Starting a horse transport business can be a fulfilling way to turn your love of driving and horses into an income-generating occupation.
Basic knowledge of horses and their care is key to your success. If you don't have much experience with horses, you should find a horse professional to teach you basic horse care before embarking on this journey.
Your knowledge will help horse owners entrust their animals to you. Some significant investments are required to start this business, including trucks and horse trailers.
Conduct research to determine what kinds of horse transport businesses exist in your area. If several already operate, try to find a niche market for your business.
Review local laws and regulations for horse transport businesses in your state, city and county. Contact an attorney or state, county or city official if you have any questions.
Determine how far you are willing to travel to transport horses, whether instate only or out-of-state. Determine how much equipment you will need; how many trailers, trucks and employees.
Choose a name for your business. Acquire licenses as required by your city, county and state. Contact the United States Department of Transportation to determine if you will need a DOT number.
Purchase liability insurance. Make sure your insurance will protect you and your business from any claims that may arise. Consult an insurance professional to determine if any other types of insurance are beneficial or necessary for your business.
Create a business plan to guide the growth of your business. Begin with a statement of purpose, or mission statement. Include descriptions of your business, including financial information and management. Be sure to include short- and long-term goals for the business. Determine how the goals will be measured and accomplished. Cover what will happen if there are too many clients to serve and if there are not enough clients to maintain cash flow.
Develop a marketing plan. Expect to spend 20 per cent of your time running your business and 80 per cent of your time marketing your business. Include development of an online presence and local networking. Focus on cost-free methods of marketing to begin with, such as press releases, web forums, social networking sites and word of mouth. Plan for future financing for marketing and advertising as well.
Develop written policies regarding how horses will be handled, what will happen if a horse is injured, how clients will be notified about transportation status and how client complaints will be handled. Create clear written policies for any issues that may arise and make all clients aware of the written policies.
Obtain financing for start-up costs, including trucks, horse trailers, travel expenses, employee salaries, fuel, food, lodging, license fees and insurance premiums. Show your business plan and marketing plan to anyone you seek financing from.
Purchase trucks, horse trailers, buckets, halters, lead ropes, tool kits, first aid kits for humans and horses and emergency equipment.
Create a web site for your business. Recruit the help of an experienced friend. If necessary, hire a professional. Make sure your web site is educational and professional. Include information regarding care of horses while travelling. Use your expertise in this area to draw traffic to your site. Any person who clicks through to your site from an Internet search is a potential client.
Use social networking web sites to market your business. Make sure your pages on social networking sites link back to your site.
Consider creating an e-mail newsletter or blog for your current and potential customers.
Maintain a list containing contact information for veterinarians in your travel zone in case of emergency.