How to Start a Shuttle Service

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How to Start a Shuttle Service Business Overview:

If you’re looking for a business in the transportation industry that offers a useful service to your community, learn how to start a shuttle service. A shuttle service, also called a share taxi, is a mode of transportation that falls between public and private transportation. Shuttles can run on a semi-standard route, like an airport shuttle, or they can be hired to make pick-ups and drop-offs at any location, similar to a taxi service except customers need to make reservations for these services. When looking into how to start a shuttle service business, you’ll see that financing is necessary to pay for upfront expenses such as your shuttle vehicle(s) and driver(s). A solid business plan will not only help you secure funding, it will also help you focus your business and determine whether you will invest in a franchise, who your target market will be, how much you will charge, when you expect to turn a profit, etc. Research what types of permits and licenses are required in your area for starting a shuttle service as a special commercial vehicle license may be necessary for your driver(s) to have. You’ll also need business insurance that covers your vehicle(s), drivers and passengers. Selecting a niche is perhaps the most important aspect to starting this business since the best plans can fall flat without any customers. Study your competition and find the niche that’s not currently being served. There are likely plenty of airport shuttles but there might not be a shuttle service for the elderly. Other groups to target include college students who don’t have vehicles of their own and working parents who need after-school transportation for their children to sports practices and tutoring appointments. Also, consider pursuing contracts with local hotels to provide shuttle service for their customers to areas of interest around town (mall, zoo, museums, etc.). You’ll find that this is one of the most scalable business ideas you can launch because you can start with one van that you drive yourself and add vehicles and drivers as your business grows.

A Day in the Life of a Shuttle Service Business Owner:

This article brought to you by Business Ideas! If you enjoyed this article, make sure to subscribe to the Business Ideas Newsletter to get ideas sent straight to your email inbox.Your daily schedule will depend on your business model and the number of vehicles you operate. If you do all the driving, you will likely have some appointments scheduled and will take calls throughout the day for additional pick-ups and drop-offs. If you have a fleet of vans, you will act as a dispatch of sorts, coordinating your drivers and setting appointments. If you hire your vehicles out to hotels or stick around college campuses, you will probably not have set appointments but your vans will be on site and available for customers to hire when they need transportation.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals who need transportation services.

What You Need to Start:

  • Business plan
  • Marketing materials
  • Vehicle(s)
  • Permits and licenses
  • Driver(s)
  • Website (optional)
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Shuttle services are in high demand especially to those who don’t have transportation of their own (college students, the elderly, tourists, etc.).
  • You can start this business with one vehicle and add more as your business grows.
  • Franchises are available to help you get started.
  • You get to meet lots of interesting people.
  • You can hire drivers to work for you while you concentrate on the marketing and management of the business.

The Bad:

  • The start-up investment is high.
  • It can take some time to spread the word about your new business and turn a profit.


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