A Comprehensive Guide on How to Start a Cargo Van Business

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Starting a cargo van business involves understanding market demand, creating a business plan, choosing the right van, registering your business, getting licenses and insurance, and branding your services.
  • Cargo vans provide benefits like increased delivery capacity, faster times, and branding, making them popular for efficient transportation.
  • Using technology, developing operational systems, and effective marketing are crucial for a cargo van business’s performance and growth.

The cargo van delivery business is growing with leaps and bounds. If your delivery business is booming with orders, but the number of deliveries you are trying to make is limited, a cargo van can enhance the quality of your services. Whether you wish to run a full-fledged business or make money with a passive income, a cargo van is your best fit.

Since more people are turning towards online orders, businesses can’t afford to make any mishaps while making their customers happy. Over 75% of shoppers wish to have their orders shipped the same day, which is an opportunity for businesses to excel in their delivery methods.

Starting a cargo van business can help you surpass challenges such as heavy load, limited space, weak engines, and lower horsepower. Hence, many small transportation businesses are upgrading to cargo vans to fulfill the delivery needs of their existing and new customers.

In this blog post, we shed light on how to start a cargo van business.

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How to Start a Cargo Van Business in 6 Steps?

To start a cargo van business, you can follow these steps:

1. Devise a business plan

Devise a business plan to start a cargo van business

Starting a new business requires planning things such as banking/funding options, permits, and insurance policies, as well as keeping everything well-managed.

A proper cargo van business plan will help you turn thoughts into action at the right time. You can include the following things in your business plan:

  • Keeping your budgets in check.
  • Identifying your competitors and target market.
  • Strategic marketing techniques and business goals.
  • Pricing strategy as per your requirement.
  • Operational plans and challenges that can come along.
  • Skills and expertise required in your delivery drivers or other team members.

2. Buy a cargo van

As every business is different, the type of van you would require depends on the number of packages, weight, and dimensions of parcels you would be carrying. Budget is another factor when it comes to buying a van, depending on your business type.

Depending on all the above factors and the features you need in your van, you can opt for a top cargo van that gives the best result within the budget. You can choose one from the link or visit the nearest dealer. As discussed earlier, you can ask the dealer about upfitting your van with the required parts during the purchase process.

3. Register your cargo van business

Before registering your cargo van business, you may need to come up with a business name and logo that you like based on their availability (keeping your name and logo unique will save you from any sort of copyright infringement). You can then have a proper website and list your cargo van delivery business on Google so that people can find you.

Depending on your requirements, you can register your van delivery business entity as an LLC, corporation, or partnership. A lawyer will help you set up the entity and explain more about the usage, terms, and conditions. 

You may also want to open a banking account for your cargo van delivery business. It will help you keep your personal and business finances separate, give credibility to your business, help you organize things, and pay taxes on time.

4. Apply for a license and cargo insurance

Although you don’t need a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) for your van business, you may need to get required permits, licenses, and cargo insurance based on your business type (flower delivery, courier, or other transportation businesses).

For instance, if you offer moving services, you may need a license depending on state and local laws. A lawyer can help you understand and get the required license and cargo insurance so that you can start delivering amazing customer experiences.

5. Brand your van delivery business

Any business should have a clear and enticing brand voice that speaks to its customers and generates more awareness. Branding is the key to reaching people who are looking for the services you offer.

A brand is what makes your business stand out from other businesses. You can establish this through a website and grow your presence online through various channels. Don’t forget, you could also brand your business through the vehicle wrap idea we saw earlier!

If you’re looking to start a sprinter van business, this unique branding approach can help you get noticed.

6. Market Your delivery services

Now that you’ve set things up, it’s time for an incredible marketing plan that will help skyrocket your business growth!

You don’t want people to remain unaware of your business and waste your money. Marketing your cargo van business will increase audience engagement and site visits, bring new customers, and increase repeat ones. Your potential customers are the people who search for moving services.

