If you need a complete rundown from legalities to the marketing when starting a vehicle shipping business, read this guide till the very end:
Dealing With the Legalities:
- Set Up Company: Once you have chosen your business name, you will have to register it as an entity. It can be an Inc., LLC, or Sole Proprietorship. An accountant or business lawyer can guide you better based on your preferences, but most of the companies just starting out go with LLC, which is cheaper to establish as well.
- Get EIN: Employee Identification Number or the Tax ID needs to be sorted next. It’s basically the social security number but for your business. Apply for it and get it ASAP. With an EIN, you won’t have to give your personal social security number to any business or company you work with like auction houses or dealerships.
- Get DOT Authority: It takes around 21 days to get your DOT authority approved, but it is required to dive into the auto transport
- Register UCR: You need to get into Unified Carrier Registration as well because it is federally mandated for both carriers and brokers.
- BOC-3: Basically it offers the authority to operate in a particular state. You need to have BOC-3 agents in every state you will be providing services.
- BOND: You need to have a $75,000 bond surety to be able to become a car shipping broker. Search and find a reputable/credible bond company for this. Although Bond is enough for insurance, check with your city if they require any insurance on top of it.
Sorting Out Payment Structure:
- Bank Account: Once your legal ducks are in a row, open a business bank account. Do not use your personal bank account as your personal and business finances should be separate. Talk to an accountant; he/she will be your best friend in this.
- Merchant Service: Decide how you want to be paid by your customers and how you will pay your carriers. You can use the merchant service but make sure to ask around as well because you need the best processing service with the lowest rates and fees.
Signing Contracts with Carriers:
You will need contracts that you will sign with clients as well as brokers. These will have all the general terms of services listed. Ask a business lawyer to help you draft contracts for both clients and carriers.
Furthermore, hire carriers by posting jobs on online job platforms such as Monster, Indeed, The Ladders, Snagajob etc. You can also put out social media/newspaper ads to quickly reach carriers.
Signing Up For Central Dispatch:
If you don’t want to set up a team of carriers and pay them on a monthly basis, you can go the easy and the most convenient route, which is to sign up for Central Dispatch.
You can run your complete auto shipping business using it as you can quickly put out the orders you receive from clients on Central Dispatch and hire carriers right off the platform.
Setting Up a Website:
- Functional Website: You need to set up a fully functional and easy to browse-through website. Be sure to optimize it for mobile as well because a huge chunk of customers places orders from mobile phones.
- Website Content: Hire a professional content writer from platforms like Fiverr to write pages like homepage, about page, services page, FAQs, and so on to build credibility, populate your website, and help customers find what they are looking for.
- Customer Support: Set up a customer support team to talk to the clients via both call, as well as a live chat feature on the website:
This is where you will work on marketing. Run ads on social media platforms as well as work on SEO strategy. Hire an SEO expert and also a content writer to work on your website’s ranking in search engines like Google so that when people search for terms like car transport service or auto shipping near me, your website pops up.
The content writer will populate your website’s blog with SEO based content while the SEO expert will work on tactics to rank that content in search engine.