Do you want to start a shipping company from scratch? Or you need a sample shipping business plan template? If YES, then i advice you read on.

With the increasing demand for shipping services that offer reasonable prices and promise convenience, speed and reliability, no other time could be better than now for taking a plunge into the shipping business. The industry is growing and rapidly changing—thanks to the increasing dependence on online shopping.

However, you must realize the fact that the maritime / shipping industry is highly capital intensive and competitive. Secondly, starting your own shipping company requires that you have in-depth knowledge of import and export procedures as well as the shipping, container, and logistics industries in your country.

You also need to know the legislation for crew members to work on-board your vessels, how to operate vessel within and outside specific ports, how to handle dangerous goods and other types of goods, and how to operate certain communication equipment on-board your vessel and many other legislation.

You can start your shipping company while working from home, but to succeed in the business, you need to be well organized and have a sound client base. Shipping is an industry with massive swings. And starting a shipping company requires not just a lot of capital, but adequate planning. You need to get it right from the very start in order to boost your chances of long-term success. Here are the steps involved in starting a success shipping company:

Starting a Shipping Company from Home – Sample Business Plan Template

1. Learn more about the industry

Before plunging into the shipping industry, you need to analyze the market and keep yourself updated with news regarding the business by looking into trade publications, financial reports, and consumer trends. This way, you will know the products that have a great market within your country and those that have a great market outside your country. Industry experts recommend that you work with a shipping company to actually get some understanding of how the business works.

2. Define which goods you will deal with

Goods have been classified into many groups, including perishable goods, dangerous goods, illegal goods, and so on. And even though there are more-than-countable types products in the market (ranging from clocks or electronic parts to cars or machinery), your shipping company cannot deal with all types of goods.

So, you will need to understand all the product classifications and streamline your services by choosing the specific goods your shipping company will be handling. In addition, look for any available incentives by your state or federal government that you qualify for.

3. Define your business’s identity

Decide on a name for your business. An ideal business name is easy to remember and is suggestive of what the business offers. You also need to develop a logo and set up the legal structure for your business. You can contact a seasoned attorney or financial advisor to help you determine whether your business should be a corporation or a limited liability company.

4. Write a business plan

Writing a comprehensive business plan is one of the most important steps towards starting a successful shipping company. Your business plan will include all necessary factors such as business overview, your competitors, their skills and prices, your target market, your unique selling proposition and core competencies, your prices, your financial plans, your marketing plans, your funding sources, the threats and opportunities in your country’s shipping industry, and your exit strategy.

A business plan does more than guide you through the processes of successfully launching and operating your business; it presents your business idea to third party funders such as investors and banks.

5. Get your funds together

As stated earlier, starting a shipping company requires huge startup costs. So, you are more than likely to need third-party funding. Decide whether you want to adopt debt financing or equity financing. Then contact third parties that are likely to be interested in funding your business, such as small business loan agencies, investors, venture capitalists, and banks.

6. Complete the necessary paperwork

Register your business with the appropriate local agency. In addition, you need to obtain all licenses and permits required to start a shipping company. This step is very important, as you don’t want to run into issues with the government after launching your shipping company.

7. Find a good location and hire employees

Since the success of your shipping company hinges partly on your chosen location, you need to find a good location. The site should have plenty of open land for container storage and should have direct rail access. In addition, you need to hire manpower to work on-board your vessel and in your shipping office.

8. Purchase the required equipment

To get your shipping company off the ground, you need to purchase containers, trucks, office equipment and other equipment.

9. Develop your corporate brand and market your business

Hire a graphic designer to help you come up with a professional logo, which you can use on your business cards, invoices, shipping labels, stationary, your website, and any other thing that has to do with your business.

In addition, hire a professional website designer to develop a website for your shipping company. This will help clients find your business over the internet. After developing your corporate branding, you can start hunting for clients by marketing your business on online and offline advertising medium.