COURIER BUSINESS..........Discover the Gold mine waiting to be Tapped!

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Investing in a courier service can be a gold mine for a go-getter entrepreneur, irrespective of your background.  This is a business option you can start within three months of research and networking around your place and city of interest.

The proliferation of online stores even make it a bankable business besides the avalanche of opportunities in other sectors of the economy. Courier business thrives on trust and reputation of everyone concerned. Reputable companies would insist that courier and Logistics companies, registering to move items from the companies to provide insurance cover  worth the category of goods and parcels they would be required to carry.

Starting from home can also afford you the opportunity to provide local services with a personalised approach that the larger companies sometimes cannot provide.  This simply means you can promise 24/7 delivery service within your city or chosen locality.  The reason is that you have the City Map and you know the environment, so your staff or bike-man can still be delivering parcel till late in the evening.

In this business, you can play yourself into the lead by offering services that are tailored to your clients’ conveniences, for example, evening and weekend deliveries when people are in their homes, and this is a growth market due to the boom in internet shopping.

Personalized services
Courier service involves transporting goods and documents from point A to point B, but that’s the easy part. A successful work-from-home courier business opportunity depends on a lot more. Many entering this business take baby steps at first, acting as subcontractors for established carriers before heading out on their own.

Starting a courier service business requires some knowledge of the industry and the competition in the industry.  Although as mentioned earlier, you do not require much initial investment to start a courier business – if you have a van, you can start right away – but investing more money is always a progressive approach and helps you succeed at a faster rate.

Following is a small guide that covers the basic aspects of starting a courier business.  There is a field experience interview with a former Taxi Driver, who  started his own Courier company in 

•The first step is to select an attractive name for your courier business. Your initial setup does not need to be enormous or huge for it to have a proper name – you can even start providing courier services individually. The name should be attractive, consist of fewer syllables and should be able to reflect and relate to transportation and courier services.

•After selecting a name, it is time to take care of the legal aspects before you actually start working.

•Another basic but very essential step is to create a proper office for your business. If you are short on budget, consider taking a commercial place on rental basis. Having a proper office setup helps you find more customers and business. And if you are running from home, create a separate room in your house for the business.

•The next step is to devise your business operating policy. At first, decide the target areas you want to work on. Do you want to target the residential sector or the commercial sector? What type of courier services are you going to offer? Will you be delivering items within your local city or across different states? These are only some of the policies you need to define before you start your courier business.

•The next step, which is one of the most important one, is to analyse your competitors’ businesses and refine your business strategy accordingly. There will be several weak spots of your competitors that you can target, but that can only be revealed through extensive research and analysis.

For example, if many people complain about the high service charges from local courier businesses, then you know you can take a major chunk of business from them by offering low-cost deliveries. Moreover, if there is no courier business with express deliveries on offer, you can attract more customers by offering rush-hour, express or same-day deliveries. 

A little survey in your local neighbourhood will be sufficient to know all this important information. Almost all businesses use couriers to some extent, and your research is finding those companies that have urgent requirements to send small packages, parcels, and documents a short distance or a same day service. When building your business plan, think about how many jobs you can handle and how you’re going to keep your customer informed of the progress of the job. 

Once the job is completed, you’ll need to invoice the customer and collect payment, so excellent customer service is key. Having some form of courier software that cannot only keep tab on the bookings received but also invoice and keep your accounts up to date is important.

•Publicity. Advertise your courier services as much as you can. Heavy advertisement does not necessarily mean expensive advertisement. Owning a website, promoting in local newspapers, leaflets, entry in Google Local, among others, are some of the cost-effective marketing tactics that are able to yield huge results. Word of mouth marketing is especially beneficial in this industry so once you have your first few customers, offer a “member get member” type of marketing promotion to win new business.

Later on, you can start expanding your business by hiring more employees, purchasing more vans and growing your business network by contacting more individuals/businesses and taking new contracts.

Practical Challenges of Courier Business

If you run a courier business then you’ll know that the industry is extremely competitive. Low profit margins and long hours are the reality of the industry and many new courier firms find it difficult to turn a decent profit. If you are planning to establish a Courier company or struggling to make your courier business profitable, consider these operational Tips.

1. Serve few clients, offer them what they want
It’s very easy to become complacent no matter what type of business you run. If you have a steady stream of customers then you might assume they’ll never go elsewhere but this isn’t true. People are always looking to get the best service and if they feel you’re not going the extra mile then you could easily lose their business. Think about what additional services you could offer or ways to make your current services better. Keeping customers constantly informed of the progress of their delivery is always appreciated. You can now do this by sending automated updates to your customers by text quite easily.

2. Hire and train your Drivers
Your drivers are who you’re customers are going to be interacting with most of the time. Therefore it stands to reason that you want to hire reliable, friendly and helpful drivers if you want to create the best possible impression with customers.  They should be trained in more than despatch work, but also in Customer relationship management.

