you believe.
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