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A Complete Guide to Starting a Truck Business in India

In developing countries like India, there is always a high demand for goods transportation. This demand is driven by the growth of the manufacturing sector and the booming e-commerce industry.

If you are interested in starting a transportation-related business, you can consider a truck transport business. While it may require a significant initial investment to purchase a truck, the returns can be substantial.

This article provides comprehensive details about starting a truck business in India, including investment requirements, securing orders, managing operational expenses, essential knowledge, and much more.

Truck business in India

Purchasing a Truck

Choosing the right type of truck is the most crucial decision before starting a truck business. Here are some important factors to consider before finalizing a truck for your business:

  • The transport industry involves different types of goods, such as FMCG products, refrigerated goods, medical goods, hazardous materials, automobiles, and more. Decide on the type of goods you intend to transport, as this will significantly influence your truck choice.
  • Your Budget. Trucks are a significant investment, so considering the total cost of ownership is essential. This includes not only the purchase price but also maintenance, fuel, and insurance expenses.
  • If you plan on operating across India, prioritize fuel efficiency and driver comfort. Opt for a truck with features that support long journeys, such as a comfortable cabin and efficient fuel consumption.
  • In some locations, there’s a higher demand for specific types of trucks. For example, container trucks are typically in greater demand near ports. Consider your location’s prevailing transportation needs when choosing your truck.
  • Buying a used truck can save you a lot of money upfront, but you’ll likely need to spend more on repairs later on.
What are the different types of trucks available in India?

Pickup trucks, mini trucks, trailers and semi-trailer trucks, tipper trucks, light/heavy open body trucks, container trucks, refrigerated trucks, and car carriers. You need to choose trucks depending on the type of goods you intend to transport.

Who are the top truck manufacturing companies in India?

Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, Eicher, and Bharat Benz, are some of the top truck manufacturing companies in India.

What are the most commonly used heavy-duty truck models in India?

Tata Signa 5530, 4825, 4225; Ashok Leyland 5525, 4923, 3718; Eicher Pro 6046, 5046; BharatBenz 4228R, 5528TT; Mahindra Blazo X 46, X 42 Pusher Axle are some of the most common heavy-duty trucks in India.

Investment required for Truck Business

Once you decide the type of truck, you need to decide the truck capacity. Each type comes with a different payload capacity, which is the amount of weight a vehicle can carry within its cabin. The price increases with higher capacity.

Before deciding on a truck, you also need to know other technical details like gross vehicle weight (GVW), mileage, engine torque, horsepower, and fuel tank capacity.

For a general idea of the price range, heavy-duty trucks typically cost from 30 to 80 lakhs, depending on their specifications.

Additional options like air conditioning, advanced safety features, and specialized attachments can further influence the price.

Investment required for truck transport business

To improve truck drivers’ working conditions and state of mind, the central government has made it compulsory to have AC cabins on trucks manufactured on or after October 1, 2025 (for N2 & N3 category).

Here is the breakdown of the investment required for the truck business:

  • Truck Purchase
  • Licenses, permits, registrations (e.g., the national permit for a truck costs around 20k annually)
  • Insurance Purchase
  • Additional Equipment (like waterproof tarpaulin, emergency & safety tools, cargo handling tools, etc.)
  • Office space (if required)

There are many banks and financial institutions that offer commercial vehicle loans. The truck showroom official will also guide you regarding different loan options available in your area.

Also Read:

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The Operational Expenses in a Truck Business

Operational expenses are a major ongoing cost for any truck business. Here are some of the key expenses:

  • Fuel Costs: As you know, this is a major operational cost and depends on the distance travelled and your truck’s mileage.
  • Driver Salary: If you hire a driver, their salary can range from ₹20,000 to ₹35,000 per month. Additionally, you may need to cover other expenses like food and safety equipment.
  • Insurance: The annual insurance costs for your vehicle and the driver typically range from ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh, depending on the type of truck. You may also consider insurance for the goods you carry.
  • Service & Maintenance: This includes regular servicing, repairs, and replacement of parts. Truck parts can be expensive, with a single tire costing around ₹15,000 to ₹20,000.
  • Toll Charges: Tolls on highways vary depending on the route taken.
  • Parking Charges: These depend on your location, for example, parking your trucks overnight might incur fees.
  • Loan EMI: If you have financed your truck, you will have monthly loan payments.
  • Office Rent: This applies if you have a dedicated office space.

You can reduce your operational expenses to some extent by planning efficient routes that minimize distance and avoid toll gates.

Read more about Operating expenses and challenges in the truck business.

Licenses and Permits Required

The exact permits and documents required to start a truck business may vary slightly from state to state. It is always better to seek help from a consultant.

Below are some of the common documents required to start a truck business in India:

  • Goods Carrier Permit: This permit, issued by your local RTO, authorizes your truck to transport goods within a specific state.
  • National Permit: You need a national permit in addition to the goods carrier permit to transport goods across different states. This permit allows your trucks to operate throughout India.
  • GST Registration: Required for service businesses with an annual turnover exceeding 20 lakhs.
  • Vehicle Fitness Certificate: This ensures your trucks meet safety and emission standards. You can obtain this certificate from authorized testing stations.
  • Insurance for Truck, Goods, & Driver: For a truck transport business, you will require insurance for your vehicle, the load it carries, and the driver.
  • Business Registration: Sole proprietorship/LLP/Private Limited
  • Commercial Driver’s License: Truck drivers must possess valid commercial driving licenses specific to the type of truck they operate.

You may also need additional documents depending on the type of goods you carry and the route you travel.

If you lack capital, you can approach banks or financial institutions that offer commercial vehicle loans.

How to Get Orders for Your Truck Business

Business promotion is crucial for any business, including the truck business. Traditionally, orders were obtained through offline means, but now both offline and online channels offer ways to secure orders.

Getting orders offline:

1. Build good connections with transport service providers, roadlines, or freight services in your area. Regularly visiting their offices when you don’t have a load can lead to them prioritizing your business for future orders. This is a key source of orders in the truck transport business.

2. Establish good relationships with manufacturers and wholesalers in your region who require regular transportation services. They can directly contact you for their goods transportation needs.

3. Build a network with other truck owners and drivers in your region. This lets you share overflow or excess orders with them and they’ll do the same for you.. These connections naturally develop as you start in the business.

Getting orders Online:

1. There are many online truck booking platforms that exist today. These platforms connect you with businesses looking for transport services. Create your truck’s profile on these platforms, they may charge you a small commission for each order. Some popular platforms include Blackbuck, TruckSuvidha, Vahak, and Trukky.

2. Partnering with e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, which have high demand for goods transportation, can secure regular orders.

If you have multiple trucks and run a transport business, attending trade shows and business conferences can expand your network. Offering value-added services like real-time updates, tracking, and cargo insurance can differentiate you from competitors.

Things to Know Before Starting a Truck Business

1. Network with Industry Professionals: Before starting your trucking business, spend time travelling and talking with people already involved in this business. This will help you gain valuable insights into the challenges, competition, and pricing strategies you’ll encounter.

2. Prioritize Return Loads: Whenever possible, only accept loads or orders that allow you to secure return trips. Operating empty trucks significantly reduces profitability.

3. Driver Requirements: Whether you hire drivers or drive yourself, be aware that operating a truck requires exceptional driving skills and specialized knowledge.

4. Challenges for Truck Drivers in India: Be aware that truck drivers in India face numerous challenges, such as unsafe working conditions, corruption, and discriminatory practices by some authorities at checkpoints.

We believe the information provided here will help you start a truck business in India. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments section below. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends who might be interested in this type of business.

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