How To Start A Non-CDL Business Delivery Service? – An Informative Guide

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Before establishing the business, it is crucial to comprehend the rules and insurance requirements for running a non-CDL delivery service.
  • Creating and implementing a solid marketing plan, such as referral programs or targeted advertising, is essential for attracting new clients and increasing revenue.
  • You can preserve a good reputation and stay out of trouble by creating clear policies and procedures for managing consumer complaints or disputes.
  • Keeping accurate records of deliveries and expenses may help to track the performance of your business and make knowledgeable decisions for further expansion.

Ecommerce and online shopping have spoiled the customer’s choices. At the same time, these industries are growing at an unprecedented pace. 

Online retail sales have amounted to a whopping 4.9 trillion USD and are expected to grow to over 7.4 trillion USD in the next four years.

The trucking industry in the USA faces a massive human resource shortage. As per Statista, by 2030, there will be a requirement of 162,000 truckers. Such growth significantly affects the supply chain infrastructure, especially the delivery.

Non-CDL delivery comes to the rescue to take off the load of the overwhelmed supply chain and ensure timely delivery of the products to the customer.

If you plan on starting a non-CDL business delivery service, now is the right time.

This article will answer the burning question of how to start a non-CDL business delivery service.

What is the meaning of a Non-CDL delivery business?

To get into the delivery business, you need to know the difference between a CDL truck and a non-CDL truck.

A CDL delivery business relies on CDL trucks to deliver goods. CDL trucks require a commercial driver’s license because they’re more significant and more complicated to maneuver than a standard-sized delivery vehicle. 

However, the fact is that independent couriers can offer a higher level of service than big firms like FedEx and UPS. They’re too big and complex.

On the other hand, starting a non-CDL delivery service means you serve local businesses looking for delivery services to get their products to end consumers. The delivery of goods by non-CDL companies is done using non-CDL trucks and not heavy vehicles. Thus, non-CDL service providers don’t need a commercial license to deliver the goods around the city, thereby simplifying the process for startups.

There are specific requirements to qualify as a non-CDL service provider. 

Check-list for non-Cdl driver requirements

You can’t drive a non-CDL box truck or have a DQF file unless you follow the DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations for your non-CDL delivery service.

Starting a non-CDL delivery service is a great way to get into the delivery business without investing in commercial vehicles or a commercial driver’s license. 

You can create your delivery service if you have a small, medium-duty vehicle and a non-commercial driver’s business license.

Following is the checklist for non-CDL driver requirements:

  • License

    Ensure your driver must have a clean driving record and a valid license.

  • USDOT number

    It is a mandatory requirement if you’re looking to register your business as a non-CDL delivery service. A USDOT number is one of the essential legal documents in most states.

  • MVR

    A motor vehicle record (MVR) records a person’s driving history. It includes drivers’ traffic citations, vehicular crimes, accidents, and DUI convictions.

  • Medical screening

    The non-CDL drivers should undergo medical screening. The requirement for medical screening is different in different states. 

  • GCWR

    Having more than 26,000 pounds of gross combined weight rating (GCWR) on non-CDL delivery vehicles is prohibited.

  • DQF

    The DQF contains information about your driving record and proof of training. It’s essential to keep this file up-to-date so it can be used in court if needed.

  • Delivery vehicle type

    You can choose a large box truck or a mid-sized U-Haul to transport your goods.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Non-CDL Business Delivery Service

Here are the steps on how to start a non-CDL business delivery service.

1. Decide which delivery business will suit you

You’ll want to start by narrowing down your target market. Consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a particular aspect of your industry, such as retail deliveries or medical transport.

For example, if you plan on starting a successful delivery service for doctors, consider specializing in delivering medical supplies from collection facilities to clinics and hospitals in your area. It would allow you to focus your marketing efforts on repeat customers (clinics) that need these supplies.

2. Establish your USP

Once you know what your competitors are doing and how they’re doing it, start brainstorming ways that you can differentiate yourself from them. You may specialize in a particular aspect of your industry, like retail deliveries. Or you’ll branch out into other delivery services or niches.

If you can make yourself known as an expert in one area of delivery services, then you can easily attract potential clients.

3. Invest in good non-CDL delivery vehicles

Once you secure your first customers, you’ll want to choose a vehicle that fits your needs, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.

If you’re only going to be transporting small documents and plans, you can get away with using a smaller vehicle like a sedan or even an SUV. Smaller vehicles will make it easier for you to maneuver through traffic and parking spaces, making them ideal for short-distance trips.

If you plan on transporting large items, applicable for appliances or furniture delivery service or residential hauling, choose a truck like a box truck or cargo van. These vehicles have larger space than sedans which means they can hold more cargo at once without taking up too much space on the road.

4. Get the necessary permits

If you’re starting a non-CDL delivery business, you’ll need a lot of licenses and permits.

You can get your DOT (Department of Transportation) number and MC number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which you can register here. You’ll also need to complete a suitable carrier’s registration and International Registration Plan tag before driving your truck to other states or Canada.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your non-CDL business include doing business as (a DBA), health licenses and permits from OSHA, trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, and industry-specific rights and licenses.

Once you complete all these legal formalities, it’s best to open a business bank account and stay on top of all business-centered finances.

5. Marketing

Choosing a niche will help narrow your marketing efforts and build up your reputation within that niche. It is possible to market your business in many different ways.

