If you have a box truck (or are considering buying one) and want to learn some great ways to make money with it, you are in the right place.
In this article, I am going to discuss 7 effective strategies that you can use to make money with your box truck. I will also give you specific sites you can visit to implement these strategies.
It's important to understand that when you are generating income with your box truck, what you're really doing is starting a box truck business (even if it seems informal), so I'll also touch briefly on some basic information on how to set up your box truck business.
Before we jump into the 7 strategies, I'll also cover some introductory questions that you may find interesting, such as how much money a box truck business makes, how much it costs to start one, and, as promised earlier, how to set up such a business.
To skip ahead to the 7 money-making strategies, click here.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
What is a Box Truck?
A box truck (also known as a straight truck, box van or cube van) is a chassis cab truck with an enclosed rectangular cargo area. They are usually 10–26 feet long and can range from Class 3 to Class 7 (12,500 lb. to 33,000 lb. gross vehicle weight rating). Source. They often have a roll-up door at the back that allows you access to the cargo area. If you've ever rented a U-Haul, you have driven a box truck.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Box Truck?
Starting a box truck business can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be.
The biggest expense is going to be the cost of your truck. If you buy a new box truck, you can wind up paying between $25,000 to $45,000 for a light duty class 2 or 3 truck, but the larger you go, the more you will need to pay.
Below is a breakdown of new box truck costs by size.
|Box Truck Size||Box Truck Price Range|
|Light duty class 2 and 3||$25,000-$45,000|
|Medium duty class 4||$35,000-$50,000|
|Medium duty class 5||$45,000-$70,000|
|Medium duty class 6||$50,000-$90,000|
Of course, there are far cheaper options.
If you want to stick with buying your own truck, you can buy a used one at a big discount. You can get a used box truck with 200,000 miles for as little as $5,000 – $10,000. Of course, newer, lower-mileage trucks will cost more, with prices ranging between $10,000 – $40,000, depending on age, mileage and condition. Source.
You can also finance the purchase of your truck, which will really lower your initial starting costs.
If you are not wedded to the idea of buying your truck, you can rent or lease your truck. Renting your box truck is a great option if you don't have a lot of money to put down and don't want to be tied down to a long term commitment. Another benefit of renting is that you usually don't have to worry about maintenance. But you pay for these conveniences.
Not only will you probably need to put a sizable deposit with the rental company, you will be paying a fixed fee plus mileage. These rental fees can be add up and will probably be much higher when compared to long term leasing costs.
Leasing your box truck is another option if you don't want to pay high upfront costs. For a start-up business, you can expect to pay around $1,000 per month according to Trust Capital USA.
Of course, obtaining your truck is not the only cost in starting your box truck business (although it is likely to be your biggest cost). You will also need to spend some money on equipment (like a pallet jack, straps and load bars) licenses, permits, insurance,
How Much Money Can I Make with a Box Truck Business?
According to Ziprecruiter, the national average pay for a box truck owner-operator is $110,275 per year, which translates to around $53 per hour. But the range can be from as low as $23,500 to as high as $293,000! How much you make will vary based on a lot of factors, including how many loads you deliver, how well you manage your expenses, and where you operate.
How Do I Set Up My Box Truck Business?
If you want to set up your box truck business the right way, there are some basic steps you should follow:
- Set Up Your Business Entity. If you want to get some basic liability protection for assets held outside your box truck business you may want to consider forming an LLC, Corporation, Etc.
- Pick a Name and Logo For Your Box Truck Business. Look at Shopify for Name Ideas and Canva to design a logo)
- Create a Basic Website and Get Your Business on Google My Business. Check out these free resources From Google to get started. Basic free business profile website and intro to getting on Google My Business.
- Develop a Simple Business Plan. See the SBA's free guide on how to develop one.
- Pick the Right Load Strategy This is exactly what we'll cover in the next section.
- Get Appropriate Licenses, Permits and Insurance. You'll want to check federal, state, and local laws around the type of box truck business you will be running and obtain necessary licenses. You will also want to get appropriate insurance for your box truck business to protect against lawsuits from accidents and other liabilities.
Now, I covered the basic stuff here, but if you want a much more detailed explanation of each of these steps, check out my complete guide on How to Start a Box Truck Business in 7 Simple Steps.
Ok, now that we've covered the introductory stuff, let's dive into how to make money with your box truck.
1. Load Boards
One of the most common methods for getting loads is signing up for load boards. These are generally online boards that list loads for delivery that you can access. Many (but not all) charge a fee to use them.
