Starting a Straight Truck Business

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 01/22/23 •  6 min read

Starting a Straight Truck Business

What is a Straight Truck Business?

A box van or truck (also called a straight truck, panel van, or cube van) is a cab-type chassis with an enclosed rectangular loading area. They are typically 10 to 26 feet in length and range from Class 3 to Class 7 (gross vehicle weight between 12,500 and 33,000 pounds).

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Oftenly, there is a tambour door at the rear giving access to the cargo area. If you’ve ever rented a U-Haul, you’ve driven a panel van.

A van business is a business that charges a fee to deliver packages in a van. In most cases, the shipments we deliver cover less-than-truck-load (LTL) spaces, which have expanded significantly with the growth of e-commerce.

These types of deliveries may include parcels, furniture, bulk groceries, and other cargo that needs to be delivered locally. Panel vans are a great choice as they are designed to move around urban areas but have enough cargo space to carry fairly large loads.

One of the best things about running a box truck business is that you don’t need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate it if you choose the right type of box truck.

How Much Money Do Box Truck Owners Make?

According to Ziprecruiter, the national average wage for a van owner-operator is $110,275 a year, or about $53 an hour. But it ranges from as low as $23,500 to as high as $293,000! How much you can earn depends on many factors, including how many packages you deliver, how well you manage your expenses, and where you operate.

For example, cities with the highest annual salaries include Sunnyvale, California, Santa Cruz, Virginia, Santa Rosa, California, Williston, North Dakota, and Manhattan, New York.

Starting a Straight Truck Business

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Box Truck Business?

Starting a van business can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

The biggest expense is the cost of the truck. If you buy a new panel van, you’ll be paying $25,000 to $45,000 for a class 2 or 3 light truck, but the bigger the size, the more you’ll have to pay.

You can buy a cheap used car from just 200,000 km. This means the truck has only been driven once and is in good condition. It’s also cheaper than buying a new one that may have had a lot of mileage or was brand new when you bought it.

There are much cheaper alternatives. If you want to keep buying your own trucks, you can buy used vehicles at huge discounts. You can get a used panel van with 200,000 miles for as little as $5,000 to $10,000.

Of course, a newer, lower mileage truck will cost you more, ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 depending on age, mileage and condition. You can also fund the purchase of a truck. This significantly reduces acquisition costs.

If you’re not married to the idea of ​​buying a truck, you can rent or lease one. If you don’t have the money and don’t want to be tied to a long-term commitment, renting a van is the best option.

Another advantage of renting is that you usually don’t have to worry about maintenance. But you pay for these amenities.

Not only do you have to pay a sizable deposit to the rental company, you also have to pay a fixed fee and mileage. These rental fees can add up and can be much higher than the cost of a long term lease.

Leasing a van is also an option for him if you don’t want to pay the high upfront costs. According to Trust Capital USA, you can expect to make about $1,000 a month for a startup.

Of course, buying a truck isn’t the only expense to starting a box truck business (although it’s probably your biggest expense). You will also have to spend some money on equipment (pallet jacks, straps, load bars, etc.), licenses, permits, insurance, marketing, tailboard fees, etc.

Therefore to open a truck business, approximately, you might have to spend the ballpark range in around $6,400 – $12,900.

Buying may not be a bad option if you have a lot of big loads to haul. But if you don’t see many options right away, you might consider renting a truck rather than buying one.

How to Start a Straight Truck Business?

Set Up the Business

The first step in planning to start a van business is choosing a name and logo you like, creating a website and listing your van business online.

Create a memorable logo to help customers remember your company and build a good relationship. People’s memories and emotions are associated with logos.

Your business needs a website. Especially, if you offer your service to the general public.

By listing your business on Google My Business, you can get more exposure and attract people who would otherwise not find your business when searching for couriers in your city.

Choose the Business Entity

You must choose a legal form of van business and register with the Secretary of State in each state in which you operate. Here are four main options for corporations:

  1. Sole Proprietorship
  2. Partnership
  3. Corporation
  4. Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Create a Business Plan

A business plan is basically a roadmap for the van business. Turn your business ideas into actionable plans.

A box truck business plan should include budgeting, target market and competition identification, marketing strategy (how to receive packages), pricing strategy, operational plan, and growth projections.

Open a Business Checking Account and Credit Card

A special checking account must be opened in the name of the van business. Make sure all business income and expenses (and only business income and expenses) go through this account.

This is especially important if you have a formal legal entity such as a corporation or LLC. Because you don’t want to mix your personal assets and expenses with those of your business.

Obtain Funding, License, Permits and Insurance

These things are very essential for your business, as without these you won’t be able to start your business and make money. So, make sure you secure and get these things before you start your truck business.

Go on Business

One thing that must be done absolutely right is maintaining consistent and profitable services for your truck business. Here are some way you can do:

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Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.