Courier business is composed of transporting goods and documents from point A to point B for a fee. It can start as a successful work-from-home courier business opportunity. This can be a lucrative business but there are practical tips that you may want to consider.
Below are some of basic tips you need to take into consideration when putting a courier business for the first time:
Decide on what type of packages and parcels you want to offer.
To answer this, it will depend on your resources and tools. Delivering small packages, checks, money orders, and envelopes will only require small cars or bikes. Meanwhile larger trucks will help you to make bigger deliveries, both for homes and corporate. Keep in mind that there are regulations as well on certain types of packages. Good example is the medical and industrial chemicals, which have strict policy and certifications depending on the state when moving from point A to B. Moreover, you can also decide where to focus, residential or business customers, or both.
Select a name for the business.
Choose a name that will represent you courier business or the kind of services you are offering. It may be catchy or a straightforward one. Most importantly, a business name is needed when getting permits and licenses to operate.
Pick a strategic location.
Another basic but very essential step is to create a proper office for your business. If you are short on budget, consider taking a commercial place on rental basis. Having a proper office setup will help you in finding more customers and business.
Know the areas you want to cover with courier business.
Ask yourself if you want to deliver locally or globally, or transporting packages across the country. If you decide to do local courier business, it will be easier to manage the business because coast-to-coast delivery will be expensive and you would be competing with huge companies such as FedEx. Carefully think thinking about how far your delivery range can reasonably be before committing to a courier business.
Gather the proper tools and equipment for the business.
Some of the essentials you will need at this kind of business is reliable vehicle, computer, and mobile devices. Computers, internet, and apps will keep good and accurate records of all deliveries. Mobiles devices will help in the communication and tracking status of the parcels or packages. Vehicles and GPS unit will find the pickup and drop-off locations all around town. Keep in mind to choose the right type of vehicle fit to the package services you are offering. Ensure that these vehicles will transport the items to the recipient safely and on time.
Get the required licenses and permits for the courier business.
Before starting the operation of your delivery business, you must get variety of licenses and permits. The requirements for getting business license differ per state but there are some general rules that can help you determine the right license for your business.
Obtain business insurance.
Insurance is a must in any type of business. A courier insurance policy ensures that you are not held personally liable if items you are transporting are damaged or lost during delivery. Usually, these policies are inexpensive and you can talk to a business attorney or go online to find the right policy for your company. Moreover, you should also get insurance policies regarding the transportation vehicles.
Market your courier business.
You can create a website for your business courier service for online presence since people nowadays are searching via the internet. If you will create a business card, then you can put the website in there as well as in brochures and advertising materials. You can also optimize your business website to come up on the front page of Google or Yahoo, but remember to do in an SEO way.
Pipeline your business plans in the long run.
You can expand your business by hiring more employees, adding more vehicles and growing your business network by contacting more individuals/businesses and taking new contracts.
Choose the right vehicle
To start your courier service you will need a reliable source of transportation. Many couriers choose cargo vans for this type of business as they provide the largest amount or cargo space to transport the items that you are carrying for customers. If you don’t know much about buying a cargo van you can read some reviews for the 2016 models here. If you want to lower your monthly payments we suggest trying to lease a van or you can shop for a used cargo van. Alternatively, a pickup truck with a covered bed can also be a good option.
Buy the right equipment
Having the right equipment will make your courier business more efficient and save your back from the pain of carrying boxes. The type of equipment that you need will depend in part on the types of items that you will be carrying for your customers. If you are mostly delivering packages or boxes a simple dolly or hand truck is essential. You can buy a standard dolly for about $20 at Home Depot, Lowes, or Target. If you are transporting furniture you can get a furniture dolly and if you plan to transport appliances you should buy an appliance dolly as well. Other items you may need are cargo straps, blankets, and tape to make sure the items are protected and delivered in the same condition you received them.
Save your receipts
As a small business owner, tracking your expenses is very important. Some expenses related to operating your courier business may be used as a tax write off. This can include this like: gas, equipment and your mobile phone (We are not accountants and this may not be true in all cases. Check with your accountant for details). Using an app like Expsensify is easy and useful for keeping track of your receipts and expenses. You should also keep track of the miles you drive as this can be used as a tax write off as well in some cases. MileIQ is a good tool for tracking your mileage.
Establish a competitive rate
Call around to find out what other couriers in your area are currently charging. Many charge a per-mile rate plus a fee for gasoline and vehicle wear, but others just charge a flat fee.