  • You can reach out directly to potential customers or ask your existing customers for word-of-mouth referrals.
  • If you’re looking for new business and securing first customers, consider approaching companies and individuals needing delivery services and inform them of your services and rates.
  • In addition, leverage digital marketing, which allows you to reach thousands of people across the country. You could also use email marketing to engage and convert quality leads gathered via social media.

6. Provide best-in-class service

Now that you are ready to put all the pieces together, you should provide a better service than the rest.

You can perform thorough competitor research to find out which demand is untapped. Carve out a unique position in the market so that you can effortlessly differentiate from the rest of the players.

What are the Challenges of Starting a Non-Cdl Business Delivery Service?

1. High fuel costs

The national average for a gallon of gas has hit a record-breaking high recently and the statewide average is now above $6. This trend is expected to continue as global demand continues to grow. The soaring fuel costs are the biggest startup expense for delivery businesses as this translates into expanding operational costs. Some companies have been forced to shut down due to the high costs associated with fuel consumption.

2. Lack of technology support 

Another challenge delivery services face as the business grows is the inability to upgrade their technology to meet existing and new customers’ demand for tracking packages. Customers today expect companies to be able to track packages at any time and anywhere in real-time. But this isn’t always possible with manual management or older equipment or systems that aren’t appropriately integrated with other business systems, such as ERP or WMS systems.

3. Manual dependencies

Excessive dependency on human resources is one of delivery companies’ most significant challenges. Draining time and effort due to manual dependencies even before the delivery begins (to plan routes) is another challenge. Also, hiring big business teams for delivery management means high operational costs, which could affect their profitability if they don’t find a way around it, such as using technology instead of humans.

Your non-CDL truck drivers are your business’s most valuable asset. If you want to succeed, you have to empower them with the right tools so they can complete deliveries quickly while offering quality customer service.

Overcome Non-CDL Business Delivery Challenges Using Upper

When you’re running a non-CDL delivery service, cutting down on time and costs directly translates into higher profits. The reason why we introduced the Upper Route Planner—the only automated route planning and optimizing solution you need.

1. Upper cuts–down fuel costs up to 40%

With efficient multi-stop route planning and optimization, your delivery drivers will spend less time on the road and more time delivering. Less time on the road = lower fuel costs. Upper will automatically find the shortest routes as per their specific delivery constraints, such as driving preferences, time windows, and more for you to deliver on time with the least fuel consumption.

Wishlist. Delivery witnessed a lower cost per delivery leading to a 60% increase in their profits with Upper.

2. Share your ETA with customers

With Upper, you can send automatic notifications to customers for ETA and delivery status. This means your truck drivers do not have to try to deliver the same package many times (which happens when customers don’t receive updated ETA and delivery status). This helps you lower your thus reducing time drainage and fuel consumption.

3. Eliminate manual dependencies 

With Upper, you can eliminate the unnecessary hours spent after manually planning and optimizing routes for your truck drivers. They will know exactly what to do on the road, which means less time drainage and more deliveries using the same or fewer resources.

Sign up for Upper’s 7 days free trial and start using it today to make your delivery operations more efficient.

Wipe off Your Non-CDL Business Challenges

Using the right route optimization software, like Upper, and get rid of manual dependencies. Let Upper help you get the desired start of your new business by automizing the delivery process.

Frequently Asked Questions

The average costs involved in starting a delivery service business costs between $100,000 and $200,000. However, the cost varies depending on the size and scope of the delivery business. There might be a situation where you might need additional capital of $10,000 to $20,000 of your own and the rest can be arranged through a small business loan.

Register your non-CDL delivery service with the Secretary of State for the state where you’ll be conducting your own business. It is a one-step process that will cost around $100 and can be completed online. To operate a non-CDL delivery service, you will also have to obtain any business licenses or permits required by your local government. Alternatively, you can look for these on the state website of your local Secretary of State.

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is important for two main reasons:

  • In case you want to register your business as a corporation or partnership.
  • Additionally, it will be required when hiring employees, filing tax returns, and opening a new business bank account.

Here are seven steps to start a trucking company without driving:

  • Create a business plan, and finalize company name/ business name, business structure, and business entity type.
  • Register your trucking Company.
  • Get a non-CDL delivery business-compliant vehicle.
  • Get your business insured.
  • Hire non-CDL drivers.
  • Pitch your service to local businesses.
  • Start providing service and earn money.

Here are the instances where you need to spend one-time costs while starting your delivery business:

  • Registration of your delivery business
  • Getting the tax ID number
  • Obtaining your MC (Motor Carrier Authority) and DOT (Department of Transportation)

Starting a trucking business with just one truck, instead of many cargo vans is possible for small businesses. To do so, follow the below key points:

  • First, you have to draft a business plan to finalize the business model and register your business. You’ll need to perfect the legal structure and obtain all necessary paperwork, such as a non-commercial driver’s license, permits, and business insurance (such as commercial liability insurance/state-required liability insurance).
  • Next, you’ll need to find the truck that best fits your trucking business niche.
  • Then, find startup funding (consult Small Business Administration) to get your business up and running!


Don’t let the daunting task of starting a non-CDL delivery service business scare you away.

You can make starting delivery simpler by knowing what steps to take, from deciding on a niche to selecting a delivery company name or business name, purchasing a box truck, obtaining all necessary permits, and conducting advertising.

But most importantly, you’ll have to leverage the right technology to eliminate manual dependencies, cut down costs, save time, and provide reliable customer service to fulfill local delivery needs.

If you keep the aforementioned checklist in mind, you are one step closer to owning a successful non-CDL delivery service business.

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.