If you are experienced with horses and you are also an excellent driver, starting a horse transport business may be just the independent career adventure for you.
While it might seem that horse experience would not be absolutely necessary for this sort of enterprise, the fact is, when you transport horses, you may very well find yourself in a challenging and dangerous situation where you have to be able to handle unfamiliar horses correctly and skillfully.
Serious horse owners will not entrust their horses to an inexperienced transporter. For this reason, you will need for more than basic knowledge of horse care and handling. You will also need a powerful and reliable truck and a sturdy, clean, safe horse trailer.
All that said, it’s easy to see that the ideal candidate for starting an independent horse transport business may be an experienced horse owner who has his or her own equipment.
A business transporting horses can help you pay for that equipment, and it can also help reduce your own rodeo and show transport expenses by allowing you to take along passengers when you transport your own horses to shows, rodeos and trail rides.
What You'll Learn Today
- 1 10 Tips To Help You Set Up A Horse Hauling Business
- 1.1 Start by scoping out the competition
- 1.2 Think about what kind of business you want to set up
- 1.3 Write a business plan that includes your mission statement
- 1.4 Learn the regulations and laws
- 1.5 Make it legal
- 1.6 Make a name for yourself
- 1.7 Settle your finances
- 1.8 Pay attention to detail
- 1.9 Polish your public relations skills
- 1.10 Market your business and yourself
10 Tips To Help You Set Up A Horse Hauling Business
Of course, there’s more to hauling horses for a living than simply moving them from point A to point B. You’ll need to take the same precautions and make the same preparations you would when setting up any independent business.
Start by scoping out the competition
Look into any local horse transport businesses and find out how much they charge and what they offer. Can you offer better prices and/or different, better services?
Think about what kind of business you want to set up
Your choices are:
- Sole Proprietorship
Talk with a tax consultant about the pros and cons of each of these types of business to determine which will work best for you and your financial situation.
Write a business plan that includes your mission statement
What do you hope to achieve with your business? How will you achieve and measure your goals?
Your plan should include a thorough description of your business which includes your financial information and your management plan.
It should also include a solid plan for how you will handle challenges. Knowing what you will do if there are too few or too many clients will help you transition and face challenges smoothly when they arise.
Learn the regulations and laws
Check in with your county, city and state offices to learn the regulations and laws governing independent businesses in general and horse transport businesses specifically.
You’ll need to know exactly what sort of licensing, certification, insurance coverage and so forth you are required to have.
Make it legal
Once you’ve done your own research, get together with an attorney to take care of any requirements and hammer out your company’s stated policies regarding horse handling, injury care, communication with clients, complaint resolution and more.
Be sure you have everything in writing right from the start to avoid potentially costly misunderstandings.
You’ll need to be absolutely certain of having comprehensive insurance coverage.
Your attorney may be able to guide you in choosing insurance; however, if you are happy with your private vehicle and/or homeowners’ insurance, your own insurance agent will probably be the best person to help you with this.
Make a name for yourself
While you’re working with your attorney, you should also choose and establish your official business name. Your attorney can help you communicate with the Department of Transportation to find out if you will be required to register and obtain a DOT number.
Settle your finances
You may need to take out a loan or establish a line of credit to get your business started. Licensing, insurance premiums, attorney fees, equipment and other start up costs don’t come cheap.
If you already have your own equipment, you may not need much in the way of start up financing. If you are planning on having a fleet of trucks and trailers, employees, an office and so on, getting started may be a costly enterprise.
Pay attention to detail
There are also a lot of incidentals that you may need to purchase. For example, you may be in need of extra halters and lead ropes. You should have clean, new feed and water buckets and hay nets for your trailer.
You’ll need to have fire extinguishers on board, as well as first aid supplies for you and the horses.
Polish your public relations skills
If you are not skilled in customer service, it can be a very good idea to take some customer service skill courses online to help you develop a plan for handling challenging customers, managing complaints successfully and resolving any disputes that may arise.
Having a skill set in place can make a huge difference in outcome, and can help you build a strong, positive image for yourself and your business.
Use your customer service skills to help you network, build connections and avoid sudden, unexpected upturns and downfalls in business and income.
Market your business and yourself
If you are just doing horse transport as a side hustle, you may be able to get by very well with old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. Even so, in this day and age, there’s no reason not to make good use of free social media marketing and cheap or free website building tools.
If you don’t have confidence in your ability to set up a good online media campaign, enlist a friend or hire a professional to help you create a strong, positive business image.
Be sure that image includes information to help prospective clients get to know and trust you. Let people know about your horse experience.
Include general information and tips about horses and horse care. Create a blog or newsletter to reach out to existing and potential customers.
Be sure that your business website and social media pages are linked. It’s also a good idea to link from your personal social media pages to these pages.
Non-horsy people who know you personally on social media may very well have other horsy friends who could use your services. Make it easy for them to recommend you.