It isn’t particularly difficult to start your own courier business and it doesn’t necessarily need to cost a fortune. But there are a number of things to be considered first. Giving the right amount of thought at the start can help get things right and avoid expensive errors at a later stage. Here are five things to think about when starting a courier business, but it is important to also remember profits may take a while to come in.
What Type Of Customers?
It would be nice to think that one can start up a courier business and start making large amounts of money straight away, but that isn’t realistic. The competition in the courier business world is great and fierce. Deciding which customers to target means being realistic and practical.
A small business cannot target large suppliers straight away. It needs to build a reputation. This means chipping away at smaller jobs and delivering a high-end service that will earn a good reputation and recommendations. An independent operator with a single vehicle will not be able to charge at the high end of the market because there will be many larger firms that can offer cheaper rates.
When considering potential customers to target these issues should be kept in mind:
- Is it possible to deliver the service the customer wants? Can you cover the distance and carry the loads required in the time necessary?
- Is the job going to be a regular one? If so, prices can be pitched lower as further work is guaranteed? Of course, all pricing should cover costs as well as profit?
- If the job is a ‘one off’ is it worth doing? Are there any product packaging tips clients must follow?
- How many other couriers are operating in the area? How big is the competition?
Area To Be Covered
Once the size of the courier service and its capabilities are decided upon it is just as important to look at the area the service can realistically cover. Trying to cover a larger area to attract more business can backfire as traveling long distances for a small profit can turn it into no profit at all. It is also essential to research the roads to be traveled; are they fast or slow? Are there regular hold ups on some routes?
It is true that there are jobs to be had by picking up what are called ‘Backloads’ and ‘Return loads’. Backloads are loads waiting to be moved but that have not fitted in with other contracts. Some exchanges offer a portal to look for these courier jobs. Offering to move them on a return journey at a reduced price can mean making at least enough to cover the cost of the return journey. Return loads are similar, the aim being to pick up a load and make some money on the way back from a delivery that has already covered costs and hopefully earned some profit.
Regarding area, points to consider are:
- What are is it practical to cover?
- What is the competition like in the area?
- What are the routes like – what are the speed limits and potential areas that slow traffic down and cost valuable time and fuel?
It goes without saying that it is absolutely vital to obtain appropriate insurance. This will be for the person driving and delivering, the vehicle used, and the goods in transit. Apart from being required by law the appropriate insurance can save a fortune in the case of accidents. It pays to shop around for a good deal. Most UK insurance comparison sites can easily provide prices for your vehicle. However, you’ll probably need to find a specialist goods in transit insurance broker who can customize your policy for the goods you carry. Some contracts, such as Amazon Flex or DPD insist on specific levels of cover. Make you meet the minimum requirements.
- What type of insurance is needed?
- Obtain and compare quotes
- How much insurance is needed against damage or theft of items to be carried?
- Do any additional driver’s/users need to be added to the vehicle insurance (for example, if a family member is to use it over weekends or holidays)?
Presentation, Vehicle And Equipment
Presentation goes a long way to impress customers. Choosing the right vehicle and keeping it in excellent, clean condition as well as reliable are essentials. The driver/courier should also be of excellent presentation. A uniform or smart but appropriate appearance says as much as the vehicle.
As well as the vehicle or vehicles to be used, it is also vital to have other necessary equipment. This will include a reliable smartphone for each courier. This should be equipped with the necessary apps such as route planning, email and perhaps software to make entries onto the database used by the business. Other equipment needed will be for securing items to be carried and if they are large and of weight, trolleys with which to carry them.
Marketing Your Services
When everything else has been covered, it is time to start marketing the business. A website, linked to social media and local advertising in newspapers and magazines are always good places to start. You should start marketing your services by seeking referrals from companies that you know or already work with you. Moreover, find a benefit like working with client returns policies to ensure that they can do business easier. You should constantly market how your courier business stands out from the competition. As you grow, you can create a marketing department to increase your online and offline exposure, bringing in more sales for your courier startup business.