A transportation company is a business that makes trips between two or sometimes more locations as it “shuttles” passengers around the city. Bus service between cities and towns in Florida is provided by several private companies, including Greyhound Lines, Megabus, OurBus, RedCoach, Bus Line Orlando, Miami ATC Buses Orlando, and Falcon Charter Bus Orlando.

Available statistics show that the market size of the Public Transportation industry in the United States is $78.5 billion in 2023. The market size of the Public Transportation industry in the US had grown by 0.9% per year on average between 2017 and 2022.

Steps on How to Start a Transportation Business in Florida

  1. Conduct Market Research

If you are considering starting a transportation services business, 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 transportation services business 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, information that will help you know what your potential market will be looking out for from a transportation services business, and also help you operate your transportation services business with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.

a. Who is the Target Market for a Transportation Business in Florida?
  • Tourists and Visitors
  • Workers
  • Business people
  • Students
  • Everyone who lives and works in the city where you operate.
b. Is Transportation Services Business a Profitable Business in Florida?

Yes, the transportation services business is quite profitable. Approximately 11.1 million residents, or 57 percent of Florida’s population, live within one half-mile of an urban fixed transit route (motorbus or rail service) and they use public transportation daily.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to the transportation services business, and here are some of them;

  • Taxi
  • Bus shuttles
  • Train
  • Speed boat.
d. Who are the Major Competitors in Florida?
  • Greyhound Lines
  • Megabus
  • OurBus
  • RedCoach
  • Bus Line Orlando Miami ATC Buses Orlando
  • Falcon Charter Bus Orlando
  • Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach service
  • Sunshine Bus Co
  • Flagler County Transportation
  • Lake Trucking Company
  • Space Coast Area Transit – 321Transit
  • Miami-Dade County Special Transportation Service.
  • Naples Transportation & Tours
  • JayBee Transport LLC
  • Florida Sunshine Shuttle
  • Apollo’s Chariots
  • Manasota Transportation
  • Smooth Ride Transportation
  • Naples Royal Transportation Inc.
  • United Cab Gulf Coast Transportation.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Transportation Business in Florida?

Yes, there are county, and state regulations and laws for the transportation business in Florida. Most businesses in this category do not require a state-issued business license to operate.

However, commercial driving requires specialized driver’s licenses from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Additionally, local county and municipal regulations sometimes apply in this category. Participating in ridesharing companies, such as Uber and LYFT, often requires specialized insurance.

f. Is There a Franchise for Transportation Services Business?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for the transportation services business, and here are some of them;

  • United Charis Transport LLC
  • The SUPPLY POINTe transportation
  • Go Airport Shuttle.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Transportation Business in Florida?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Pool of Cars
  • Driver’s Licenses
  • Insurance
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Hackney Carriage (Taxi) Licenses
  • Employees
  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 transportation business are;

Creative Transportation Business Name ideas
  • Spring Hill© Bus Transport Company, Inc.
  • Bus Fleet® Shuttle Bus Company, LLC
  • Lehigh Acres© Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Miami Shuttles® Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Boca Raton™ Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Inner City™ Transportation Company, LLC.
  • North Port© Transportation Company, LLC
  • Bore Shuttlers® Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Star Trek© Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Outlook Shuttles© Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Jemmie Jewels® Transportation Company, LLC
  • Palm Coast® Transportation Company, LLC
  • West Coast™ Transportation Company, LLC
  • Blue Bus© Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Wolf Shuttle® Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Deerfield Beach™ Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Shannon Whyte™ Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Road Master© Transportation Company, Inc.
  • Julius Chamberlin® Transportation Company, LLC
  • Fort Myers™ Transportation Company, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Transportation Services Business in Florida?

When it comes to the business structure of a transportation services business in Florida, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.

Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Transportation Services Business in Florida?
  • General Business License
  • Driver’s License
  • Hackney Carriage (Taxi) Licenses
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Operational State Facility Inspections for your parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to start a Transportation Services Business in Florida?

You don’t need any certifications to start a transportation services business in Florida.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Transportation Services Business in Florida?

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run a transportation services business in Florida;

  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval (For your parking)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Driver’s License
  • Hackney Carriage (Taxi) Licenses
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a transportation services business in Florida, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so 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 Transportation Services Business in Florida?

