If you are thinking about starting a courier service, you are likely a person of action and want to hit the ground running with those parcels. Not wanting to delay you but rather to ensure your success as a courier, this article gives you a list of 13 important things to know before starting.
Table of Contents
- 1. Get targeted
- 2. You need a business plan
- 3. Brand your courier business
- 4. Structure the business and register it.
- 5. What vehicles and equipment will you need?
- 6. Storage space
- 7. Business bank account
- 8. Do you need loans?
- 9. Understand licensing and compliance
- 10. How to market your business
- 11. Insure your business
- 12. Sort out the legalities
- 13. Essential skills of a courier
1. Get targeted
When you are starting off a new courier business you probably won’t be able to be all things to all people. It is important to target your business towards a particular type of courier service. If your business is properly directed then you will be able to be efficient and competitive, and thus profitable. Be clear about what you are going to deliver, from who and to whom.
2. You need a business plan
A business plan is important because it will clarify what it is you do, what is the goal and how you will work on reaching that goal. By writing a clear business plan, you will have a clearer mental grasp on your business and so also a stronger control over it.
3. Brand your courier business
A good brand will catch the eye and stick in the mind of potential customers. It should also give people some idea of what you do and give the sort of impression you would like for them to have about your courier service. Ideally you will have a logo, a trademarked business name, a uniform, web design, business cards and a design for your vehicles. You could enlist the help of professionals to create a high quality brand design.
4. Structure the business and register it.
In Australia, you need to decide on your business structure before you register it with the government. If the business is just you, then it will probably be a sole-trader business. If you have business partners then it is called a partnership and if it is large and you want it to be disconnected from your personal finances then it will be a company. Partnerships and companies need to have their business structure clarified and registered. You could alternatively join an existing courier franchise.
5. What vehicles and equipment will you need?
Once you have decided what courier market you will service, you can think about what vehicles and equipment you will need. Starting from small to large you could purchase or hire a drone, an electric scooter, a bike, a moped, a motorbike, a hatchback, a ute, a van or a truck. Keep in mind the bigger the vehicle the more it can carry but also the more the initial and ongoing costs will be.
In terms of physical equipment, you will likely need straps, trolleys and padding in order to secure, move and protect the goods. You also may need shelving if you have a storage space.
In terms of digital equipment consider: GPS and route planning equipment, logbooks, financial software and mobile phones as well as office equipment and supplies. Your vehicle may also need dashcams, tracking devices and additional security equipment installed.
6. Storage space
Many couriers take on jobs that can’t be delivered on the same day and so they have to store it overnight. Consider what storage space your courier service will need and make sure that it is convenient, secure and inexpensive.
7. Business bank account
It makes a lot of sense to separate your personal finances from the business’. Banks offer accounts specific for business, so shop around for the best one for you.
8. Do you need loans?
Loans can help you to start in a big way before you can afford to buy all that you want or need for the business. Be careful though – since your business is new it can be hard to predict how much profit you will be able to make to pay back the loans and they will be an ongoing drain until paid off.
9. Understand licensing and compliance
There are licences, regulations, council approvals and compliance requirements that will touch almost every aspect of your courier service. Once you have a clear idea about what sort of courier business you will operate, you can investigate these issues further.
10. How to market your business
A successful courier business needs to connect effectively to potential clients and to acquire repeat business. You can contact people directly who you wish to target or you can find customers through a broad reaching marketing campaign. To convert visitors to customers: build a website that is attractive, informative and functional. Advertise online and offline and create engaging social media accounts. You can get help to maximise the reach and power of your marketing strategy by utilising professionals.
11. Insure your business
Wondering why your courier business in Australia needs couriers insurance? The courier industry has many risks that need to be covered to prevent unfortunate events becoming a large or even catastrophic liability for businesses. Areas of risk include damage or theft of vehicles or goods, injury to you, staff or the public, loss or damage arising from the online side of the business. Contact an insurance broker to find appropriate couriers insurance for your business.
12. Sort out the legalities
You might need to have legal documents to clarify obligations and rights and protect your business legally. Examples of these include: service agreements, cancellation policy and employment agreements. You might want to hire a lawyer to go through these with you and also to check your legal compliance and contracts.
13. Essential skills of a courier
Before starting a courier service, it is necessary to know what skills are required. Couriers need to be very organised and quick workers because the customers expect swift deliveries. Couriers also need to be careful people so that goods are not damaged and there are no incidents en route. Couriers need to be good with their paperwork and keep track of everything. Finally, because the industry often requires face to face engagement with customers, couriers need to have enough people-skills to leave a good impression with customers.