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How to Start a Haulage Business in UK [Business Plan]

A haulage company is a business that is involved in transporting goods by road or rail between suppliers and large consumer outlets, factories, warehouses, or depots. This includes everything humans might wish to move in bulk – from vegetables and other foodstuffs to clothes, ore, coal, and other supplies.

The global road haulage market size was valued at USD 2,811.7 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5. 5% from 2019 to 2025. A significant rise in the global production of trucks is supplementing the rising freight demand from industries such as retail and manufacturing. Please note that in 2021, the road freight transport market in the United Kingdom dropped to 32 billion British Pounds.

Steps on How to Start a Haulage Business in the UK

  1. Conduct Market Research

If you are considering starting a haulage business in the UK, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your haulage company should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, help you know what your potential market will be looking out for from a haulage business, and also help you operate your haulage company with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.

a. Who is the Target Market for a Haulage Company?
  • Construction companies
  • E-commerce businesses
  • Merchants and Warehouse Operators
  • Retailers who would want to move their goods from one location to another
  • Manufacturers (food products, spare parts, furniture manufacturers, and home appliances manufacturers et al)
  • Households who would want to move from one apartment to another
  • Corporate organizations who would want to move from one office to another
  • Government agencies who have cause to move light goods and materials from one location to other locations
b. Is Haulage company a Profitable Business?

Yes, the haulage business is indeed profitable in the UK. Available data show that the industry will grow by 5.4% with a market value of 27.1 GBP.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to haulage companies, but a haulage business in the UK may decide to specialize in transporting certain types of goods or settle for train or trucks as a mode of hauling goods.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Kings Heavy Haulage Ltd.
  • Rogers UK Transport Ltd
  • SG Haulage Ltd
  • Rawlings Transport
  • Chris Bennett Heavy Haulage Ltd
  • Kenyon Road Haulage Ltd
  • Hampson Haulage Ltd
  • Lawsons Haulage Ltd
  • R A Haulage Co
  • Donnell & Ellis Heavy Haulage Ltd
  • Truswell Haulage Ltd
  • Glendale Transport UK Ltd
  • Maxi Haulage Ltd
  • Mainline Haulage Ltd
  • Mulgrew Haulage
  • Fraser Haulage Ltd
  • D & P Haulage
  • Coleman International Transport Limited
  • John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing
  • Cartwright Brothers (Haulage) Ltd.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Haulage Business?

Yes, there are regulations and zoning laws for haulage businesses in the UK. Please note that the UK is comprised of four countries and three separate legal jurisdictions: England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Each of the three jurisdictions has its own regulations and zoning laws that govern business, although there is significant overlap between them. The legal systems of England and Wales and Northern Ireland are based on common law, while Scottish law is based on a mixture of uncodified civil law and common law.

f. Is There a Franchise for Haulage Business?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for a haulage company. Here are some of them;

  • BlueGrace Logistics
  • Craters & Freighters
  • Worldwide Express
  • United Shipping, Inc.
  • United Charis Transport LLC
  • InXpress
  • Intercargo
  • Unishippers Global Logistics LLC
  • AIT Freight Systems.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Trucks
  • Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
  • Insurance
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Employees
  • Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a haulage business are;

Creative Haulage Business Name ideas
  • Prince Charles© Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Cross Country® Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Ganda Guys© Haulage Company, PLC
  • Logistics Solutions® Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Load King™ Haulage Company, PLC
  • Grit and Move™ Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Young Movers© Haulage Company, PLC
  • Tandy T® Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Star Line© Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Chariots© Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Safe Hands® Haulage Company, PLC
  • Union Jack® Haulage Company, PLC
  • Tally Top™ Haulage Company, PLC
  • Rapid Movers© Haulage company, Ltd.
  • Justin Ben® Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Amos Banks™ Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Goodie Guys™ Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Back and Forth© Haulage Company, Ltd.
  • Owen McGrath® Haulage Company, PLC
  • John Paddington™ Haulage Company, Ltd.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for a Haulage Business?

The United Kingdom has a wide array of options that you can choose from if you are looking for a business structure to build your business on. The most important thing is that you should select a business structure that will best serve your overall business vision and mission.