When using these load boards, it's important to filter your results so that you can find loads suitable for your box truck. In most cases, you can filter by “LTL” (which stands for less than truckload) or “partial” which is what you are going to need. You'll also need to filter by the appropriate size or weight limits, depending on the size of the box truck.
My Top Recommendation: DAT
The leading load board out there is DAT.
They have the most loads on their network, with over 900,000 loads posted daily. Because of their size and scope, they also have leading edge tech and info, including unlimited searching, instant alarm match notifications, broker credit scores and days to pay, market rates, mileage routing and much more.
I have an affiliate relationship with them and secured a deal where if you use my link, you can get a free 30 day trial with full access to their network. So, you get to try out the leading load board for a full month for free. I would note that this deal is only for new subscribers.
If you are interested, just click below to take advantage of this no-risk offer.
In addition to DAT, other load boards include Truck Stop, and 123 Load Board. Amazon also has a free load board that you can explore by going on Amazon Relay. Speaking of free load boards, you can also explore the following free load boards for your box truck business: Trucker Path, Shiply, Flock Freight, Direct Freight, and C.H Robinson.
I provide more details on each of these load boards (including pricing, features, etc.) in my article on The Best Load Boards for Box Trucks [8 Free and Paid Options].
Note: You can also contact freight brokers, 3PL companies and freight forwarders as well to see if they have box truck contracts or loads available.
Although load boards are a great option to find steady loads, you can also use truck dispatchers. They often perform a somewhat similar function to a freight broker, but the difference is that they exclusively represent carriers (that's you). Truck dispatchers will scour load boards and arrange for high paying loads that are suitable for your business.
A simple Google search of “truck dispatch services” should produce a healthy list of companies you can explore working with.
3. Local Delivery Matching Sites
There are plenty of companies, and manufacturers, that need local deliveries made all of the time. Whether it's supplies, medical equipment, or appliances, you can certainly fill that need with your box truck. Sites like GoShare can connect you to people or businesses that may need these types of deliveries.
4. Moving Job Websites
You can also offer to move items for companies or individuals with your box truck.
Whether its helping a person move out of their small apartment, or helping a small office relocate, your box truck may be the perfect choice for these types of jobs. You can get these types of jobs on sites like Taskrabbit, Thumbtack, and similar sites. You can also use sites like Dolly.
Note that if you are offering professional moving services, some states may require special licensing or permits. Check with your state to determine what requirements you need to fulfill to operate a moving services company.
5. Online Marketing
If you are offering services to the general public, another way to get delivery jobs or contracts is to advertise your company's services. Of course, online marketing is one of the most important channels out there.
So how do you crack that nut? It can be intimidating if you are new to online marketing, so I have pulled together these simple and proven online marketing strategies:
- Set up a Google My Business. If you want people to be able to find your local business on Google, you need to set up your Google My Business account. If you want to learn more about how to do this, check out this tutorial from Google.
- Get a great website that draws traffic to your business. Having an online presence is almost a requirement these days. So you need to have a website for your business. If funds are tight, you can do this on the cheap. In fact, Google allows you to build your first business website for free. But if you really want to draw traffic (and customers) to your website, you may want to hire an online marketing expert to help you optimize your website for traffic and leads.
- Get on Yelp for business and let your customers find you. They are an extremely well-known brand, and many people look there when searching for local businesses.
- Use Social Media Channels. In addition to advertising on Yelp, you can buy online ads from other online and social media outlets (Facebook, etc.). These ads can be targeted to the specific audience you want to get in front of. It's a pretty nice way to get high converting leads.
6. Mobile Billboards
This strategy is a bit off the beaten path, but if you buy a box truck that can be used for mobile advertising, you can get contracts from companies that want to advertise on the side of your box truck.
After all, it's a huge amount of space that gets a lot of visibility, especially if you drive around during peak hours on busy roads. Plus, most people ignore or gloss over static billboards, but mobile billboards are still new enough that they draw eyeballs.
If you want to learn more about this strategy, including a step by step guide to start this type of business, check out my article on the topic.
7. Rent Out Your Box Truck
The final strategy is one of my favorites.
If you have the money to invest in a box truck but don't want to drive, you can rent it out on sites like coop.com. You can also use this option if you are experiencing a slow period and don't want your truck to sit idle.
The money can be pretty good doing this. When I went on their website and typed in how much a truck renting out full time for month would likely make, it showed $3135.03. That not bad in my view.
So there you have it – 7 great ways to make money with your box truck, including links to some great resources to get you started. If you want to learn more about how to make money in the transportation business, check out my article on Transportation Business Ideas That Work [30+ Ideas].