How should I start a transport company

Register a business for a transport company

From a formal point of view, anyone who wants to become self-employed with a transport company (freight forwarder) strives to start a business in the road haulage industry. In general, it is a commercial activity. In this respect, a business must be registered before the operational transport business can literally take off. It should be noted, however, that a permit is required in this area. This article highlights in a compact form all the requirements that must be observed for the business registration of a transport company.

Business registration as a transport company (road haulage business)

The total weight of the vehicles in the fleet is decisive for the obligation to obtain a permit within the scope of the business registration for a transport company. If these, including the trailer, weigh more than 3.5 tons, then one is Permission from the responsible traffic authority to obtain. Small vans that are below this weight limit do not require a permit. So if you only want to start a small business with limited transport resources, you can push ahead with a simple business registration. As a rule, however, there will be vehicles with a weight of over 3.5 tonnes, so that the authorization requirement and the relevant requirements must be observed. In addition, the above-mentioned obligation to obtain a permit from 3,500 kilograms has also been valid since 1999 for transport by passenger car (e.g. when heavy trailers are pulled).

Requirements for issuing a permit or license as a transport company (freight forwarder)

The central component of the business registration is the corresponding form, which records all relevant personal and business data. A description of the range of services that is as precise and comprehensive as possible is of particular importance. This decides in each individual case whether and which evidence is to be presented in the course of the business registration. Anyone wishing to register a business as a transport company must provide evidence of the following in order to formally prove their suitability to run a haulage company:

1. Financial capacity of the company to be founded

In relation to the proof of the financial capacity of the transport company, certain sums must be paid Equity be detected. In addition, certain financial reserves must be presented for the vehicles (for the first vehicle it must be at least 9,000 euros). This obligation to provide evidence includes self-propelled vehicles. As a rule, a declaration of no objection from the tax office and, if necessary, from the professional association and the health insurance company must be submitted to the responsible trade office. From these considerations it becomes clear that the business registration requires careful financial planning and a certain amount of equity. The actual business registration costs an average of 50 to 80 euros, although the fees are not uniformly regulated nationwide. There are additional costs for the evidence to be submitted.

2. Proof of corporate reliability

If you want to set up a transport company, you have to prove your entrepreneurial reliability as part of the necessary business registration. This may affect all managing partners. As a rule, a police clearance certificate and an extract from the central trade register must be submitted to prove personal reliability. As far as the management is concerned, founders should also think about the legal form at an early stage. This has a direct influence on decision-making powers and the liability relationships.

3. Proof of professional aptitude

The aim here is to demonstrate technical know-how that appears to be indispensable for the successful management of a transport company. There are several ways to prove the professional qualification as a transport company within the scope of the business registration. In this way, depending on your own background and location, the fastest solution can be sought.

A managerial position for a period of at least 10 years in a transport company represents a professional qualification, whereby the activity must be performed in one or, if necessary, several countries within the European Union. The local Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the right contact to obtain a corresponding certificate.

Relevant apprenticeships and special courses of study are also recognized as part of the business registration as a transport company (freight forwarder). The following are specific examples: Freight forwarding clerks, transport specialists, road and rail transport clerks specializing in freight transport, as well as graduated business administrators with relevant professional qualifications / focuses. As a rule, the trade offices also recognize new courses such as the bachelor's degree in Transport and Logistics or Transport Management and Logistics. Those outside the industry have the opportunity to take a specialist examination at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The costs and dates should be inquired at the respective branch in the region so that the planning can be moved forward quickly. If you cannot yet prove the necessary professional qualification, you have to allow significantly more time in the run-up to the business registration.

Entrepreneurial radius of action: What formalities have to be carried out for cross-border transports?

In times of globally networked markets, it is obvious that transport companies also offer cross-border services. If destinations within and outside the EU are literally controlled, a community license must be acquired (this is also often referred to as an EU license). This license can also be used for transport services within Germany. Due to the national transport agreement from 2002, the EU license can also be used for transports to and from Switzerland. If transports to third countries outside the EU and EEC are carried out, combinations with bilateral permits come into consideration (with shares for the domestic German as well as the third-country route share).

Practical tip: The IHK as the central advice center

Registering a business results in a compulsory membership in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whereby the fees are reduced in the first few years. But even in advance, prospective start-ups should use the advice and training offer of the IHK consistently in order to prepare themselves professionally for the upcoming challenges. In cases of doubt, the experts can make a clear assignment. A look at practice shows that the demarcation between works traffic and goods traffic in particular often causes problems.

Further formal requirements for a transport business

Aside from the requirements relating to the obligation to obtain a permit, the management of a transport company also sees one Compulsory insurance in front. The legal basis for this is Section 7a of the Road Haulage Act. Liability insurance must therefore be taken out, which should be based on the Commercial Code. It must therefore cover statutory liability in relation to damage caused by delay. A minimum sum insured of 600,000 euros is provided for each damaging event. Every transport company is obliged to have valid insurance cover on board for every commercial transport.

Summary: Register a business as a transport company (freight forwarder)

  • A transport company is a commercial activity that must be registered before starting business operations
  • Specifically, it is a start-up in the road haulage industry
  • Exceeding the total vehicle weight of 3.5 tons is decisive for the obligation to obtain a permit in the context of the business registration for a transport company
  • A 'small business' with one or more vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tonnes can do with a simple business registration (= possible strategic option for starting self-employment)
  • In the course of the business registration, which requires a permit, founders must be able to prove their financial, personal and professional suitability (attention: missing evidence can delay the date for the planned business opening!)
  • An EU license must be obtained for cross-border transport within the EU / EEC. If transport services with other economic areas are planned, bilateral permits are possible
  • Section 7a of the Road Haulage Act provides for compulsory liability insurance for hauliers (freight forwarders) (minimum sum insured of 600,000 euros per claim). Valid and adequate insurance cover must be on board for every commercial transport service).