How To Start a Shuttle Business in Australia

How To Start a Shuttle Business in Australia

Have you ever dreamed of building a profitable and rewarding business? If the answer is yes, starting a shuttle business might be a lucrative opportunity to test out. Whether you envision shuttling passengers between airports, providing reliable transportation for events, or offering convenient city-to-city services, the possibilities are endless in this dynamic industry.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll navigate the ins and outs of launching your own shuttle business from scratch. From crafting a solid business plan to acquiring the right fleet and creating a strong online presence, we’ll cover all the essential steps to ensure your venture takes off and reaches new heights.

Table of Contents

What is a Shuttle Business?

A shuttle business is a specialised type of transport business that provides scheduled or on-demand transport services for passengers. To start a shuttle business, you’ll need to buy or lease vehicles to provide the service. However, before starting a shuttle business, there is more to consider than just the vehicle. 

Developing a Shuttle Business Plan

Shuttle businesses can be expensive to set up. You might need to buy or lease vehicles, hire staff, rent office premises, and arrange licenses and insurance. Often you’ll need to pay these expenses before the business starts to make a profit. This means that you might need to seek finance or investment to help you set the business up. Because of this, it is advisable to develop a business plan for your shuttle business at an early stage.

A business plan will lay out how you want the business to operate and grow. It can also help to keep your business on track as it develops. Many investors and finance providers will want to see a business plan before agreeing to provide funding.

A business plan should not be static; it should evolve with your business. This means reviewing and amending your business plan as it develops regularly is important. You should periodically compare your business plan with how your business is operating to ensure that your business’s strategic direction and plan remain consistent.


Choosing the right business structure 

Once you have developed your business plan and sought any necessary funding, the next step is to establish your business. Firstly, you’ll need to decide which business structure is right for you. 

There are several options to consider, each with its own distinct advantages. Let’s explore them:

  • Sole Trader: If you opt for this structure, you’ll be your business’s sole owner and operator, conducting operations under your name. This setup provides simplicity and allows you to have full control over your business decisions.
  • Partnership: Forming a partnership means teaming up with one or more individuals to establish and run the business together. This collaborative approach can bring diverse skills and resources to the table, enhancing the potential for success.
  • Company: Registering your business as a company separates it as a distinct legal entity from your personal affairs. This structure offers liability protection and potential tax benefits, making it an attractive choice for some entrepreneurs.


As you make this critical choice, it’s essential to consider how each structure aligns with your unique business goals. Equally important is understanding the legal implications associated with each option, as they can significantly influence your business operations. So, take your time to deliberate and select the business structure that sets you up for success and supports your aspirations.

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Our online quiz, “What Business Structure Is Right For You?” can help you work out the best structure for your new business.

You’ll also need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) to establish the business. If you decide to use a company structure, you’ll also need to register the company with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).


Starting the Shuttle Business Service- Pre-planning steps

Once you’ve developed a business plan, established your business and gained accreditation, you are ready to start working towards launching your service. There are a number of things you’ll need to consider in this phase.

Fleet and equipment

You will need to arrange access to the fleet and equipment you’ll need for the business, including vehicles, maintenance equipment, and office equipment. You might choose to lease this equipment or purchase it outright. Both approaches have benefits and risks; the right approach for your business will depend on a variety of factors, including your financial capacity and the aims and priorities in your business plan. It might be worth consulting an accountant or business lawyer to determine the best business approach.

Marketing and Promotion

Any successful business needs customers. If your shuttle business doesn’t have any passengers, it could quickly become unprofitable. It’s important to make sure the business undertakes effective marketing and promotion campaigns to attract new customers. These campaigns should be developed with the content of your business plan in mind to ensure that they support your strategic development and growth targets.

Considering the Law

Shuttle Business Accreditation

Your business needs to be accredited to provide passenger transport services. The Passenger Transport Act 1990 (NSW) sets out the requirements for accreditation to operate a public passenger bus service in NSW. Your business will need to meet a number of requirements to gain accreditation.

Fit And Proper Person of Good Repute

Firstly, you need to be “a fit and proper person” to carry on a transport business and be “of good repute”. To be considered a fit and proper person, you must not be disqualified from managing corporations. Other things that will be considered to determine if you are a fit and proper person include:

  • whether you are a director of a company that has been, or is being, wound up;
  • any charges or offences you have received in the previous 5 years;
  • whether you have been accused of failing to uphold your duties as director of a corporation; and
  • any prior accusations of fraud against you.

You also need to be a person “of good repute”. To show this, you will need to provide references from two people who have known you for at least two years.

Training

You must complete an accredited bus operator training course to get accredited. This course must comply with Transport for NSW guidelines and standards. Transport for NSW provides comprehensive information about accredited training courses so you should consult them for more information about this requirement.

Ability to Carry On Service

You also need to show that your business is competent to carry on the service required for a shuttle business. This will require you to show that you have knowledge and understanding of all relevant laws, including the requirements of the Passenger Transport (General) Regulation 2017 (NSW), the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), and other relevant traffic laws. You might also be required to complete a course relating to the operation of the service that your business will provide.

Additionally, you’ll need to show that the business has the financial capacity to undertake the service. You’ll need to provide evidence of this financial capacity in the form of a signed statement from a qualified accountant. To satisfy this requirement, you’ll need to show that the business has the financial ability to maintain:

  • vehicle maintenance and roadworthiness;
  • the safety of drivers, passengers, and the public; and
  • the operation of a business.

You will also need to show that you have access to appropriate facilities to maintain and store the business vehicles.

  • An Employment Agreement can outline your employee’s responsibilities and their obligations to your business. 
  • A Partnership Agreement can outline the roles and responsibilities of any partners within the business.
  • A Refund Policy allows you to inform your customers of your refund policy. 
  • A Tax Invoice allows you to create a formal request for payment and ensure your records are up to date. 

Conclusion

Transport businesses, including shuttles, can be highly lucrative for entrepreneurs. While starting a new business can be intimidating, if you follow the steps outlined in this article, you will be well on the way to owning your own successful shuttle business.

At Lawpath, we can help guide you through starting your own shuttle business. One of our Experienced Lawyers can provide you with all the legal information and requirements necessary for your business to succeed. 

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