As more and more people shop for items on the internet rather than on the high street, the demand for courier services is on the rise. Within the climate of growing reliance on quality and reliable courier services, starting a courier business can be a shrewd move for entrepreneurs wanting to be their own boss and run their own flexible, in-demand business.
There are different types of courier businesses that you could set up in the United States, including:
- Bicycle courier
- Motorcycle courier
- Van courier
- Drone delivery service
- International courier services
- Same-day delivery courier
- Standard courier
If you are thinking about setting up your own company delivering parcels and packages to homes and businesses, take a look at the following 20-point checklist to help you start a successful courier business.
Compiling a comprehensive business plan will act as an important guide in those first months in operation. A business plan can also help you secure investment for the business, if you need to borrow money to set the courier firm up.
The most vital tools in a courier’s toolbox are vehicles. Before you start you own courier business determine what type of vehicle you will need. If you will be transporting large items, the chances are you’ll need vans, or if you’re delivering smaller items, like pizzas or mail, motorcycles might be a more cost-effective solution. Either way, the vehicles will need to be reliable.
Most courier businesses require space to store packages and parcels that are going out for delivery. Before you start the business, ensure you have enough space sorted out for storage.
Asides company vehicles, you’ll need other equipment and materials, such as mobile phones, two-way radios, office supplies, a GPS unit and more, in order to run the business efficiently and avoid letting customers down.
You will need to ensure your business is adequately covered with appropriate insurance in case you or an employee is involved in an accident, or your premises or goods become lost or damaged.
Now for the fun part – choosing your business’s name. Try to be creative so that the name is memorable, unique and stands out. However, try and tie it in somehow with the services you provide by avoiding making the name too ambiguous and confusing.
Alongside a business name, you should also design a company logo, to help customers recognize you and distinguish you from competitors.
Before you make your services available for business, you’ll need to decide on the legal structure of the new business. For example, will you operate as a sole proprietorship, as an L.L.C. or as a corporation?
Once you have determined the legal structure of the courier business, you will need to officially register the business.
To keep business expenses and profits separate from personal funds, you may want to open a business bank account. In order to open a business bank account in the United States, you will need to have registered the business and present your proof of registration.
You’ll need to determine what type of delivery options you will offer customers, as the different deliveries can require significantly different operations. For example, will you offer a one-hour delivery, next-day deliver or just a standard delivery service?
Before you open your courier business to the public, you’ll need to have a defined pricing structure in place. If you’re unsure what to charge for your services, have a look at what competitors are charging to give you an idea.
As you’re a new business, you won’t have the longevity and credibility other more established courier companies might have. You may therefore want to have a competitive rate for your services to help entice customers your way.
Like with any business, you’ll need to work out what your ongoing costs will be and ensure you have the funds available to pay for ongoing costs like wages, rent for storage and fuel for the vehicles.
If you’re delivering locally, try to get to know the area as best as you can so that you can deliver packages more quickly and with greater confidence.
Get word of your services into the public domain by marketing your courier business. Set up a page on Facebook and use social media to create awareness about your new business. Advertise locally in the newspaper, on radio and in shop windows to generate interest in your services at a local level.
Reach out to a wide as audience as possible and ensure you remain competitive by having a company website. Ensure to include your services, rates and put any positive customer testimonials on the website as you get them.
As well as having a logo, an online presence and a digital and local marketing strategy, develop strong branding for your business to distinguish you from competitors, such as having a specifically-colored fleet of vehicles or a company uniform.
If you’re busy on out the road delivering packages, you won’t be able to take important phone calls and manage the office. In order to run the courier business properly you may want to employ people to either manage the deliveries or help with more admin-based tasks.
As you start to get more customers, grow your business by taking on more drivers, admin staff or contractors to help with the workload.