Tips on How to Start a Courier Business
If you are looking for a great home-based business that you can open for very little money, then you might want to look into starting a courier business. Courier businesses offer services like delivering small packages, messages, and flowers, and are often in demand among attorneys for court filings; when an attorney needs to get a paper filed fast, he often relies on a courier service to deliver it to the court house. As a courier, you can charge by the mile or a flat rate for delivery. You will need very little to get started, other than reliable transportation and insurance. Some couriers in large, metropolitan areas, use a bicycle for delivering their packages and messages, which is a lot less expensive than using an automobile.
Before You Begin
Before deciding if a courier business is the right small business for you, take into account not only the things that you will need to start, but also if you have the time to dedicate to make it a success. You will want to draw up a formal business plan that includes your financial statements, and you should research the competition in your geographical area to see if there is a need for your services. You will need to decide on a business name, and if you want to conduct business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or as a corporation. You will also need a business license from the state and local governments where you plan to do business.
You may also need a home occupation permit; there will be fees for licenses and permits that you need, so be prepared to cover those. You may also need to apply for and receive a commercial driver’s license, depending on the state that you live in, and to place a commercial license plate on your delivery vehicle. Determine all of your operational policies, such as fees for both flat and mileage rates, and be sure to include parking and other nominal fees in the cost. It is also a good idea to open a business bank account to keep your personal and business funds separated. Additionally, you should purchase a mileage log to use so that you can keep track of mileage for income tax purposes.
Opening and Promoting Your Courier Business
Once you have finished with all of the formalities, the time to open and promote your new venture has arrived. Be prepared to face some challenges in getting your first few clients, especially if you are vying for clients who have already established a relationship with another company. You may need to offer significant discounts during an introductory period so that competitors can see that you are reliable and affordable, or even consider offering some free services until you have established a good customer base.
Advertising can come in the way of fliers that you pass around to businesses that might need your service, as well as by establishing a courier website that will allow those searching in your area for a courier to find you more easily. A custom, interactive website that allows clients to schedule a pick-up online and pay you online is a great advantage to your courier business; people love convenience, and your website can make it more convenient for them to patronize you.