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6 Licenses You Need to Do Airport Runs (Shuttle)

Airport Shuttle Business

Do you want to start an airport shuttle business? If YES, here are 6 important licenses, permits and documents you need to do airport runs.

Airport runs are taxi businesses that transport people between the airport and either their homes, hotels, or where they parked their cars. These shuttles are mostly used by business travellers, groups, families, and solo riders. The driver simply picks travellers up at a predetermined location and drops them off wherever necessary; normally with no more than two stops on each route.

The vehicles are also known to be spacious, with ample room for riders to store their luggage. Each customer you attend to will be travelling, either for business or pleasure.

Since this comprises a massive number of people, and every city has something different to offer travellers, it’s always advisable you conduct research specific to your area. If your town is a tourist destination, vacationers from around the world might be your target audience.

In addition, for entrepreneurs living in an area that hosts large corporations or banks, people travelling for business would be an ideal demographic to target.

As part of your research, find out how many airport runs businesses are already operating, which areas of the city they cover, and what niche they’ve carved out for themselves. Note that with a little investigation and innovation, your business can carve out its own niche.

Meanwhile, these businesses make money by charging each customer a fee for transporting them from Point A to Point B.

Some charge per mile, while others charge a flat fee. Nonetheless, when putting together your business plan, you should consider whether you would like to transport individuals or if you would rather work with large groups who are all headed to the same hotel, terminal, etc.

Pricing in the airport runs business tend to vary depending upon a number of factors, both regionally and based on the client’s specific needs.

Also, a number of factors will influence your organization’s prosperity, resulting in varied published profits. Successful shuttle business owners, however, have reported a profit up to $30,000 the first year, jumping to $64,000 by the third year.

6 Important Licenses and Permits Needed to Start an Airport Shuttle

Certain state permits and licenses may be required to operate an airport runs business. You can find out more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Note that each state has its own administrative oversight and law enforcement bureaus and officers to enforce transportation and commercial driving regulations. According to the IRS, “two state agencies have regulatory authority over the trucking industry in each state: the Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

These regulations include filing proof of insurance and obtaining permits. Nonetheless, here are vital licences required to start an airport runs business in the United States;

1. Business License

In the United States, it is pertinent that every business gets registered and recognized by the government. Since the business license needed for your airport runs business will differ according to location, it is pertinent to 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 of State. Consider checking your state’s website for their information, and do not be afraid to give their offices a call for some guidance if necessary.

2. Operators License

Unlike a limousine, taxi or courier service, the biggest challenge to overcome in starting an airport runs service is to acquire an operator’s license.

An operator’s license can be very challenging to get through local government channels in most areas of the country, and very expensive if you plan to purchase one from an existing shuttle service. Nonetheless, it’s certainly not impossible to obtain an operator’s license for a shuttle service, and it can be well worth the effort.

3. 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 allows you 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 to federal and state governments.

4. Vehicle Registration

Any transportation that crosses state lines (i.e., interstate transportation) is subject to federal law as well as the laws of the states you are leaving from your original destination, passing through en route, and entering as your final destination.

Airport runs service businesses are required to register vehicles which will travel across state lines for commercial purposes.

5. Class B Driver License

In most states, licences are issued by classes, operating according to the weight of the vehicle being driven. Drivers of standard cars and trucks require a class A commercial driver’s license (CDL), while operators of business vehicles, including most tow trucks, require a Class B CDL to operate.

To start and run an airport runs service business, you will need to acquire a Class B CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) for all the drivers working commercially for your company. Make sure your vehicle is disability – friendly and complies with the ADA, and also that you are complying with relevant airport ground transportation rules.

6. Insurance

Also note that you will need to look into maintaining 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. Note that this could include worker’s compensation insurance for your employees, or vehicle insurance for the car.

At very least, you want road risk as well as public liability insurance, but it’s a good idea to choose a more extensive one in order to make sure your business is protected in other areas as well. When running an airport runs business, not only is insurance a very good idea, it is a legal requirement as well.

When operating from your premises, you may also need to acquire premises insurance, in case your business is disrupted by theft, a fire, or other types of damage. If you are operating from home, though, you are allowed to use it only as a base station – if drivers will come back to the house in between the jobs, the business will need its own premises – this requires planning permission.


An airport shuttle service can be a very profitable business to own and operate. However, there are a lot of moving parts in establishing a transportation business, so do as much research as possible before embarking on your journey. Also note that failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.