In the UK, you can start your business as a Sole trader, Limited company, Private limited company (LTD or Ltd), a Public limited company (PLC), a Limited liability partnership (LLP), or a Guarantee Company (LBG).

b. Steps to Register a Business in the UK

One of the most important steps that you should take when starting a business in the UK is to register the business name with the regulating authority. You can register your new business at Companies House on GOV.UK. Please note that the entire process will take you about 30 minutes if you have all the required details ready before approaching them.

In the United Kingdom, you can register your business online but it will cost you £12 to register a company online (you can pay this fee via PayPal, debit card, or credit card). It takes on average 24hrs for your company to be registered. Please note that to register a business in the UK, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • A company name.
  • Valid ID
  • Address for the company.
  • One or more directors’ names and details (if it is just, you that is fine).
  • Details of the company shares, shareholding, and shareholders (with at least one shareholder).
  • A Memorandum and articles of association. This is a standard document that shareholders create and agree to that outlines the company’s written rules, it’s usually very standardized unless you have specific needs.
  • Detailed information on anyone who owns a significant interest or control in the company (this means anyone who owns 25% or more shares or voting rights in the company).
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • General Business License
  • Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
  • Council Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Operational State Facility Inspections for your Parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Haulage Business in the UK?

You don’t need any certifications to start a haulage business in the UK.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Council Permit
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
  • State Permit and Building Approval
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a haulage business in the UK, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Haulage Business in the UK?

A haulage business in the UK will cost from £50,000 to over a million dollars to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.

For example, the price of a truck depends largely on its size. Light-duty class 2 and 3 trucks run from £25,000 to £45,000. Medium duty class 4 trucks run from £35,000 to £50,000. Medium duty class 5 trucks run from £45,000 to £70,000.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Haulage Business in the UK
  • Business Registration Fees – £12.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – £1,300.
  • Marketing, Branding, and Promotions – £1,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – £2,500.
  • Insurance – £1,400.
  • Rent/Lease – £65,000.
  • Other start-up expenses include commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery (£500), and phone and utility deposits (£1,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – £45,000
  • Start-up Inventory – £15,500
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – £1,750
  • Purchase of Trucks – £120,000
  • Website: £600
  • Miscellaneous: £1,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • The size of the haulage company (number of trucks you want to start the business with)
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the haulage company
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the facility
  • The cost of insurance
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your haulage company, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build a parking facility and administrative office. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • Gas and lubricants
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Trucks maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner) -£68,000 Per Year
  • Admin and HR Manager – £48,000 Per Year
  • Transport and Logistics Manager £48,000 Per Year
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer) – £42,000 Per Year
  • Accountant £38,000 Per Year
  • Truck Drivers – £36,800 Per Year
  • Material Handlers/Yard Spotters/Forklifts Operators – £28,000 Per Year
  • Customer Service Officer (Receptionist) – £26,100 Per Year
  • Security Guard -£24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

John Paddington™ Haulage Company, Ltd. is a registered and licensed haulage company that will be based in Kingston Upon Hull. John Paddington™ Haulage Company will focus on general haulage services that include oversized, rare, and unusual commercial and military cargo, as well as the planning, coordination, and implementation/transportation of hazardous nuclear waste.

John Paddington™ Haulage Company, Ltd. has been able to secure all relevant licenses and permits to operate throughout the United Kingdom. We will ensure that we abide by the rules and regulations guiding the haulage industry in the United Kingdom and we will only hire experienced and qualified drivers with valid commercial driver’s licenses to handle our trucks.

b. Products and Service

Transporting goods by road and rail between suppliers and large consumer outlets, factories, warehouses, or depots. This includes everything humans might wish to move in bulk – from vegetables and other foodstuffs to clothes, ore, coal, and other supplies.

c. Mission Statement

Our mission at John Paddington™ Haulage Company, Ltd. is to provide professional transportation services while utilizing well-trained employees, state-of-the-art information systems, and a well-maintained fleet to ensure your products reach their destinations in a reliable and timely manner.