Digital marketing is a viable option that will help spread awareness to customers. You may also want to hire employees or marketing professionals who will help generate more traffic. These professionals know how to create tailored ads based on your target market and bring in a good number of leads.

Start Optimizing Deliveries Alongside Launching Your Business!

With Upper, optimize deliveries from the very first day you launch your cargo van business. It automates the process of optimizing routes, dispatching them to drivers, and tracking your deliveries.

A Comprehensive Checklist for Launching Your Cargo Van Business

Now that you’re familiar with the essential steps to kickstart your cargo van business, having a comprehensive checklist can significantly simplify the process for you. 

Below is a detailed checklist that you can refer to when you’re ready to launch your cargo van business:

1. Define Your business model

Identify the type of cargo van business you want to start (e.g., delivery services, moving cargo van company, mobile services).
Determine your target market and understand their needs and preferences.

2. Develop a business plan

Create a detailed business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, financial projections, and operational plans.
Conduct market research to understand your competition, market trends, and customer demands.
Identify potential customer segments and their delivery needs.
Understand the barriers to entry and regulatory requirements.

3. Secure financing

Calculate your startup costs, including vehicle purchase or leasing, insurance, permits, marketing, and operating expenses.
Explore funding options such as loans, grants, investors, or personal savings to finance your business.

If you’re curious about the startup costs involved in launching your cargo van business, check out this video. It’ll give you a clear idea of what to expect, helping you secure the financing you need to get started.

4. Choose the right cargo van

Research and select a suitable cargo van based on your business requirements, including size, capacity, fuel efficiency, and features.
Decide whether to buy the van or take advantage of lease/rental opportunities, considering your budget, long-term plans, and financing options.
Invest in necessary equipment (e.g., dollies, straps, blankets).

5. Register your business

Choose a unique and catchy business name, and register your business entity (e.g., LLC, corporation) with the relevant operating authority.
Obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance required to operate your cargo van business legally.

6. Hire and train staff

Recruit skilled and reliable staff, such as drivers, dispatchers, and administrative personnel, to support your cargo van operation.
Conduct background checks and screening processes.
Provide comprehensive training and ongoing support to ensure your team is well-prepared and aligned with your business goals.

7. Set up operational systems

Establish standard operating procedures for pickup and delivery.
Implement efficient operational systems for route planning, scheduling, dispatching, and customer communication.
Develop protocols for handling and securing cargo.

8. Invest in technology and software

Invest in route optimization and dispatch management software
Implement GPS tracking and vehicle monitoring systems.
Set up invoicing and accounting systems.

9. Establish partnerships and networks

Build strong relationships with suppliers, vendors, and industry partners to access resources and support for your business.
Network with other businesses, associations, and organizations to explore collaboration opportunities and expand your reach.

10. Brand and market your business

Develop a strong brand identity with a memorable logo, professional website, marketing materials, and promotional strategies.
Define your unique value proposition and key selling points to differentiate your business in the market.
Develop a well-defined marketing plan to promote your cargo van services to your target audience.
Utilize a mix of online strategies (e.g., social media, website, SEO) and offline tactics (e.g., networking events, local advertising) to reach and attract target customers.

Skip the Route Headaches; Focus on Growth!

Launching your cargo van business is exciting, but route planning shouldn't hold you back. Upper optimizes routes and automates tasks, freeing you to focus on building your business.

What Can You Use a Cargo Van Delivery Business for?

Businesses that require to deliver or transport highly loaded and multiple packages can use a cargo van to fulfill these demands. Cargo vans are similar to passenger vans, but they have large back doors that help delivery drivers to load and unload packages. So, it is also crucial to hire professional delivery drivers and give them the training to perform their jobs with ease and expertise.

