Starting a Courier Business is an exciting and viable opportunity. However, it does take some time and commitment, just like with any other business venture. If you would like to start your own self-employed courier business, then this article with give you a good idea of what it takes.
There are numerous opportunities to be successful in the delivery business. Your options include things such as being a self-employed owner-driver, working for an existing carrier delivery service on a outsource programme, or even owning your own fleet and managing employees who deliver for you. There are many choices of service to offer too, such as same-day delivery, next-day delivery, the standard three to five business days delivery ranging up to 15 days for a larger item that’s isn’t regularly stocked. It’s even viable to set up shop as a company who specialises in collecting and delivery between companies.
Let’s have a look at some of the things you should be considering when starting your own courier business:
The Industry Background
The courier industry is forever thriving with the majority of the market dominated by big international companies such as DHL, FedEx, UPS and TNT. However, there are still some smaller companies and individual self-employeed workers who also profit highly from working in this industry. They are successful as they slightly undercut the larger companies by offering a discount of the same service. Because the industry is thriving there is always a need for good quality and reasonably priced service.
Some of the bigger companies are now moving into the home delivery market. This sector has traditionally been a difficult area because the customers may not be at home when the delivery person calls the first, or maybe even second time around. More times and options are now being offered to customers, including evening delivery slots, to help guarantee that someone will be in rather than at work. This growth in the market has led to even more internet shopping and in turn even more need for couriers. With the digital world continuously growing and more people shopping online now more than ever, it’s no wonder people are considering entering the courier industry themselves
Options For Start-ups
Most new companies start from home, they offer local service with a personalised approach. This is often something that larger business in the industry struggles to achieve. Customers quickly build a relationship with smaller companies and therefore business is thriving. The majority of start-up companies are employees of companies that look to go it alone because they already have the extensive knowledge and understanding of how the industry works.
It’s extremely easy to rent a van and get started, especially if you have prior knowledge of the courier industry and know what’s required to gain customers. Building up your customer base is one of the first things to do once you have created a business plan. Starting from scratch can be difficult, this is because most new businesses fail within the first year.
When looking to start a courier service business it’s good to be familiar with the different forms of transport, these include:
- Self-employed couriers with own vans, this often requires the most investment.
- Running a fleet.
- Owner-drivers working for a transportation company.
- Courier employed via PAYE under a company.
- Motorcycle messengers.
- Cycle couriers, this works as a great way to environmentally friendly however the scope of work is very limited. You often see this is large cities.
How Do You Get Started As A Courier
The hardest part is trying to get your first customer. You need to be able to convince them you can do the job they need and be reliable. Without previous history, it can be hard to do this. This is where having prior experience really does come in handy as you can use references as a source of evidence. You need to spend an adequate amount of time researching the needs and wants of potential customers, all depending on what time of courier service you’re going to be providing. Are you going to be home-based or business based? Is the first question you should be thinking about. Will you be dealing with large parcels, small parcels and what time slots are you going to offer. Think about how many jobs you are going to be able to deal with on a daily basis, and make sure you keep your customers informed of the progress of their shipment. Creating or purchasing some courier software could be a good idea. Customers like to be able to track their expected parcels.
Start-up Costs And Requirements
The two main costs of getting started are your mode of transport and work uniforms. If you’re a courier then you’re also going to need the relevant insurance. This needs to cover both your van and the contents inside.
The main expense to get started is your main form of transportation and work clothes. If you’re a van courier, you’ll need a van together with the appropriate business insurance to insure not only your van but the contents you’re carrying as well as yourself. With this, you need to consider things such as Fleet Insurance if you’re going to be running more than one van at a time. You will find other start-up costs when you set up your business plan. When starting out, you will most likely be self-employed, so you are also going to need insurance for any missed deliveries and collections. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a good breakdown cover in place, breaking down is a loss of money so you need to take an active approach when this happens. Ensuring the maintenance of your van/fleet is the place to start. Make sure you plan for any costs related to this. All businesses should look at public liability insurance to guard against third party unforeseen circumstances.
These are just a few of the things you should be considering when starting a courier service as a business. Do you have any others that you can share in the comments below?