Updated June 26, 2020:

To start a transportation business, you will need to decide which type of business you intend to create. Options include: a taxi service, bike rental, limousine service, owner/operator trucking, moving company, specialized transportation service, livestock transportation, transporting boats, air transport, marine shipping, medical transport or services for seniors. The type of company you use to establish should be determined based, among other things, on the need and competition in the area you decide to work in. Once you figure out what you want to transport,you'll need to build a plan to establish how you are going to provide these services.

Determine What Kind of Business You Want

Do you want to run a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or corporation? Each of these has specific advantages and disadvantages. Do your research and figure out which one you want, as they each have different requirements for you to fulfill.

Get a Federal Tax ID Number

If you are running a sole proprietorship or a corporation of one, you can use your social security number. If your business is larger than just yourself, you must get a federal employer ID number (EIN). This number will allow you to register your business and it is the number that is used to set up your tax status with the government. Any employees hired by you must use this number when they file their taxes, as this number identifies your business o the federal and state governments.

Write a Business Plan

Your business plan should include your company name, the type of business you are starting, and where your business will be located. You will need to come up with an original name for your business and make sure that it is available in your state. You must then register your business name with the Secretary of State in your state.

Your business plan may include:

  • Defined goals for your business.

  • A plan of how you are going to deliver your services.

  • A description of your finances

  • A description of your expenses, down to labor costs, maintenance, and profit goals

  • A marketing strategy.

  • Names of any members of managers, including all contact information.

A business plan is a working document that can change over time. When you are getting started in business, your business plan is an outline of what you want to do and how you are going to do it.

Plan Out Your Finances

You will need to have money in order to begin your transportation business. To obtain a loan, you will need to show lenders and other investors a solid business plan. This would include what you expect to need to start your business, such as a vehicle, safety equipment, and communication devices. You will also need to insure your vehicle properly.

Get Your Business License

Check with your local municipal office to determine what type of license you will need to run your business legally. You might also need to register your business with the Secretary or State. Check your state’s website for their information, and do not be afraid to give their offices a call for some guidance if necessary.

Miscellaneous Requirements

When you begin a transportation business, you will need to make sure that your vehicle meets the specialized criteria for the business you are running. Take your time developing a business plan to ensure that you are truly ready.


You will need to look into maintain proper insurance, both for your business itself, and for you drivers and vehicles, ensuring that all drivers and vehicles are properly insured as required by your jurisdiction. This could include worker’s compensation insurance for your employees, or cargo insurance if you ship. Again, it depends on which type of business you wish to establish.


Your business plan should indicate the equipment you will need, from the number of vehicles, to wheelchair lifts, down to printers and fax machines for your office operation. Check your state’s requirements for equipment. For example, some states require a certain number of vehicles in order to establish a taxi fleet.


If you need to hire employees, you will need to ensure that you hire them in accordance with the laws of your jurisdiction. For example,you may need to clearly establish equal hiring practices that are non-discriminatory. Make sure you understand the requirements in your state.

There are a lot of moving parts in establishing a transportation business, so do as much research as possible before embarking on your journey. Once you are ready to begin filing the paperwork and developing hiring practices, contact UpCounsel. Our attorneys are specially trained to guide and prepare entrepreneurs of all types to establish a successful business.