3. Use professional and social links to promote your services
Think of creative ways to advertise your business online and through the social media.  Social media can be a great way to drum up new business. Consider offering promotions or just using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in creative ways to get the word out about your business.

A successful courier business will have a reputation for delivering parcels on time, undamaged, with a proactive, prompt response to queries and complaints. As a baseline, it’s as simple as that.  Beyond that you can go the extra mile: making sure packages are left in a safe, dry place when the recipient isn’t home, for instance; delivering packages with a smile; or shortening delivery times or cutting costs through innovation.

While the unstoppable growth of online shopping is increasing demand, the sector is hugely competitive and high customer expectations are frequently not met.  Against this background, you can be confident of winning custom if you can attain or improve a reputation for reliability and great customer service.

Learning about the business
Having bought a courier business, the first phase of ownership is about listening – to customers and, if you have any, staff – and learning. Don’t make any drastic changes until you’ve familiarised yourself with the business – what works well, what works not so well – and the opportunities and threats in your market.  Only then can you decide on the changes needed to attract new customers without jettisoning the business’s strengths and alienating existing customers.

Whether it’s late deliveries, damaged goods or poor customer service, you can’t rectify problems without identifying them first.

How cost-efficient is your delivery vehicle or fleet? More recent or premium models can be cheaper in the long term, owing to better fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs. Then again, newer models will be more expensive in the short to medium term because of higher upfront costs and/or lease payments.  Perhaps you could you increase the number of deliveries per load by upgrading to bigger vans.  Motorbikes or mopeds are much cheaper to buy and run and can bypass traffic, although their capacity is obviously much lower.

Have you got the right delivery equipment to do the job quickly and, more importantly, safely?  That obviously depends on the size and weight of items being delivered (or hope to deliver).

The courier sector doesn’t have the best reputation right now, but technologies like drones and GPS tracking are changing the way people see courier services.  Innovation can cut delivery times, make it easier for customers to receive or pick up packages and cut your operating costs – giving you bigger profit margins or scope for price cuts.

Choosing a courier franchise
If you’ve opted for the lowest risk route into the sector – franchising – then you’ll be constrained by the rules set down in the franchise agreement. In general, however, you’ll follow a tried and tested system but with some creative freedom in finding new customers.

Being super organised and mindful of deadlines is paramount. Sydney-based Fastway Couriers franchisee Abdi Waeis told that “everything is about delivering packages within the deadlines.”  Being familiarised with your local area will make the first few months in business easier. “I’m new to the area,” said Waeis, “so I don’t know the street names very well yet and houses in these suburbs are set back from the road.”

Testimony of a former Taxi Driver:

For four years, Michael Rathan used his skills as a driver to transport passengers in his chartered taxi, alongside his father.

Now he still utilises those same driving skills as owner of his own business, Nonstop Courier Service. He said that he enjoys the perks of being his own boss and nothing can compare.

“It (the business) has been officially registered for one year now. I pick up goods and deliver them islandwide for several big and small companies. I have been providing this service for approximately four years,” he said.

He drove taxis to help with his school finances. He told THE STAR that with his courier business, he’s making much more money than he was before.

“Some weeks you can basically say I make like double or triple what I usually make for taxi work, once it’s a good week. When I used to do the taxi work, I only could afford to throw one partner. Now, I can afford four hands in a partner. I can pay light bill and financing two cars, paying two insurance, and have extra money left for pocket money, enjoyment, my pleasure. I’m also building a house right now. I can see where I can live better since I’ve left the taxi work. I’m more comfortable,” he said.

The 27-year-old says youngsters should have the drive to run their own businesses.

“I strongly suggest that young yutes start their own businesses. It’s a great opportunity and it’s a good experience for someone to provide service for customers out there and making your own money as you grow as a young yute,” he said. “In this business, the struggle I mostly face on a daily basis is not having enough time, especially because some businesses close at certain times, and I have a lot of places to pick up for a day. That’s really a struggle, but I usually get everything done.”

For him, there’s no slowing down or stopping in Rathan’s eyes.

“I’ve never thought about quitting, never! I love what I do. Just seeing customers with a smile on their faces just shows that they’re being satisfied. I don’t know, but it’s just overwhelming for me,” he said. “It’s different because I don’t have to compete with other taxi operators, fighting to get a one passenger and having the sun drain me out for the day. I work every day. Sometimes, in this business, the work takes you straight into the graveyard shift. Some cases I would say I work 24/7.”

As the sole driver, he uses various strategies to keep the business afloat.

“I usually get the word out about my business through satisfied customers, family and friends. It’s better,” he said. “I’m still my own boss. I get time to rest and I work at my own convenient time. I benefit from making my own schedule, meeting new business owners and entrepreneurs, knowing new places and learning new things.”


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