A transportation services business will cost from $250,000 – $2 million to start, and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Transportation Services Business?
  • The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services total – $5,200.
  • Marketing promotion expenses – $2,500
  • The cost for hiring a business consultant (writing of business plans inclusive) – $2,500.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and auto insurance) coverage at a total premium – $15,400.
  • The cost of logistics software, accounting software, CRM software, and Payroll Software – $5,500
  • The cost for leasing a facility (long-term lease agreement) – $65,600.
  • The cost for facility remodeling and installations – $20,000.
  • The cost for the purchase of shuttle buses: $250,000
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery – $500
  • Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $50,000
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,150
  • The cost for the purchase of office furniture and gadgets – $8,000.
  • The cost of launching an official website – $800
  • Miscellaneous – $5,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Transportation Services Business?
  • The size of the transportation services business (number of shuttle buses to start the business with)
  • The choice of location to cover
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the transportation services business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the transportation services business
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost of the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost of the grand opening of the transportation services business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

Essentially, it is not compulsory to build a new facility for your transportation services business, but, if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your own 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 Transportation Services Business?
  • Gas and lubricants
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • 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
  • Fleet Manager $48,000 Per Year
  • Accountant $38,000 Per Year
  • Bus Drivers – $36,800 Per Year
  • Ticketing Officers (Call Center Executives) – $26,100 Per Year
  • Conductors -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Transportation Services Business?
  • 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

Road Master™ Transportation Company, Inc. is a registered and licensed shuttle bus transportation company that will be based in Orlando, Florida. We are in business to rent or lease passenger cars to customers typically for a short period usually 30 days or less or for a longer period usually 12 months or more for leasing purposes.

Road Master™ Transportation Company, Inc. has been able to secure all relevant licenses and permits to operate throughout Florida. We will ensure that we abide by the rules and regulations guiding the public transportation services industry.

b. Products and Service
  • Bus shuttle services.
c. Mission Statement

Road Master™ Transportation Company, Inc. is in the public transportation industry with a singular mission to make available easy means of shuttling all around Orlando via reliable and comfortable buses.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to be listed as the top 5 transportation companies in the whole of Florida.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a transportation services business are to transport commuters via bus shuttles from one location to another.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Admin and HR Manager
  • Fleet Manager
  • Accountant
  • Bus Drivers
  • Ticketing Officers (Call Center Executives)
  • Conductors

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Excellent operational history
  • Availability of the latest and most reliable shuttle buses
  • Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
  • Experience and trained professional drivers.
  • Excellent customer testimonials.
  • Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
  • We will need a loan to build our parking facility and to purchase the latest shuttle buses
  • The owner is currently running the business solo
  • Lack of economies of scale.
  • Build upon existing clientele
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • 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 businesses.
b. How Do Transportation Companies Make Money?

Transportation services businesses make money from the sale of tickets for the buses meant to transport commuters from one location to another.

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
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your transportation services business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, hotels, travel and tours agencies, schools, 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 schools, libraries, and local coffee shops et al
  • Place a small or classified advertisement in the newspaper, or local publication about your company and the services you offer
  • Leverage on referral networks such as agencies that will attract clients who would need your customized services
  • Advertise your business in relevant magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio stations.
  • 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?

$2.25 each way, or $5.65 for a 1-Day Pass.

b. How Much Profit Do Transportation Services Business Owners Make a Year in Florida?

The profit a transportation services business owner in Florida is expected to make a year is not fixed, but on average, they can make over $125,000 in profit in a year.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the transportation services business (number of shuttle buses owned)
  • The location the transportation services business is covering
  • The management style of the transportation services business
  • The business approach of the transportation services business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the transportation services business.
  • The number of years the transportation services business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Transportation Services Business Product/Service?

The profit margin of a transportation services business is not fixed. It could range from 5 percent to 25 percent depending on the distance covered and other factors.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a transportation services business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in Florida;

  • First Fiscal Year: $320,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: 460,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $620,000
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Transportation Services Business in Florida?
  • The demography of the location as it relates to people that make use of public transportation
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents in the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of transportation services businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What City is Best to Open a Transportation Services Business in Florida?
  • Orlando
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Tampa
  • Petersburg
  • Hialeah
  • Port St. Lucie
  • Cape Coral
  • Tallahassee
  • Fort Lauderdale.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Transportation Services Business in Florida?
  • A fleet of shuttle buses
  • Bus trackers
  • Booking (ticketing) software
  • Dash Cam
  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard transportation services business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, fleet manager, accountant, bus drivers, conductors, and customer service officer (call center executives).

  1. Launch the Business Proper

In recent times, no transportation services business 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 transportation services business, you will officially inform people in your city that your transportation services business is open for business.

a. What Makes a Transportation Services Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and the latest shuttle buses to launch the business
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your transportation services business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your transportation services business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Transportation Services Business?
  • The business is open for the day’s work
  • The buses are washed, cleaned, and ready for work
  • Tickets are sold and the buses shuttle around town
  • Buses return to base
  • Schedule maintenance of the cars is carried out
  • Marketing/website upkeep
  • Supply ordering
  • Administrative duties
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Transportation Services Business?
  • Business management skills
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Logistics and material handling skills
  • Good driving skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in the public transportation services industry
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.