7 tips for starting a small courier business


What makes small courier businesses successful is the unmatched personalized service they provide to customers. In many cases, small and specialized couriers fill the gaps that larger national companies don’t have the capacity for. A small courier business often accommodates special delivery needs such as providing safe transportation for appliances or medical supplies. Customers also trust small couriers to transport sensitive items because they’re more comfortable handing them to someone they know personally.

If you’re ready to seize a niche opportunity in your local market, here are seven helpful tips for setting yourself up for success with your small courier business:

  1. Research your local market. In order to help you decide what types of courier services to provide and the ideal geographical area to serve, research is the very first step. A good place to start is by researching competitors in the area to see what they offer, but more importantly, what they don’t Is there an unmet need that your business can fulfill? Think about the specialized courier services you can offer, such as biohazardous, chemical, or perishable items.
  2. Find the right vehicle. Having a dependable vehicle for your business is crucial. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to purchase a cargo van if you plan to deliver large appliances. Consider what’s better for you financially – buying a vehicle means you acquire an asset you have more control over, but renting a vehicle allows for more flexibility. Also, figure out how you can customize the vehicle with necessary equipment, such as refrigeration for perishable items.
  3. Establish yourself as a business. As a business, you can significantly increase your opportunities as you look instantly more attractive to companies that prioritize contracting with independent contractors who have an established business entity (which is becoming more and more common). For drivers, setting up your LLC can move you one step closer to appropriate licensing and operating authority requirements as well. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. 
  4. Obtain permits and licenses. Requirements vary by jurisdiction so be sure to check with your local and state authorities. An occupational license is typically required before a business begins operations. Each driver will need a driver’s license. A few states require a courier license. Additional regulations may exist for transporting perishable food, medical, and biohazardous items.
  5. Connect with contracting companies. More so today than ever before, delivery companies across the US are looking to contract with qualified drivers like yourself. 
  6. Insure your business. Personal liability vehicle insurance is a must, but occupational accident insurance is also required since the vehicle is used for commercial purposes. Coverage for the items transported is also important. Check with an insurance agent on the proper type and amount of coverage. 
  7. Market your business. Spreading the word about what you do will help connect customers who need courier services directly to you. Start simple. Let your friends and family know about your new business. Create business pages for your social media accounts, especially Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And every professional needs materials that represent your business, whether that’s business cards or fliers, so that people you meet remember your services. The more you hand out, the better. 

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