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How to Start a Small Business Courier Service


Courier business has suddenly become very competitive in Nigeria, due to the entrance of  big players in home delivery business, such as Jumia, Konga, Yudala, among others.  They do business with customers online through their website.  Nigeria’s number one online retailer, Jumia, is said to receives about 300,000 unique visitors daily. 

These companies are really not Courier companies, rather they are online stores that sell and deliver to peoples houses.  Their ability to deliver to homes, is the Courier aspect of the business, which is reducing a huge chunk of courier business that would have flowed to the Courier companies.  

If you have the mind set of an entrepreneur, and your area of interest is in Courier services, this article will be of value to you.  Your basic starting point will be to make sure the business is profitable, in the area of the country you live.  You need to research and have a good knowledge of parcel, house and industrial cargo movement in the state or city and the sources.

You can practically start a business courier service overnight, but I need to tell you that the business depends so much on affiliation to grow and enter the next level.  If you choose to make home delivery for grocery, food, gift, pizza, among others, then you will have to affiliate with Large stores and other online stores, that have goods and other items to deliver to peoples houses within your City.

Make sure you have reliable transportation as you will need to pick up and deliver packages each day. You can do a lot, probably starting with your private car, van or SUV,  Your staff  must be well trained, city wide address versatile and customer friendly.  You may not have many clients early on. However, you may need to use a larger truck when your business grows. You can purchase a truck or rent one from a truck rental outlet.  

The idea of starting at home serves two purposes:
1. To test the market and its viability within your locality before investing heavily on office accommodation and equipment.

2.  It also serve the purpose of saving initial costs of starting the business. Starting from the house will save you alot of initial cost like Rent, Electricity, Water, Parking space, Security and Warehouse to store your goods or keep your parcels etc.

Though a minimal start-up cost is required, you need to draft a comprehensive business plan and do specific City and locality research on parcel, cargo and other deliverable. Many Courier companies have incorporated Logistics into their business because of the stability and long term contract nature of Logistics business.  


You can decide to consider a home delivery business, in that case you should develop a robust partnership and affiliation agreement with Large stores and Online stores, before you open for business. These are steps you need to take to start your Courier service from Home in Nigeria.

Step 1
Create an office in a separate room of your house. Keep track of the hours you work at home as you may be able to deduct your home office for tax purposes.

Step 2
Create a name for your small business courier service. Apply for a doing business as license through your county or city, according to Use the fictitious name of your business on your DBA application. Apply for a vendor's license simultaneously as you will need to collect sales taxes from customers.

Step 3
Decide whether your want to focus on residential or business customers, or both. Decide what types of packages you will pick up and deliver, such as personal gifts, checks and money orders, perishable good or body organs. Limit the weight of the items you pick up and deliver if you desire.

Step 4
Call competitive delivery or courier services in your area. Obtain their rates for various package sizes, client types and mileage, if applicable. Price your services comparable to these other courier businesses.

Step 5
Create a website for your business courier service, or have a web designer create one for you. Place your website on all business cards, fliers, brochures and advertising materials. Place your website in various search engines, such as and

Step 6
Contact small businesses, office complexes, hospitals and schools to procure commercial clients. Leave a business card and brochure with the owner or business manager. Stress that you can provide more personal attention with your courier service over larger companies. Leave stacks of fliers behind in retail outlets to attract residential customers, and place ads in several coupon magazines. Start scheduling pickups and deliveries when residential and business customers call you.

Step 7
Advertise your courier service in the print and online Yellow Pages.

Step 8
Maintain a log of all pickups and deliveries. Arrive for each pickup on time as customers will be more likely to use your service again.

Step 9
Hire other drivers as your business expands. Create and manage a dispatch center, then hire employees to work the phones. Spend your time focusing on building more corporate business accounts. Sign these corporate business accounts to long-term contracts, offering a discount on single deliveries. 


The nine steps enumerated above will get you some reasonable business as a startup operating from home without any other staff.  As long as you know your state and it businesses very well and you devote quality time marketing your business and giving your customer fast parcel pick-up and delivery, you are sure to generate enough business to keep you busy till you have the resources to rent an office.

Then you are ready recruit more hands, develop a formal structure, prices lkists, operational, accounting and administrative structure to drive the business and compete effectively with your peers.  You are also ready to launch your Courier service brand.

You may want to read my earlier piece on how to establish a Courier company and be guided accordingly.


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