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.

What is a Residential Pickup Or Delivery Service Offered Through a Courier Company?

There are many Minnesota courier services which offer something known as a residential courier service. It may also be called residential pick up or delivery service, but what it means is that this courier is going to offer a type of service which is outside that which might be offered by more traditional business courier companies. This is a service that is going to allow people that live in private residences to take advantage of the same great services which are normally reserved only for business clients.

Residential pickup service means that a courier company will actually come to a house to pick up a package from that location. Usually, most courier companies only make pickups from business locations. They might deliver packages to residences much more often, but actually making pickups from a residence from a private citizen is something that wasn’t very common until more recently.

The numbers of couriers who are offering residential services are certainly growing all the time. The reason for this is due to both increases in workers who are telecommuting and people who are starting to run businesses out of their homes. The availability of high speed internet has been responsible for the growth of this kind of working model. The increase in people working out of their homes in one way or another has created a quickly growing demand for service to residential locations, and the courier companies have had to rise to meet this demand.

If you’re looking for residential courier service, there are a few things that you need to keep an eye out for. What you don’t want to fall for is a courier company which offers a residential service which charges you high surcharges in order to make a pickup from a residential location. This might not be bad if you only need a pickup made from a residence occasionally, but if you need more frequent pickups from a home then you need a more affordable service option.

There are courier companies out there who now offer residential service at the same rates as their other services. If you are trying to run a business out of your home and need many pickups made on a regular basis, then this is the type of courier company that you’re going to need to do business with. Some couriers have a limited area they offer this service in, so look for one close to your home.

What to Do When Buying Courier Software?

When a courier company is trying to boost customer satisfaction, improve internal productivity, and improve performance in every area of their business, there is a way that they can do so with a remarkably small expenditure. They can do this by upgrading the package delivery software solution that they are using to run their business. Courier software influences every single area of the business, so when buying a new program it is important to go about it in the right way.

First of all, taking the time to shop around and see what your options are is one of the most important elements of buying new courier programs. That is because you need to find something that fits several different criteria. Ideally, you want to find something that will benefit both your employees, and your customers, as this sort of dual purpose upgrade is going to provide you with the highest overall increase in profits. You also want to look for a package that is going to work on your existing hardware. The cost of a hardware upgrade can be many times that of a software upgrade, and while it will certainly be necessary eventually, every time you can upgrade software without a hardware change, you are making sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

When you’re buying courier software, there are certainly features that are meant to benefit both sides of the courier company dynamic. When keeping your eye out for features that are going to benefit your customers, you want to always look for ways that will help streamline their work with your company, as anything that saves your customers time is going to make them happy. Also, be sure that you’re including the latest feature that ALL customers want in their couriers, like GPS tracking.

From the point of perspective of your own company, again, saving time should be the emphasis. The courier industry is one where people put an incredible value on every minute, and couriers that can shave time off their deliveries in any way quickly gain a reputation for excellence. A good example of this kind of feature is wireless dispatch combined with GPS vehicle tracking. That gives your dispatchers the quickest possible means of identifying the best vehicles for a shipment and dispatching them immediately. This can greatly reduce the time between an order being placed and the actual pickup.