Depending on your preference and market demand, you can use a cargo van business for services including:

  • Deliver Furniture (or moving services)
  • Last-mile delivery services
  • Catering services
  • Flower delivery
  • Medical transports
  • Mobile pet grooming business
  • HVAC technicians
  • Cleaning services
  • Mobile auto detailers

Benefits of Starting a Cargo Van Business

If you are new to the cargo van business, you might be amazed to see that they can help you in numerous ways. The reason why local businesses are switching to cargo van delivery is its capability to lower the hassle and boost revenue. Here are the 4 main benefits.

1. More number of delivery orders

More number of delivery orders by starting a cargo van business

A cargo van is your go-to option as it allows you to manage higher order volume and raise your total deliveries. There are three key ways it helps you with this.

  • Offers more space: The main purpose of cargo vans is to carry a huge amount of packages. So, you can add more deliveries if you have a plethora of orders, but are unable to fit them in the delivery vehicles due to their size, you can definitely go for sprinter vans.
  • Offers more payload capacity: Along with more space, a cargo van can also deliver heavier parcels due to a huge payload capacity, unlike normal cargo vans or box trucks.
  • Offers area for lengthy packages: Although vans offer appropriate spaces for long packages, you need a cargo van if you have to fit large building materials like plasterboards.

2. Space to fit in multiple packages

A cargo van is normally a large box on wheels (also referred to as a box truck), so it offers big space to carry various items, including packages, tables/chairs/furniture, equipment/tools, and food items. The cargo space is measured in cubic feet at the back of the van, and it has a significant load capacity. Based on your requirement, you can choose a model from manufacturers who provide different roof heights and wheelbase options.

As cargo vans are supposed to be spacious to carry more packages, they only come with two front seats. However, if you require more workers to fulfill your business needs, you can opt for other models that offer seating upgrades, such as passenger van.

You can also upfit your cargo van through service professionals or check if your manufacturer provides upfitting services during purchase. A van upfit is basically an upgrade that makes it versatile and involves installing customized accessories and parts without altering the van’s design. It includes:

  • Shelves 
  • Bins
  • Refrigeration 
  • Coolers
  • Wall hooks 
  • Wall pockets
  • Hand-washing stations
  • Ladders
  • Racks, drawers, and cabinets
  • Cargo tie-downs

3. Increases delivery speed and gives branding opportunity

A cargo van can help you improve your delivery time and make your customers happy without the stress of a speeding ticket.

  • As compared to a freight truck, a cargo van is smaller and easier to move. So you can drive across your delivery routes quite conveniently. Moreover, driving a cargo van doesn’t require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and requires less parking space. So it is a better option than a giant truck when it comes to increasing delivery speed. The sprinter van business model is particularly popular for its speed and efficiency.
  • A vehicle with more horsepower offers more speed to carry heavier payloads. If you have been struggling to carry heavy packages on a vehicle that slows down, a cargo van can be your best bet.
  • While you can glam up your new cargo van with graphics, taking advantage of the blank space on the sides can give your brand more awareness. Such advertising on your cargo vans can target a lot of public eyes in the locality.
  • A vehicle wrap on a local delivery van was recorded to make around 16 million impressions every year as per The American Trucking Association (ATA). So your van also gives you a good return by simply moving around the roads and promoting your business.

Get Upper to Optimize Routes and Start Making Efficient Deliveries

Starting a cargo van business to make money can be exciting, but there are many challenges that small businesses face while delivering packages. Whether you are an individual truck driver or dispatch manager, you need to ensure that your packages reach customers on time. Upper can help you with route planning and optimization so that you can make deliveries with finesse. So, let us check some of the benefits that Upper offers you.

1. Makes delivery efficient

Leave the hassle of planning routes and scheduling deliveries on Upper, so you don’t have to worry about wastage of time or fuel. You can simply focus on growing your van delivery business and make it a profitable business. Upper helps you make faster and more efficient deliveries with automatic route planning and quick dispatch through sprinter vans.

