Transportation business in Zambia is still growing with the increase in population . Going into transport business in Zambia is a viable proposition since the market is there for you and beside, those in the business already are racking handsome profit.
What makes the business economically viable is that the demand by commercial bus users surpass the supply. Even car owners use commercial transport so it is safe to say that up to 70% if the Zambian population use public transport.
There are types of transportation business in Zambia today. They are many and varied and different entrepreneurs choose different types of transportation business because of their interest and experience.
To succeed in this business, you must be ready to give your time and effort. You must be ready to supervise your business well since you will most likely employ the services of a driver. You must be well informed about the daily cost of running a transport business. For example, such daily expenses as the amount of fuel needed per day or weekly maintenance of your vehicle(s), etc.
Above all, make sure you know the loopholes in the business (things that will make you run at a loss) and avoid them.
Also, let us look at the types of transport services you can offer. You can either go into human transport or transportation of goods.
For human transport, it could be one of the following:
• Commercial intra-city transport (buses or taxis)
• Intercity transport service (car, buses or luxury buses)
• Commercial tricycles
• Commercial motorcycle: Commercial transport of goods is also known as haulage. You haulage for big companies such as oil companies, telecommunication companies, manufacturing companies, building companies etc. Also, you can own tippers
and transport goods from quarries, logging site or sawmills.
BEFORE YOU START
To make a headway and be highly successful in transportation business in Zambia, you must be aware of the following:
a. You must as an entrepreneur and have a reasonable knowledge as a driver and/ or mechanic. The reason for this is simple, the average commercial driver is dishonest. He will tell you lies about police arrest today, the next day it is about the vehicle breaking down, all in an attempt to make extra money. Sometimes he would absent himself from duty with the excuse he is feeling unwell, would you allow your vehicle to be idle for how many days before he reports back to duty?
b. You must pay close attention to the activities of the drivers, monitor their trips over time before you can have some level of confidence in them. You must investigate what is the average daily costs of running transportation business and the average revenue that is feasible and possible before you agree with the driver how much he would deliver on daily or weekly basis.
c. Have a reasonable idea what action of the driver constitute an offence for which he can be arrested as well as know the route of your drivers. In fact study the traffic laws of the
state in which you are operating.
How To Start A Transport Business In Zambia
Here is a breakdown of how to start a successful transport business, concentrating more on commercial buses:
1. Decide on the type of transportation business you want to carry out.
2. Choose your location and the routes that are lucrative
3. Obtain your vehicle either through lease, hire purchase or an outright buy.
4. Driving it yourself.
5. Engaging a professional driver
6. Grow your transportation business.
Below are the steps in details:
1. DECIDE ON THE TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION BUSINESS YOU WANT TO CARRY OUT:
If it is goods business or passengers business, they
are slightly different from commercial bus business. The capital investment and the regular vehicle maintenance and running costs is much higher than tri-cycling business, however the daily return is also different.
2. CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION AND THE ROUTES THAT ARE LUCRATIVE:
Do your research properly to make sure your location is best suited for the transportation business you want to operate in terms of the financial demands of the Area, We would recommend that you start small and acquire good experience before you grow big.
3. OBTAIN YOUR VEHICLE EITHER THROUGH LEASE, HIRE PURCHASE OR AN OUTRIGHT BUY:
You must register the vehicle with the licensing authority, obtain vehicle insurance and other necessary documentation that will enable you to operate in your location without hindrance. You must also belong to the National Association of
Road Transport Workers.
4. DRIVING IT YOURSELF:
Our advice at this stage is that you should be the professional driver to drive your first commercial bus or tri-cycle since at this stage you have one vehicle, you will manage it more prudently than the best driver.
So you make sure you have a driving licence and be a member of the transport union. If you drive a commercial vehicle for a year, you are no longer a stranger in the transportation business and you stand to gain so much when eventually you buy your second vehicle and then engage a professional driver.
5. ENGAGING A PROFESSIONAL DRIVER:
If you have other businesses you are running, engage a professional driver and negotiate favourable memorandum of understanding between you and your driver. These may include: the return the driver must deliver every day/week and what happens if the driver does not meet the agreed return obligations.
The amount agreed with the driver is sometimes dependent upon the location, type of vehicle as well as size of vehicle. Don’t forget that the professional driver must be familiar with the vehicle engine he is going to drive and other vehicle peripherals, this is necessary so that the driver will always be able to drive the vehicle to the mechanic workshop whenever the unexpected happens, i.e. vehicle break down.
6. GROW YOUR TRANSPORTATION BUSINESS:
Plough back your profit to your business and buy more vehicles. It is only by prudent management of your resources and hard work of your transport business that you become successful. You should also consider option of inter state transport business in Zambia.
How Profitable Is Transportation Business In Zambia?
You might be asking yourself if this business is really profitable. To answer this question, we need to look at the size of the market and the number of people who needs transportation in Zambia today. Millions of Zambians commute daily between home and work and also between one city and another.
So, the need for transportation services is very high. When you compare this number to a population of Zambia, then you will see that there is a large market for transportation services in Zambia. So, a lot of people use road transport every day, especially in busy cities.
Nothing in this world is easy to handle, not even transportation business, especially when you want to be successful and expand quickly. Be prudent and careful: avoid the problems with the police by obtaining the right vehicle license, renew it together with the insurance certificate and other dues and levies when they are due.