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How to Start a Courier Business: 5 Point Checklist

Courier sorts packages in the back of his delivery van.

The demand for fast, efficient, and reliable courier services is soaring. As the popularity of last mile delivery continues to grow, there is increasing reliance on small, flexible courier companies.

With just a cell phone, a vehicle, and a passion for working with customers, you can establish a courier startup with minimal additional expenses. If you are thinking about setting up your own courier delivery service, take a look at our 5-point checklist for getting started.

1. Find your business model/niche

The first step in creating a new courier service is finding the right business model—not every model has the same profit potential and scalability.

Instead of trying to be all things to all people, most new services are better off finding a specific industry niche. Then, you can differentiate yourself from the competition with additional high-quality services, such as order tracking, custom packaging, etc.

2. Finding customers

Having a few core customers when you first launch your business is helpful, but it’s okay if you don’t. When you’re first starting your business, you can likely offer a competitive edge when it comes to rate.

You might even offer potential clients a free delivery or a discount to get your foot in the door. Be sure to create a website, as this is how people will likely book your services. Make it as easy as possible for them to make instant bookings.

3. Licensing and insurance

It may be advantageous to meet with a business advisor in your area before making any major decisions. That way, you can determine what types of insurance and licensing your new business will need. For example, a vendor’s license, vehicle insurance, or cargo insurance may be necessary. An accident or unexpected occurrence can cause major problems for a new business, so it’s worth your time to consider your insurance options.

4. Develop a pricing structure for items delivered

First things first, figure out how much you need to get paid to make it worth your time. Next, calculate out your expenses. Estimate your first year’s earnings as part of your business plan and work out how many assignments you will need to make a profit. Don’t make the mistake of undercharging because you didn’t take into account all the smaller costs involved in parcel delivery, such as fuel costs and vehicle maintenance. You'll benefit in the long run if you do your homework now.

Finally, choose how you want to get paid. There are thousands of ways you can do your pricing, whether you choose to price by weight, dimensions, distance, etc. Find the one that works for you, and make adjustments as you gain more experience.

5. Optimizing your business with software

Managing your new business can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of things to supervise. The right software system can help organize and keep track of this information. For example, courier software can help you to manage route optimization, price quoting, driver tracking, billing management, notifications, and more. Find software that has the tools to grow with your business.

OnTime 360 is an excellent choice for new delivery businesses. OnTime has both low startup costs and the ability to scale up as your business grows. Ready to try it out? Contact us for more information.

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