2. Ensures customer satisfaction

Ensures customer satisfaction with upper

With Upper, customers will receive automatic notifications about your ETA. This will help them remain informed about their package delivery time and be relaxed. Keeping customers informed helps both big and small businesses to maintain the customer satisfaction level and grow successfully.

3. Proof of delivery

Proof of delivery is an excellent feature that helps cargo van drivers to collect e-signatures, capture photos during task completion, and add notes as required. This increases trust and nullifies any chances of false claims against your business as everything will be recorded.

To know more about using Upper and how it can help optimize routes for your cargo van deliveries, signup for a

Make Every Delivery Count with Upper!

Streamline your cargo van business from the start. Upper optimizes routes, considers vehicle capacity constraints, tracks deliveries, and keeps customers informed, ensuring on-time deliveries and happy customers from day one.

Frequently Asked Questions

A cargo van is a type of vehicle specifically designed for transporting goods or cargo. It typically has a spacious interior cargo area with little to no seating in the back, allowing for the efficient storage and transportation of various items.

The best way to make money with a cargo van is by offering delivery or transportation services. This can include delivering packages for e-commerce or transportation businesses, providing moving services for individuals or businesses, offering courier services or hauling services, or even operating a mobile service business (like mobile pet grooming or HVAC services).

You can find loads and make money with a cargo van by networking with local businesses, signing up with freight brokerages or load boards, using online platforms specializing in freight matching, and building relationships with shippers and logistics companies. These strategies can help you secure regular loads and maximize your earning potential.

Cargo van drivers and owner-operators can make anywhere from $20 to $35 per hour, with some reaching $75 to $100 per hour depending on the cargo. The earning potential of owning a cargo van can vary widely based on factors such as the type of services you offer, your location, the demand for transportation businesses or services in your area, your operational efficiency, and the number of hours you dedicate to the business.

Yes, a van business can be profitable, especially if you optimize your operations, maintain a steady flow of customers or loads, manage your expenses effectively, and provide high-quality customer service. Like any business, profitability depends on factors such as market demand, competition, pricing strategies, and operational efficiency.

You can make extra money with a cargo van by diversifying your services or expanding your client base. For example, you could offer additional services such as rush deliveries, weekend or after-hours services, specialty deliveries (like fragile items or perishable goods), or partner with businesses for regular contract work.

The best van for delivery depends on your specific needs and the type of cargo you’ll be transporting. Popular cargo van models used for delivery purposes include the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster, and Chevrolet Express. Consider factors such as cargo capacity, fuel efficiency, reliability, and customization options when choosing the best van for delivery.

On average, a well-maintained cargo van can have a life expectancy of anywhere from 150,000 to 300,000 miles or more before requiring major repairs or replacement. The life expectancy of a cargo van can vary depending on factors such as maintenance, usage, driving conditions, and the quality of the vehicle.

Based on the type and model, the average cost of a cargo van ranges between $20,000 to $55,000. Cargo van loads are in high demand these days, and for good reason. Based on the requirement of your package sizes and weight, you can buy a new cargo van as per its dimension and cargo space.

Searching a parcel can be time-consuming and frustrating when you reach a customer’s location. But Upper has got that covered for you! You can easily add details for every parcel by feeding information like parcel count, placement in vehicle and parcel photo. This feature simplifies deliveries and saves a lot of time.


Since the number of online orders is increasing, you can take advantage of this time and make money by starting a cargo van business. Plus, getting extra cash for a business that’s growing isn’t a bad idea! On top of that, if you already have sprinter vans, you can follow the steps and begin your journey right off the bat! Although it may take some time to set up and get-going on your first order, you need to take the first step towards a profitable business! 

And while you would be busy making plans and strategies to boost your business, you can leave the extra work of route planning to a reliable software like Upper! With features like optimizing routes, one-click dispatch, API integration, and many others, you don’t need to waste another minute. Get Upper Route Planner as your business buddy and enhance the quality of your buying experience for your customers. Try the .

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.