If you are interested in making with money with a sprinter van running expedited loads, but don't know where to start, you are in the right place.
In this article, I will cover how you can begin your sprinter van expediting business as an owner-operator.
This guide is intended for beginners who are looking to get into this type of business, so I will be taking you through each critical step of the process in detail, including (i) buying the right van, (ii) getting the right equipment, (iii) obtaining appropriate licenses and insurance, and (iv) finding profitable loads.
Not only that, I will be providing great tips and valuable links to resources along the way.
I'll begin by covering introductory questions, such as what sprinter van expediting is, how much you can make doing it, how much it costs to get started, and what equipment, licenses and insurance you need.
I'll then get into some of the nuts and bolts of starting and successfully operating a sprinter van expediting business, including the most important part, which is how to get expedited loads (including links to some of the best platforms to find them).
We've got a lot to cover, so let's get into it!
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 Sprinter Van Expediting?
Sprinter van expediting is when a driver of a sprinter van delivers LTL loads (usually between 1-4 standard pallets) that require urgent or emergency transport. These loads may have longer routes than local deliveries and may span hundreds of miles. A sprinter van expediter is often on the road for extended periods of time and typically sleeps in the back of the van.
What Types of Loads Can You Deliver with A Sprinter Van?
Due to the size of the vehicle, you will normally be delivering loads that are up to 3,500 pounds in weight and 4 standard pallets in volume.
Sprinter vans do not meet shipping dock height requirements, so you will not qualify for loads that require this at either end of the delivery. Nor do they typically come with liftgates, so you will not be able to handle loads that require them.
Sprinter vans are easier to maneuver than semis and box trucks in urban areas, so are often a preferred option when quick and direct delivery to these locations is desired.
How Do I Become Sprinter Van Expediter?
You can become a sprinter van expediter by (i) obtaining a sprinter van that will meet the right qualifications for expedited loads, (ii) getting the right equipment to handle those loads, (iii) securing appropriate licenses and insurance, and (iii) finding profitable loads.
How Much Can You Make Expediting?
According to Ziprecruiter, a sprinter van owner-operator can make around $85,000 per year, with a range from $22,000 to up to $264,000. Other sources estimate that you can earn around $95,000 on average.
Bear in mind that expediting income may not be as consistent as income from other types of loads because you are opportunistically taking on urgent loads as they come up. So you will need to plan for that. In other words, keep a careful eye on your expenses and make sure you have enough set aside for the inevitable fluctuations in revenue.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Sprinter Van?
In general, you can buy a new sprinter van from Mercedes-Benz for around $57,000.
This is for the largest cargo van available, with an extended wheelbase, high roof and maximum payload (over 6,200 pounds). The size and other features of this type of van will allow you to handle the maximum variety loads out there.
Obviously, smaller versions will limit your load choices.
You can also buy sprinter vans from Ram (the Pro Master) and Ford (the Transit). For the Pro Master, you are looking at around $48,000 for the largest version which has a high roof and extended wheelbase. The Transit will cost you less, but there seem to be fewer size options.
Of course, you can save a lot of money by buying used, but you need to be aware that certain companies will only accept vehicles that are 5 years older or less (with some requiring 3 years or less).
If you are not going to be paying in cash, you will need to finance your vehicle (or lease it). There are plenty of options to do both, but you should do your due diligence to make sure your monthly costs wind up being reasonable in relation to how much you expect to make (don't forget about mileage caps when leasing).
Important Tip: Before you buy your sprinter van, make sure you do some research into what types of vans will be acceptable to the companies you will be getting loads from.
You can call them up and indicate that you are about to buy a certain brand and model of sprinter van and ask whether it would be able to handle the types of loads that are typically offered.
You can also go to expeditersonline.com, which is a online forum for expediters. It is a terrific resource for jobs and for general information and advice.
What Type of Equipment Do I Need to Become a Sprinter Van Expediter?
Fortunately, once you have your sprinter van, there is not a lot of equipment that you need.
Because you will be essentially living in your van, you will need to get a good flip up bed or inflatable mattress that you can stow away when you have freight. You will also need some basic freight handling equipment, such as tie downs to secure freight.
What Types of Licenses and Permits Do I Need To Drive a Sprinter Van?
You do not need a commercial driver's license to operate a sprinter van, which cuts down on some of the administrative hassle, but many drivers wind up getting one if they want to expand to box trucks or larger vehicles that can carry heavier loads.
You may need to obtain a US DOT Number if your GVW is 10,001 lbs or greater and you will be delivering across state lines. Here's a link to the US DOT website if you want to learn more specifics around this.
Individual states may also require a state DOT number, so you will want to check that as well.
What Type of Insurance Do I Need for My Sprinter Van Expediting Business?
You will need commercial van insurance for your business.
This includes liability coverage if you get into an accident and hurt someone or damage property. You may also want physical damage coverage and cargo coverage to cover damage to your vehicle or cargo.
A lot of folks seem to use Progressive, but check out this link to expeditorsonline.com, which talks about insurance (and offers some helpful references to potentially cheap insurance options).
How Do I Find Sprinter Van Expediting Jobs?
The obvious and perhaps most reliable places to find expedited sprinter van jobs is through load boards.
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.
You'll also find plenty of jobs for owner-operators of sprinter van though general job sites like indeed.com, and simplyhired.com. Finally, you can explore specialty job boards like expeditejobs.com for even more options.
So there you have it – a complete beginner's guide to starting a sprinter van expediting business, with links to some great resources that can help you get off the ground.
Hope this has been helpful.
If you want to discover more great trucking business ideas, check out my article on Transportation Business Ideas That Work [Ultimate Guide with 30+ Ideas].