Vision Statement

Our Vision is to become one of the preferred choices when it comes to transporting goods in the United Kingdom.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a haulage business in the UK are to transport goods from one location to another, making it the ideal option for local and international freight-hauling jobs.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Admin and HR Manager
  • Transport and Logistics Manager
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer)
  • Accountant
  • Truck Drivers
  • Material Handlers / Yard Spotters / Forklifts Operators
  • Customer Service Officer (Receptionist)

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Excellent operational history.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
  • Experience and trained professionals.
  • Large storage facility.
  • Excellent customer testimonials.
  • Reliable and efficient trucks and service.
  • Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
  • The owner is new to large scale marketing
  • We will need a loan to build your facility and to purchase trucks and vans
  • The owner is currently running the business solo
  • Lack of economies of scale.
  • Growing shipping and eCommerce activities in the United Kingdom.
  • Build upon existing clientele
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • Increase in the number of families moving from one apartment to another.
  • Increase in the movement of goods from one location to another
  • Increase in production activities and warehousing.
  • Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
  • The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
  • Competition in the area could increase
  • Management of employees requires time, money, and effort
  • The transport department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new business.
b. How Do Haulage Companies Make Money?

Haulage companies make money by charging clients for moving their goods from one location to another and also by advertising on their trucks and providing short storage facilities for clients.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
  • Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your haulage company by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to corporate organizations that are into manufacturing, merchants and warehouse operators, households, and key stakeholders in and around your city and state
  • Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, train stations et al.
  • Use friends and family to spread the word about your business
  • Post information about your company and the services you offer on bulletin boards in places like seaports, industrial hubs, local coffee shops et al
  • Place a small or classified advertisement in the newspaper, or local publication about your company and the services your offer
  • Leverage on referral networks such as agencies that will attract clients who would need your services
  • Advertise your business in relevant magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio stations.
  • Attend relevant expos, seminars, and business fairs et al to market your services
  • Engage in a direct marketing approach
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied students
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industry to market your services.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?

Generally, for road haulage in the UK, there are many variables however as a rule of thumb you should allow £1.50 per mile. Some variables can swing this up or down. Ferry costs, tolls, and urgency are all factors that can increase haulage prices.

Please note that the haulage rate is calculated by taking into consideration the dimensions of the cargo. The dimensions of the cargo are used to calculate the dimensional weight or the volumetric weight. The volumetric weight is calculated by multiplying the volume of the cargo by 250.

b. How Much Profit Do Haulage Company Owners Make a Year in the UK?

It depends, but available reports show that on average, a haulage business owner in the UK should net more than £80,275 per year assuming they have steady clientele.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the haulage company
  • The types of related services (warehousing and advertising et al)
  • The location the haulage company is covering
  • The management style of the haulage company
  • The business approach of the haulage company
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the haulage company.
  • The number of years the haulage company is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Haulage Business in the UK?

The profit margin of a haulage business in the UK is not fixed. It could range from 15 percent to 25 percent depending on the distance of the goods to be transported. Please note that haulage businesses in the United Kingdom tend to have very low-profit margins; the industry is extremely competitive which leads to business owners looking to reduce their prices to keep their customers.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a haulage business in the UK. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United Kingdom;

  • First Fiscal Year: £220,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: £350,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: £375,00
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Haulage Company?
  • The demography of the location especially as it relates to manufacturing, warehousing, eCommerce activities, and shipping
  • The demand for haulage services offered by trucking companies in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of haulage companies and owner-operated trucking businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • Newcastle
  • Middlesbrough
  • Manchester
  • Kingston Upon Hull
  • London
  • Plymouth
  • Dorchester
  • Norwich
  • Ipswich
  • Cardiff
  • Portsmouth
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Haulage Business in the UK?

You should be prepared to purchase forklifts, loaders, pallets, crates et al. You will also need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard haulage company, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, transport and logistics manager, marketing and sales executive, accountant, truck drivers, material handlers/yard spotters/forklifts operators and customer service officer (receptionist).

  1. Launch the Business Proper

No haulage company opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening party if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the haulage company, you will be able to inform people in your city that your haulage company is open for business.

a. What Makes a Haulage Business in the UK Successful?
  • Choose a good location to launch the business
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Be deliberate with your sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your haulage company
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your haulage company
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Haulage Business?
  • The business is open for the day’s work
  • The trucks are cleaned, and ready for picking up and transporting goods
  • Customer’s requests are taken and they are scheduled or attended to
  • Maintenance of trucks is carried out
  • Marketing/website upkeep
  • Administrative duties are done
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Haulage Business in the UK?
  • Good driving skills
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Logistics and material handling skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in the transport and logistics industry
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.